Thursday, June 27, 2013

Face-Lift 1136


Guess the Plot

Demigod

1. Herc is back. And this time it's personal. Also, sirens.

2. Ashton Kuchar knew he had hit the jackpot when he married a god. Sure, she was used up and literally ravaged by Bruce Willis, but Ashton didn't care. Eventually, he'll get Moore than he bargained for.

3. When your father's a god and your mother's a statue, mockery from the other kids comes with the territory. But should you also have to endure man-eating predators, vengeful spirits and vicious spirit slaves. Should you?

4. Oh sure, the nearly unlimited power, endless chicks, devoted worshipers and palatial retreat come with the job. But why, wonders R'Cepier, does he have to have all these yokels on the Internet trying to disprove his existence?

5. Somewhere in Nebraska the new order is rising. Gilgamesh has been reincarnated as a girl. And she's ready to kick ass.

6. Rosamund knows the big head floating over her city telling everyone what to do is a hologram. The mayor's son Zand has been hiding his father's death, and having too much fun. Zand has asked Rosamund to marry him. She is sharpening her sword, and choosing her wedding dress.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

When the half-human son of an ancient god is born from a headless statue, Cora, a young midwife and Candlemaid of the Temple of Elassa, must give up her simple village life to protect the newborn from the forces that seek to exploit his power.

Cora loved each child she helped bring into the world as if they were her own. [You can avoid using a plural pronoun for a singular noun by changing "each child" to "the children."] But fate had taken away the man she loved, along with her dream of motherhood. [No need to start that sentence with "But."] After the arrival of Rendryck, a mysterious sorcerer, a child is born bearing the markings of a Demigod. Upon learning the man’s sinister plans for the newborn, Cora has no choice but to leave her beloved village to save the child’s life.

Cora must face the dangers of the Feral Wood in order to reach the Sanctuary of Weal, [Isn't this the plot of The Legend of Zelda?] a safe haven south of the forest, all the while being pursued by Rendryck and his vicious spirit slave. She soon learns the Demigod is the son of a long dead malevolent god [If he's long-dead, how did he knock up the headless statue?], but believes she can raise him to use his power responsibly through the teachings of her goddess, Elassa the Benevolent. Throughout her tortuous journey, Cora [the Naive] is tormented by vengeful forest spirits, nightmarish man-eating [demigod-eating] predators and the many gods whose interests have been sparked by the child’s ancestry. But when the follower of an “evil” god saves Cora’s life, she comes to question her faith and the true motives of her own “benevolent” goddess. [Usually when someone saves your life you don't switch to that person's religion. Why is Cora really questioning her faith?] [Also, no need to start that sentence with "But."]

Demigod, a fantasy adventure in the vein of George R. R. Martin [Full name please: George Railroad Martin] and Tad Williams, is the first in a projected series and is complete at approximately 90,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


Notes

Repetition:

Paragraph 1: must give up her simple village life to protect the newborn

Paragraph 2:  has no choice but to leave her beloved village to save the child’s life.

If the entire book consists of the journey to the Sanctuary, then we mainly need to clean up the organization. You want each sentence to follow logically from the previous sentence as you tell us a story.

Now, if the journey is just the setup for the main plot/conflict, we can shorten this to one paragraph, something like:

When a child is born bearing the markings of a demigod, Cora, a young midwife, pledges to protect him from Rendryck, the mysterious sorcerer who seeks to exploit the newborn's power. Cora must get the child through the Feral Wood, with its vengeful spirits and nightmarish predators, to the Sanctuary of Weal, with Rendryck and his vicious spirit slave in hot pursuit.

. . . which leaves plenty of room to tell us what happens at the Sanctuary and what Elassa the Benevolent did to suddenly become Elassa the "benevolent."

10 comments:

Veronica Rundell said...

What EE's rewrite does is to remove the clauses from your query. And, it is 1000x better for losing those empty words.

Really look at the voice of active statements, and give us a better sense of the peril here. Is Cora herself at risk? Or, is it just the child?

Also, it's more than a little unnerving that a dead god can knock up a headless statue. Did they see her toga fill out as the belly swelled?

Fantasy isn't my thing, but the quest tale is a solid trope. Make sure your protagonist sounds capable enough to handle the beasties that hound her.

Best of luck.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

The mechanics of a long-dead god getting it on with a statue which is apparently also flexible enough to give birth raise so many questions that you'd be better off leaving out the circumstances of the demigod's origins, and focusing on the conflict.

The title suggests that the child is your protagonist. The query suggests that Cora is.

Rusholme Ruffian said...

I read the query three times and still was unable to get a clear picture. Then EE wrapped it up in two sentances:

"When a child is born bearing the markings of a demigod, Cora, a young midwife, pledges to protect him from Rendryck, the mysterious sorcerer who seeks to exploit the newborn's power. Cora must get the child through the Feral Wood, with its vengeful spirits and nightmarish predators, to the Sanctuary of Weal, with Rendryck and his vicious spirit slave in hot pursuit."

Now, if I could only do that with my own query...

Tk said...

Hi author, just a couple of additional points.

(1) I think it’s usual to reassure the agent that the first in a series stands alone and has a satisfying ending in itself.

(2) So many musts and no choices (well, three, but that’s enough in a short letter to form a pattern). I think the protag always looks better when their actions are framed in terms of how they decide or how they act rather than as plot requirements. Why can’t you say:

Cora gives up her simple village life to protect the newborn...

Upon learning the man’s sinister plans for the baby, Cora goes on the run with the child...

Cora braves the dangers of the Feral Wood in order to reach the Sanctuary...

khazar-khum said...

Could we perhaps declare a moratorium on ominously named geographical features for anything other than comedy? Feral Wood? Really? Shouldn't all forests be at least a little feral? Otherwise it's a grove, or maybe a plantation, or possibly an orchard. Or is there a sexual symbolism going on in that name, something to perhaps explain just how Rendryk came to be--something about the wood platform that held the statue. Actually, that might be a plot twist: Instead of wandering in the trees, they should be searching the aisles of a furniture store.

BuffySquirrel said...

If your dad is a god and your mum is a statue, you are not half-human. Half-marble, maybe.

CavalierdeNuit said...

Feral Wood sent my mind to a dirty place. But is this YA? If it's about a grown woman protecting a child in a dark forest, it could be an adult fairytale. So adult subject matter should be included. Have you read Cat-Skin by the Brothers Grimm? A princess ends up marrying/sleeping with her father, and they both wanted it. Your story should be juicy if it's for adults. You could make horrible things happen to Cora via Rendryck. She gets through it for the child.

khazar-khum said...

CavalieredeNuit--

That's an ollld French story called Donkey-Skin, and yes, it's full of incest.

Maybe the statue loooves it when Rendryk rubs up against it. I mean, statues can be pretty strange. I tend to think a headless statue would be a dead statue.

Maybe the dead god has the head with him, and that's what made him look for the rest of the statue. When he rejoined the two pieces, they had a little romp. Afterwards he took the head back with him, to keep her under his command.



Evil Editor said...

Maybe she wasn't a statue when he impregnated her and he turned her into a statue so she couldn't run away or kill herself or go to an abortion clinic.

khazar-khum said...

It's interesting that everyone is intrigued by the statuary. I suspect because that's the only part of this query that seems interesting and new, Pygmalion not withstanding.