Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. It's Bewitched all over, as Raymond freaks out over the fact that his new girlfriend Callie is a real witch.
2. As an ex-nun on the run, there were two choices for Jayne deWynter in the warren of dark alleys that made up the Black Heart district. She decided being a black witch in training was too reminiscent of the Church, while being a pole dancing stripper at least had shorter work hours.
3. Embroidery isn't forbidden at Holy Toledo Convent, but Sister Aurelia chooses to work on her life-sized tapestry of Adam in the Garden of Eden by moonlight - at least until she gets the hang of it.
4. The nuns thought that she passed her evenings quietly, doing handcrafts. In reality, Mother Superior was battling evil vampires every night. She was Nightcraft Sister, terror of the undead.
5. Little Tommy Trupple has been awakened by strange noises in the dining room. On the night he is brave enough to investigate, he discovers his sister putting together a secret family scrapbook. And yes, it has baby pictures.
6. Betty thought it was fun to join in her sister's midnight pagan rituals--until she heard that at the next ceremony she was scheduled to be the main course for a demon from the sixth plane.
Dear Evil Editor,
Callie the witch just wants to have a little fun—escape her boring coven house once in a while, hang out with her human boyfriend Raymond. But when her best friend Logan vanishes and no one in the coven or the Elders does anything about it, [Why would anyone in the coven or the Elders do anything about it? Do they all know Logan? If not, I'd leave out that phrase.] Callie decides to take the situation into her own hands. She quickly finds out why everyone was wary of getting involved: there are dark forces at work here. And amid everything else, she doesn’t neglect her job at the university’s magical research lab. [If I'd vanished, and my best friend was a witch who was taking things into her own hands, I would hope she would neglect her job, and find me.] [This was shaping up as a decent opening paragraph until that last sentence. Dump it, and instead explain what you mean by dark forces at work.]
Logan’s upstairs neighbor, a sexy warlock named Jeremy, offers to help. Callie is drawn to him, despite historically uneasy relations between witches and warlocks. [Warlocks hate that there are so many more movie roles for witches.] It doesn’t matter, of course, because he has a girlfriend, and Callie is involved with Raymond…assuming he can get over his current freak-out about the fact that she’s a witch. [If it doesn't matter, we shouldn't be talking about it. If that's all the space you're allotting to plot--and right now I can sum it up by saying "When Logan disappears, his best friend, Callie the witch, and his neighbor, Jeremy the warlock, try to find him,"--I'd rather you left out the romantic angle and gave us more about the ramifications of Logan's disappearance. What are they doing to find him? Who is he, other than a friend? Is there reason to believe the "dark forces" want him for something? If so, why him?]
My completed 80,000 word urban fantasy Nightcraft Sister stands on its own, but it is also the first in a series. [It would be easier to make a joke about what happens in the next Callie the witch book if I had a better idea what happens in this one.] The second book is underway, and I have sketches for several more to follow. [Is it easier to write a novel from an outline, or from a sketch?] Enclosed is a brief synopsis and the first five pages. May I send you the entire manuscript?
"Callie the witch just wants to have a little fun" makes it sound like a comedy. Dark forces at work and urban fantasy lead me to think it's somewhat darker. I'm not sure the query succeeds in describing the book's tone.
Maybe an idea of what a witch can do would be helpful. Can she cast a spell that kills all terrorists? Can she eliminate pollution? Or is it more like mixing up a sham love potion?
Is the character actually referred to as "Callie the witch" in the book? That makes it sound like a cartoon character. You know, like Wendy the witch, Casper the friendly ghost, Felix the cat, Miss Snark, the literary agent. If she isn't called that in the book, I'd get it out of the query.