Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Face-Lift 875

Guess the Plot


1. Nancy is about to learn that not every naked man emerging from the woods is Odysseus in disguise.

2. The career of Nausia Jackson was in the ditch until she added a few more letters to her name and got a taller hairdo. Three promotions and a whirlwind romance later, she adds more letters to the name, further boosts her height with platform shoes --and is soon the Republican presidential candidate in 2016.

3. With their sun on the verge of going nova, the people of the doomed planet Nausicaa must choose twenty representatives to be sent into space in hopes of finding a new life elsewhere in the galaxy. Will they use a lottery or will the fighting among the artist, politician, and military factions lead to all-out war?

4. Captives on the Gohr prison planet Lycus IV set sail across the southern ocean, coming to shore on an island they dub Nausicaa. They declare their intention to start a new civilization, but soon realize this would have been a lot easier if they'd brought along some women.

5. Nausicaa's motto is No stranger to danger. She's made it her mission to rescue witches from the executioner, but who is going to save her, now that her fellow freedom fighters are about to go to war with the oppressive government, and she's lost her memory? If only she could find the man of her dreams...

6. The latest designer drug, Nausicaa, isn't addictive and actually improves the user's senses rather than dulling them. Now it's up to Vince Lowery and his Drug Enforcement Agency team to come up with a reason the drug should be declared illegal so that people aren't too happy.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Nausicaa is an underground freedom fighter who's helped rescue countless accused witches from public execution by a corrupt and brutal government. [It seems to me that long before the number of accused witches you've rescued from public execution became countless, the government would either figure out how to rescue-proof their executions or make them private.] No stranger to danger, Nausicaa's always been glad to put the mission first. But now she's got a new mission—saving her own arse.

Unable to remember much of the past five weeks, she's plagued by headaches and bed rest and a psych who assigns her pointless homework. [I wouldn't include bed rest, which is one of my favorite restorative therapies, on a list of plagues. It's like saying, She's plagued by gout, annoying co-workers, and her three-week summer vacation in Hawaii.] Her bosses have ordered a fellow agent to tail her wherever she goes. And she's wondering just who the hell she can trust. She needs her memories back. Now.

Her only lead is a man with angry blue-black eyes, whose face she can picture in exact detail, but whom she swears she's never met. [How can she swear this if she can't remember the past five weeks?] She has no idea where to find him, [Has she looked in the maze of tunnels outside the compound?] but she knows she's got to try. Turning deserter doesn't feel good, but she's all out of better ideas.

In the maze of tunnels outside the compound, Nausicaa finds the man from her dream, [I predicted this, despite the fact that I had no idea there even was a compound, as no compound has been mentioned.] and learns how she lost her memory. It can be restored, but the price is great—learning the ugly truth about the organisation she's called home for the past six years. [This makes it sound like she is told her memories can be restored, but there's a catch: she'll learn the truth. Instead of "It can be restored," just say He restores her memory (or whatever happens).][Did she know this truth before she lost her memories?]

Tempted as she is to wallow in her newfound misery, Nausicaa's out of time. The battle against the government is heating up, and she and her new dubious allies are planning their last stand. It's a fight only the wiliest fighters will survive. Nausicaa doesn't expect to be one of them, but she's not going down easy. [Why doesn't deserting feel good now that she knows the ugly truth?]

NAUSICAA is a science-fiction/action novel complete at 84,000 words.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Kind regards,


Is the compound the home of the organization she's called home for six years? Because it's hard to believe you could live in a compound for six years and not know the ugly truth about it. Don't her bosses trust her enough to tell her the ugly truth? More importantly, don't you trust us enough to tell us the ugly truth? This ugly truth sounds like a key motivator of the main character. What is it?

The only science fiction slant I can see is that maybe her memories were taken away by a memory-stealing technology. With the executing of accused witches giving the plot a low-tech medieval feel, you might want to stress the scientific aspect.

I'd get rid of the witches. She's a freedom fighter, she lost her memories, she seeks out dream man and discovers the ugly truth, which is X, and she must now decide whose side she's on or whatever.


Anonymous said...

Nausicaa, also available from amazon.com

Anonymous said...

"Her only lead is a man with angry blue-black eyes" made me think he's an actual guy who's actually hanging around -- but he's a picture in her mind's eye. I had to go back a second time to get that.

I have no idea what's going on in the paragraph beginning "Tempted as she is. . . ." What is Nausicaa miserable about now? Is the underground movement she's been part of as corrupt as, or part of, the corrupt government? Nausicaa's "out of time" to do what?

Is this a story of good guys vs. bad guys, or is Nausicaa just a badass girl born in badass times who's looking out for Number One?

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

I have to say the world building didn't quite make sense to me. Underground freedom fighters don't usually have large compounds with labyrinthine defenses, agents to spare on tailing their own people, or health plans that include psychiatric help. Is the ugly truth that the government is secretly behind the freedom fighter movement for nefarious purposes of their own?

Wilkins MacQueen said...

I read disjointed complications piling up. There's more information than I need to know and not enough of what I would like to know. A direct line would help me get a handle on the story.
My suggestion is simplify the query. It may have run away a bit.
Good luck.

Trisha said...

AAHHH you actually did it. *hides* :P

Yes, this was my query ;) Thanks for the feedback everyone.

Maura said...

I don't know if it's a great idea to name your heroine- and your book- the same thing as a well-known classic Miyazaki manga and movie. The first thing I thought when I saw the header was "wtf, really?"

Anonymous said...

Is it me or does Nausicaa remind anyone else of nausea? And why is the name listed on Amazon???

As for the query, a bit of the "kitchen sink" syndrome. EE picked up on the inconsistancies. Good luck with this!

Ink and Pixel Club said...

Although Miyazaki doesn't have exclusive rights to the name "Nausicaa," many fans of science-fiction/action may already be familiar with the manga and movie Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind and expect - fairly or not - that your book will be along similar lines. A title change might be in order.

Tonally, the first paragraph feels off. Phrases like "no stranger to danger" and "saving her own arse" made me expect a fun adventure romp, not a tale of lost memories and freedom fighter hiding mysterious secrets.

I'm not sure about Nausicaa having "bosses." It make the freedom fighters organization sound more like a job than a cause. If it is more like a job, then that needs to be made clear.

I cannot envision "blue-black" as anything but dark blue. If that's what you mean, change it so your reader instantly understands what color you mean.

Near as I can tell, there are three factions here and I'm completely confused about all of them. I don't know why the government is so interested in killing accused witches, or if witches even exist in this world. I don't know what the freedom fighters organization is trying to do beyond rescue condemned accused witches and I don't understand why they seem to have all of these resources at their disposal. I have no clue what the group Nausicaa joins with at the end of the query is about. I'm guessing the blue-eyed man is part of it and they seem to be preparing to battle the government, but I don't know why.

Star with Nausicaa, the freedom fighters, and the corrupt government, prior to Nausicaa's memory loss. Explain what the government wants, what the freedom fighters want, and why this is important to Nausicaa. Establish what her life is like before she loses her memory and starts doubting the people she's been fighting alongside. Then the readers of your query will understand what's at stake and how much losing her memory is impacting Nausicaa's life.

Khazar-khum said...

I thought this might be a revision of Nausicaa, Telemachus & Odysseus rather than Miyazaki. If she's named for the princess, fine, otherwise--as other minions have said--people will think it's Miyazaki fanfic.

batgirl said...

I'm with Sarah - she's a daring ninja-like freedom fighter ... with a health plan?? I mean, I'm all for the benefits, I'm a union gal myself, but it's more than a little distracting to have to re-envision the maquisards as salarymen. Y'know?
If the resistance is that bureaucratic, she probably hasn't rescued 'countless' witches, she probably has to fill out form 32(c)1.4 each time she rescues one, and it's all on file.

Trisha said...

First off, I'd never heard of the manga/anime thing, but others have pointed that out to me.

And yes, others have commented on it being similar to "nausea" ;) But I say blame the ancient Greeks!

Does seem a pity that I have to change my character's name, taken from Greek myth, just 'cause somebody else used it in a manga/anime thingy ;) But I do see the point in it, so I'll have to consider it.

Thanks again for all the feedback :D and EE for featuring my query!

Anonymous said...

My first thought was Nausicaa from Odyssey. I'd never heard of graphic novel.

Ink and Pixel Club said...

@Trisha - I don't think you necessarily have to change the character's name, but you might want to think about a different title for the book.

Literary Slut Kilian said...

I'm a lurker here, love to read the comments. I'm beginning to become alarmed that I have such a good record at guessing the real plot among the offerings. Is this something I should worry about?

Trisha said...

Good point on the novel title - and it was really a working title anyway :D Got no idea what I would call it though LOL. Will have to think about it!

batgirl said...

Trisha, I'm kind of curious how Nausicaa's name fits. Is her story a retelling of that episode of Odysseus? Is he the mysterious blue-eyed man? Is she secretly a king's daughter?
I'm fond of literary references, but I haven't picked up the significance of this one.