Friday, March 10, 2017

Face-Lift 1345


Guess the Plot

The Ruined World

1. A poetic, photographic paean to the eerie world of abandoned amusement parks. 

2. When the apocalypse hits, and you go underground to survive, you don't expect to be stuck down there for fifty years. As for what you expect to find when you finally come up, it's probably a wasteland, not a thriving world and evidence that the apocalypse never happened and you just blew fifty years of your life. (Of course that won't matter so much if you've become immortal.)

3. After countless generations, Earth has produced enough trash to cover it in a disgusting pile. The following generation wants to leave, but first they have to dig through the layers of garbage to find the spaceships left a few generations back. Instead they find the mole-men.

4. Eriadne is a recreational planet for treasure hunters, but not all the ruins are man-made. Some are much, much, older even than Earth. So how is space archaeologist Jonas to explain the rocks with Spanish words carved into them?

5. When the body of director Michael Dey is found on the set of his new dystopian thriller The Ruined World, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, Dey didn't cut himself in half with that chainsaw, and two, he really should take his wife out for dinner and a movie.

6. Sixteen-year-old Ashley never imagined she would become warrior princess of the fairy realm Aeoleanua. But something's wrong: her smart phone won't take her password, her BFF Britney doesn't recognize her, and her homeroom teacher keeps marking her absent. What's going on here? 


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Ten has lived the past fifty years believing that she and the others in her underground world are the only survivors of an apocalypse brought on by warlike mortals, escaping with all but their memories intact. [I'm assuming it's Ten and company who escaped, not the warlike mortals, though it's easy enough to interpret it either way. For instance, the warlike mortals could have lit the fuse on the planet-destroying bomb and jumped into their spaceship, barely escaping.] [Also, "mortals" seems a bit vague. Is it a race of aliens, like Klingons? A country on this planet? We can handle knowing what they're called, assuming anyone still remembers.] When they aren’t occupied with widening the walls of their prison under the watchful eye [eyes?] of the elders, and engaging in memory services to honor the Ruined World and its victims, their eternally young days [Their days are eternally young? Do you mean their lives? Are they immortal? Were they immortal before going underground?] consist of lazing around playing games, swimming and sleeping. Luxury life or total bore-fest? Ten can’t decide but it’s all she knows until she and her best friend Rask stumble upon knowledge of a different sort: [evidence] that the wasteland above their heads is anything but.

Curiosity killed the cat, but Ten doesn’t know any cats, and for all she knows, she also can’t die, so when she becomes convinced her favorite elder, the mysterious Eros, is secretly encouraging her to rebel, she takes his advice. [Being immortal and not knowing cats don't belong on opposite sides of "also." It's like a guy comes home and his wife says, "Honey, I'm pregnant with triplets, and I also don't own any green shirts." In any case, it's not clear what the first half of that sentence has to do with the second. Changing "rebel" to "investigate" makes for a better connection, though I think I'd just get rid of the cat and say: The surface is off limits, but Ten wants to investigate anyway, so when she becomes convinced....] Risking being thrown to the insanity-inducing Dark if she’s discovered, [Who's gonna throw her to the Dark? The elders? It's an elder who's goading her into going.] Ten makes a bid for an upper world she only remembers in flashes, but nothing can prepare her for what she finds when she gets there…or for the discovery that she can’t get back.

THE RUINED WORLD is a YA paranormal fantasy complete at 100,000 words and is a bit like if Maggie Stiefvater met Jonathan Stroud overlaid with the darkened tones reminiscent of Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In. [A search of this blog for "Maggie Stiefvater" reveals that two other people have dropped her name in queries. And that before she had ever been published, Maggie submitted a query to us. No doubt, if asked, she would credit EE and his minions with her subsequent success.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Notes

You say they escaped with all but their memories intact. Which is the opposite of escaping with only their memories intact. The mention of remembering in flashes and memory services suggests "all but" is correct, but it seems more likely, when you go underground to escape an apocalypse, your memories would be the only thing you take with you. Did they escape into an underground city that already existed and had plenty of space for all their belongings?

I don't know how much of the book is set underground, but it feels like the underground portion is all setting up Ten's situation, and the story starts when she gets to the surface. In which case you probably should condense this whole thing into one setup paragraph and then give us some idea of what happens. What she finds when she gets above is a good stopping point for the back of the book. For the query, it's what's going to sell the book, and the stopping point might be when Ten has to make a crucial decision that will determine the fate of her people or the planet or herself.

1 comment:

AA said...

"When they aren’t occupied with widening the walls of their prison under the watchful eye [eyes?] of the elders, and engaging in memory services to honor the Ruined World and its victims," We don't really need this. Just say they spend time swimming, etc.

You could probably condense this down to: Ten has lived the past fifty years believing that she and the other immortals in her underground world are the only survivors of an apocalypse brought on by warlike mortals. Their days consist of lazing around playing games, swimming and sleeping. It’s all she knows until she and her best friend Rask stumble upon evidence that the wasteland above their heads is anything but. 

Risking being thrown to the insanity-inducing Dark if she’s discovered, Ten makes a bid for an upper world she only remembers in flashes, but nothing can prepare her for what she finds when she gets there.

Then you need more about what happens above ground and the fact she can't get back.

Don't make the story too vague. You're trying to sell it, and it's hard to sell a product if you won't tell exactly what it is. I wouldn't buy furniture without physical dimensions and color, and your book won't sell if you are too mysterious.