Monday, June 21, 2010

Face-Lift 786

Guess the Plot

The Crystal Throne

1. The Crystal Throne has stood empty for years, and the Gwillillylanders are looking for its rightful occupant. They won't stop searching until they've had a gander at every last American high school girl with middling popularity and a funny name like "Jelissa" or "Blayke."

2. When Emily Loving and her husband Jake move to Martha's Vineyard, they know it will be a struggle to keep up with their famous neighbors, until Jake turns his rock-cutting hobby into a unique home business. When the son of a prominent politician expires of a drug overdose on top of Jake's brainchild,'The Crystal Throne', suddenly they are the talk of the nation.

3. Simeon, heir to the Crystal Throne, must choose a bride worthy of bearing the name and sons of his thousand-year-old dynasty. But his interfering mother wants him to marry Agatha, who possesses a formula for a non-streaking glass cleaner. Cleanliness ensues.

4. When Aluviae learns that she is one of the candidates to become the new goddess, she sets out for the Crystal Throne, for only the Crystal Throne can choose . . . the chosen one. Maybe she can talk the throne into choosing someone else. But suddenly all the other candidates are getting killed off. Can Aluviae protect the last other candidate, or will she be stuck being worshiped for eternity?

5. When their Queen is killed by leprechauns, the fae must find the next heir to the Crystal Throne before the evil Shamrock King seizes it. But will Barry Jones believe them when they tell him he's the heir, or will the 8th grader put them in a jar for the Science Fair?

6. Man I hate the toilets here. See through, cross and olive design, nothing can hide what they are used for. The worst part of living in the world of clear glass is the toilets: too fragile to hold my considerable bulk, making me have to semi squat which is difficult because I need new joints in both knees. So, as the Lord of the Nasty Sewer is my witness, I vow to become the Crystal Throne Nazi and rid the planet once and for all of these outdated under-reinforced see-through inventions. Someone has to bring dignity back to the downtrodden of the planet of the Crystal Throne as we have been dubbed by our American Standard planetary neighbors. So with hammer in hand off I go, beating off trolls, faeries, dragons and Mr. Clean clones to change my world.

Original Version

Dear EE,

The Goddess is dead, killed by a hostile god. A new goddess must arise before the god’s machinations blast across the world like a raging wildfire. [Save the simile for the book and tell us what the god will do.] Only the Crystal Throne can determine who will ascend. [Why should an inexperienced new goddess fare any better against the god than the Goddess did. Also, why are the new goddess and the god not capitalized, while the dead Goddess is? Unless . . . was The Goddess her superhero name?]

When a crystal glows in her hand, Aluviae, an army recruit, is horrified to discover she has been chosen as one of the few candidates. [Does everyone in the land hold a crystal? Or are special crystals delivered only to the candidates?] One of the girls is murdered [One of what girls?] and Aluviae thwarts an assassination attempt on the others. [Are all the candidates in Aluviae's army barracks? I'd think they'd be spread all over the land, making it difficult to attack or protect all of them.] Unwillingly, she sets out for the Crystal Throne, vowing she will keep the other girls alive in the hope that one of them will be chosen instead of her. [Here's the way I see it. If she keeps her vow, keeps the other candidates alive, she will have proven she deserves to be the Goddess. So her best strategy is to break her vow, letting most of them die and proving herself unreliable and unworthy.]

Nothing goes to plan. An old adversary is part of the escort. Safe havens are under siege. Hunted by the god’s disciples, Aluviae is hard pressed just to keep herself alive as, one by one, the other candidates fall to ambush, treachery and war. [This is going perfectly. No way will the Crystal Throne choose Aluviae now.] [If the candidates are all killed, won't the Crystal Throne just nominate a new batch of candidates?]

When only one other girl still survives, two refugees and an intriguing stranger with a secret past may be the key to saving Aluviae from a destiny she fears. [I wasn't going to request this, but now that you've mentioned an intriguing stranger with a secret past, I simply must read the entire book to find out who it is and what the secret is.]

The Crystal Throne, a YA heroic fantasy, is complete at 90,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Is making it to the Crystal Throne a test to see who's worthy of being The Goddess? Or is it normally just a leisurely trip?

So, when the candidates get to the Crystal Throne, they all sit on it and then it chooses the one who makes the best impression?

We need to know what's at stake. The god wants to destroy all or rule like a tyrant, but if the right candidate makes it to the Crystal Throne and ascends to Goddesshood, the god will slink away and all will be well?


Anonymous said...

The MC's name is way too close to "alluvial" -- at least, IMHO.

150 said...

*does a honeybee dance that spells out the location of BE SPECIFIC*

Stpehen Prosapio said...

Seems like there's a lot going on in this one. I can't make heads nor tails of any of it. Scorecard time:

1. The Goddess (is dead, don't know what she's the goddess of, why it's capitalized or why this is significant, doe she keep #2 in place?

2. rival god (no name, no idea what the threat is)

3. Aluviae (goddess in training)

4. another dead girl (wouldn't it have been easier for "rival god" to kill off candidates first and then kill The Goddess?)

5. An old adversary (of WHOM???)

6. surviving candidate

7. a stranger (of course with a secret appearing for the first time in the last line of the query)

TOO MUCH! Simplify simplify simplify. And yes more specifics.

J.M. said...

Fake plot #5 comes pretty close.

All I can see in this land is gods and an army (of girls). Oh, and one intriguing stranger. Aren't there any plain old inhabitants? Without them, I'm finding it hard to care about this race to the Crystal Throne.

Bernita said...

Like Anon, I don't care for the heroine's name either. Problems the others have mentioned are easily fixable. I like your basic plot.

M.G.E. said...

"...and that very selflessness is what makes you worthy of the throne."
- the end -

I agree with EE, it's an obvious setup for a reversal. But, YA plots can get away with that ;)

What's more, it would be awfully hard to really establish a motivation for -not- wanting to ascend to goddesshood :P So it feels a bit contrived. What are the downsides to godhood? ...Um...?

How does the enemy god know who the candidates are? If a crystal glowing in their hand is the only sign, it would be a rather easy thing to keep secret. No?

A larger problem is how having a new goddess will even help if the old god just killed off the last one. Is she afraid to become goddess because she thinks it's a death sentence?

Assuming you can fix those difficulties, the plot does have potential. The stakes are high, the conflict real, the goal literal. The rest is up to your world-building and writing skill.

And, I had no difficulty with the name "Aluviae" at all. Though, as a word it's like a linguistic speed-bumb, packing four syllables into such a small space, yet isn't consonant heavy so it works.

Jeb said...

Aluviae. Destined to become the Goddess of Gravel Deposits.

Give me a reason to care about this recruit, to identify with her quest to keep the other candidates alive.

Aside: why is it that role of significant savior of the world goes to the teenager with no useful real-life experience? Or is that only since George Lucas made an elected girl with poor judgment the ultimate ruler of Naboo and tool of the proto-Emperor? What teenager would be interested in ruling EVERYTHING after they learn the killer schedulel will eliminate their mall time? What's wrong with being chosen to be trained up for some future potential job as Goddess, or Queen, or Dragon-spawn? Similar honour, way less pressure. Is the world of adolescents REALLY that black and white, all or nothing?

Oh.... never mind.

batgirl said...

Um. Author, while I'm sure you do actually know the difference between 'machinations' and 'machines', that opening leaves it unclear, since machines are much easier to visualise blasting worlds like wildfire. So you might want to clarify.
I like the idea of a reluctant goddess, but you might want to clarify why Aluviae is reluctant (wait, is it a Virgin Goddess position?), to give some insight into her character.
Also it seems you've spent a fair bit of this on setup and backstory. I'd suggest getting to the old enemy and the intriguing stranger faster.

Anonymous said...

Woops, looks like elements of Fake Plot #1 have come true, too. A teenage girl with a funny name . . .

Anonymous said...

Batgirl's a genius! THE RELUCTANT GODDESS would be a MUCH better title for this than THE CRYSTAL THRONE, which practically screams "generic YA fantasy novel" -- if you don't use it, I will!

Sylvia said...

Haha, I love that title too Batgirl.

I think the query is just the standard issue of trying to fit what is in the author's brain into a bitesized chunk for a query. I think the scorecard is helpful in terms of looking at what you might be able to subtract to have a more streamlined approach.

St0n3henge said...

This makes my brain hurt. Sorry, but I just can't wrap my head around what's going on here. It might be a good story. I'd need specifics.