Monday, September 02, 2013
Guess the Plot
Tears of the Phoenix
1. A Phoenix's tears supposedly halt imminent death, and even restore life to the recently dead. That's all well and good, but what Gabrie'Elle really wants to know is: How can she make the bloody bird cry?
2. There are a million stories in the city. But when it's August in southern Arizona, the only one editor Claire Crissly cares about is the one delaying the air conditioner guy.
3. When Asuran's best friend is killed, he must enter The Ruins to solve the crime. But no human can survive in the stagnant magic of The Ruins, especially a blind one. Unless....With the Tears of the Phoenix, Asuran might just pull it off!
4. Jorian's baby sister suffers a mortal wound. While everyone sits around praying, Jorian leaves to climb Mt. Streppe to harness the healing power of a phoenix's tears. He meets many magical creatures on his journey.
5. Televangelist Jimmy Phoenix crashes and burns while leaving the beer store. Affording plastic surgery isn't a problem, considering the donations from the Faithful he's been raking in. Forgiveness could be. He can only pray that a tearful televised repentance will put him in the telecongregation's good graces yet again.
6. The last phoenix's rise from the ashes was prevented due to excessive lacrimal exudate. The resultant imbalance in magical power set a comet on a collision course with Earth. Good thing DJ Shazam packs a hair dryer.
I am seeking representation for [a] completed, 117,000 word, fantasy/scifi novel. The Dark Masters: the Tears of the Phoenix is the first book series where humans are no longer the dominant species. [I assume you mean the first book in a series where... You can't possibly believe humans are the dominant species in every book series ever written.] [Besides which, your statement implies that humans are the dominant species when in fact it's the Borg.]
Asuran Stein [Anagram: Satan's Risen!] and Felicia-Maria are Lancers of the Elite, the military might of the world and the sword of the Matriarch. [WHA--? Okay, what you're saying is that these two characters are Lancers of the Elite, whatever that means, and the Lancers of the Elite are the sword of the Matriarch, whatever that means. Got it.] Or, they will be. [WHA--? Okay, what you're now saying is that these two characters are not Lancers of the Elite, whatever that means. Should I trust you that the Lancers of the Elite are still the sword of the Matriarch, whatever that means?] Right now, they're just first year cadets at the Weapons Sorcery Combat Academy. [If you call it the Weapons Hocus-pocus Academy its acronym will be WHA--?] There are only two rules: stay out of the ruins and stay alive. In that order. [I find it inconceivable that something called the Weapons Sorcery Combat Academy would have only those two rules. There have to be rules against using weapons or sorcery to kill your fellow students. And against cheating on your necromancy test. And let's not forget the first rule of the Weapons Sorcery Combat Academy: You do not talk about the Weapons Sorcery Combat Academy.]
When his best friend shows up dead, [I'd go with "turns up dead" or "shows up undead." "Shows up dead" sounds like he's arriving somewhere. Wait, is that what they mean by the phrase "Dead On Arrival"?] Stein must battle his festering sorrow to uncover the killer. [You're saying that at the Weapons Sorcery Combat Academy, when someone is murdered it's up to a first-year cadet to solve the crime?] His biggest problems? He's human, [Not clear why that's a problem.] he's blind, [Crystal clear why that's a problem.] and the Sovereign don't believe in murder. [The Sovereign? Who are the Sovereign? And whaddaya mean they don't believe in murder? They don't believe it happens? Or they don't accept it as a means of solving all one's problems the way humans do?] [If this book doesn't go anywhere, I recommend starting a mystery series about a blind detective. He's worthless in the field, but his "Watson" brings him evidence with which he solves crimes thanks to his heightened other senses. For instance, "Watson" brings him a sea shell and he feels it and smells it and tastes it and puts it up to his ear to hear the ocean and then announces that the murderer is Spongebob Squarepants.] [Hold everything. Just to make sure someone else hadn't already come up with this idea, I Googled "blind detective" and it turns out there's a Japanese movie by that title soon to be released. Here's the trailer.] [Okay, but I have another idea. This one's for a board game. It's Clue, but in the ocean. The six suspects are Spongebob, Captain Nemo, Prince Namor, Aquaman, Ariel, and Jacques Cousteau. The weapons are spear gun, trident, fishing pole, torpedo, oil spill and trained shark. And the rooms are famous ships that sank. I accuse Aquaman in the Titanic with the spear gun.] [If there can be an Alaska Iditerod version of Monopoly, why not an underwater Clue?]
Meanwhile, Felicia-Maria struggles to understand why they chose her, a maid-of-all-work. [WHA--? Who chose her? The Sovereign? The Academy? The sword of the Matriarch? The Lancers?] When a seemingly innocuous list of medical supplies that could resurrect the illegal science of genetic engineering crosses her desk, she must overcome her desire to wash pots and scrub floors [I think I've solved the mystery of why they chose her. They needed someone to wash pots and scrub floors.] [Although it seems to me a first-year cadet at WHA would have more important duties.] [Even for a maid-of-all-work, I wouldn't think the desire to wash pots and scrub floors would be so strong that overcoming it would be a struggle.] and delve deeper into the murky world of brokering information and secrets. [If a maid can look at this list of medical supplies and determine that it could resurrect the illegal science of genetic engineering, I don't see how the list can be described as "seemingly innocuous." Unless... Is there a post-it note on the front of the document that says: "Bob--here's that list of stuff we need to start our cloning operation."?]
When their searches point them towards the ruins and one another, they must question if the answers they seek are really worth the consequences. Can a human survive in the world of the Sovereign [Is the ruins the world of the Sovereign?] and what place does a maid really have among the Elite? [Maids have always had a place among the elite. As their maids.]
Note: Since the Query doesn't give it away, the Dark Masters are the only legendary Elite who survived the ruins, while the Tears of the Phoenix are [is] a magic spell that can dispel the stagnant magic of the ruins. [That clears it up. Except for the part about what are the ruins?]
I'm in favor of hiring those with disabilities, and I realize that Daredevil gets by quite well without being able to see, but would an organization that bills itself as the military might of the world" recruit a blind guy?
Even if a pot-washing floor-scrubbing maid-of-all-work realized the significance of an innocuous list of medical supplies, wouldn't she bring it to the attention of someone higher up the chain of command rather than delving into the murky world of brokering information and secrets?
We don't need to introduce four different (or not different) organizations in the query. One is plenty.
Nearly every sentence in the query inspires questions that aren't answered. Start over. Your setup seems to be this: First-year cadet Asuran Stein must enter the Ruins to solve the murder of his best friend. And fellow cadet Felicia-Maria must enter the Ruins to prevent the resurrection of an illegal genetic engineering program. There's just one problem: The first rule of the Academy is Stay out of the Ruins.
That leaves plenty of room to tell us what happens when they team up and enter the Ruins, who tries to stop them, how they plan to get around this, what will happen if they fail.
Note that I capitalized "Ruins." I don't know exactly what they are, but they sound like they've earned a capital "R."