Sunday, July 02, 2006

Face-Lift 95

Guess the Plot

Stolen Magic

1. Archmage Blackwell makes a dark pact with Diebold Magic Systems to provide corrupted amulets to all of the wizards in Ohio.

2. Lectara, the priestess of the Fire God’s temple, has lived for centuries by stealing the bodies of her successors. And Morganise is next in line.

3. Newlyweds Paul and Irene were more in love and happier than they ever thought possible--until a ghost from Paul's past came into town: flight attendant Sherry St. James.

4. A chemistry major invents a new hallucinogen, "Magic," that compels professors to give every paper an A. When it's stolen before finals, can the chem major, a sorority beauty, and the ghost of a lovelorn freshman regain the serum in time to slip it into Prof. Quimby's tea?

5. An Olympic snowboarder, favored to win the gold medal in halfpipe, breaks his leg and must miss the Games, opening the door for his rival (in sport and love) to take his place and possibly win the heart of Olympic teammate Jenny O'Hearn.

6. After making Joan's husband disappear on stage, magician David Copperfield is forced to concede to her that he can't bring the man back, having mysteriously lost his powers.

Original Version

Dear ????:

Morganise must free the gentle Mother Goddess, who is being held against her will. But how can a simple country girl defeat the impetuous Fire God? [And why is a simple country girl the one who must defeat the Fire God? What can a simple country girl do that the Mother Goddess herself can't do?] [Is the Mother Goddess the mother of the Fire God? Because usually gods have more respect for their elders. You didn't see Ares holding Hera against her will. She'd have turned him into a squid.] Touched by the goddess, Morganise acquires abilities known only from legend. [Such as?] As her powers unfold, she draws the attention of Lectara, the priestess of the Fire God’s temple. Lectara has lived for centuries by stealing the bodies of her successors, and Morganise is the next in line. [A simple country girl is successor to the Fire God's temple priestess? How was that determined?]

The angst-ridden relationship with Morganise’s childhood friend, Keldan, as well as the origins of Kechli, a blind and twisted spirit-handler, tell of how we are all connected on a level we don’t always understand. [As I understand it, we're all connected to Kevin Bacon.] When tradition erodes so does that connection, leaving a deep loneliness behind. Morganise is driven by a need to lessen the loneliness, to find a place in a world that has never really wanted her. [Driven to do what? Free the Mother Goddess? How will that lessen the loneliness?] [Usually it's societal outcasts that the world doesn't want, not simple country girls.]

I am affiliated with Web Writing Women, [So you're the people responsible for everyone having to type www every time they want to go anywhere.], and Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. where in 2000 my confession story won 1st HM. I wrote a weekly column for Shawnee News-Star, and a monthly column for the newsletter of my hometown writer’s club, PAWS, of which I was president. I also wrote all the copy for a retail website. [It's traditional to include the book's word count, and even its title in the letter.]

I will be glad to send a sample, if you so request. Thank you for your time.



The second paragraph could be describing a completely different book from that being described in the first paragraph. It tells us who a couple characters are, but nothing about their role in the book's plot. I recommend giving us more on the villainess Lectara, more plot, and a better connection between the two paragraphs. If that means eliminating the credits paragraph, so be it.


Anonymous said...

But I wanted to read about Archmage Blackwell and Diebold Magic Systems and chaos in Ohio (which may explain their voting habits!) LOL at this pitch.

Anonymous said...

Is there a publishing equivalent to the Kevin Bacon game? Are you all, say, no more than six degrees away from Binky Urban?

none said...

I'm not quite sure what Pet Memorials have to do with writing. Unless the author means

Anonymous said...

Now, if it was called Stollen Magic and contained recipies for scrumptious German cakes, I'd go for it...

Anonymous said...

More plot, less theme. In a lot of cases, the theme can be inferred from a good plot summary. That whole how we're all connected, levels of understanding, dark side of the Force--oops, wrong story--it's great to have those kinds of issues in the book, but its hard to incorporate them gracefully into a query letter. Believe me, I know.

Stephen said...

I've tried, I've tried so hard, but there's just something about that name that takes me back to my misspent youth.

"Morganise, moccupy, call a general strike!"

(At least I spared y'all from the suggestion that Stolen Magic was a satire on morganised religion... doh!)

Anonymous said...

Why is Morganise going to become the next priestess of the Fire God temple when she's supposed to destory the Fire God? That's like a nun kicking Jesus' ass.

Anonymous said...


I got the impression frm the query that the evil Lectara is going to steal Morganise's body. Then Morganise's disembodied soul will have to watch her body being used to further the cause of her goddess's enemy.

Hmm, there could be a humorous sub-plot in there, about how Morganise's spirit gets revenge by hiding Lectara's car keys and putting gum in her hairbrush while she's not looking.

Sherri said...

This one is mine! Thanks, EE for the critique, and everybody else who left helpful comments. Damn it, I really thought I had it this time. Except of course, for the idiotic ommission of the word count and title. Doh! I'll go back to the drawing board now.

Sherri said...

Oh, and by the way...Lectara just wants Morganise's body because she's an easy target and magically powerful. Lectara doesn't know that Morganise is there to take down the Fire God.

And as I'm writing this, I see even more clearly the gaping hole I left, just because I was trying to get my unimpressive credits in a single-page query. *growls*

Buffysquirrel: yes,, and a fine org at that. :)