Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Face-Lift 1100!

Guess the Plot

The Duplices

1. Times are changing five billion years ago, even if Single-Cell Congress will not come together on a bill that would recognize multicellularity. No matter what President Amoebama proposes, those that want to duplicate themselves always cause a split.

2. Life in the city was more than the buxom farm-raised Collins twins were prepared for when they moved into the building they'd inherited from Uncle Andrew. Noisy pipes, frozen plumbing, traffic . . . then again, visits from the ultra-hunky Major twins next door made it all worth it. Also, a ghost who makes wishes come true.

3. Rhoda buys four old duplexes (or as she insists on calling them, duplices)planning to fix them up and rent them. When an arsonist burns the whole complex to the ground, Rhoda races to find a deadly secret hidden among the charred ruins before she's charged with setting the blaze herself.

4. Duplexes? Duplexii? Duplices? Two gay real estate agents argue over the wording of a want ad; an arcane inscription on an ancient Roman ruin is deciphered; a game of Scrabble ends in murder. Seemingly random events lead to an age-old conspiracy that may change everything we know about the history of Western Civilization. Also, a didactic lexicographer

5. In 2110 no humans breed. In a last ditch effort to preserve humanity, the Earth Alliance embarks on a wholesale cloning operation. Side effect? Every second clone is a homicidal maniac.

6. A veterinarian discovers that for the past decade she's unknowingly been inhabiting the body of a warrior (aka a duplices) every night while sleeping, and fighting off creatures to protect an alternate world. No wonder she's always so tired in the morning.

Original Version

The youngest of three, working as a veterinarian in the family clinic, Raven had her life drama all figured out. ["Life drama" doesn't sound right. She had her future planned out? Raven's future was set?] With a hateful half-brother and a manipulative stepmother on her heels, her biggest problems were the occasional arguments and the Sunday family lunches. [If that's as much as we're going to get about those two characters, let's drop that sentence from the query.] Till she found out she’d been leading not one, but two distinct lives for the past ten years. [I'd go with "then" rather than "till."]

Every night when she laid [lay] in here [In where?] asleep, the day started anew for her in the Essentia. In this whole new world, energy is the life giving force and balance is key to its existence. [That's pretty vague. What exactly do you mean by "energy"? Balance is the key to energy's existence?] As a shielder, her job is to fight Creatures, whose sole intent is to take hold of the Essentia and its energy supply. [If they've been trying to get this energy supply for ten years, and they still don't have it, and they're still alive, maybe energy isn't the life-giving force everyone thinks it is.] And for that, they’ve gone to war.

Only it [What is "it"?] awakened her into a duplices, one of the seven, each with a set of combined skills to be used on the front lines of the Essentia guard. In the midst of battle, she gains awareness of both her lives and must now face an enemy she once called her own. [Her own what?]

THE DUPLICES is complete at 62,000 words. It’s a young adult novel available at your request. I’m a Brazilian, an English teacher and this is my first novel.

Your attention and consideration are highly appreciated.


The title comes from the main character's abilities in the other world. It's latin for double. [My research (what little research can be done without leaving my chair) indicates that "duplices" is the second-person singular present active subjunctive of duplico. That, alone, is enough to convince me I was right not to ever take a Latin class. Further investigation reveals that duplico is a verb, meaning to double. Of course I will bow to your greater knowledge of Latin (as mine is limited to ipso facto, which I've heard said but don't know what means) and assume duplices can be a noun, which is how you are using it. But even so, I would have to ask why the title is in Latin. You want a title that catches people's interest. Something like Double Jeopardy or I Was a Teenage Warrior Woman--and Didn't Even Know It!]


The plot keeps shifting between past and present tense. Do the whole thing in present.

What exactly are Raven's powers? Tell us.

If she gets wounded in battle, does she wake up with the wound? If so, how does she explain it? If not, how does she know she isn't just dreaming Essentia?

This is all setup. Raven discovers that when she's sleeping in our world, she's fighting Creatures in another. Now what's the story? Does she want to continue? Does she want out of one of her lives? How does she plan to get what she wants? What goes wrong? The energy and balance paragraph isn't telling us anything about what happens.

Don't just tell us who your main character is, make us care about her.


Jo Antareau said...

Kudos to whoever wrote GTP #1. Hilarious!

I really like the concept, it sounds like something I would read. Actually, I'm so tired all the time, it might expalin something...

Do her two lives know anythng about the other life? And what happens if she parties all night in our world...does she fail to turn up in Essentia, or does she continue on her mission there when she finally gets a rest?

The query appers to be quite short (I haven't counted). I think 250 is the norm (but dont quote me...EE, what say you?), so you might allow yourself the luxury of a few more words and clarify the excellent points EE raised.

If you need to stick to your current word length, I suggest cutting down para 1, and adding more to the conflict that Raven faces.

You could commence para 2 with "as she sleeps, Raven..."

Para 3 left me scratching my head. Do you mean she has special powers that she uses in collaboration with the other six shielders? Are they useless without their peers?

I suggest you elaborate on 'the creatures'- and how they wage war on Essentia, what will happen to Essentia if they win. Nasty antagonists make a plot interesting. Then briefly describe what Raven needs to do to do beat the creatures.

Good luck.

Jo Antareau said...

PS, I only noticed.. Face Lift #1100! Wow, congrats, EE, good job.

Veronica Rundell said...

It's an interesting concept, but I can't really figure out what is going on. Could you give us a description of the Creatures, what a shielder is, and how this transition between worlds happens. Which world does Raven prefer?
Do we need to know Raven's position in the family, or her job? These few details can be stated more succinctly and you can help us learn about Essentia with the rest of the your words.

I really wish the title was more accessible. Had a sense of what it meant, but would have liked something more tangible.

Tk said...

Congrats on 1100, EE! That's amazing. I don't want to know the number you've gone through at your day job.

Author, I'm sorry I don't have anything to add beyond what EE said. Xe asks very good questions; I think answering them would make a better query.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

The sentences in this query all sound "off" to me.

Writing a novel in a second language has to be one of the toughest tasks on the planet, and I congratulate you on doing it.

But I can think of a very few people who have succeeded as novelists while writing in their second language. And the ones I can think of all have one thing in common: They live in a country where the second language is the dominant language. That enables them to pick up the rhythm, the quirks, the cadence... and even with all that, it's extremely difficult.

Obviously this goes beyond the scope of the query. But... wouldn't your novel work in Portuguese? If getting published in the US market is your goal, that can still happen. Just ask Paulo Coelho.

Kelsey said...

Hey author,
While I understand Alaska's questions about whether this couldn't be published in Portuguese, know you have some sympathy from me. I lived in Recife for four years and I know how MINISCULE the fiction market is in Brazil. So, obviously, there are barriers either way you do it...but, I hear ya.

Ditto what others have said, and my comment: I find 'energy as a life-giving force' to be pretty cliched. It's so vague. What energy? Does it come from anything? Does it have limitations, special characteristics? It feels like 'energy' has become the lazy answer in SFF when someone asks "but how does it work?"

Boa sorte! Voce pode conseguir. Eu falo portugues e eu nunca conseguiria escever um livro enteiro sem ser em ingles. : )

Pri said...

All the comments and the feedback from EE are higly appreciated. I'm sure they'll all lead the book, the tittle choosing and ultimately the query to the aimed success.

About writing in english or Portuguese, I must say that if the world was made of only past references and limitations nothing new would ever come to life. I understand the doubt, though and will definietely review my writing pace and read some of the sentences out loud. Thank you.