Monday, November 09, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. The cello is said to be the instrument closest to the human voice. But Zoe didn't expect hers to start humming on its own. Nor did she expect the notes to sound increasingly like human words, impassioned and pleading words. Now if she can just keep her music teacher from finding out...
2. Claire lost her six-year-old heart to Bobby's recorder solo in their first grade Christmas Pageant. Twenty years later she buys the night club where Bobby plays the sax from the Russian Mafia. They seek resonance amid syndicated crime, wannabe musicians, and alley cats.
4. Jordan Seymore's braces broadcast amusingly evil subliminal messages. Now, dad carries a doll, sis meows, and the school cafeteria has served “chili” 27 days running. Can Jordan convince autoshop student Sally French to help reharmonize his mouth?
5. No one understands. Beautiful voices are Fiona's life. Looks, brains and money are unimportant. Now 32 years old, with Mom breathing down her neck and old friends having babies left and right, Fiona listens in vain for Mr. Right. Until one day she hears “Stick 'em up, lady!” Could this be the one?
6. Emma Drishumm has just learned that she has a super power: the ability to stop time by shopping for shoes. Now if she can just figure out how to use this power to defeat the soul-sucking demons that are chasing her . . .
Dear Evil Editor,
I am seeking representation for my young adult, fantasy debut novel RESONANCE completed in 116,000 words.
Ace school exams, always be nice to customers and come home early, are things that Emma Drishumn understands, except the concept of her dead father that she strongly believes to be alive and soul-sucking shadow demons chasing after her. [A horrible start to your plot description. If you change "except" to "unlike" it begins to mean what you want it to mean, but it's still awkward, and I wouldn't call her dead father a concept, and mainly, you're comparing apples to oranges . . . and plums. Comparing the "rules to live by" that she understands with those she doesn't understand would make sense, but you're comparing them with the concept of death and with shadow demons. It's like saying, Although Emma understood why her mom wanted her to do the dishes, she had little grasp of philosophical hermeneutics and zombie cows.]
Curiously observing the demons' feasting ways, she is cornered and almost eaten by them if it had not been for a dashing young king and a condescending shadow stalker, introducing themselves as Bringers of Salvation and Death. [This isn't a sentence. You could change "she is cornered and almost eaten" to "she would have been cornered and eaten." It'll make sense, but you ought to make this two sentences. One gets the impression you were told to summarize your plot in three sentences and are cramming your eight sentences into three by removing some periods.] The two surmise that she is a Bringer as well, since she can nonchalantly walk through the Cloak: a phenomenon that hides human awareness from the demons; but as she discovers the power to stop time while shopping for shoes, the Bringers rethink their conclusion since no Bringer has ever had that ability. [I surrender.] [I gotta say, the power to stop time while shopping for shoes is possibly the least useful superhero power ever.] [Unless . . . okay, if she sees a crime going down and runs into the nearest shoe store to buy some pumps, thus stopping time, does time start up again when she leaves the shoe store, or does she have a lag period while she breaks in her new shoes during which she can run to the crime scene and handcuff the criminal? That would make it somewhat useful, but as there may be few shoe stores in areas that have heavy crime, she might want to have a shoe salesman accompany her everywhere she goes so she can shop for shoes at a moment's notice. They'd be a crime-fighting duo, like Batman and Robin. Call her sidekick Zappo.
When Emma sees a crime being committed, Zappo immediately starts trying to sell her some shoes. Whether you want to call them Emma Drishumm and Zappo, or give Emma a cooler name, like Stopwatch, is up to you.]
As the boys offer protection, her world darkens as she is forced to help them save human souls but is unable to do so for her own best friend. [Who are the boys? The king and the shadow stalker? Is a shadow stalker a boy who stalks shadow demons?] After recovering from shock, she finds that she alone believes in her best friend’s existence. [Finally a nice simple clear sentence. Although there's been nothing about her best friend up to now, and we don't know what shocked her. Did she get zapped . . . by ZAPPO!?] In an unavoidable confrontation with a greater demon, the situation turns from a simple demon-slaying-day into a dire fight for her life as she uncovers the true reason for the demons’ pursuit and her confabulated memories regarding her best friend and her father. [The memories may be confabulated, but the query is discombobulated.]
Thank you for your time.
[P.S. I got the resonance title from when a Bringer realizes his true power its called resonance.]
What does "a phenomenon that hides human awareness from the demons" mean?
Scrap the whole thing. Start over and force yourself to abandon complex sentences. Simple and clear is what you should be striving for. Get rid of Tweedledum and Tweedledee. Focus on Emma. Who she is, that demons are chasing her, that she has escaped them so far through her ability to stop time, but she has a plan to defeat them for good, if only . . . .