Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Face-Lift 1231


Guess the Plot

Forgotten Rage

1. Xandra doesn't remember anything when she wakes up in an unfamiliar hospital, except that the guy at her bedside, who was supposed to marry her best friend, ended up killing her. So why is he calling Xandra "Sweetheart"?

2. Flowers and group hugs, and butterflies and meditation, and aromatherapy and happy places… Also, puppies… Lots and lots of puppies.

3. The new school librarian, Ann Gray, has a dastardly superpower: she telepathically dredges up long-dead emotional wounds. Cutting words, petty slights, unkept promises--her victims get angrier and angrier the longer they dwell, until they go insane! Can our lovable gang of sixth-grade superheroes take Ann down, or will the team break up as they succumb to their...Forgotten Rage?

4. Awaking from a 2-year-long coma, Martin meets his mother, his wife, and his children. He strains for some memory of any of them, but finds none. When his best friend Steve visits him in the hospital, Martin again has no memory, but he does have an inexplicable and uncontrollable rage. It takes two orderlies, a doctor, and a hypodermic needle to keep Martin from choking his friend to death.

5. They’d played me for a sap once too often. Left me out on a limb. If they thought I’d fall for the same old trick, they were barking up the wrong tree. I was gonna fix their wagon, if it was the last thing I ever did. I’ve forgotten more about the revenge business than they’ll ever know. If only I could remember who ‘they’ were…

6. Archaeologist Ben Hutton is both amused and intrigued by the Medieval 'vampire' burial his team found at a crossroads near Warsaw. Once back in the lab, you know the vampire will come back and start biting everyone while looking for his lost love, so why am I bothering to tell you this?


Original Version

Synopsis: Xandra Donato doesn't remember anything when she wakes up in an unfamiliar hospital, especially not the fact that she was born in France over 600 years ago. [If you don't remember anything, I don't see how there can be an "especially."] So when an oddly familiar boy shows up asking for her help to stop the upcoming war she has to rely on what she does have. An ancient locket, a list of rules written in Latin, and an adventurous and haunted past. Might as well throw in a southern soldier and paranormal abilities, right?

Excerpt - " Took me 600 years to find you Xandra Donato and I don't plan on letting you go now. " The guard removes his helmet with a grim smile. Cold chills run down my back, it's a face all too familiar. " Remember me sweetheart? " " I'm not sure, weren't you that guy who never amounted to anything? The guy who was supposed to marry my best friend and ended up killing her? " " Ahh yes, that I remember. " [So, it's a comedy.]


The title is Forgotten Rage because she had forgotten all of her past grudges and experiences when her memory was erased. [I'm assuming this is not a Nanowrimo book, as there's already an excerpt.]


Notes

Don't put a space after opening quotation marks or before closing quotation marks.

P1: Change period after "have" to a colon. P2: Change commas after "back" and "sure" to periods (or semicolons). You can get away with sentence structure errors occasionally, but at this stage of your relationship with the recipient of the query letter, you don't want to give the impression you don't know what a sentence is.

Excerpts are rarely welcome in a query. What information we glean from the excerpt can easily be conveyed in an expository paragraph.

This is supposed to be a business letter in which you provide the title, word count, genre, and a brief summary of what happens in the book, focusing on the main character's situation, goals, plans, obstacles, and what's at stake.  Check out some of the hundreds of other "Face-Lifts" on this blog for samples.

The situation is intriguing, though if it's set in modern times it's hard to see how this girl can help stop an upcoming war. Who is she? Is she immortal? A vampire? Rightful heir to the throne of England? What war are we talking about? We need information.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

A little confused by the time period here. 600 years ago is when? Now is when?

Brief research shows Xandra is a Dutch shortening of Alexandra, French versions would be Sacha or Sandrine. Donato is an Italian name. Unless 600 hundred years ago was modern times, the names are throwing me.

Everything here is set up. What happens?

Also contradicting yourself saying she doesn't remember and then that she does remember (unless it's the guy that remembers? In which case, why is that important?) is also confusing.

khazarkhum said...

When writing dialog, the words of two people never, ever, fall into the same paragraph. You give each speaker their own paragraph for clarity.

This:
Excerpt - " Took me 600 years to find you Xandra Donato and I don't plan on letting you go now. " The guard removes his helmet with a grim smile. Cold chills run down my back, it's a face all too familiar. " Remember me sweetheart? " " I'm not sure, weren't you that guy who never amounted to anything? The guy who was supposed to marry my best friend and ended up killing her? " " Ahh yes, that I remember. "

should read:

" Took me 600 years to find you Xandra Donato and I don't plan on letting you go now. " The guard removes his helmet with a grim smile. Cold chills run down my back, it's a face all too familiar. " Remember me sweetheart? "

" I'm not sure, weren't you that guy who never amounted to anything? The guy who was supposed to marry my best friend and ended up killing her? "

" Ahh yes, that I remember. "

(I'm not sure who's speaking here, so I've put it by itself even though it sounds like it should be Xandra.)

This is a big pet peeve of mine, and it's a rule violation that's become all too common.

SB said...

The synopsis was too vague to inspire any interest in me. The excerpt makes the book sound interesting, but the many punctuation errors make me think the book would be painful to read. Try to get more of the interesting details into the plot summary plot so we have some specific idea what's going on, and learn a lot more about punctuation.

Khazar - I believe that last part is the guy talking. There's a definite snarky tone in the dialogue, which I like.

Komal Verma said...

Also if she has awoken from 600 years ago (still not sure about timeframes so so assuming back in the 1400s?) then doubt Xandra would say 'the guy' - not how they spoke back then.

Evil Editor said...

Possibly she's been alive 600 years but awakened from an amnesia-causing head injury suffered a few days ago. This is why we need more information.

InkAndPixelClub said...

Blogger seems to have eaten my response, so here' stake two:

This is simultaneously too much and not enough. The first paragraph is crammed with stuff, but without a story or an interesting character to connect it all, it doesn't add up to anything. It's confusing, not compelling.

What makes me hopeful is that the Guess the Plot summary is actually intriguing. There's no unresolved references to Xandra being a 600 year old Frenchwoman, no vague threats of a looming war, and no cryptic list of Xandra's assets; just the single mystery of why the one guy amnesiac Xandra can remember is calling her sweetheart when the only thing she knows about him suggests she should want to strangle him.

Dump what you have and start over with query basics. Who is Xandra? Why do I want to spend however many pages long your book is reading about her? What does she want? How does she go about trying to get what she wants? What or who is in her way? What choices does Xandra face, or what will happen if she does or doesn't achieve her goal?

Add title, genre, and word count and you'll at least have a good starting point.