Friday, January 25, 2013
Guess the Plot
1. Two college roommates meet a girl on spring break, and take her camping to impress her. Turns out she's a crazy murderer who drugs them and hunts them down for sport. Best spring break ever.
2. It’s the late 1960s and four coeds from Northwestern head to Fort Lauderdale for spring break. They’ll meet half a dozen frat boys from various colleges. It’s a frolicking sexual romp until young Ted Bundy arrives with a different hunt in mind.
3. Marine biologist Shane Staller discovers the ruins of Atlantis. Wait, they aren't ruins--Atlantis is a thriving civilization whose favorite pastime is the Wild Hunt, and Shane is the latest target.
4. Jill wakes in a strange forest and discovers she's being hunted by the undead. She escapes, but then finds that a bunch of thugs are trying to kill her. Has she stumbled out of one Wild Hunt and into another?
5. 16 year old Kenley Gingerbloom knew a summer on her uncle's Texas ranch would be a social disaster--rodeos, line dancing, cattle roundups. But when feral hogs injure Uncle Joe, can she and hunky cowboy Alex hunt them down before they overwhelm the ranch? Also, cute Mexicans.
6. Every spring the Wild Hunt meets in Napa, and the prey is a disgraced programmer who has to outrun the dogs and horses or suffer death, skinning and dismemberment, not necessarily in that order. Can Chaz Pacheco survive, or will his 'tail' end up on Anita Cho's wall--with all the others?
7. Nathan Gordon runs a canned hunt operation in Ararat, Texas, where his clients "hunt" surplus zoo animals and cast-off exotic pets. But when a shipment of animals arrives from a bankrupt genetic engineering company, Nathan discovers karma ain't a bitch, it's a beast.
8. A survey suggests that Bluegrass musicians Harriet, Hannah, and Henrietta Hunt are sliding in popularity. But when their wild little pole-dancing sister Heidi joins the group and adds some swang to the twang, poles immediately begin to rise!
9. In a well-armed dystopia, every public gathering place becomes a target for crazed killers. Can a well-meaning but overly-placating president face down a powerful lobby of nutty gun-strokers to save the day?
Jillian Nicnevin wakes up in the middle of a forest, no memory of how she got there, but doesn’t have the time to worry about that. A girl identical to her, [Is she a clone? If she's a clone, call her a clone. A clone is a major hook.] and a host of undead fairies known as the Wild Hunt are in the forest, trying to kill her. [If they couldn't kill her while she was sleeping, they're never gonna pull it off now that she's awake.] She barely escapes the forest, [See?] and soon after a group of thugs make another attempt on her life. [The average thug is convinced he can take out one girl on his own; needing help from other thugs would be humiliating.] [Though not as humiliating as teaming up with other thugs and still failing to kill the girl.]
A human private investigator, Randall Caldwell, [Normally we don't bother declaring the species of a character unless he isn't human.] helps her escape, but his assistance wasn’t random. He is investigating the disappearance of Nancy Landry, the lookalike [clone] from the forest, whose disappearance may have been Jill’s fault.
To make matters worse, Randall’s son Taylor finds out she’s half-elven and wants in on the adventure, [When thugs and undead fairies are trying to kill you for no discernible reason, the degree to which Taylor wanting in on the adventure makes matters worse is negligible.] but this isn’t the place for an inexperienced human. [Inexperienced at what? It's not like Jill is experienced at being a target of thugs and undead fairies.] Attempts are made on her life from every direction, while the person responsible remains in the shadows. Her girlfriend betrays her, her family disowns her, [Why?] and the one person willing to help her is kidnapped, the ransom her life for his. A price that, if she can’t figure out how to save him, she’ll have to pay. [Why? It's not like it's her fault he's been kidnapped. As you said, his assistance wasn't random.]
Wild Hunt is a YA urban fantasy novel of 85,000 words, and the first in a planned series, but it could stand alone.
I am a member of the SCBWI living in Dallas, TX.
Thank you for your time
Evil Editor –
I have a few questions. Should I mention that my main character is a lesbian? It’s a fairly minor plot point, but maybe it would be more important to an agent (a couple other, hopefully well-meaning, people have told me gay young adult fiction doesn’t sell)? [Minor plot points don't need to be in the query. The fact that Jill is half-elven seems important. But it would sound weird to open the query, Half-elven lesbian Jillian Nicnevin wakes up in the middle of a forest. And admitting that you've named your main character Jillian Nicnevin is enough weirdness.)]
Also, I’m sixteen. Should I mention that in a query letter? My parents thino so, and I’ll be the first to admit that admitting I’m a kid is a pretty fast way of getting special treatment, but maybe I should let the work stand alone? [Telling the agent you are sixteen will have one of three possible results:
1. I was going to request the manuscript/send a rejection slip, and learning that the author is sixteen changes nothing.
2. I was going to reject this because it isn't exciting me, but now that I know the author is sixteen, I will take it on because hey, it's a kid. Surely I can convince some publishing company to spend tens of thousands of dollars publishing it for that reason alone.
3. I loved this query so much I was planning to request the manuscript, but now that I know the author is sixteen, what are the chances the book is any good? Heck, I reject 99% of manuscripts from people with college educations and decades of life experience, and even if the kid can write, she'll be going off to college in a year or two, where she'll discover boys and never meet another deadline. Her parents probably wrote the query letter anyway.
We need the plot. The story. You've provided the main character's situation. She wakes up in a strange place and discovers that everyone and his brother are trying to kill her. Who is she? What does she plan to do about her situation? Who is the villain in the shadows? Does the detective give her any idea what's going on? Does everyone trying to kill her think she's Nancy Landry?
That Nancy Landry is identical to her is an interesting point, in that Randall knew of Nancy's existence before he ran into Jill, while Jill's family is now disowning her. If Nancy/Jill is the main plot, focus on that. Running into a private investigator who insists that she's someone named Nancy Landry is more intriguing than being hunted by one group and escaping only to be hunted by another.
How does Randall come to believe Jill isn't Nancy? If I'm searching a specific area for Nancy Landry, and I find her, and she says, There must be some mistake; my name's Jill Nicnevin, not Nancy Landry, I'm not taking her word for it. I'm taking her to the person who hired me to find her.
Establish the situation quickly, and then take us through what happens.