Thursday, October 08, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. In the greatest mystery ever to challenge Miss Fiskle, a beautiful music student elopes with the barman from the Waterhouse-Woolibob Pub, an establishment of shady repute. Unpredictably, Penelope loses her gentleman somewhere between the altar and the car. Has the brute died, or simply gone AWOL?
2. Daughter of an opera singer and a taximan, Aria Bentley seeks fame and fortune at sea. She'll be the first teen to sail solo round the world with a full-sized piano on board. Except that, just as the hurricane begins to blow, she discovers an unconscious man in the water. Should she rescue this hairy castaway? Or leave him for the sharks?
3. When pirates board a Caribbean yacht, they don't expect the vessel to suddenly be transported into a universe where islands and ships float in the air. Nor to be chased through the sky by El Diablo. Nor to encounter Mother Earth singing "Sempre Libera." Some days it just doesn't pay to get out of bed.
4. Anna Maria lands the lead in Carmen. She's sure to be the toast of the town--but the opera opens the night of the full moon. Will the audience buy her soprano wolf howls as an avant garde Carmen, or is she doomed to get scathing reviews?
5. Shayna longs to sing at the Met. She looks like an angel, but has the voice of a bullfrog in heat. Meanwhile her best friend, Kelly, has the voice of an angel, but looks like a bullfrog. Can one plastic surgeon, two costume designers, and a mad scientist bring these women happiness?
6. Her father wants Millicent to sing soprano, but she's perfectly content as the gothy, oppressed mistress of the opera house owner. The show must go on, however, and when the actress playing Camille falls ill, Millicent must step in. Hilarity ensues.
Dear Agent Cuddles;
Ken Williams spends his days sailing charters from a small Caribbean island while trying to forget the friends he was manipulated into betraying four years ago. When Garth Anderson, the rogue operative who set Ken up, forces him into a modern act of piracy, neither man expects the yacht they've targeted to be pulled into another universe. [Not even Evil Editor expected it.] There, islands float in the sky, ships sail through the air and the four elements have taken human form. [Are they on a planet that has no gravity? If islands float in the sky, why doesn't everything else float into the sky?]
Ken ends up on a ship crewed by the M'wani, a handful of escaped slaves hoping to reach safety on the distant coast. [If ships sail through the air, I don't see why reaching a coast is significant. It's like a WWI dogfight over the English Channel, and one pilot thinks, I've got no more ammo and no maneuverability, but if I can just make it to the coast he can't touch me. Reaching the coast might be good if you're being chased by a submarine.] Among them is N'gali, the Earth Mother. She is being chased across the sky by El Diablo, the avatar of Fire who leads a nation of fanatic conquerors. El Diablo has already captured the avatar of Water and has exiled Father Sky, the only spirit strong enough to oppose him. [I would think water would be better at opposing fire than sky. I base this on TV shows I've seen where they spray water on burning buildings. Though come to think of it, the buildings always burn down anyway.] If El Diablo catches N'gali, he will use her power to create a fiery new world where his followers will rule forever. [Let him create a new world where his followers rule forever. Anything to get him out of our hair.] [By the way, there has to be a limit to how many of your followers can rule forever. If your followers are all ruling forever, it eventually occurs to you that no one's really following you.]
Ken has to choose between surrendering the M'wani and running a race that looks hopeless, for El Diablo's soldiers control the coast and have trapped the M'wani between fleets. [Why is it Ken who has to choose? He just got there and they've already appointed him leader? I'm surprised they don't think he's a spy.] Ken's best friend has sabotaged the M'wani ship in a desperate attempt to return to his home world, [What's Ken's best friend doing in this universe? And what do you mean by "his home world"? Isn't Ken's best friend from Earth?] and El Diablo's accidental death [The great El Diablo, scourge of the universe, villain of the novel, on the verge of capturing his nemesis, isn't defeated by your main character, but dies in an accident?] has transformed Anderson into the new embodiment of Fire. [If you're in human form, what does it mean to be the embodiment of fire? Is it like being the Human Torch?]
Aria is an 86,000 word fantasy. The complete manuscript is available on request. My short work has appeared [where the streets have no name].
What's so great about human form that the four elements would all take it? Maybe if he'd remained in spirit form El Diablo would be alive today.
Is Ken on the yacht when it is drawn into the other universe, and if so, why is he suddenly on the M'wani's boat instead of the yacht? What happened to the yacht?
What's N'gali doing on the M'wani's boat? Can't the Earth goddess come up with better transportation? Shouldn't she be on the earth instead of the water or the sky anyway?
In a novel it's bad when aliens appear in chapter 14; in a query, it's bad when they appear any later than sentence 1. The query might sound less nutzburgers if the fantasy world is mentioned up front. Or--and this will seem a bit radical--keep only the first sentence and rework the novel into a thriller set on plain old Earth.