Friday, December 04, 2009

Face-Lift 703

Guess the Plot

The Faerie Knight

1. He may be tiny, but Sir Swinkie is the best jouster in Bramblewood, assuming his opponent also rides a mouse. So when Queen Mab is 1] attacked by an evil cat, and then 2] kidnapped by an evil child, Swinkie leads the raiding faerie troupe into the house of the evil giants.

2. The king wants a human bride so that he can become invincible and conquer the mortal world, so he sends the Faerie Knight to get him one, specifically Christa. But it turns out Christa has a boyfriend, and the Faerie Knight figures that if he's going to persuade Christa to marry the king, he'll have to murder her boyfriend first. Hilarity ensues.

3. Sheathed inside a protective suit of armor the bastard king of England cunningly plots his next thrust into the bedchambers of neighboring kingdoms. He leaps from one exciting tryst to the next. The exciting climax comes to a head during the 1066 Battle of Hastings. Will he reach the pinnacle of ecstasy or will his armor rust from inside?

4. Jousting while holding a fifty pound stick and trying to keep his balance while his wings itch and ache crumpled up inside his coat of armor makes Herbie the Faerie wonder why he ever signed up for the Knight in Shining Armor course at the tech institute, but there's no turning back now.

5. Isabella, a 14th-century Spanish nun, writes poetry and romances for herself. When a strange man appears in her cell, will it lead to her greatest work--or to disaster?

6. Ed Spenser adds a few artistic swirls of tar while repairing the cracks in the road and incidentally summons Britomart, the Faerie Knight. Together they seek the remaining knights who have all disappeared from the Faerie Court. Also, evil slave-mistress Radigund who runs a pet shop.

Original Version

Dear (Editor's name)

I'm seeking representation for my 55,000 word Young Adult urban fantasy novel The Faerie Knight.

Eighteen-year-old Faerie Knight, Simeon Langston, is fiercely loyal to his King, Gregory. So when Gregory wants an envoy to go out into the human world to bring him a human bride, Simeon reluctantly agrees. [Would a fiercely loyal subject be reluctant to obey his king?] The task presented to him, however, involves murdering a young human male, Reginald, and taking on his persona so that he will be in a better position to persuade Reginald’s girlfriend, Christa, to marry Gregory. [Wouldn't your boyfriend be the least likely person to be persuading you to marry someone else? Won't Christa be suspicious? Why not get rid of Reginald and take on the persona of Christa's best (female) friend?] This is because if she marries Gregory before the faerie gods he will become invincible and be able to conquer the mortal world. But right from the beginning things don't go as planned as Simeon experiences difficulty adjusting to life in the human world, and worse [Delete that word.] finds himself falling for the very girl he is supposed to be getting for Gregory. Torn between his loyalty to Gregory and love for Christa, what choice will Simeon make?

I received a BA in English from York University in Toronto, Canada and aim to succeed as a writer of fiction and film projects.

Would you be interested in looking at The Faerie Knight? I thank you in advance for your time, and look forward to hearing from you.

Yours Sincerely


If Simmy murdered Reggie and moved into his body, hasn't Christa noticed any changes in her boyfriend?

Does Gregory know anything about Christa? Can he conquer the mortal world if he marries any human woman? If so, can't Simeon keep Christa and bring Gregory a different woman to marry?

How is this persuasion of Christa supposed to play out?

Simeon (as Reginald): Sorry hon, but we're through.
Christa: You've . . . found another woman?
Simeon: No, I've found another man. For you. Well, not a man, exactly, but he's male, and I want you to marry him. So he can conquer the mortal world.
Christa: Ha ha. You had me going there for a minute.

I think you need to explain how a boyfriend is well-positioned to persuade a woman to marry a Faerie king she's never met. Or to marry the knight who murdered her boyfriend.


Dave F. said...

This is a variation on the Tristan and Isolde love triangle.

The query loses the love story and instead replaces it with the murder of the boyfriend. The struggle (it seems to me) will be between Christa who falls in love with Simeon and has to overcome her horror of him being a murderer before she marries the King.

All of this has to reach some outcome. The evil King Gregory has to be thwarted, Christa might fall in love and marry a murderer and Simeon might become king. Or perhaps they all thwart each other and by some miracle, Christa's dead boyfriend is resurrected and she comes back to the human world to marry him.

The query has to deal with the love triangle and its consequences.

Feliza said...

What EE said. It sounds like a cool concept, but I'd like to see both the romantic and external conflicts fleshed out.

I'm interested in learning more about Christa. Why does the protag fall for her? Even a quick line about her personality would be helpful. While the character may be dynamic and fun on the page, we don't get to see any of that in the query, so the romantic stakes don't feel as important as they should feel.

Likewise, we only get one quick line about the world conquest angle. I'd like to hear a bit more about what Simeon himself might risk by cooperating or not cooperating. Does he have a stake in the success of the mission? For example, will his failure mean some kind of terrible punishment?

My impression is that story revolves mostly around the protag's struggle between two worlds, so I think a bit of extra info on the human entanglements and the trouble back home would really make this into the shiny, intriguing query letter that the concept deserves.

It looks like the author did the same thing I did on my query: for the sake of brevity, I left out so much of the important info that the facts I did present felt a bit unsupported and dry. I think if the author tweaks the letter a bit, keeping an eye on explaining Simeon's main conflicts and the potential consequences of his choices, then this could be a really great letter.

It sounds like it would be an interesting book, at any rate.

One last thing: maybe I'm just an anthropology geek, but is anyone else pronouncing the MC's name like "simian," as in, ape? It's a bit distracting to me.

Eric said...

Exactly; give us the specific plot and character elements that will make it more interesting than "Hey, it's Tristan and Isolde, but with faeries!" How is the conflict dealt with? What makes it original? (Animated corpses may help, though now I'm picturing Men in Black.)

Eighteen seems a bit young for an immortal knight. Doesn't it usually happen more like this in fairy stories: "I may look only eighteen to you, but I was born before the first humans set foot on these shores" or something.

Who goes by "Reginald" these days? I'd assume it's set in the past, but Christa seems like a more contemporary name. For that matter, why do faeries have such human names as Simeon and Gregory?

Has no fairy in the past millennia of civilization ever attempted to marry a mortal before? I recall that motif from many older fairytales (played for laughs in Iolanthe, for instance.)

You're going to need a much edgier and catchier title for an urban/YA fantasy.

Adam Heine said...

The murdered boyfriend is what's tripping me up the most. If Christa finds out the truth (and she does, right?), why would she have any other reaction than, "You killed my boyfriend? Screw all y'alls!"

Maybe the sequel could be about how Christa becomes a Faerie Hunter, a vehicle of revenge.

Xiexie said...

I echo the minions and also wonder what Christa's reaction will be at knowing the truth. I wouldn't imagine that she would become the dumb-romance-chick "you hurt me, abused me, but I luuuurrrrvveee you now so all that pain you inflicted upon me is all forgiven."

I don't think this will turn out with Fairy-king's world domination, but it would be great change if it did. (I like it when the bad guys get a win even if it's just a bit of a win.)

Anywho, we need some more plot here. I think you've laid out everything pretty well except (more) info about Christa.

I also read it as "simian", Feliza.

Anonymous said...

I'm not seeing why the fairy is so determined to get this particular chick. If any human would do, he can just skip all this trouble in your plot and go find someone who's actually available and likes him.

_*Rachel*_ said...

I think the problems started at the point you began explaining why the king needs to marry her. With the suggested tweaks, the first bit is decent; it's the second part that needs to be rewritten.

If Tristan and Isholde is what inspired you, it might not hurt to mention it. Not that authors should always get into that, but there are times when it clarifies things. For example, the quickest way of describing my WIP is as a tribute to the Underground Railroad. You might try replacing UR with T&I.