Guess the Plot
1. His basketball playing career over, Larry Bird returns home to Indiana where he philosophizes on love, life, and what to do about Lance Stephenson.
2. When two twelve-year-old boys break into a pet store at night and release all the dogs from their cages, they think no one will suspect them. But they didn't count on Chester the parrot repeating everything they said in the store. To the cops.
3. Carmen the toucan pines for her home and family in the Amazon rainforest from her cage in the suburbs, shedding her feathers with stress. Ruby the Siamese has no ambition other than to open the cage and get a snack. Timmy doesn't care what happens as long as he can harass Ruby. Can Carmen manipulate the four-legged ones and secure her release before the human on-sells her to the taxidermist?
4. A parrot is loose in Elsa's luxury apartment building. It flies into the ritzy steak house next door, lands on someone's shoulder, and poops on the floor. Everyone watches the parrot get stabbed to death by a masked man in black. It's the Pretty Bird killer again!
5. When Pretty Bird shows up in the village, Hungry Crow is entranced. But before he even has one date with her, she's murdered. With no detective skills, Hungry Crow's only hope of solving the crime is to get a shaman to bring Pretty Bird back to life so he can ask her who murdered her.
6. She was a pretty bird; most birds were. But there was more to life than just being pretty. What about fulfillment, and romance? What about that studly cock next door? With him at her side she’d be the top biddy in the barnyard. And that ain’t chicken feed…
When Pretty Bird came to the village, all the people loved her. The young men tried to woo her with gifts of game, corn, [Pretty Bird, I brought you this dead moose and 3 ears of corn. Now will you date me?] jewelry or moccassins, [moccasins] but she ignored them. Instead she remained a modest, quiet [boring] young woman who seemed to keep to herself. ["Seemed" meaning she wasn't really keeping to herself?]
Black Elk, a hunter, and Hungry Crow, a young man, both have eyes for her. [I suspect everyone in the tribe does some hunting, and "a young man" tells us nothing new, as you've already said it was the young men who were wooing her, so drop the descriptors.] One night Black Elk meets with her and an affair starts. But while he is off hunting, someone murders Pretty Bird. [I see no reason the first paragraph needs to be in past tense. For that matter, I see no reason we can't dump the first paragraph and open: Black Elk and Hungry Crow both have eyes for Pretty Bird, the modest, quiet woman who just moved into their village.]
Hungry Crow wants to find out who killed the beautiful young woman, so he follows eagles, visions and the Road to see a cacique, a shaman-chief, who can help. He is given the things [A less-vague word like "spells" or "talismans" would be better than "things." Or you could be truly specific and say The cacique gives him a buffalo ear, an eagle feather and some corn, along with instructions on how to restore....] necessary to restore Pretty Bird to life. Will this bring him love--or will he unleash a great horror? [If our goal is to sell books, I recommend unleashing the great horror.]
Drawing from archeology, Puebloean folklore, and my own experiences in the Southwest, "Pretty Bird: A Tale of Mesa Verde" is a novella. It will appeal to those with an interest in our Southwestern heritage.
Sample chapters are attached. Thank you!
Note--the people of Mesa Verde were the ancestors of the people living in various Pueblos today. They do not call themselves 'Anasazi', because that means 'ancient enemy'. The Navaho who drove them from their lands call them that, and unfortunately archeology does, too. Modern Pueblo Indians find the word insulting. [Whether that's a note to EE or part of the query, it feels weird insofar as the term "Anasazi" hasn't been mentioned.] [Also, there must be a reason spellcheck has twice let you get away with spelling archaeology without the second "a," but I'd go with the more common (in the US, at least) spelling.]
Where did Pretty Bird come from? She just shows up alone one day, moves in, and ignores everyone? Did such things happen in this culture?
If it were Black Elk trying to find out who killed Pretty Bird, then we would have a potential suspect in Hungry Crow. But with Hungry Crow investigating the murder that was committed while Black Elk was off hunting, we have nothing. Why isn't Black Elk the one trying to solve the murder? He's the one who finally won Pretty Bird's heart. Or was it just a one-night stand?
"Hungry Crow" sounds like an insulting name. Not as insulting as "Anasazi," but still...
On the other hand, Hungry Crow sounds like the main character. Do we even need Black Elk in the query? We could just open: When Hungry Crow's latest crush Pretty Bird is murdered, he consults a shaman, who shows him how to bring his true love back to life but also warns him that she could come back as a fire-breathing wolverine.
If you don't want to go the horror route, you could make this the start of a mystery series with Hungry Crow as your detective. He solves crimes with his amazing tracking skills. And he has a French sidekick named Hercule Pueblo.
What we need is more plot details. Does Hungry Crow try the shaman's method? What goes wrong? What does he do about it? Is someone trying to obstruct the "investigation"? Did anyone have a motive for murdering Pretty Bird?