Wednesday, January 16, 2008
Guess the Plot
The Tea Master
1. After tea master Warren Pax saves the Xapa tribe from pirates, Mira Manchu makes a film of his exploits, starring jailbait pop tart Hamadryad Botticelli. Warren, who had once been married to Mira, but lost her to his nemesis Victor Fishfire, then marries Hamadryad. Hilarity ensues. Also, unicorns and a sea monster.
2. Foo, a young martial artist, is apprenticed to the old Master, whose Lapsang Souchong style is legendary. But when the Earl Grey Ninja attacks, terrorizing the school and the countryside, the old man is killed. Does Foo have what it takes to become the new . . . Tea Master?
3. Another Starbucks? Li Po Chuang can stand it no longer. He gathers all the other Tea Masters in the dead of night, and they dress as business executives, board a container ship, and dump all the coffee beans into the harbor. Also, a haiku-reciting vampire.
4. This urbo-pop comic thriller culminates in a battle scene as spectacular as the clash of gods when the Tea Master fights the Coffee Demon and the Vodka King for the heart of Tiffany Johnson, freshman at Kansas University.
5. Early in her career, Jane Cartwright was nothing but a scandalous latte-&-muffin stripper. Now she's the Tea Master of London and she doesn't have to put up with any guff from Guido, the brainless pizza junky from Chicago. He'll satisfy her hunger or the mash-and-banger crew will waste him.
6. The fate of Samoa hangs by a thread as a faceless fiend known as The Tea Master finishes brewing his most diabolical Cup of Doom. But all is not lost--a team of superspies are headed for the beach, disguised as ten burly surfer dudes and their amazing swimsuit photographer chick, Mae Wong.
Dear [squidnugget of loving-kindness],
I have written a novel titled 'The Tea Master', which I would like you to read and consider representing. It is slightly over 100,000 words and set in a magic-realist version of modern day. The lead is the dopey but charming Warren Pax - but the first person we meet is his nemesis: Victor Fishfire. Warren's mother broke his wrist.
Moreover, Victor's prize-winning lilies were eaten by starstruck unicorns, his latest wife has left him... he was snubbed by the Academy, his Best Screenplay misattributed to popular children's book writer Stella de Bouillon... Victor was stoic, knowing the cause: Perpetua Pax saw his too, too brilliant film, went into labour, and died in his (now broken) arms. Her newborn son Warren barely knew Victor but grew up with filmmakers anyhow: skin-obsessed John Brown and Hong Kong-Bollywood star Mira Manchu. The youngest was jailbait pop tart Hamadryad Botticelli, rescued from a sea monster by Mira.
Warren married Mira, discovered he was a tea genius, and lost her to Victor. He hunted down the reclusive Stella, author of 'The Tea Master', to ask her to endorse his tea blends. She agreed, after he saved her and the whole Xapa tribe from a bloody pirate attack. Mira made a movie of Warren's exploits, starring Hamadryad, who Warren subsequently married.
Years later, Xapa chief Guignol died. Princes Irmuh and Andrei asked Warren to preside over the telepathic ritual for picking the new ruler. However, when Irmuh kidnapped Victor and his daughter Victoria as a bribe for Warren, the visions were overwhelmed by Warren's old Fishfire-resentment. Then when the kidnappers came for Mira, it was she who overwhelmed them.
Now Warren's old revenge motives, and Mira's new ones, collide in hallucinogenic satires of Hollywood and literature, trapping Victor, Stella and Hamadryad in the mix. It's up to them to break Mira and Warren out of the nightmare - at the price of their own dreams.
[It's been a while since I felt the need to do this, but I think we need a chart to keep our characters straight:
Warren Pax: Dopey but charming hero, tea genius.
Victor Fishfire: Warren's nemesis; not clear why.
Perpetua Pax: Warren's mother, died in Victor's arms, which she broke. Or possibly she broke only his wrist.
Mrs. Fishfire: Victor's wife, who has left him. She also leaves the query, having done nothing.
Stella de Bouillon: Got credit for Victor's screenplay. Author of The Tea Master. Not clear whether The Tea Master is the screenplay in question.
John Brown: Filmmaker. Skin-obsessed, whatever that means.
Mira Manchu: Hong Kong-Bollywood star, married Warren, dumped him for Victor. Seeks revenge on someone. Trapped in nightmare with Warren.
Hamadryad Botticelli: Trapped in "the mix" with Stella and Victor. Youngest filmmaker. Rescued from sea monster by Mira. Marries Warren after Mira dumps him.
Guignol: Xapa chief. Dead.
Victoria: Daughter of Victor. Kidnapped.
Prince Irmuh: Xapa tribesman who kidnapped Victoria. Also kidnapped Victor. Apparently as a bribe to get Warren to name him new Xapa chief.
Prince Andrei: Xapa tribesman who also wants Warren to name him chief.]
My writing credits include editorial and writing for Shiny Media, being editor of Mascaret magazine, professional blogging dating back to 1999, having scooped the Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf/People magazine scandal in the mid-90s, and being inspired by my literary heritage as a Dumas. [Are you sure you spelled that correctly?] [Sorry, cheap joke. Couldn't resist. Hey, it's Evil Editor, remember?]
I have taken the liberty of pasting the first chapter of 'The Tea Master' below. May I send you a complete manuscript?
Unfortunately, rereading it with my chart didn't clear it up. The plot is so incomprehensible, I guarantee half the people reading this assumed it was a hoax. Start over and ask yourself, what does my main character want, and why isn't he getting it? What's he gonna do about it? Focus on that. Do not lose your focus for even one sentence.
This is a list of people and events in your book. It includes a lot of stuff that's not vital to the main plot. That happens a lot, but usually I can piece together the main plot after weeding out the rest. In this case, I have no idea what the main plot is or why I should care what happens to Warren. As you start over, I recommend you not even look at this version. Put it aside and focus.
Have you considered writing the How I Broke the Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf/People Magazine Scandal story? It sounds like a great book.