Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Face-Lift 888

Guess the Plot

The Last Slayer

1. When Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets her old nemesis Faith across the Bingo table at the Happy Valley Retirement Home, carnage ensues.

2. It's hard enough slaying dragons and demons for a living, but when you have to do it while three demigods are trying to kill you, you kind of wish you'd taken a job grooming dogs.

3. Seventeen-year-old Veronica is staying alone at her family's remote beach house overnight. She's fully prepared for the first serial killer--after all, she's seen all the movies. The second one, though, proves harder to kill. By the time the third is mincemeat, she's exhausted. Can Veronica face . . . The Last Slayer?

4. A dragon slayer wakes up from hibernation to find a world free of monsters. He is, however, about to discover that evil creatures do not have to spew fire or be 30 ft tall to be considered deadly.

5. After a global nuclear battle, humans are few, cockroaches are everywhere, and someone is knocking off exterminators at an alarming rate. Soon, Frank Newbongle is the only one left. It seems the radiation has caused the roaches to mutate into hyperintelligent vermin. Look out behind you, Frank!

6. As if being the only surviving member of an '80s hair band wasn't bad enough, finding out that your roadies are really a bunch of angels in disguise really trashes your reputation.

Original Version

Dear Evil Agent:

I am seeking representation for my novel The Last Slayer, an urban fantasy with romantic elements set in Washington D.C. It's completed at 100,000 words.

Ashera del Cid is a demon hunter who takes great pride in her work. But when a triumvirate of demigods wants her dead [It's hard enough slaying demons when you have one demigod trying to kill you. Three is just unsporting.] for killing one of its [their] dragons, the hunter turns hunted. Even though Ramiel, a rival demigod, offers his help, she turns him down. She isn't dumb [naive?] enough to trust a demon, especially one who arouses her senses like no other. [Is there a difference between a demigod and a demon? Ramiel seems to be both.]

Ramiel has his own agenda. He has waited decades for revenge on the demigod who humiliated and irreversibly crippled him by ripping out his wing, a demigod who just happens to be Ashera's father [He'd have gotten his revenge long ago, but every time he tries to fly after the demigod who de-winged him he ends up going in circles.]

[Is Ashera human? If not, I want that up front. If so, wouldn't a demigod's daughter be more than human?]
[Wait, this guy wants to kill his own daughter because she slayed his pet dragon? That's like Obama killing his daughter because she killed their dog. She might deserve it, but it would be lousy PR.] and the one leading the triumvirate against her. Ramiel plans to use Ashera to destroy the world order led by her father and his fellow triumvirs. But Ashera's father, Nathanael, can't allow Ashera to change the status quo. [Move that last sentence to the beginning of the next paragraph.]

He paid dearly to establish dominance over all demons centuries ago as his duties dictated. [Did he know establishing dominance over all demons was part of the job description when he applied?] Yet he is conflicted; killing Ashera will break the heart of the only woman he's ever loved. [I'd like to murder my daughter, but I'm conflicted because I think it'll piss off her mother.]

The stakes are raised when one of the triumvirs poisons Ashera's best friend. [No query letter should include the word "triumvirs" more than once.] To get the antidote Ashera is forced to accept Ramiel's help even though it galls her to bend her principles--she doesn't make deals with demons. [The last phrase was already implied when you said she wasn't dumb enough to trust a demon.]

But [as Ashera and Ramiel battle demigods and dragons--and their mutual distrust--] there is one thing they could never have planned on: falling in love with each other. [We can infer the "with each other" part.] As they struggle with the need to protect their hearts and the desire to reach across the rift of distrust, they must choose between two seemingly mutually exclusive options while fighting vengeful demigods and armies of dragons. [A lot of wordy generality, and not needed if you change the previous sentence as suggested.]

I'm a member of Romance Writers of America and its special interest chapters RWAOnline, and Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal. An SASE is enclosed for your response.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.



Are you sure this is Washington D.C.? Because it sounds more like the Gohr prison planet, Lycos IV.


150 said...

It would be awesome if, for once, the heroine was genre-savvy enough to EXPECT to fall for the smokin' hot monster whose goals oppose hers.

none said...

"Even though Ramiel, a rival demigod, offers his help, she turns him down."

That sentence doesn't work for me. It reads as if she was considering accepting Ramiel's help before he offered it. Try 'Even though she desperately needs the help offered by Ramiel, a rival demigod, she turns it down.'

Anonymous said...

But when a triumvirate of demigods wants her dead.

Want her dead. A few problems here. Triumviarats want her dead. A group of 3 is singular. Groups of 3 plural.

Adele said...

Tighten and condense. Take out every phrase that isn't necessary or isn't understandable without further explanation.

You tell us the reasons for plot points, but the reasons are anticlimactic. Ex: the demigods want a valuable top-notch demon-hunter dead because she killed a dragon. The reason sounds lame, so stop at dead. Same for the reason for Ramiel's enduring hatred of Nathanael - take out ripped out his wing and the sentence is stronger. Humiliated and crippled is enough. And I'd leave out "irreversibly" because we assume it's a permanent thing when you say crippled.

The father-daughter relationship is quite bizarre and seems to be extraneous to the plot, so I'd leave it out, too.

And I'd leave out the RWA paragraph. It's not really a credit that you belong to a group anybody can join.

vkw said...

We do need to know more about the MC - what her powers are, purpose in Washington D.C. and what she is.

My second thought is that your demigods seem a bit "whimpy" to me. If one MC has the potential of defeating three demigods and at least one demigod doesn't even have the ability to regenerate one little wing . . . . well. I'm going to throw my support to the demigods because they seem to be the underdogs in this novel.

Further proof of the demigods' inabilities is when they resort to poisoning the MC's best friend. That's kind of weak, isn't it? If I was a demigod and wanted to get at the MC for killing a dragon and fighting against me, I would have just killed the best friend and maybe half of Washington D.C. while I was at it - just to make sure my point got across and the evil part of me was cemented into everyone's mind.

then the MC and the demon fall in love. . . .and, well I refuse to comment. I've been pretty clear about my lack of understanding and acceptance of how people just go against everything they believe in for love's sake.

Does anyone have a "real life" example of this ever happening? If so, how did it turn out for everyone involved? (I realize Kings have given up thrones and others have gone against their religion but I am talking about going against everything someone has brought up to believe in or fight against for the sake of love? For example, an animal rights advocate falls in love with an elephant hunter and accepts elephant hunting as an acceptable past time or his ivory collection being just a quirky part of his personality.)

I do think a better understanding what the MC is and a demigod is and what the World Order is would be helpful . .. maybe.


Anonymous said...

As the query is written, a Washington DC setting seems completely random and possibly all wrong. Is this a Washington DC any of us would recognize? We are guessing not. A simpler and less jargonistic description of Romeo & Juliet's family issues would be more elegant and would free up space so you can clarify how the setting helps make this version of the story fresh and special.

Ink and Pixel Club said...

I agree that Washington DC feels out of left field here. Maybe a bit more world background would help to clarify if this is a post-apocalyptic DC or an alternate universe DC. This is at least the second query I've seen on this site where if the query didn't contain the words "urban fantasy," I never would have guessed that there was anything urban about it.

Is Ashera physically attracted to Ramiel from the beginning? The phrase "arouses her senses like no other" leave me wondering if her senses are telling her that Ramiel is dangerous or hot.

I'd start off with Ashera and her father and a little bit of scene setting. Then when you've established how the two of them don't get along, bring in the poisoning of the friend and introduce Ramiel.

Anonymous said...

But when a triumvirate of demigods wants her dead.
Correct, a little cumbersome? The sentence stopped me for a second read.

When the demigods of the triumvirate want her dead.

The demigods from the triumvirate want her dead.

Small point.

fairyhedgehog said...

Sorry I can't offer anything useful on this one - there's been a lot of good advice already - but I had to say that I laughed at GTP #1! I wonder whose that was.

Jenna said...

And at 100,000 words (I may be mistaken) it seems a little too long for any author whose not already very well established. If you are secretly JK Rowing or co-authoring with James Patterson you can ignore this comment.

batgirl said...

Not much to add here, except that I'd really like it clarified how this is an urban fantasy, and what Washington DC has to do with it. Are these demons and demigods known to exist, or do only the slayer-types know about them, as with Sunnydale?
If they are known to exist, do they interact with people, and how do they affect the government and business of a major city? That mash-up could be pretty awesome and fascinating, and even deserve 100k, but you may want to push that element in the query, so that this stands out from a hundred other kickass hunter-girl falls for hawt but deadly guy stories.