Thursday, August 26, 2010
Guess the Plot
Black, Brown and Red
1. After losing her beloved poodle in a bus crash, museum curator Nancy Smith goes on vacation and discovers the artist of the century -- 14 year old hillbilly genius Buddy Boone. His parents are too poor to buy paint, so he uses materials he finds in the fields and forest.
2. In a world where mages are ranked by the color of the crystals they wear, Joran seeks revenge against a black-crystal mage for the death of his family. But first he must work his way up the ladder through red and brown, or he'll never have a chance.
3. Top-tier fashion designer Lola Heaven gets walloped by a window-washer's dropped squeegee, and now she's color-blind. Will her spring line-up get panned, or will black, brown, and red become the new pastels? Also, a finicky schnauzer.
4. After many misadventures on their dirt-bikes Pat and Ryan decide to start a blog to catalog their accidents and injuries. To their surprise, their site -- called Black, Brown, and Red for their wound colors -- develops a following. To impress their fans, they try bigger and bigger stunts. But to Ryan at least, Pat's latest ideas sound a bit crazy.
5. Ku Klux Klansman Willy Shea and the missus can't have kids, but there are no white babies available for adoption. Reluctantly, they start a diverse little family, which leads to heart-warming lessons in life and love.
6. Geronimo Williams suffers from synesthesia; he can literally see scents as a pattern of colors overlaid on his otherwise normal vision. He uses this talent to find missing persons. Now, he's taken his toughest case yet, to find a billionaire's rebellious daughter who smells like . . . black, brown, and red.
Greetings Almighty Evil One,
Joran's family is murdered and the mage responsible leads an alliance of great nations in war against his homeland. [Joran is the name of that insane criminal who's been in the news lately. Change it to Jor-el as an homage to Superman.]
At seventeen, Joran was happy living the simple life. Soon to be given his father's cattle farm, he longs for the day when he can call this land his own. Nechalyn, a mage whose black crystal shows him to be of the highest rank, destroys this life in a single night when he leads a party of raiders who murder every villager they find. Joran escapes death by hiding in a secret hole in the basement, but finds only one other man alive: A brown ranked mage named Nectat [Sounds too much like a beverage; change it to Necktie.] who has been following the raiders. Joran's wish to avenge his parents' deaths causes him to go with Nectat to be trained in the art of magic.
They return together to the mages' city of Lhenn to find action being stalled by political deadlock. Unbeknownst to all others the head of the council, Chayton, is under the direct control of Nechalyn, who seeks to destroy Lhenn. Once Nechalyn's forces are ready, Chayton empties Lhenn of its most powerful mages under the subterfuge of mobilizing for war. He sends Joran into a trap accompanied by Nectat and his son Farafel. [Farafel? Change his name to Falafel. And change your other characters' names to Tahini, Tabouleh, and Hummus. These sound much more like people's names than the ones you've chosen.] Nectat is killed and Farafel is captured, but Joran escapes to Lhenn with the knowledge that Chayton is the betrayer. [Jor-el wants his revenge. He's a kid. He doesn't care about all this political crap, so neither do we. Focus on what he wants, how he can get it, and what's stopping him.]
He is too late. In their absence Nechalyn has razed Lhenn and killed all he could find. Enraged, Joran risks eternal undeath by destroying his body in a ritual that marks the transition of a mage to the black. [A ritual is all it takes to attain black crystalness? Don't you have to work your way through the color spectrum for years while your instructor cleans out your bank account?] He is successful, forming a new body through strength of will. With his power greatly increased, he returns to fight for Farafel's release and Nechalyn's defeat. Will his newly found abilities prove potent enough to inflict vengeance upon the aged sorcerer?
Black, Brown and Red is a 90,000 word YA Fantasy novel. It is my first novel, with my publishing history consisting of mostly non-fiction articles in IT magazines. I'd be happy to send a manuscript at your request.
P.S. All the character names have been changed for posting on your blog. [What?! The minions like nothing better than telling authors what bad names they've chosen for their characters, and they were ready to tear into yours like weredingos into falafel. Plus, I spent hours thinking up better names for your characters.]
Too many names to keep track of. Sentences like "Nectat is killed and Farafel is captured, but Joran escapes to Lhenn with the knowledge that Chayton is the betrayer." don't bother you because you know who all these people are. I, on the other hand, am forced to either go back and look up who everyone is, or just toss the query into the Decomposer, which is what I call my new composting machine. And I think you know which choice I'll make. Falafel can go. Dump Chayton or just refer to him as the Council if he's that important. Necktie doesn't do much except die; you can probably work around his absence.
We don't need so much plot detail. Supermage kills Jor-el's family. He seeks revenge by training to become Superdupermage. Usually the big question is whether his new abilities will go to his head and he'll become power-hungry, rather than whether he'll get strong enough to defeat Supermage. Of course he will.
It seems to me that a mage who's attained the highest rank would have better things to do than lead a raid on a cattle farm. If you want an alliance of great nations to follow you, you need better stuff on your resume than killing a bunch of villagers. Also, I can see a green- or purple-crystal mage being unable to sense that there's a guy hiding in a hole in the basement, but a black-crystal mage? Humiliating.