Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Guess the Plot
Vesper of the Blue Wind
1. In an effort to both liven up Evening Prayer and provide a modicum of warmth in the freezing stone chapel, Brother Crudfile experiments with lighting his own gaseous emanations.
2. Ever since "Fragments" Vesper ate that indigo bean dish there's been as much hot air coming out of his back end as there always is from his pie hole. Is that why FOX News suddenly wants to hire him?
3. Sister Flatulata finds inspiration for her liturgical compositions in the most mundane objects. Peanuts, beer and a blueberry slushy will be immortalized in song at vespers next Sunday, but will the parishioners be prepared for the nun's unconventional performance on wind instruments?
4. Psychologist Vesper McNeil overcame many obstacles to land her dream job: Chief of Group Therapy at the Hormel Research Institute for the Clinically Depressed. Now if she can only convince management to stop serving black bean chili for lunch.
5. Japali wants to be friends with Kottre, but the only way she can work up the courage to approach Kottre is by taking on the persona of Vesper, an albino duelist in the Blue Wind, an online role-playing group.
6. Vesper, Kansas. Population-not enough to be interesting. Wind-enough to make Linda Dunaway tired of dust, tired of bleak fields, tired of her no-good husband, Chance. Her only hope is faith in God--and the hunky unattached engineer looking to build a wind-powered energy plant on her property.
Japali, role-player and suicidal teenager, drives away her friend, Kottre, fellow role-player, with erratic behavior. Afterwards, Japali pulls herself together and wants to be friends with Kottre again. But shame keeps her from going to her friend directly. So Japali seeks Kottre through Aether, an international, virtual reality network that hosts thousands of role-playing games. In order to (secretly) get to Kottre again, Japali will have to take on the role of Vesper, an albino duelist. [Is that an albino who fights duels, or a duelist who only fights albinos?] [So "duelist" is this character's occupation? You'd have to fight an awful lot of duels to reach the point where, when someone asks what you do for a living, you say, "I fight duels." Of course, if we assume duels are fought when someone insults someone else, I'll have to concede that albinos probably would get involved in an inordinate number.]
But Kottre, aka Kearheart, has a legendary status on Aether that ostracizes Japali [aka Jalopy]. Japali must start from the bottom, going from game to game, earning notoriety, before Kottre and her group, the Blue Wind, will even consider her. When it becomes apparent that Japali will never accomplish this in one lifetime, [Everyone else who has accomplished this has done so in far less than a lifetime. Probably in a year or two. If it's going to take Japali more than a lifetime, she must suck at role playing.] [If Kottre was willing to be Japali's friend before, despite the fact that she sucks at role playing, why does she now have to attain the highest levels to regain the friendship?] she must reveal her identity, contact Kottre outside the game, or let a good friend go forever. [A good friend of a suicidal girl would not be driven away by erratic behavior; she'd insist on helping.] But shame and fear keeps Japali trapped in indecision. [I think you should swap their names; then when Kottre wins her way back into Japali's good graces, Japali can say, "Welcome back, Kottre." Also, spell it Kotter, and change Japali to Horshack.Then when people Google Welcome Back, Kotter characters, your book comes up and you sell millions.]
VESPER OF THE BLUE WIND is the 90,000-word, science fiction/fantasy novel that covers Japali’s adventures. [Her adventures? What adventures? I hope you don't mean Vesper's adventures, because adventures that take place on a computer screen or at a card table aren't gonna fly as a 90,000-word book. If Jalopy has adventures, bring that up in the query letter. It's gotta be more interesting than reading about teens and their role-playing games.] As per your submission instructions, I have included a bio, synopsis, and sample pages. The completed manuscript is available upon request.
Thank you for your time.
It's not clear who the audience is. If it's for people who are addicted to role-playing games, say so. The number of people addicted to role-playing games who also buy books is highly limited, but fortunately, most of them read this blog, so you may find a sympathetic ear. If the book is for twelve-year-olds, make that clear as well.
The main problem is that the only thing at stake is whether some teen regains a friendship that we have no reason to believe is even worth regaining. Even those who want to follow Jalopy's climb up the Aether ladder will be disappointed when she fails to reach the top in her entire lifetime.
If you aren't going to give anyone a normal name, at least mention where the story is set so we know whether it's on Earth.