Friday, June 04, 2010

Face-Lift 779

Guess the plot

God's Play

1. Hermes wants a new theater production in his honor--there hasn't been one for over 1,000 years. He bribes a muse to inspire rap artist Suu-Yuu with Greek fantasies and hires on as a roadie. Odin, Thor, and Zeus want in on the action. Storms ensue.

2. God’s greatest desire was to write a play. He’s created his perfect cast of characters coupled with enough strife to last a few millennia. Dress rehearsal was a disaster, but opening night ends with nary a hitch. The real action will come after God reads Evil Editor’s scathing review.

3. Sister Melba Peter thought she had it bad when the other nuns would make up words during their weekly Scrabble game. But that's before the Almighty himself shows up for a round or two and starts creating actual things represented by the words. Can Sister Mel fwelge this eueuro?

4. To get revenge on the mortals who imprisoned them, a race of insane gods plan to cleanse and repopulate the world. Standing in their way: seventeen-year-old Rachell. But will she find time to save the world when her father insists she slop the pigs first?

5. Mike can't believe that being hit by a meteorite has given him godlike powers. Now his wife Megan has triple-E breasts, his house is 1800 rooms, and everything he touches turns to gold . . . which kind of defeats the point of giving Megan humongous knockers.

6. George Callaghan is a seminary student struggling with doubt, forever tantalizingly close to the experience of God he craves, only to be unfulfilled. Eventually he comes to the conclusion that God is playing hide and seek. What's alarming is that God's next game may well be marbles--with the planets.

Original Version

Being a god isn’t all roses and virgin sacrifices.

For the Creator Gods, a race of insane immortals trapped behind a wall of ice, divinity stopped being fun a long time ago. To get revenge on the mortals who imprisoned them, the Creators plan to remake the world in their own image. Step one: cleanse the other “impure” races. [Wrong. Step one: get out from behind this damn wall of ice.]

[Ten ways gods can get out from behind a wall of ice (having confirmed that there's no door in the wall):

1. Melt the wall. Actually, just melt an opening big enough to crawl through. Should be a piece of cake for a god of fire.
2. Fly over the wall. All you need is one god who can fly over the wall and go get a rope ladder.
3. Walk around the end of the wall. You don't even have to be a god for this one, and it's so obvious.
4. Break the wall down. Is Thor one of the gods? Because his hammer could turn the wall into ice cubes. Lightning bolts would also work.
5. Global warming. When you're immortal, waiting until ice no longer exists is like a human waiting until his eyes reopen while in the process of blinking.
6. Tunnel under the wall. There's always a god of the underworld. How do you think they get to the underworld?
7. You've heard of a human pyramid? How about a god pyramid? And if you don't have enough gods to reach to the top of the wall . . .
8. Grappling hook. The god on top of the pyramid tosses the hook over the wall.
Travel in a straight line away from the wall. Once you've circumnavigated the globe, Voila! You're on the other side of the wall.
Magic. Turn the wall into a staircase. Turn a seagull into a helicopter. You're gods, for Christ's sake.]

Step two: repopulate with new and better breeds—twisted creatures that literally live on fear.

The only thing that stands in their way [besides that infuriating wall of ice] is Rachell aehl-Darenn, the seventeen-year-old heir to a dying race of non-human sorcerers [Assuming there's a good reason the gods couldn't get out from behind the wall for years or millenia, how is it they're suddenly not behind the wall?] Her grandfather was once crown prince in the conquered land of Amor Dal, but Rachell can only find time to plot against the human usurpers after she's slopped her father's pigs. All her life, Rachell has been trying to prove she's worthy of her grandfather's love despite being a half-human bastard. But when the Creators’ twisted children invade her homeland, Rachell must bridge the gap between her people and the humans she despises, [The only humans in the book are evil usurpers, and the main character despises humans. You do realize that if this book gets published your main audience is going to be humans, right?] even if that means serving the Emperor who enslaved her race.

Because things are never simple when the gods come out to play…

GOD’S PLAY is a 120,000-word completed fantasy novel set in a world of tattooed slave sorcerers, drug-addicted dragon riders, and one-eyed gods. [Your description of the world sounds more exciting than your description of the plot.] I’m an award-winning journalist and newspaper editor, and a piece of mine was published in [REDACTED].

I’m querying you because you've nurtured some incredible talent [AGENT SPECIFICS GO HERE]

Thanks for your consideration,


Based on the plot, I would expect the first word of your title to be either Gods or Gods'. Why is it God's?

Why is this pig-slopping teenager the only obstacle facing the gods? What can she do, and how does it involve serving the emperor? The gods are out from behind the wall and plan to destroy the world. Rachell wants to save the world so Gramps will like her. That's the setup. Now we need a few specifics on what happens.


Ellie said...

#3 is great!

J.M. said...

I've got:

* Creator Gods, who are insane and immortal

* The mortals who imprisoned them, who may or may not be any or all of:

* "Rachell's people," who are non-human sorcerers of the conquered land of Amor Dal -- so they're both a separate species and a citizenry, something like the Japanese once claimed to be

* dragons

* the humans, who may or may not include:

* the Creators' twisted children, whose species and mortality status are not stated but who live among the mortals

* Sorcerer/human mongrels such as Rachell, or is she the only one?

I'm not sure who-all falls into which group, which is the first problem. The second problem is, humans have surprising powers over sorcerers and gods.

Marissa Doyle said...

EE's comment about "you do realize that your main audience is going to be humans, right?" is bang on the a paltry human, I'm not feeling like there's anyone in this story I can empathize with, which isn't good. I'm not getting a clear picture of who Rachell is or why I should care about her and her've got the facts down here, but almost no emotion.

EE, your "10 Ways Gods Can Get Out from Behind a Wall of Ice" was priceless.

word ver: pesitive. Love it.

Stephen Prosapio said...

Agree with Ellie -- whoever wrote #3 needs to step forward for credit and an assignment to write that story!

I hit the "God's" thing before I saw EE note it. Technically it sounds like it should be "Gods' Play" but I actually just like "Gods Play"

Well written query. I wouldn't be concerned about selling to humans. We get eaten by werewolfs and are eaten by vampires on a regular basis and that's not stopping sales.

I would definitely clarify about the Ice Wall. It's confusing that they're trapped and then all of a sudden are able to do stuff.

I like the story from what I can tell though. Very creative and some nice touches (pig slop).

Good luck!

M. G. E. said...

Seems the title needs work, first of all.

Since trapping gods behind a wall of ice is counter-intuitive and possibly even nonsensical, might be better to generalize on that point in the query and leave the book to expand on the specifics.

This passage is the real meat of the query, yet it's too general and too thin: "Rachell must bridge the gap between her people and the humans she despises..." This is the place for specifics of the plot.

I think I'd also restructure the query and begin with Rachell rather than the obstacle she faces.

And I agree, this was the best part of the query "a world of tattooed slave sorcerers, drug-addicted dragon riders, and one-eyed gods."

Joe G said...

Next time I'm trapped behind a wall of ice, I'm hiring the Evil Editor to get me out.

Um, I got that there's more to the story than what you told us (clearly a whole lot more). I didn't have any trouble understanding the story, but I think you're going about your summary the wrong way. Here's what it sounds like to me:

"There are powerful beings who are mad at people so they release some awful monsters on the land. There's a 17 year old farm girl of noble but mysterious heritage who is The Main Character and therefore the only person capable of defeating the gods, somehow, for some reason. She makes friends, discovers herself, and defeats/or doesn't the bad guy/s."

In other words, the story of every fantasy story ever written. Just because you made your lowly pig slopper a girl instead of a boy doesn't mean it's not a trope...

I'm just saying. I've heard the story before so you haven't really explained to me why it's special. What's the neat thing you made up in this story that nobody else has? Where's your black cauldron? Your one ring? Your hugely complex world of magic? I want to know what's special about your story, not that it's a story about a lowly hero who saves the world. Yawn! I don't doubt that there are interesting things in your story since you hint towards them at the end, but don't be coy with me, lemme know!

Oh, and the title feels a little grandiose. Worse, it does very little to describe your story. It feels generic. Contrast it to a title like "American Gods", which says so much about the book.

Do the hero's journey, but try not to let us realize it until the end!

Does anyone else ever feel like... you'll be reading the fake plots, and a lot of them will be really clever and original and could be real stories, and then you read the one that sounds like 800 books you've read before, the inevitable one about the vampire/angel with the tortured soul who wins the love of a young girl, or the one about the naive but secretly powerful teenager who must save the world, and you instantly know without a doubt that this will be the query? People are putting more twists into their summaries than their novels :P

Bernita said...

I agree with all of the above.
Slopping the pigs has a certain piquant charm though. Do save that bit when you restructure, please.

batgirl said...

I like 'things are never simple when the gods come out to play' - keep that!
What confuses me is that Rachell is The One because of her heritage, but it sounds as if her father and grandfather are both living - is the heritage from her mother's side?
And the good old question: What's at stake for our heroine?