Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Face-Lift 1304


Guess the Plot

Eric Ortega and the Demon Wind

1. It's come down to this: Either Eric Ortega stops expelling the byproducts of the school cafeteria's hot dogs and beans, or Eric Ortega is going to be expelled.

2. First there was Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Then came Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Now comes the bravest hero of them all, a Mexican teenager who takes on an enemy that can't be punched, shot or even seen.

3. Nikias, a Child of the Wind, only has a body when he steals one. And he's stolen Eric's. Twelve-year-old Eric is freed by winged sentinels who imprison him in their Roman fortress but he escapes and goes home to rescue his big sister from Nikaus. Also, a lesbian doctor with snakes for hair.

4. Eric's roommate eats big burritos every day, and produces enough wind to keep Eric's friends from visiting. Wait, has Eric died and gone to hell? Or has the Diablo sauce made his roommate grow horns and a tail?

5. It's called the Chubasco, a violent squall with thunder and lightning, along the west coast of Central America. But to the fishermen of Nicaragua, it's the demon wind. And it's blown Eric Ortega's boat two hundred miles from land. Also, sharks.

6. Eric Ortega has been cursed to break wind near anyone he wants something from. To end the curse, he needs two prunes from the vissalissia tree, which grows only in neighboring kingdoms, but his attempts to obtain them incite a continent-spanning holy war.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Twelve-year-old Eric Ortega would rather play his favorite video game than do anything else, except maybe annoy his big sister. [If you just say There's nothing twelve-year-old Eric Ortega would rather do than annoy his big sister, you not only save seven words, you also don't start me thinking that it would be a lot more fun to go play my favorite video game than to read queries.] Until Nikias takes over his body. [If Nikias has control of the body, it doesn't much matter that there are now things Eric would rather do than play his game and annoy his sister. He can't actually do anything, right?] 

Nikias, a Child of the Wind, only has a body when he steals one, and he sees a latent power in Eric that he wants for himself. When Nikias manipulates Eric’s body and aura to stop a boy from breathing, [Why?] Eric fights back. [Up until then, Eric was perfectly content to let Nikias run the show, as Nikias was getting him straight As instead of Cs, and was able to charm high school girls into the sack.]

Before Eric can win or lose, his sister knocks him out. His sister was secretly recruited by the winged Sentinels who police the hidden peoples of the world, [Why don't the Sentinels knock Eric out instead of recruiting his sister to do it?] and Nikias tops their Most Wanted list. But Nikias escapes when the Sentinels free Eric.

[Sentinel 1: Okay, we've freed Eric. Wait, where's Nikias?

Sentinel 2: I don't know. I looked up and he was . . . Gone with the Wind.]

Now Eric is trapped in the Sentinels’ ancient Roman lair, surrounded by creatures who don’t trust him because of the powers Nikias awakened inside him. [Eric's new powers don't seem all that great if they can't get him out of this lair. Why did Nikias want these lame powers for himself? Also, did the winged Sentinels fly Eric to Rome and lock him up with the creatures? If so, why?] They don’t believe Eric when he discovers Nikias is after his sister. [It sounds like these creatures have conversations with Eric. The word "creatures" had me thinking they were monsters.] [Also, trapped in this lair, how does he discover what Nikias is doing?]

Eric escapes the Sentinel fortress, but in order to save his sister, he must learn to control his new, unwanted powers. [One minute he's trapped, and the next minute he's escaped, even though he hasn't yet learned to use his powers? How'd he do that? Also, why don't the Sentinels save his sister?] 

Complete at 65,000 words, ERIC ORTEGA AND THE DEMON WIND is an upper MG contemporary fantasy. The story features diverse characters, including Medusa as a lesbian doctor with temperamental snake hair. This book will appeal to fans of the Underland Chronicles. As per your guidelines, I have attached attached [insert appropriate submission here]. [No need to attach it twice.] Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,


Notes

Every time I see the name Nikias I think of Jack Nicklaus.

It suddenly occurs to me that the story would be better if Eric were possessed by Jack Nicklaus instead of this "Child of the Wind," whatever that means. Maybe it should be a wind demon instead of a Child of the Wind.

If the flying Sentinels are in charge of policing the hidden peoples of the world, crime must be rampant among them, because the Sentinels seem incompetent. First of all, they should have foreseen that Nicklaus might escape after they freed Eric, and taken precautions to prevent it. Like freeing Eric inside a vault. Second, they allow Eric, who hasn't yet learned to control his powers, to escape from their "fortress"? If the Sentinels are good guys, I assume they would have told Eric they were holding him in their fortress for his own good. They would have been training him to use his powers instead of locking him in with untrusting creatures. Saying he's trapped, and escapes, suggests that the Sentinels are villains.

Who are the hidden peoples of the world? Are they hiding in plain sight but camouflaged, or invisible or underground?

What are the powers lying latent within Eric? There's a big difference between Superman and Aquaman.

You don't want me asking so many questions. Rewrite this in a way that answers some of them and doesn't inspire the others.

If this story doesn't sell, I recommend doing a series starring Medusa, the lesbian doctor with temperamental snake hair.


4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on having a comprehensible set of events strung together. On the minus side, it looks a bit like an and plot (and then this happens, and the that happens, and then the other happens). What does all of this happening mean to Eric and what he really wants?

It would help to list what kind of powers Eric has/is developing and what his plan is for rescuing his sister other than learning to control said powers. Also, what kind of danger is she in?

As a slightly different way of looking at things:

Who's the MC? Eric Ortega
What is the story worthy problem that gets solved? Stopping Nikias? Saving his sister? All the stuff that happens adds up to what exactly?
What are the obstacles to the above?
What's the plan to resolve those obstacles?

Hope this helps.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

It seems as if you're trying too hard to get every detail of the plot into the query.

Instead, focus on your main character. What problem does he face, and what must he do to overcome it?

Write a sentence, no more than 20 words in length, telling what happens in the book. Base your query on that sentence.

Try to avoid naming more than two or, at most, three characters in the query. If that means leaving out the sister or the various other characters entirely, so be it.

JSF said...

What's an Aura? Who's the boy the Wind Child wants to kill? Or just choke? How would the Aura help him choke the boy?

This actually explains a lot about 12 year old boys. I had no idea.

I forgot about Aquaman. Thanks!

Next up: Aquaman VS Medusa the lesbian doctor with temperamental snake hair? I'm ringside for that one. Medusa is gonna throw a fit.

khazar-khum said...

When I saw the title, I thought that it was a joke; and not a good one, either. "Eric and the Wind Child" will do fine, without the sniggering and laughter that gets it left on the shelf.