Monday, May 27, 2013

Face-Lift 1129


Guess the Plot

Morgan for the Faeries

1. He had a reputation as the cruelest of all the pirates, but when his ship veers off course and docks in Faerie, Morgan develops a soft spot for the magical immortals. But can he save them from the approaching British fleet?

2. Morgan wakes up in a crashed alien craft in the Rockies. When he reaches the outside, he faces an army of faeries and must fight to make it to a mountaintop hideaway that contains the tools he needs to save the last humans on Earth. Trust me, it makes sense in the book.

3. Bored with Faerie, a merry troupe of Fae set off to tour the U.S. in a Morgan V6 Roadster. They break down in northern Arkansas, where they join a commune and learn to bake whole-grain bread. Then someone fixes their Morgan, and they go on their merry way; first in a series.

4. Assisting the giants left him with busted bones. Championing the werewolves left him with torn flesh. This time he's won't get routed by those he supports. No, this time it's Morgan, for the Faeries.

5. Morgan is kidnapped by the Fae when her mother dies. She's almost adjusted to the new life when she gets the biggest surprise of all...Mom isn't dead; she's the Faerie Queen! Yae!

6. Morgan's lot in life is to travel from Faerie to the human world to make changes in history. When she's sent to find some missing fae future Los Angeles, she stumbles onto the U.S. president's plot for world domination. Luckily, she brought along her secret crush, the half-goat god Pan. Can they save the faeries--and the world?


Original Version

Greetings O Agent Terrificus,

I am seeking representation for "Morgan for the Faeries," my 80,000-word YA paranormal dystopian with a noirish mystery vibe.

Seventeen-year-old Morgan has been trying to prove her worth for years. Stuck in the shadow of her late mother, Morgan le Fay, and raised in Faerie by the divine Sisters Three, [Kim, Kourtney, and Khlo√©.] she’s spent her life slipping into the human world at different points in history, making changes at the Sisters’ request. [She's like Sam from Quantum Leap, except she works with the Kardashians instead of Al Calavicci.] So when faeries start disappearing from late twenty-first century Los Angeles, Morgan jumps at the chance to solve the mystery and finally gain the Sisters’ respect. [Not clear why she doesn't have their respect already if she's spent her life making changes at their request. If she's been screwing up all her missions, why don't they send someone else?] Along with her childhood friend Pan, Horned God of the Forest (and Morgan’s secret love interest), Morgan storms into the mortal world, determined to recover the missing faeries.

But downtown Los Angeles feels more like Arthurian Britain than the entertainment capital of the world. [That's because she stormed onto the set of A Knight's Tale IV.] The leader of the U.S. lives in a gilded palace while the masses rot on the streets. [That's the way it's been throughout actual history in every country.] This leader, known only as the Reverend, rose to power following his accurate prediction of a series of cataclysmic events [Here's where we deviate from actual history, as in most ages he would have been blamed for the cataclysmic events and burned at the stake]. — events he claimed the Book of Revelation helped him predict. Morgan’s seen guys like him before (back in her mother’s day, they were called “kings”) and she suspects his doomsday predictions mask a power-hungry desire to dominate the masses. [Probably not necessary to characterize a desire to dominate the masses as "power-hungry."] But can she uncover his plans without sacrificing the safety of the missing faeries? [You've made no connection between him and the missing faeries. Is he holding them prisoner?] [Why does Morgan believe the leader of the United States is behind kidnapping the faeries? If a bunch of people went missing in Washington D.C., no one (except Fox News) would blame Obama.]

In the end, a sacrifice will be made, whether Morgan chooses it or not. The Reverend’s gearing up for a final power play, one that involves worldwide domination, a public massacre of all the creatures he believes to be demons, and Pan: the boy [goatboy] with cloven feet and horns who’s known Morgan’s value all along.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Notes

Allow me to confirm that the final plot sentence means what it says, namely that the Reverend's final power play involves three things: worldwide domination, a public massacre, and Pan. Or is it possible what you meant to say is: The Reverend’s gearing up for a final power play, one that involves worldwide domination and a public massacre of all the creatures he believes to be demons, including Pan... I ask because it's hard to believe Pan is a crucial part of the Reverend's plan, because Pan just got there. Also because Pan is the god of fields, groves and theatrical criticism. Also because he's a pipe-playing goatboy.

"Goatboy." Say it five times fast.

So is the Reverend's plan to massacre the Faeries and claim they were demons, in hopes that this will lead to world domination? If he just wanted to dominate South America that might work, but people in Australia and Canada will never buy into it.

18 comments:

Tk said...


Most of those GTPs are terrific, and I was so happy the real story was one of the interesting ones. And the query is pretty smooth with stakes all over the place and a feisty protag. I've got a feeling there are connections between the set-up and the stakes but I'm not quite there yet. Author, here are the snags that snagged me:

* proving her worth. I don't know enough about Morgan le Fay for name dropping her to clue me in on why the Sisters wouldn't respect Morgan. But their disrespect feels important, for that's why she doesn't just go back and get a posse, right?

* why Morgan for the time-travelling job? Does she have a special skill no one else has? Not clear why a child ("for years") gets the gig, especially when it involves serious stuff such as disappearing people. A skill will also hint at her plan for the rescue.

* same question as EE re the integration of Pan.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

Thank you EE and Tk for your help! And EE, HOW DID YOU KNOW the Sisters Three were the Kardashians?! ;)

Seriously, I must be improving some, because I've come away from this feeling relatively un-shredded. And I do think the major points of confusion-Morgan's inability to gain the Sisters' respect, the line about sacrificing the safety of the missing faeries, and the relevance of Pan in the Reverend's plan--are easy enough fixes.

Tk, your question about why the Sisters use Morgan as their liaison is something I'll have to think on; simply, it's because she belongs to them, and she works for them in order to earn a place in their home. I'm not sure how to impart that concisely in the query, though. Maybe I should just mention that she's clever and brave and that will help explain it?

Here are the three sentences I've revised, with the changes in italics:

Para 1: When faeries start disappearing from late twenty-first century Los Angeles, Morgan jumps at the chance to solve the mystery and gain the indifferent Sisters’ affection. (Here I've added indifferent to hint at the Sisters' disposition, and replaced "respect" with "affection" because I think it'll be easier to understand. And it's also true.)

Para 2: Morgan’s seen guys like him before (back in her mother’s day, they were called “kings”) and she suspects his doomsday predictions mask a desire to dominate the masses. (Deleted "power-hungry".) But can she expose him without sacrificing her plans to find the missing faeries?(Here I've attempted to clarify that Morgan hasn't made any grand connections between the Reverend and the missing faeries yet. But rather, she's concerned that using her time to expose him will take time away from finding the missing faeries.)

Para 3: The Reverend’s gearing up for a final power play, one that involves worldwide domination, a public massacre of all the creatures he believes to be demons, and Pan: the “devil” with cloven feet and horns who’s known Morgan’s value all along. (Here I've attempted to impart that, due to Pan's appearance, the Reverend believes him to be the devil--as the features of the Pagan horned god were re-appropriated to the Christian devil in the Middle Ages. This is, however, the simplest alteration I could make, and it is possible I should mention that Morgan and Pan get quite close to the Reverend, sneak onto his property and befriend his daughter, and this is how the Reverend even knows about Pan in the first place. Hmmm.)

EE, do you think "worldwide power-grab" would be any better than "worldwide domination"? Power-grab seems to imply that he wants to grab power in other parts of the world, whereas domination implies EVERY part of the world. But is it different enough?

Seriously, thank you so much for your help! You've really helped me see what isn't clear to readers, and I think the query will be much better for it!

:)

BuffySquirrel said...

So why doesn't Morgan just go back in time to an earlier stage of the Reverend's career and deal with him then?

Komal J Verma said...

This sounds cool (- I love that she's being raised by the Kardashians :P )

The thing that got me is the time travel aspect. It's mentioned almost too blase - what is she changing in history, seeing as doing that can have major implications?

Also if this Reverend dude is such a problem, why doesn't she just travel back in time and see to it that he's incapacitated before his rise to power? Or do something that convinces him that taking up teaching yoga for kids is the most fulfilling job ever.

Unless there's a quota imposed on how many times she can travel back? Or perhaps if she is cast out of favour by the Sisters and she no longer has the ability to time travel without them? Otherwise I fail to see a real problem...?

Good luck with it though!

alaskaravenclaw said...

I can't really judge the success of this query because it's not something I'd choose to read-- that is, if I were an agent I'd pass, but not for any reason having to do with your query.

It seems workable enough to me. We can tell what the story's about and who the protagonist is, as well as more or less what challenge she faces. That time travel naturally involves paradoxes and logical conundrums is something I assume you deal with in the manuscript.

The query's reasonably concise and it doesn't send up any red flags. I'd say go for it.

Evil Editor said...

I wouldn't worry about the time travel. She was sent to find or rescue the missing faeries. If the faeries disappeared in 2089, obviously going back to 2059 when the Reverend was a child doesn't help her find the faeries. She doesn't know the Reverend is involved in the disappearance.

Possibly the book is set in late 21st century, and time travel isn't even needed, just a trip to LA.

Veronica Rundell said...

Hi author!

This part is tripping me up: Morgan’s seen guys like him before (back in her mother’s day, they were called “kings”) and she suspects his doomsday predictions mask a power-hungry desire to dominate the masses.

Here's why: Morgan is 17. And in her mother's time these rulers were called kings. This isn't 'ancient history' as it's being purported; it's recent her mo ther's time...so why the distinction? Seems like anyone alive on earth for the past 20+ years would be familiar with the term--and have feelings about monarchy, I suppose.

Anyway, sounds fun. Not for me, but others would enjoy it.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

First of all, thank you SO MUCH for your comments!! I typed out a long response to EE and Tk yesterday but apparently blogger ate it, so I will attempt to recreate it after I answer the immediate time-travel question:

Morgan doesn't travel back and forth through time. She lives in Faerie where time moves differently (think Rip Van Winkle--going to sleep for one night and waking up to find a hundred years have passed in the mortal world). So she was born in the days of Arthur but, being raised in Faerie, she could go to sleep for what felt like a few nights and then wake up to enter the human world at, say, 1200. And so on and so forth. Clearly, this needs to be addressed better in the query, so I will work on a way to do that as concisely as possible.

Okay! On to the non-time travel related issues. I've made three tweaks in my query to try and address EE and Tks concerns (changes in italics):

Para 1: When faeries start disappearing from late twenty-first century Los Angeles, Morgan jumps at the chance to solve the mystery and gain the indifferent Sisters’ affection. (Added "indifferent" and swapped out "respect" for "affection," to imply that no matter what Morgan accomplishes, she still doesn't get a sense of approval from the Sisters. The problem with the Sisters is that they're immortal beings who've been around since the beginning, and they don't have human emotions. But Morgan, motherless, fatherless, without siblings or friends--Pan's only just reappeared in her life--remains desperate for affection, whether they are capable of giving it or not.)

Para 2: Morgan’s seen guys like him before (back in her mother’s day, they were called “kings”) and she suspects his doomsday predictions mask a desire to dominate the masses. But can she expose him without sacrificing her plans to find the missing faeries?" (Here I've tried to clarify that Morgan's made no grand connections between the missing faeries and the Reverend; rather, she fears shifting focus to the Reverend will stop her from finding the faeries as quickly. Also, deleted "power-hungry" because EE was so right.)

Para 3: The Reverend’s gearing up for a final power play, one that involves worldwide domination, a public massacre of all the creatures he believes to be demons, and Pan: the “devil” with cloven feet and horns who’s known Morgan’s value all along. (Added in "devil" to imply that Pan is the spitting image of the Reverend's devil--due to the fact that the Pagan horned god was re-appropriated as the Christian devil centuries ago.)

All of these changes are subtle, so definitely let me know if you don't think they're enough.

And thank you, thank you, thank you all for your help!

:)

BuffySquirrel said...

No, true, dealing with the Reverend at an earlier time wouldn't address her immediate problem. But once she realises he is the problem, she needs a pretty compelling reason (imo) not to travel back and deal with him in his cradle.

Evil Editor said...

And she has one. She doesn't have the ability to time travel. Nyaah Nyaah.

BuffySquirrel said...

EE dear, I can't even. What?

Evil Editor said...

Time is as nothing to the Fae, who are immortal. In our year 1945, she may have come to the human world and changed history. She may have changed history in 1066. But she can't go back to those years. She can come to whatever year it is in the human world at the time she's sent on her mission. In this book, it happens to be the late 21st century when she's sent to the human world. The next time she comes may be the 22nd century, but it can't be any earlier than this time. IOW, she can't time travel, she comes to the human world, and whatever year it is in the human world when she gets here, that's the year she can do stuff. As time constantly moves forward in our world, each successive trip gets her here at a later time in our history.

Kelsey said...

Does anyone else trip over the title? I realize this is not the make-or-break element of a query, but I didn't understand what "Morgan for the faeries" was supposed to convey. It just sounded awkward to me. For the faeries? Like it's a football match and we have to cheer either for the faeries or for the humans? Seems like the title is too clever for its own good.

BuffySquirrel said...

Have you read the goddamned book EE? Because NONE of that is in the query!

Also, if you're going into current time rather than the past, you're not making changes, as the query states Morgan does. You can only change what's already happened, ie the past. Neena neena!

(if your version is correct, the query needs changing imo)

Evil Editor said...

Actually I got my info from the author's comment at 5:25 pm:

Morgan doesn't travel back and forth through time. She lives in Faerie where time moves differently (think Rip Van Winkle--going to sleep for one night and waking up to find a hundred years have passed in the mortal world). So she was born in the days of Arthur but, being raised in Faerie, she could go to sleep for what felt like a few nights and then wake up to enter the human world at, say, 1200. And so on and so forth. Clearly, this needs to be addressed better in the query, so I will work on a way to do that as concisely as possible.

Of course I may have read more into it than was there.

Chelsea Pitcher said...

I seriously love you guys.

Okay, blogger is being weird and posting my comments late (even though it's putting them where they should be) which is why EE knew about the time travel thing before Buffy did. Or HE'S traveling back and forth through time. That would be another explanation.

Either way, his 10:24 comment got it exactly right. And I will definitely work on explaining that better in the query :)

Kelsey, Morgan for the Faeries is a play on Morgan of the Faeries--Morgan's mother was King Arthur's sister, Morgan le Fay (aka Morgan of the Faeries). All Morgan's life, she's struggled to live up to her mother's name, but eventually decides that being *of* the faeries has nothing to do with a person's actions (it simply speaks to one's ancestry) and she'd rather be a champion for the faeries. My idea is that, on the book, it'll say Morgan of the Faeries, and "of" will be crossed out, with "For" written over it in bigger letters (maybe in red or purple).

THANK YOU everyone for your comments. Now that blogger has righted itself (knock on wood) and my comments are where they should be, hopefully the time-travel thing makes more sense. I will definitely post a rewrite for all you lovely people within the next few days.

:)

Kelsey said...

Hey Author!

I did actually understand that it was a play on words because of the original Morgan le Fay being "of the faeries." But I still found "for" to be awkward preposition. It doesn't roll off the tongue and needed some explaining to be completely sure I got what what you meant. You can hash it out with your awesome agent when you get to that point, but for me, it was more distracting than illuminating.

And also, I realize: is Morgan human, or a sorceress, or a faerie...? I assumed human, since we're treating Arthurian legend as if it really happened and because she's 17 (age implies mortality), but then I'd be surprised that she's so keen on being the champion of these indifferent Sisters (who are also Fae, I assume?) Unless Morgan le Fay was a literal faerie? Is Morgan Jr. half-faerie? I can't tell, but this could probably be clarified pretty easily.

Good luck!

Chelsea Pitcher said...

Kelsey, thanks for coming back and further explaining your thoughts on the title. I do see what you mean now. I even hesitated explaining the Morgan le Fay thing because I didn't want to come off as explain-y if it was something you already knew, so I hope it didn't come off badly. I do appreciate your help :)

In terms of Morgan's heritage, she is part-human and part-faerie, which I'm basing on (some) Arthurian legends, which assert that Morgan le Fay was part faerie herself (although, ironically, the legends fail to explain how, since both her parents, Igraine and Gorlois, were human).

Buffy, your comment was really interesting re: making changes in the current time. While I understand your point, I'm not sure I wholeheartedly agree. If I snuck out of Faerie and removed someone's sword from their scabbard during an important battle, I would be making a change. Even if I moved someone's hairbrush a few inches to the left, a change to the human world would've been made. Would the movement of that hairbrush affect the future of the human world? Maybe not. But still, a literal change would've taken place. (Although, in Morgan's case, she is making changes with the intent of altering the future of the human world.)

What do you think?