Thursday, December 11, 2014

Face-Lift 1243

Guess the Plot

The Transcendent

1. When Lois tells Superman that his name is kind of egotistical-sounding, he decides to come up with something that still expresses his magnificence, but more subtly.

2. Now that scripted programming has disappeared from television, Religious Idol is the latest reality show craze. Can ‘Smelly’ Joe Hippie beat his Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and New-Age rivals in a fasting and meditation contest to become…The Transcendent?

3. You'd probably call them vampires, but they're not really vampires, and when they feed on pregnant humans, the offspring are called transcendents. Anyway, Annika is a 21-year-old torn between her love for a handsome priest and for a transcendent named Bram. It's a romance.

4. They are all things to all people, these beings who appeared on Earth three years ago and now have billions of followers. The world's established religions have dwindled to cult status. That's where things stand, if you want to know about the characters and plot, you're out of luck.

5. When the Greek gods return to Earth after setting up a civilization in a distant solar system, only to discover that no one worships them anymore, they're furious. It's Armageddon time, and this Armageddon is gonna make the biblical one seem like a tea party.

6. They are the ones who hold all of the power in their world. The ones who decide the fates of others on a whim. The ones their followers worship from afar and hope to one day sit at the feet of, if only for a few moments at a gathering of like souls. They are the literary agents, though they prefer to be known as . . . The Transcendent.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Annika Theriot has never been normal, and in her twenty-first year, she learns why: surviving a vampire attack while in the womb has its consequences.

Raised as a devout Catholic, Annika has spent every Wednesday in confession at St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans trying to repress her demons.

[Annika: These demons. I don't think I can hold them off any longer.

Priest: Not again. Just once couldn't you confess to impure thoughts about boys?]

It’s there that she learns that vampires really aren’t vampires at all. The church refers to them as rebel angels, legions of angels that followed Lucifer after his fall. They feed on humans to retain their somewhat mortal existence on Earth. They aren’t boyfriend material. [Unless you're Miley Cyrus.] They are completely and inherently one thing: evil. [Are these vampires that really aren't vampires the demons she was trying to repress, or are they a different issue from the demons?] [Also, is this any way to comfort a member of your flock:

Annika: Vampires are out to get me.

Priest: Calm yourself, my child. The vampires aren't really vampires. They're just inherently evil creatures who feed on humans.]

When Annika finds herself running from one of these rebel angels and into the arms of the handsome, new priest, Elias, she quickly falls in over her head. [Not sure what that means. She was already in way over her head from what I could tell. Do you mean she falls head over heels in love?] At least until she meets the reckless Bram, [I'm not sure Elias needs to be in the query if she dumps him that fast.] [Also, Bram?] a man who shares her curse and shows her what she truly is, a transcendent. Bram reveals that all of the transcendents were created for a purpose…except for Annika. She was an accident. [Telling a transcendent she was an accident is cruel, like telling your youngest sister she was an accident.]

Once the rebel angel and creator of the transcendents, Sebastian, learns of Annika’s existence, he will stop at nothing until he has her in his collection. [Sebastian created all the transcendents? By feeding on pregnant humans? How come he doesn't know of Annika's existence?] [If the transcendents were created for a purpose, I would call them Sebastians's army or clerical staff or whatever, not his collection.]

Thrown into a supernatural world and fighting for her life, Annika soon becomes torn between the sinner and the saint, who she is and who she wants to be. [I can't tell if the sinner and the saint are who she is and who she wants to be or if they're Bram and Elias.]

The Transcendent is a new adult, fantasy, [paranormal] romance novel complete at 50,000 words.

I graduated at the top of my class with a BA in English, have worked as a staff writer for my university’s newspaper, and my poetry has been published in a children’s literature anthology. I am also an established blogger. [There are 100 million bloggers...although I can't find statistics on how many of them are established and how many are disestablished.] [For those who are familiar with the word "antidisestablishmentarianism," but never knew what it meant, now you know. It's the school of thought that opposes disestablishing bloggers.] [Dump the credits.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.


What is the purpose for which the transcendents were created? If we knew that we'd have a better idea what's at stake.

Not sure why it's stated that: "They aren’t boyfriend material." Neither Annika nor the readers of the query would be thinking they're boyfriend material.

If this is a romance, make the romantic elements more obvious. Is Bram or Elias (or both) interested in romancing Annika?


Kelsey Hutton said...

Hmmmmm. I feel like you're trying hard to distance your query from other famous vampires books with the things like having (some sort of) power because of surviving an attack in the womb; the name Transcendental; the whole-they're-vampires-but-not-really-but actually-really; and by not having a vamp/human romance.


Ultimately these elements aren't really that different from very famous vampires books. She still has special powers that she didn't know about (a common paranormal story element) and meets a mysterious boys with similar powers who teaches her who she really is (another common trope) and a powerful overlord is out to get her for being unique (Bella and head evil vamp in Twilight; also like Louis, Claudia and Armand running from the head evil guy in Interview). Even the making of transcendents is reminiscent of classic rules around not making new vampires without permission, or not making children into vampires.

I think the query is well-written, but you really need to hone in on every single thing that makes your story different from other paranormal stories, and doesn't sound like one element substitued in for a slightly different one. What ARE her powers as a Transcendental, by the way?

Good luck and keep at it!

InkAndPixelClub said...

I fee like there's too much detail about the not-vampire vampires and not enough about everything else.

You say that Annika has never been normal, but you don't mention how she's abnormal. You say that the offspring of the rebel angels are called transcendents and we're created for a reason, but you don't mention what that purpose is. You say that your novel is a paranormal romance, but the two love interests barely seem to have a role in the query beyond providing exposition.

I'd just avoid calling the rebel angels "vampires" at all and describe them as vampire-like creatures. That avoids the confusion caused by first referring to them as vampires and then having to go back and explain that they're something slightly different, but not in any way that seems super important to the query.

Start the ways that Annika is different from a normal young woman. When she's 21, something happens that leads to her finding out why she's different and learning about the rebel angels. then you have the rest of the query to devote to the love triangle and Sebastian's plans to control all the transcendents and use them to do whatever.

khazarkhum said...

Bram? Like Bram Stoker?

SB said...

Incidentally, the "vampires that aren't really vampires but they're actually fallen angels but still also vampires" thing has been done before, in the Blue Bloods series.