Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Face-Lift 940

Guess the Plot

Angels in Atlantis

1. Artorus and Jessarene are the most promising acolytes in the Atlantean temple. But each has begun to believe there is actually only one god (plus several powerful beings who serve him). Their love and heresy threaten to sink the empire.

2. Being a janitor in Atlantis isn't easy, what with all the drunk fishermen throwing their empty beer cans overboard, but Davey's getting by. Then two angels show up. One of them says he'll help find Davey's missing brother. The other is intent on starting Armageddon. Davey must decide which angel to side with. And it's not as easy as it sounds.

3. Intending to go to The Varsity for a hamburger, Michaela steps onto the wrong MARTA train and finds herself in Atlantis, an ancient city far beneath its near-namesake. Now she must stop a gang of evil mermaids intent on liberating the smallpox virus from its secure vault at the CDC, wiping out humanity and retaking the earth for mer-kind.

4. Mild-mannered priestess L'Bwenah has her hands full running the First Atlantean Food Bank. Will quirky encounters with a homeless sorcerer, a boy with two left feet and a Finnish windworker be the key to help her organize an evacuation before the tsunami hits?

5. Hiding in the coal hole to escape cruel Miss Pinsington, Jakie and Katie find an ancient golden ring that takes them back in time to the lost island of Atlantis. Too bad all the kind grownups there only want to send them home.

6. When the Lord Almighty gives His angelic host a vacation day free from the constraints of righteousness, Gabriel and Michael decide to spend the next 24 hours at the Atlantis Casino. There they learn that putting down the key to the gates of Heaven on OO green might not have been the best idea.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Davey's life hasn't been easy since her mom [named her "Davey."] killed herself and her drug-addicted little brother runaway. [Actually, if Davey was her brother's caretaker after mom's suicide, I would think her life got easier when he runaway.] [Also, now that you've made "runaway" a verb, you want the past tense, "ranaway."] [On second thought, those who assume "runaway" is a noun may think you're saying mom killed herself and the runaway. Though not in that order.] Waitress by day, janitor by night, Davey struggles to pay rent for the apartment she shares with her best friend in the military run city of Atlantis. [Are you saying this is a different Atlantis from the famous submerged one? That seems misleading. If I purchase books titled Angels in Oz and Angels in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory, I have expectations. If I get home and find out the books are set in Teaneck, New Jersey and the Welch's Jelly factory, I'll feel like I've been had. I suggest either changing the city name or not using it in the title.]

Walking home from work one night, Davey rescues a stray cat from teenage thugs [It's seldom a good idea to call attention to yourself when thugs are focusing on a cat and ignoring you. Did she confront the thugs or just grab the cat and runaway?] despite the possession of pets being strictly forbidden. [She could have rescued the cat from the thugs and released it in an alley instead of making it her pet.] But her pet problems are short-lived when she wakes the next morning to find the cat transformed into the buff, blond angel Zephyr. [Change the word "when" to a semicolon.] Davey makes a deal with Zephyr: her guidance through the modern era as he tries to find a divine artifact in exchange for his help finding her brother. It seems like a sweet deal, having an angel looking out for her and searching for her brother, but when her best friend is abducted by the insidious Serafim and Zephyr's search for the artifact turns into a battle against a nasty assortment of demons, Davey realises she might have been hasty in making a deal with the less-than-holy angel. [That was what we in the business call a runaway sentence, a term I just coined that applies to a sentence if, during the time it takes to read it, I can eat an entire burrito.] But determined to save those she loves, [Who are those she loves, besides the crackhead junkie?] they continue their search armed with Davey's clairvoyance [I hope Davey's super power is mentioned earlier in the book than it is in the query.] [Can't a clairvoyant person make more off her talents than she can as a waitress and janitor? Like, she could open a fortune-telling kiosk at the mall.] [Can't she foresee where her brother will be found?] and Zephyr's assortment of supernatural powers. [It's always nice to have an assortment of powers, but there's a big difference between Superman, with his huge assortment of useful powers, and Aquaman, whose puny assortment of powers (holding his breath a long time, conversing with carp, and staying underwater without turning into a prune) are worthless.] [Did anyone else ever wonder why Aquaman and Green Arrow and Batman got invited into the Justice League? The feelings of inadequacy and envy had to be overwhelming, being surrounded by Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Flash . . .

Superman: We need some new members. Some of our missions are too tough for just the four of us.

Green Lantern: How about this Green Arrow guy? He's good at archery.

Wonder Woman: Perfect. And we could use someone who talks to fish.

Flash: I hear this Batman dude is rich.

Superman. Okay. I'll send out the invites tomorrow.]

Their search pitches them into battle against the fallen angel Samael, a powerful adversary with a grudge against the gods [Gods, plural?] and a legion of demons on his side [and an inexplicable desire to see that Davey's brother is never found]. Samael is on a crusade for the same divine artifact and Armageddon. He'll stop at nothing to get them. But Zephyr's motives are hardly pure either and he uses Davey's growing affection for him as a means to an end. [A roll in the hay with a mortal.]

With her loyalty divided between the angels, [One angel is helping her find her brother, and the other wants Armageddon, and her loyalty is divided?] Davey finds herself at the centre of a war between ageless powers, powers to which her connection is a lot more familial than she knows. And, no matter what she does, Davey won't be able to save everyone she loves.

Angels in Atlantis is a new adult, mythpunk fantasy novel [Great, another genre to add to my list of labels. "Mythpunk Fantasy" now has as many representatives on this blog as "Novel in Verse." And only one fewer than "South American Atrocities."] [Also, no need to declare your novel is "new."] complete at 77 000 words.

My writing credits include a debut novel Dragon's Teeth (published by Divertir Publishing, LLC.) and numerous non-fiction articles, details of which may be found on my website: ____________________.

Thank you for the consideration.



I think we can do without the backstory. Just say that an angel appears to Davey and makes her an offer she can't refuse. He'll help her find her missing brother if she'll help him navigate the modern world as he searches for . . . And this is where you explain why everyone wants the divine artifact, which I hope has a cool name like Zeus's Codpiece. Is the artifact needed to start Armageddon?

Without the cat and the thugs and the mother there should be room to focus on the main plot: the race to find the relic that determines the fate of the universe.

Why is the angel disguised as a cat, and why doesn't he reveal he's an angel as soon as he's alone with Davey instead of the next morning?

I think Davey's job should be oracle instead of janitor. If you're an angel who needs help finding something, you look for an oracle first, and then settle for a clairvoyant janitor.


Anonymous said...

Confession: I googled mythpunk. Didn't help me.

Definition for mythpunk:
A number of cyberpunk derivatives have become recognized as distinct subgenres in speculative fiction.

See what I mean?

Interesting word use.

Trying to be helpful: why call it a cat when it is angel? Do angels need rescuing? Maybe only when they are cats.I guess I'm suffering from angel/cat confusion and the problem I have with where the Almighty's angel fits in as a cat.

A less than holy angel in my little world is a demon.
I won't go into the gender confusion caused by naming a she a he.

Sorry, I'd rethink this a bit and try the query again.

How can Davey find her little brother if he's dead? Clearly I've missed the plot or your opening sentence isn't quite what you may want it to be.

I'm very confused.

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing the angels have some sort of limits on their powers, that one would need a mere human to "navigate" the world? Are they seriously sheltered that he can't find his way around without her?

I'm guessing the novel makes it clear early on why an angel would need a human's help for anything?

Evil Editor said...

Possibly it's Davey's clairvoyance that's needed. Or her ability to interpret teen slang.

Matthew MacNish said...

This query really feels all over the place, and very long, even taking the length of EEs notes and jokes into consideration.

I think EE makes a great point that if you start at the beginning (instead of way before it) you'll have a lot more time to focus on what matters.

I find myself wondering whether this author is British or something. There is a lot of odd spelling in the query, and I'm not talking about Samael, which I think is a pretty cool spelling.

Kathleen said...

ha ha awesome
I REALLY wanted it to be #3. someone write THAT story already!!!

Ink and Pixel Club said...

I'm with EE on the title. Atlantis has certain connotations for most people. If your Atlantis could just as easily be called Pittsburg, then it feels like you're using the name to make a cool title to draw readers in with the promise of something that ain't gonna happen.

The angel being disguised as a cat seems like a way to pair him up with Davey. But if you mention Davey's clairvoyance up front, then Zephyr has a good reason to seek her out over anyone else. Maybe she's the only person in Atlantis who can see what he really is.

You can be a little mysterious about Zephyr's true intentions, but at least explain what he tells Davey he's after.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Thanks, Kathleen. I misread the title as "Angels in Atlanta" and took it from there... using what I could remember from three months spent there in 1985.

Back then, the Varsity had the best 80 cent lunch in... well, let me rephrase that. It was a place you could get lunch for 80 cents.

About the query, I have the same problem with it that I used to have with superheroes' teenaged sidekicks: why does an angel need an ordinary kid's help, other than that it makes life more interesting for the kid?

The name Davey is difficult, obviously... and, writer, her brother (since EE ain't gonna come right out and tell you this) Ran Away.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

EE, did blogger eat my comment again?

Some publisher or other came up with the idea of a genre called "New Adult" a couple years ago, and held a manuscript contest for it. After that, there were of course a lot of unpublished New Adult manuscripts floating around. And the idea of the genre seems to have gotten firmly planted in the write-o-sphere, even though the actual genre doesn't seem to have appeared.

Adam Heine said...

I can't speak for Green Arrow, Aquaman, or Davey, but Batman is the smartest member of the Justice League. He secretly keeps the weaknesses of all the other members on-hand just in case he ever has to fight any of them.

Granted, they were kind of mad about that when they found out...

none said...

What is this fetish with blaming the British all the time? If the author were British, Davey would have a MUM not a MOM. It would be nice if minions gave up the idea that Britain is some exotic place where the language doesn't make sense.

This is way too long, author. I ascribe that to your being Ruritanian.