Thursday, May 16, 2013
Guess the Plot
A Royal Pain
1. For years, the palace staff has tolerated Queen Zenilda III's so-called practical jokes. But when her banana peel prank puts Lady Mitochondria in intensive care, the rest of the ladies-in-waiting stage a palace coup.
2. The King has gout, the Queen has headaches. Physicians have been useless so far. When a gentleman shows up peddling a "cure all" he's invited in. Is he a harmless quack, or something more sinister?
3. Her face graces the covers of most magazines and her dress sense is widely copied. But even those who wholeheartedly despise the "future queen" are surprised when she reveals herself to be an alien with plans to imprison and torture humankind.
4. The king's heir Alexan is betrothed to Jayna, but they just met and they can't stand each other. Add to that the fact that Jayna must constantly roam the land or she'll simply die, while Al prefers to sit around the palace, and you've got yourself . . . A Royal Pain.
5. When the Hungarian ambassador is found shot at the La Brea Tar Pits with the royal jewels stuffed in his rectum, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, Zoltan Vargas didn't fall on those diamonds while taking a shower, and two, Zoltan is a kickass name.
6. Mad King George lays another "magic egg" in a mystery location. The Groom of the Stool is the only one excited. There seems to be no way to potty train King George. But just when the royal staff is about to give up, a time machine lands in the garden and Mary Poppins steps out.
7. Unwed Princess Lorena will go homicidal on the next sadist to sneak a pea under her mattress. Then she meets King Frenik who's just as sensitive as she. Unfortunately his kingdom is in revolt and Lorena has one day to save him from the guillotine. Starving peasants. Ill-equipped knights. Scheming vassals. Surely kings don't need to put up with all these plebeian affairs.
Dear Editor of Supreme Evilness,
I saw (somewhere) that you are interested in young adult manuscripts. [You misread it. I'm interested in young adult mannequins. I'm doing my own interior decorating this time.] I think you may enjoy my young adult fantasy novel, A Royal Pain, complete at 55,000 words. I would like to invite you to review the manuscript and consider it for representation. [More concise would be: I am seeking representation for A Royal Pain, a YA fantasy complete at 55,000 words.] [Even more concise: I have A Royal Pain, and I heard you have Ibuprofen.]
Getting betrothed to a princess he’s never even met is the last thing seventeen year old Prince Alexan of Vakela wants to do. [Just because someone doesn't want to do something doesn't make it the last thing he wants to do. I could name a thousand things that would make an arranged marriage seem like a cheese danish from Andre's Hungarian.] His intended, Princess Jayna of Pardin, isn’t exactly thrilled about the arrangement either, and when they meet to exchange vows neither one of them is surprised to discover they can’t stand each other. But the ceremony is put on hold when Gustus, Jayna’s tutor, is kidnapped and the betrothal contracts he carried stolen; contracts that would also confirm Alexan as heir to the throne of Vakela. [Lemme get this straight. Alexan is the prince and heir to the throne, but if some tutor from another kingdom loses some contract, someone else becomes heir to the throne?] Faced with such a crisis Jayna does the only sensible thing, taking matters into her own hands and riding to Gustus’s rescue with Prince Alexan along as her unlikely accomplice. ["Accomplice" suggests a crime. Perhaps "comrade in arms"?] [If they can't stand each other, and the betrothal contracts have been lost, they should be celebrating.]
Disguised as poor farmer’s sons they track Gustus’s kidnappers to a far off city and a dangerous criminal underworld apparently run ["Apparently run" meaning "not run."] by none other than Alexan’s disinherited older brother, Davin. [If you just say "by Alexan’s disinherited older brother," we'll infer that it's none other than hm.] But things are not what they seem and soon Jayna and Alexan discover that Davin is nothing more than the pawn of a ruthless crime lord. Voris has addicted Davin to a potent drug and plans to have Alexan killed before his claim to the throne can be confirmed, then set Davin up as a puppet king for him to rule through. [Of course he can't rule through Davin until the current king is also dead. I mean, if you killed Prince Charles's older brother in 1955 so that you could rule through Prince Charles when Queen Elizabeth II died, you've been waiting 58 years. You're probably dead.] With Jayna’s surprising street smarts, and the help of a band of young thieves, Jayna and Alexan manage to free both Gustus and Davin and return to Vakelon [Vakelon? I thought it was Vakela. Of course places do change their names from time to time. For instance, Persia to Iran, Siam to Thailand, Ceylon to Sri Lanka and Chad to Ochocinco.] with no one any the wiser. [Not even Voris? Surely he eventually notices his meal ticket is missing.]
After the betrothal ceremony [There's a betrothal ceremony before the wedding? So when the were meeting to exchange vows two paragraphs ago, those weren't the wedding vows? Those were the vows to take the vows?] Jayna returns home, now close friends with both Davin and Alexan, but just as opposed to the marriage as ever. For she and the brothers now share a secret that will forever keep them apart even as it binds them closer: Jayna is part Ghaltani, one of the mystical, nomadic people of the high mountains for whom it is fatal not to roam the land. [This is a secret? Has she been roaming the land all her life up to now? Has anyone said to her, "Hey Jayna, how come you're constantly roaming the land like a Ghaltani?" Was the secret known to her mother? Why would they arrange a marriage between a Ghaltani and a couch potato?] And if Jayna should marry Alexan, and be tied to the palace, it will mean nothing less than her certain death. [If you just say it will mean "her certain death," we will infer that it isn't something less than that.] Now it’s up to Alexan to find a way to save the strange princess to whom he’s betrothed…and who has become the best friend he’s ever had.
A Royal Pain is a stand-alone novel with series potential. I have included (whatever your website said you wanted.) My previous writing experience includes locally published short stories, poetry, and brochures. When I’m not writing I am either riding a horse, showing a horse, or teaching my students how not to fall off a horse. [Did you consider making all the characters in your book horses? It would be like Watership Down, but with horses instead of rabbits. I see Alexan in the movie being played by Mr. Ed.] Please feel free to contact me at any time to request a partial or full manuscript. Thank you very much for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.
This "roam the land or die" rule seems rather arbitrary. Can you roam any land? What are the early symptoms of not roaming the land? When you go to the doctor because you're feeling lousy, is her first question always When did you last roam the land? Can you roam back and forth between two camps, or do you have to keep roaming to new lands?
Why would Voris want to create the appearance that Davin is running the criminal underworld? If I were Voris I would keep Davin locked up until I was ready to make my move.
Rescuing Davin and Gustus feels like the big climax. If it isn't, I expect Voris to come after the heroes. Instead the big climax seems to be Alexan must decide whether he'd rather be king or roam the land with Jayna, but since the current king may rule another forty years, it's not that big an issue.
Even after you cut the first paragraph down to one sentence and get rid of your credits and horse obsession, it's still a little long. We can do without a lot of the detail and vague phrases, like Disguised as poor farmer’s sons, After the betrothal ceremony Jayna returns home, things are not what they seem, does the only sensible thing . . .
Perhaps we can dump the Ghaltani paragraph entirely and pretend that the big finish is With the help of a band of young thieves, Jayna and Alexan must rescue Davin and Gustus and get home before whatever.
The title suggests this might be more comedic than it apparently is.