Monday, May 03, 2010
Guess the Plot
The Shaman's Curse
1. Green eyebrows. Kitten trees. Cars that only run backwards. Henry Toppis is starting to think maybe that "Indian Shaman" at the Keokuk County Fair wasn't a fake after all.
2. Felix the Shaman is really a great guy: nice hair, nice teeth, and a nice personality to boot. There's just one problem: he can't actually do anything resembling magic.
3. When porn actor Peter Bilt is transformed into a horse, he is forced to explore the seedy underworld of his industry to make a living.
4. Lasair awakens in a parallel world of magic and supernatural beings, and enrolls in Badness Castle Academy. Her future looks grim--unless she can find an ancient shaman to lead her to salvation.
5. Nan To comes from a line of great Shamans but he has a problem. His stutter makes communication with the spirit world difficult, with often hilarious results. Can Nan To overcome . . . The Shaman's Curse?
6. Khiron, a barbarian king, has conquered the neighboring kingdoms--all but Joctanauga, home of a powerful shaman. Hey, it's hard enough fighting with swords without having to deal with this magic crap.
Dear Evil Editor,
The cider is mulling, the snow is snowing, and your home is invaded by a horde of cloaked and masked killers. [They're Romulans. The Romulans are known for their cloaking devices.] [Based on the dictionary definition, it isn't the cider that's mulling, it's the cook who's mulling--mulling the cider. As for the snow snowing, the reason you seldom hear the weatherman say the rain is raining, the sun is sunning, or the moon is mooning is because other verbs can add information. Snow can be swirling or driving or piling up, like wood chips under an electric lathe. Or falling. None of which matters, because this listing of things that are happening, the last of which dwarfs the others in magnitude, is fine if you're trying to be amusing, but having looked ahead and seen that this isn't comedy, I think we should dump the cider and the snow. It's one thing to set the scene for the entrance of the murderous horde in the book, but in the query we can get to the horde immediately.] They murder your mother in a way you couldn’t imagine. [Does it involve an electric lathe?] You’re pretty sure you’re next. [Wait a minute; is this book about me?] What would you do? What will seventeen-year-old Lasair Drake do?
Abducted and abandoned by the horde, ["Horde" was okay once, to tell us there were lots of them, but after that we should call them intruders or killers. Or Romulans.
Horde member 1: Tell me again why we abducted this kid instead of killing her in a way she couldn't imagine?
Horde member 2: You're asking me? Let's drop her off at the next orphanage.]
Lasair awakens in a hospital, in a parallel world called The Mystic Tier, which is home to magic users and other supernatural beings. [We know from the title that this is fantasy, but you haven't mentioned the title in the letter, so you might want to open with your title/genre, as the genre is obvious only to those who know that in reality, killers don't wear cloaks.] Her Healer, Deacon Nox, has been charged with her care and enrols [sp.] Lasair at his alma mater, Badness Castle Academy. [Everyone older than eight just rolled their eyes.] Here, she finds herself in the midst of a centuries old mystery--an adventure filled with secrets, lies, ghosts and dreams, linking the castle’s dark history to her present and her mother’s murder.
Together with her new friends, and enigmatic Professor Vesperus Vermillion, Lasair comes to learn the deeper truth of why she was abducted and the grim future ahead of her. A link to an ancient Shaman and a barbaric warlord could either be her salvation or her demise.
The Shaman’s Curse is a 368 page fantasy/mystery novel that may appeal to both young adult and mature readers. I’ve enjoyed writing as a personal hobby for nearly ten years now, and have been published by Global Publishing Central and Grey Inspirations, both partners of Helium.com. This is my first novel.
I hope the novel, The Shaman’s Curse is of interest to you, and wish to thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. Enclosed are the first thirteen pages (to the end of the first chapter) and a self addressed stamped envelope for ease of your reply.
[The title comes from the prologue, which shows how, five hundred years before Lasair was born, her father, Lord Badness conquered and exterminated the Selk people. After the Shaman had been forced to watch his kinsmen die, he cursed Lord Badness, that he would know no pleasure in his victories, and one day, his own progeny would smite him.]
Lasair gets abducted and awakens in another world. That's the setup. Unfortunately, everything after that, which is the main plot, is vague. By getting the cider and snow and Evil Editor out of paragraph 1 (and cutting much of the last two paragraphs) we open up room for specifics about the mystery and the secrets and the deeper truth and maybe even the shaman's curse.
Naming a villain "Lord Badness" is going to make readers think you were too lazy to think up a name.