Guess the Plot
Seeds in Shallow Soil
1. Sacked from selling seashells at the seashore, Sue seeks to sow seeds in shallow soil.
2. When magic and science both fail to kill the toxic weeds destroying their crops, farmers, led by a stranger in patent leather shoes, set out on a brutal journey in search of a new home, one surrounded by a fortress that weeds can't penetrate.
3. Rose was always down on her luck. Now that she's grown, she wants to help her old friends, Iris, Holly, and Violet. But can this trio of miscreants rise above their meager surroundings? Or will they always live in the shallow end?
4. Conman Jonas accidentally discovers he's good enough at the self-help guru shtik to thumb his nose at the feds who're giving him the eye. Unfortunately, he's good enough at it to become internationally recognized, and his long, long trail of unhappy marks want back what he bilked them out of. Plus interest.
5. Don't worry, this isn't yet another preachy allegory. It's your complete guide to the exciting world of tillandsia--plants that grow anywhere, need minimal care, and die after they flower. Which, come to think of it, pretty much makes it yet another preachy allegory.
6. Farmer Hiram sows his corn on barren, rocky soil. After years of failure, he sells his tractor, moves to Washington, and makes a seven-figure income lobbying for farm support.
Dear Evil Editor,
Nobleman Mathieu Westerhall is nobody’s idea of a hero. He’s privileged and aloof. He doesn’t venture outside of his upper crust neighborhood in the capitol [capital] if he can help it.
Which is why he’s dismayed to be squatting in a field in the remote hamlet of Lambahvras; [Wasn't lamb bah vras the sheeps' password in Babe?] a place so small the name on the map far outsizes it’s [its] geographical area. [I assume you mean its geographical area on the map, and not its actual geographical area, because otherwise Lambahvras would have to be about two inches wide. Or the map would have to be about a mile wide, in which case it wouldn't fit in the glove compartment, even when folded up. Not that they have glove compartments in Lambahvras, I assume.] [When you think about it, every country's name would outsize it's geographical size on the map if you use a big enough font size.] [I wonder if stage coaches and hansom cabs had glove compartments. Never mind me, I'm babbling.] He’s attempting to scoop up dirt samples with one hand and keep his handkerchief pressed to his nose with the other. [If only he had a coronavirus mask.] All while avoiding scratches from a thorny, foul-smelling weed that the village innkeeper assures him is toxic.
No one mentioned this agricultural problem when the Queen assigned him the dreaded task of land survey. He was expecting quaint hospitality and platters of fresh food. [If that's what he expected, why is the task "dreaded"?] It wasn’t until the carriage driver had gone that he learned there was no food to be spared. That the town had been overrun by this stubborn weed that chokes crops and cattle alike.
He ought to have returned at once to report this to the Royal Botanists Society. He could have returned home, filed a report, and resumed his wedding plans. But by the time his reports are [got] reviewed, the homesteads could be destroyed.
The Lambahvrans are desperate. Desperate enough to allow a city man like him to use his fancy science equipment and interfere with their hexes. These are their homes. Their farmland. And their reservation. [Can you be more specific about the fancy scientific equipment? That Matt arrived by carriage and not car, and that he's wearing patent leather shoes, would indicate it's betweem 1820 and 1910. If we're on Earth. So I assume we're not talking about crop dusting airplanes.]
What Mathieu doesn’t know yet is that his fancy science is going to fail. [Thus portending the rise of the first Trumpians.] And the Lambahvrans are going to leave. It’s going to be Mathieu of all people who suggests hiding out in an ancient island fortress. [Wait, what are they hiding from? The weed? That's the only threat that's been mentioned.]
Perhaps most absurd of all, he’s going to go with them. On a hard march through the wilderness. In patent leather shoes. And that reaching this fortress -- if they can -- will only prove the first challenge. [The second will be convincing his privileged fiancée to move into an ancient island fortress with a bunch of impoverished strangers.]
SEEDS IN SHALLOW SOIL is a 108,000 word fantasy novel. It is intended to be the first novel in a series, although I designed the structure to work as a standalone book [with the potential to become a series.]
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I think you left something out. If they can't beat the weeds, why don't they just march to somewhere with good soil and no weeds? What does this island fortress offer them? Your entire plot seems to be farmers facing ruin because of weeds take up residence in an old fortress.
If most of the story takes place after they get to the fortress, you could just start with:
When the hamlet Lambahvras is overrun by toxic weeds that choke their crops and their cattle, the people embark on a long and brutal journey to an ancient island fortress.
Then you have plenty of room to tell us what happens in your story.
If most of the book is the journey to the fortress, tell us about the obstacles they must overcome along the way, and how they plan to overcome them. I'm assuming these obstacles are more interesting than weeds.
Either way, we need to know why they're going where they're going.