Monday, June 13, 2011
Guess the Plot
Legend of the Phoenix
1. She's funny, generous with her time and critiques, writes excellent Arthurian romances and her query revisions are legendary. But who is the mysterious farm-girl who calls herself Phoenix?
2. A homophobic arsonist sentenced to a ward for three months finds himself burning with desire for the devastatingly handsome Dr. Phoenix. When a session ends in an outpouring of emotion neither can deny and the doctor’s family is destroyed in a house fire, can he prove he did not set it? Or is it all part of the doctor’s plan to start again?
3. A lone boy -- thought to be immortal -- holds the key to survival for a post-apocalyptic world populated exclusively by women. All the birds and animals on the planet are after him so they can quarantine him before he restarts the human versions of "hunting" and "mating."
4. 16-year-old Ethan accidentally releases the nymph queen from the Phoenix Sword, which could cause the destruction of the world--unless Ethan can do something to stop it. So he springs into action, recruiting his friend Anna to destroy the nymph queen. Then he takes credit for his resourcefulness.
5. Phoenixes are supposed to be colorful, beautiful, immortal creatures that go through a symbolic death every 500 years. Not so for Arisa Cantu. Her bird form is as drab, gray, and ugly as her human one and from all indications, will be dying for real in three months time. Her only hope lies in discovering the truth behind the legend of the first phoenix.
6. Cuban artist Miguel Cardova's family has kept their Chevrolet running for 70 years, but now his great granddaughter Marla has crashed it into a tree. Can this old car be fixed again, or is it time to load the bits and parts onto a donkey cart and haul them to Havana where they can be used to create a revolution-inspiring sculpture depicting mankind's universal yearning to travel?
Dear Evil Editor:
Heroes are brave and selfless. Ethan Saunter lacks both these qualities, yet [I have chosen him as my main character, knowing it dooms my chances. Besides,] he knows he will become a hero because it has been foreseen. Unfortunately, for Ethan, the fairy who foresaw the prophecy [Actually, it was the event that the fairy foresaw, not the prophecy.] was actually a drug addict having a hallucination. [Have this fairy's prophecies come true in the past? Or are all prophecies believed, no matter who makes them?]
According to the fairy’s [drug addict's] prophecy, [If it was the fairy's prophecy, then perhaps you should say Ethan's heroism has been foretold rather than foreseen.] Ethan will defeat the deadly dragon Ranook on his 16th birthday, [Ranook's 16th birthday or Ethan's?] but on that special day, Ethan begins his journey (without any training or even a sword) only to quickly discover someone else has beaten him to slaying Ranook. [He doesn't leave until his birthday? Where's the dragon? On the next block?] [Ranook sounds too much like Nanook. It's how Scooby Doo would pronounce Nanook.] [I suggest trimming the last clause to: Ethan discovers someone else has already slain Ranook.] Ethan becomes desperate. All his life he dreamed of the day he would become a hero, but now that it has been snatched away from him, he must come up with a quick fix. He learns of a centuries old legendary blade called the Phoenix Sword that is hidden away and decides to steal it. [How did he know where it was hidden?] Unfortunately, his first swing of the massive blade breaks it in two, [What a piece of junk.] releasing the evil nymph queen Dahlia whose only wish is to destroy the world. [If you can't even get out of a sword without the help of some bumbling doofus, I doubt you have the power to destroy the world.]
Ethan takes this as proof that he is supposed to become a hero by defeating Dahlia, but Ethan is wrong. Attempting to reach his goal, Ethan haphazardly leads his friends Alexia, Anna, Seraphine and Samson into a dangerous battle filled with fairies, nymphs, not so wise old men and a queen and king strung out on drugs. As the group moves [move] closer to finding Dahlia, Ethan soon realizes he is not strong enough to defeat anyone let alone someone as powerful as Dahlia. [And the reader realizes that someone else should have been the main character.] [But who? Who is strong enough to defeat Dahlia?]
However, Ethan’s friend Anna, the trouble making young princess, is strong enough. [Aha!] As the descendant of the legendary phoenix, Anna has the ability to use the Phoenix Sword correctly despite its broken state. Rather than attacking Dahlia with it, she plunges the tip into her own chest, sacrificing herself and becoming a phoenix that can defeat Dahlia with its magical flame. [What would have happened if Ethan had used the sword correctly?]
Although Ethan does not defeat Dahlia himself, he realizes that heroism is not something prophesied or reached by shortcuts, and there is never only one hero in a story. [What about Rambo? Didn't you see Rambo?] Everyone has their own worthy talents, and everyone helps reach the end. [Everyone except Ethan. He didn't do anything except cause the problem in the first place.] [Actually, I don't see that anyone except Anna did anything useful. Why isn't Anna the star?]
Legend of the Phoenix is a 95,000 word Young Adult Fantasy novel.
I am an unpublished author looking for a home for my manuscript, and I feel that the Such and Such Agency would make an excellent fit for my story and I [me]. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Hyphens are needed between words that, together, form adjectives. For instance, centuries-old, not-so-wise, trouble-making, 95,000-word.
This is too long. A lot of it is taken up by the quest to kill the dragon, which never comes off. I assume the percentage of the book devoted to killing the dragon isn't so high.
Ethan really needs to do something besides release the nymph queen and learn his lesson about heroism. Most people would rather read about the girl who saved the world than the boy who didn't.