Monday, October 20, 2008
Guess the Plot
Houses of a Thousand Dolls
1. Shanghai, the business center of China. For many it's the gateway to riches. For Xa Xang, it's the home of her brainchild: mobile sex clubs. Can she keep her business going while her customers are coming?
2. Katrin has less than two weeks to figure out who is killing the other girls in the Houses of a Thousand Dolls. Otherwise she'll be sold off cheap, like a cow that stopped giving milk. Also, talkative cats.
3. It was the strangest contest in the history of reality TV, and Blythe Dornbusch was determined to win it. So, after visiting every tag sale and thrift store in Pakumpsuck, Mississippi, she took her thousand dolls and began to build a house. This is what happens when you let pigs schedule programming.
4. There are a thousand stories in the Geisha houses run by Kiroshi, but none more heartwarming than this tale of Li-Li and a wounded American soldier during World War II. Also, a magic Samurai sword.
5. Heroin is being smuggled into the United States in dolls, but when a case of the dolls falls off a truck and is discovered by a Girl Scout troop, the town of Happy Valley must contend with an epidemic of addiction.
6. Collector Corcoran Lourdes sets out to gather every doll, ventriloquist's dummy, and marionette that ever came to life to torment its owner in a horror movie or TV show. Turns out he needs to buy three houses just to hold the ones from Twilight Zone episodes.
Things Katrin Satogo has to do before the Redeeming...
1. Find out who in the Houses of a Thousand Dolls is killing girls. [My money's on Chucky.]
2. Discover the secrets of her own past, who she is and why she was left at the Houses.
3. Avoid betraying the few friends she has, including a clan of talkative cats.
4. Stay alive.
[5. Figure out what the Redeeming is.]
But none of those things are going to [will] be easy. Because missteps in the Houses are as easy as wearing the wrong asari, [Asari? Is that the same as sari? Google doesn't think so. If it's a made-up word you might use the English translation in the query.] and long hidden anger simmers under the ginger-scented air.
Katrin Satogo was left at the Houses of a Thousand Dolls at the age of seven, too old to be Groomed, as the other girls in the Houses were. [Also, too old to make the Olympic gymnastics team.] Now she's seventeen, without formal training or caste, and if she doesn't do something, she'll be thrown out, property of whoever wants to claim her. So when Katrin finds out that three girls have died suspicious deaths, she strikes a bargain with Matron, the head of the Houses. If she finds the killer, she'll have a caste and a future. [You can just give a caste and a future to someone who isn't Groomed? I don't think so.] If she fails, she'll be sold. Now Katrin will need all the luck and help she can get, because everyone is hiding something.
And the Redeeming is only twelve days away....
Houses of a Thousand Dolls is a young adult fantasy about a seventeen-year-old girl trying to figure out who she is, and the unexpected family she discovers along the way. Unlike many fantasy novels today, the setting for this story, the Sangitian Empire, was inspired by the culture of ancient India.
I am a graduate of the Institute for Children's Literature, and have been a contributor to collegesurfing.com. I also recently sold a young adult novel to OakTara (formerly Capstone Fiction), which is projected to be out in trade paperback in spring of 2009.
The complete manuscript of Houses, 50,000 words, is available for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Not bad, but what's the Redeeming?
I'm not sure it would be called a fantasy just because it's set in a fictional place. Does it have magic or fantastical creatures? If the cats actually talk, that's something, but perhaps the main fantasy aspect could be stressed more. Is it the Redeeming?
House of a Thousand Dolls is a better title. You see lots of singular houses in titles: House of Flying Daggers, "House of the Rising Sun," House at Pooh Corner, "Fall of the House of Usher," House of the Seven Gables, House of Sand and Fog and the TV show House. Okay, there's Houses of the Holy, an album by Led Zeppelin (also a song, but they decided the song wasn't good enough to go on the album so they stuck it on a future album that they put out after they ran out of good songs).
You're probably thinking a thousand girls wouldn't fit in one house so it has to be houses. As long as there's one main house that all the dolls pass through (sort of like the administration building on a campus or the bar in a hotel) you can call it House. Actually, you can call it anything you want, since the publisher will probably change it to Hookers in Training in hopes of selling beyond the YA market.
This is the second consecutive query on which I finally gave up and wrote three fake plots because you guys are falling down on the job.