Monday, January 06, 2014

Face-Lift 1178


Guess the Plot

The Impossible Treasure

1. Angelique was always told to guard her most important treasure and save it for her wedding night. But the lure of parties and a stream of luscious guys make that directive impossible.

2. A curse has robbed Shandra of her childhood memories, so she signs onto the crew of a pirate ship sailing off in search of a treasure that will grant the bearer one wish. Now she'll just have to convince the pirates to let her have the treasure.

3. Pretzels, Cheez Whiz, ground beef, chips, thirteen cases of beer, and dudes yelling at the football game on a big screen: Mitch just wants his man cave back. His mother-in-law will regret sleeping in the den when football season starts, but Mitch doesn't know--she likes football and beer too.

4. Benny Makaway is a top fund manager on Wall Street. His investors make scores of millions while he makes hundreds of thousands. Benny starts his own asset management trust. He claims high returns but puts most of the money into his Lichtenstein account. Federal prosecutors are suspicious. Will Benny make away with billions or take up residence at Leavenworth?

5. Don't open the box, the wizard said. What the hell did some guy in a costume know? It's just a prop. All those funny whispers and strange lights are just part of the toy, aren't they? Right? And--Jesus Christ, what the hell is that slimy mass over by the couch?

6. When physicist, Maxine Planke figured out the origin of the universe she decided to keep it to herself. To prove her postulation all she needs to do is hijack the mothballed shuttle, Discovery. Her plan to land the orbiter on another planet is tricky to say the least. But Maxine has a plan. To land on the Sun, she'll have to wait till dark.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Shandra knows that she had a childhood. She just can’t remember it.

After five long years of searching for the Impossible Treasure, [Does she even know the meaning of the word "impossible"? There's a reason they call it the Impossible Treasure. I wouldn't spend five minutes searching for something called the Impossible Treasure or the Nonexistent Plunder or the Imaginary Spoils.] Shandra finally has a promising lead to find the chance for one impossible wish granted. [She has a lead to find a chance. That's like calling a sign in a gas station window that says "Lottery tickets here!" a lead to find a chance for twenty million dollars. I'm always getting promotions in the mail that say WIN A NEW CAR! All you have to do is come by the showroom. And take a test drive. And you'll be entered in Toyota's nationwide contest.] The only problem is, it will force her to join yet another pirate crew, something she vowed never to do again. [Wait, you've got pirates and you waited this long to mention it? And opened with that crap about not remembering her childhood? Ye oughter be forced to walk the plank, scurvy dog.] Despite being attacked by a ship that’s somehow alive, a crew that would rather she jump ship, and other deadly pirates vying for the same treasure, Shandra is [inexplicably not dead.] determined to be free from the curse that robbed her of every memory of her past, no matter what the cost. [Even if her crew are the ones who get to the treasure first, they're not gonna waste the wish on getting her childhood memories back. They're gonna want booty. Of one kind or the other.]

But pirates and magic aren’t the only mysteries that reside on the nine seas, [Nine? Last I heard there are seven seas: Mediterranean, Caribbean, Belegaer, Sea of Helkar, Sea of Núrnen, Sea of Rhûn and Sea of Ringiland.] [Possibly you were including the Dune Sea on Tatooine and the Sea of Tranquility on the Moon, but neither contains the key ingredient of a sea, namely water.] as Shandra gets ever closer to finding the Impossible Treasure she may discover that the greatest mystery to discover is who she really is. [Better yet, she may discover that the greatest mystery to discover is to discover who she really is.] [That last plot sentence would pack more punch if she were originally looking for actual treasure but instead found who she really is. As she was already looking for who she really is, you're basically saying she was seeking her identity but she discovered it's more important to seek her identity.]

The Impossible Treasure is a Young Adult fantasy novel, complete at 58,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Notes

We need to know Shandra's age. I tend to think of pirates as characters in books for a younger crowd than YA.

If she's, say, sixteen, that means she's been off searching for her past since she was eleven? I don't remember much of my childhood before the age of eleven despite having never been put under a curse. Admittedly that may be because of the years I spent on meth and crack.

Also, assuming she's about sixteen, I find it hard to believe this isn't the first time she's been a crewmember of a pirate ship.

The query is wordy and vague. Perhaps a start like this would be more grabby:

When sixteen-year-old Shandra learns that a pirate ship is setting sail in search of a genie in a bottle, she's skeptical. But if the genie is real, he may be the only one who can break the curse that robbed Shandra of all her childhood memories. So she signs on to the crew.

Then tell us a cohesive story, rather than just listing a few things that happen.

Consider making Shandra thirteen and calling the book middle grade.

6 comments:

AlaskaRavenclaw said...



I have a little trouble buying into Shandra's goal. I know several people who can't remember their childhoods. It doesn't seem to upset them very much. Of course, they have relatives and birth certificates and what-not, so they know who they are. Presumably there's more at stake in Shandra's quest than recalling the name of her third-grade teacher, so be sure to make that clear.

Chicory said...

My first thought was, `If Shandra can't remember her past, how does she know she vowed never to take up with pirates again?' But I see it's just her childhood she doesn't remember.

khazar-khum said...

I think it must be something dramatic, like: One day 16 year old Shandra awoke on a pirate ship, with no memory of how she got there--or even who she really is.

Veronica Rundell said...

Millions of people would pay good money to forget their childhood. That's not really a strong lead.

Why not tell us she wants this wish to save her dying...anyone, even herself. That's stakes.

Call her a pirate, or a reformed pirate, and tell us why she's reluctant to return to ship.

I'm going to tell you this straight---I have a hard time believing a YA pirate coming-of-age-love-yourself is going to sell. It's just not what teens want to pick up--pirate adventures. This book is short enough you could feasibly rewrite the MC younger and go middle grade. Make the wish finding her long lost family and you're money.

Kelsey said...

What if the pirates were rewritten as vikings, if you want to keep this YA? I don't claim any expertise around what publishers want right now, but vikings are edgier than pirates and pretty damn interesting in their own right.

Good luck!

CavalierdeNuit said...

...discover who she really is. Please tell me what this means and why. I don't know much about MG or YA, but from what I've been exposed to, this sounds like MG. I think kids want more than just someone discovering who they really are. Kids want adventure and crazy monsters (I still want this as an adult). I think you need to get a little more detailed, and make this more exciting.

I agree with Kelsey about the Vikings.