Thursday, July 08, 2010
Guess the Plot
1. Some magic is pure energy, other pure art. Then there's pure love, the oldest magic of all, the hardest to master, and . . . do I have to tell you what a heap of cliches this book is?
2. Gwyn has been abducted by the Go'el Kadien, and only the sorceress Arowen can help him master the magic of the Ancients and save the Ryhzan king from a nefarious plot. Also, other names and places created from random letters and apostrophes.
3. JEOPARDY! Betty knows it's in the bag when she sees the Daily Double answer under the "Literature" category: Ancient Magic. "What is the plot device for every YA novel known to man, Alex?!" A rags-to-riches story about a woman who utilizes the knowledge she has gained from her time in a cult called "the Minions."
4. Timmy always thought that all magic was, well, magic. However, here he was, researching book after book looking for what the old sage called 'ancient magic'. Within a translation of Babylonian text, a simple number progression puzzle produces a riddle: a loud voice saying, to Timmy’s amusement, “Knock, knock”.
5. At Happyvale Assisted Living Center, retired wizard Milton Hardcastle takes up Tai Chi, watercolor, and crossword puzzles. Then ancient magic rises up to threaten the Earth, and Milton alone knows how to fight it. But he needs the help of Fran across the hall, whose memory is fading fast.
6. All you young whippersnappers with your Harry Potters and your expellariamuses. In my day we got magic the old fashioned way, with live sacrifices and selling our souls to the devils and that was good enough for us, gosh darnit. Err, kids these days.
For the last thousand years, the tranquil Kingdom of Ryhzan has been protected by the Go'el, an elite team of peace-keeping warriors who adhere to the highest moral code, accept only those who can withstand the years of training, and answer only to the King.
Unfortunately, the King has lately been too distracted by the illness of his beloved Queen to realize there is evil encroaching into his Kingdom's borders, reaching all the way to his Court. And while the Go'el are trying their best to keep peace and order, they are, in the end, still human, bound by their code. [This seems to imply that being bound by their code makes it impossible to effectively fight evil. Being bound by the highest moral code should give free reign to evil fighters.]
Fifteen year old Gwyn doesn't know about any of that. All he cares about is he's been taken away from his remote forest hut by Kadien, an eighth-degree member of the Royal Go'el, [I've always wondered whether the apostrophes in fantasy names stand for letters, the way the one in "they've" stands for "ha" or the one in "you'll" stands for "wi." Does the apostrophe in "Go'el stand for "og"? Because if your hero is abducted by Googel, you've got a winner.] who sees Gwyn's potential and takes him to be schooled inside the Palace. [The trouble with being schooled by Googel is that you can't separate the knowledge from the advertising propaganda.] Now Gwyn must learn his place inside the King's Court and answer to people who don't necessarily care about his happiness.
But Gwyn's got a bigger problem: there's magic within him, a power not seen since the time of the Ancients, the supernatural predecessors to the Go'el. [So the potential Kadian saw in Gwyn wasn't magic, but just potential to work for Googel?] But they mysteriously disappeared over a thousand years ago, and now the only one who can help Gwyn control his power before it drives him mad is Arowen, the Royal Sorceress, who dresses like a child's glitter-and-glue project gone wrong and is perhaps not quite sane herself.
With his magical abilities, Gwyn is called upon to find a way to save the dying Queen. Only it's not a cure he finds, but a nefarious plot to take over the entire Kingdom, and it's up to Gwyn to find out who's behind it all and stop him before it's too late.
Ancient Magic is a YA Fantasy novel, complete at 89,000 words.
Thank you for your time.
After the setup, I would reorganize the next three paragraphs into something like these two:
Fifteen year old Gwyn doesn't know about any of that. All he knows is he's been abducted by Googel, who sees Gwyn's potential and takes him to be schooled inside the Palace. There's magic within Gwyn, a power not seen since the time of the Ancients.
Gwyn is called upon to save the dying Queen and to defeat the evil threatening to destroy the kingdom. There's just problem: the only one who can teach Gwyn to control his power before it drives him mad is Arowen, the Royal Sorceress--who may be mad herself.
It sounds like standard fantasy, and the one thing you've given us that might set it apart is the sorcerer being trained by a mad sorceress, so ending with that gives you more oomph than ending with the boring He must find out who's behind it all and stop him before it's too late.
The name Arowyn sounds a lot like Eowyn from Lord of the Rings.