Friday, March 07, 2014
Guess the Plot
Princess of the Four Corners
[Sorry, author of When Fire Ignites, but we have to go out of order because only one fake plot has come in for your title.]
1. Cinderella is married and happy with her prince. Or is she? Seems like she never gets to leave the castle, not even to visit the Korean fusion food truck down the street. Maybe she'll accept the handsome gardener's invitation for a night stroll since the prince is never around anyway.
2. When 10 year old Sylvania wins Young Miss Colorado her star-struck mother signs on to the pageant circuit. Winning Princess of the Four Corners is the first big step Sylvania must achieve, but is she cut out for the cutthroat world of big-time child pageants?
3. Sally Lapone longs to be named Queen of Quilt Fest, but her points are never perfect. A mysterious little man with a very long nose tells her he can help her...for a price. Should she trade her beloved Marie Osmond dolls for a chance at being the Queen?.
4. Growing up on the sprawling Navajo reservation, Naomi Begay sees beauty all around her. But when a friend convinces her to enter the "Princess of the Four Corners" beauty pageant, a contest traditionally won by Anglo teens from Albuquerque or Flagstaff, Naomi is exposed to the ugliness of competition -- as well as the beauty within every person.
5. Princess Winny has flitted about in satin dresses for seventy years. She owns everything to the horizon. Too bad she lives in BFE and "everything" is a flashing yellow light, a gas station and a hovel. But the frackers are in town and they want mineral rights. It appears she will be screaming, "Off with their heads!" more than usual from now on.
6. The soul of the princess was removed sixteen years ago and distributed to four babies. Now those four girls have been brought to the castle so the princess's soul can be restored to her by the wizard. But the wizard can't find the spell and he didn't memorize it, and . . . Shit! Now an evil sorceress wants the soul!
When a group of warriors tears sixteen-year old Gwinn away from her remote village to take her to the king, she has no idea why. She’s shocked to learn she’s a Bearer – one of four girls selected when she was a baby to hide a piece of the princess’s soul from Metheda, a vengeful sorceress. Metheda has been killed, and the warriors are bringing the Bearers to the castle so the wizard can perform the spell to restore the princess.
But the spell nearly kills the Bearers. The wizard discovers someone replaced it with a fake, [They take these incredibly elaborate measures to protect the princess and then the leave the spell lying around?] [It sounds like the spell is an object. Normally a spell is a series of words. Maybe accompanied by a recipe or a ritual. Would it have killed the wizard to just memorize the spell?] so he confines the girls to the castle grounds until he can either find or recreate the true spell. Not content to wait, Gwinn begins her own search [It shouldn't take the wizard more than a few minutes to determine if he can recreate the spell. She can't wait that long?] even as she struggles to figure out where the princess ends and she begins. [Has she considered that without the princess's soulness she might have become a serial killer?]
When signs of dark magic surface, Gwinn suspects Metheda is still alive. One of the Bearers is attacked in the gardens, and after testing the magic used in the attack the wizard confirms Gwinn’s fears – the sorceress has returned. [Brilliant. A sixteen-year-old figured it out before the wizard did. This guy is the most incompetent wizard since Rincewind.] The Bearers search for clues and find evidence Metheda is amassing an army to the east of the castle. The kingdom sends all of their forces to fight, hoping to make a final stand against Metheda.
Unfortunately, she’s been hiding in the castle the entire time. [The entire sixteen years? Has she been disguised as a cook or hiding in a trunk in the attic? How do you amass an army while hiding in the castle?] Gwinn must find a way to defeat Metheda without the aid of the kingdom’s warriors, and locate the stolen spell, if she ever hopes to return home. [I get why locating the spell will help her. Why does she have to defeat Metheda?] [Why would whoever stole the real spell hide it in the castle? Why wouldn't they destroy it so it could never be used?]
PRINCESS OF THE FOUR CORNERS is an 85,000-word YA Fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.
What difference does it make to Metheda whether the princess's soul resides in the princess or in four sixteen-year-olds? Is Metheda's army less likely to triumph if the princess has her soul? Does Metheda want the four soul-parts for herself? If so, why? If not, why not just kill the four girls?
I seem to be more interested in Metheda's plans than in whether Gwinn gets what she wants. Possibly that's a sign that the well-written query is not focusing enough on Gwinn's problem, which is that carrying around a fourth of the princess's soul is a burden she doesn't want (even though a week ago she didn't even know she had a problem). Or perhaps it's that there are three other girls with the exact same problem, so I'm less inclined to see Gwinn as the focus. Are the other three also interested in defeating Metheda?
Presumably the soul was distributed to others to keep Metheda from getting it. We need to know what will happen if she now gets it. The fact that Gwinn's goal of figuring out where the princess ends and she begins is solved whether her soul-part goes to the princess or to Metheda would be interesting if Gwinn had to choose whether to keep the soul-part or give it to Metheda, but as no one seems to know where the spell is, I guess that decision never comes up.