Thursday, April 25, 2013
Guess the Plot
Law of the Pack
1. All liquids must be 3oz or less. No explosives, sharp items, tools greater than seven inches in length, firearms (or realistic firearm replicas), or snow globes larger than a tennis ball. Checked bags weighing more than 50 lbs will incur a surcharge.
2. . . . 103.b.6: Notwithstanding the circumstances in 103.b.5, an omega who proceeds to consume an elk carcass without first waiting for the alpha to eat his fill shall be subject to any combination of the following punishments at the alpha's discretion: growling, snarling, nipping, biting of the ankles, biting of the tail . . .
3. Originally, there were two laws of the pack, but the governing committee felt oversight was too onerous. So, the bylaws were reorganized into a single law from which all rights and responsibilities, stated or implied, were immediately granted, forthwith.....
4. Both candidates for the position of adviser to the king and queen want the help of 13-year-old Dara. But Dara doesn't care about court politics. She's more interested in her pack of dogs.
5. When a large midwestern state places severe limits on cigarette purchases, smuggling begins and a new black market is born. Soon bloody turf wars break out between rival dealers.
6. Rolfe endangers himself when he breaks the first law of the pack: don't talk about the pack. Then, he narrowly escapes having his throat ripped out after breaking the second law of the pack (don't talk about the pack!). Also, a lot of pack-talk.
7. After witnessing a tryst between high-priestess and pack-leader, Unbar is shunned. Now, he must break the law of the pack, risking his life to save his abandoned family from impending volcanic eruption.
8. On his way to a shoplifting deposition, unlucky lawyer Larry Futz gets bitten by a werewolf. Soon he's sharpening his fangs on chew toys and howling at the moon. Can he still win the trial...and the heart of the hot paralegal?
Dear Evil Editor
Summer is drawing to a close, and with the end of the season, the fey are making their preparations for the changing over to the Winter Courts. Even for a small town in the middle of nowhere, the changing of a court is a pretty big deal; old jobs are terminated, [Yawn.] new positions introduced, and the King and Queen of each district take a personal interest in their staff for the new season. [Snore.] Even though she's required to entertain at court, thirteen-year old Dara [Finally. A character.] has no interest in politics. Her priorities are her Pack of fey-linked dogs, trying to tame her unstable and fluctuating magics, annoying her social worker Elise, avoiding the bullies at school—but most of all, trying to find a way to escape from the care home and find her birth family. [Usually "priorities" are listed in order from top to bottom, so finding the top one at the bottom threw me a bit. Possibly that's just me. If not, you could call them her main concerns or her main pursuits.]
Elise insists they have no record of Dara’s history—half-fey babies get dumped all the time and the best thing for everyone is for Dara to give up, move on and behave herself. [That sounds a bit harsh coming from a social worker. Is this a different kind of social worker?] Especially with the reshuffling of the courts coming up, which Elise sees as the perfect opportunity to gain the coveted position of advisor to King and Queen Fey. [Those are the names they go by? King Fey and Queen Fey? Isn't that like the queen of England calling herself Queen Human?] [Besides which, kings and queens go by their first names.] Dara is set to perform in the Folk Week festival at the end of summer, and her presence before Queen Fey could make all the difference in Elise’s job application—if Dara co-operates. [Co-operates in some way other than performing? What does Elise want her to do?]
Dara sees no reason why she should help Elise get anything. Besides, Elise’s rival Druth offers a tempting proposition—help him keep his job [As current adviser, I assume?] and he’ll help Dara escape the social care system and finance her search for her family. She just has to run one or two errands for him first. [Not clear if the errands are in addition to helping him keep his job (by not cooperating with Elise) or if all he wants from her is the errands. With his job at stake he wouldn't pile on demands to the point she might say No.] Dara doesn’t trust Druth anymore than she likes Elise, but with her latest escape attempt leaving her officially grounded, she doesn’t have any choice but to accept his help. [Does he have any other choice if he doesn't get her help?] But Druth’s errands prove far more dangerous than expected, [What are they?] and with Elise constantly breathing down her neck and Folk Week looming, it’ll be a miracle if Dara ever manages to escape at all.
LAW OF THE PACK is an 80,000 word urban fantasy novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.
The word "reshuffling" suggests a randomness to who gets which job, that they shuffle the jobs and deal them out. If the applications and the Folk Week festival are major determinants, it doesn't seem anything is shuffled.
What is the "care home"? Some kind of orphanage? Why is Dara "required" to entertain at court?
It seems to me that running away is Dara's goal. "Escaping" would apply if she were a prisoner. Is she? Obviously they don't want her running away, but is she locked up?
It's well-written, but it's all setup. You can set it up in one paragraph, something like:
Thirteen-year-old Dara has no interest in the politics of the Fey court. However, her social worker Elise and Elise's rival Druth both want Dara's help to gain the coveted position of adviser to the king and queen. Druth has a bargaining chip: he'll help Dara escape the social care system and search for her family--if she'll steal the magical scissors of Endor for him.
Now there's plenty of room to tell us what happens. Does Dara take on the dangerous errands? Does Druth betray her? If not, does she go after her family and does Elise try to stop her? This is your story; it needs to be in the query. And it needs specificity.
Based on the title and the fact that the word "Pack" was inexplicably capitalized, I assume the dogs play a more crucial role than you've let on.
Dara enters the 1st paragraph late, and Elise feels like the main character in the 2nd paragraph. Keep us focused on Dara, start to finish.