Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Face-Lift 899

Guess the Plot

Spirit of a Phoenix

1. Every 500 years a warrior is born with the spirit of the phoenix to fight the Demon-Lord Saunguniutes. The only problem is this time she was born the middle daughter of a Quaker family in rural Nebraska. Hannah is a pacifist office manager for a small IT company, what does she know of killing demons?

2. According to legend the phoenix burns itself and its nest every 500 to 1,000 years. Is it any wonder Phoenix Dorrington becomes a pyro technique expert? Hiring herself out to Rent-A-Roadie she has a ball for five years blowing fire above the seventy-five dollar seats until one night it gets real. Now she can only hope the people caught in her exuberance changed into something better than they were.

3. The elf Haleva is an outcast because she has no magic. Turns out her parents took her magic at birth. Just took it. When her mother dies, Haleva suddenly gets her magic back, like a phoenix coming back to life. Not that she was dead, but you get the idea.

4. On his fourteenth birthday, Jent discovers his soul contains the spirit of a phoenix. He then acts like a complete tool to his family and friends and gets sent to magic academy. Also flying goatfish.

5. Tame the spirit of a phoenix and your wish will be granted. Lamden desperately wants his mother to get well. When the phoenix demands a human sacrifice, Lamden kills his evil stepfather Ardok. But Ardok wasn't human, and that's just the beginning of the phoenix's game.

6. Tiffany is a cheerleader at a Phoenix, Arizona High School. As a senior, she feels it is her duty to set an example and inspire the underclassmen. She's sick of twee little pep-rallies, so she calls her great grand-dad, Albert Firebird, to help her stir things up. Hilarity ensues.

Original Version
Dear Mr. Editor,

I am seeking representation for my young adult fantasy novel, SPIRIT OF A PHOENIX, complete at 70,000 words.

Rangers are those that protect the Wilderland and keep it safe for all the races to travel and live—they are revered and admired by all. [Especially the one who works alone (unless you count his trusted sidekick, Tonto.] In Haleva’s eyes, there is no greater honor than to be counted among their ranks. Even though she is among the most privileged of Eledhrin Elves, the path to becoming a ranger isn’t an easy one. She lacks the most basic magic gifts that are present in the youngest of her race, and because of that she is an outcast in her world, and her parents refuse to let her follow her dreams.

Haleva’s world is turned upside down when she discovers the real reason she has no magic—her parents took it from her at birth. Angry and feeling alone, ["Betrayed" would be better than "alone." Being an outcast, she was probably already feeling alone.] she joins a ranger group and runs away, [not necessarily in that order] throwing herself into achieving her dream of passing the training and earning a ranger’s badge.

What gives her confidence is a newfound love, the turning of enemies into allies, and the trust displayed by her fellow rangers. What nearly destroys her is her mother’s death, [Is this the same mother who made her an outcast and wouldn't let her follow her dream?] and the irony that the death returns her magic gifts to her. [At which point she quits the rangers and becomes a crime-fighting superhero.] Like the symbol of her family, the phoenix, Haleva must change and grow in order to survive. [I guess that's okay, though I think of a phoenix as a symbol of starting anew. For change and grow, maybe you could make the family symbol Alien.]

I look forward to hearing from you, and any suggestions you may have for improvement. [Improvement of the book or the query?] Thank you for your time.

Sincerley, [Not the best last impression.]


Haven't seen the book, of course, but it sounds more like middle grade than young adult.

Did her parents take her magic because they wanted it for themselves? Or because they thought it would build character to have to get by without magic?

This is the last of the 2006 queries that Evil Editor didn't fully critique because they were originally sent to Miss Snark the Literary Agent, and why should I put any more time into them than she would have? Henceforth all queries will be current.


none said...

Sounds like the path to becoming a ranger was an easy one--all she had to do was run away.

If everyone reveres and admires these rangers, from whom are they protecting the Wilderland, exactly?

Is this an old query or a current one, btw? *ducks*

Anonymous said...

Since this is an old one, I suppose there's no point in remarking that the sentence structure is awkward as hell.

Dave Fragments said...

Here's your story:

What gives her confidence is a newfound love, the turning of enemies into allies, and the trust displayed by her fellow rangers. What nearly destroys her is her mother’s death,

Almost everything else in the query is either backstory or boring detail.

A story about a troubled elf sounds like a children's book. Stories about "Rangers" are problematic in that most think about cowboys and Indians or Forest Rangers saving trees and critters and stranded travelers rather than Tolkein's rangers who were never more than itinerant hobos and self-doubt-ridden wanderers.

However, a story about a teenage girl who struggles with coming of age in the world and long suppressed family betrayals, might be interesting and might have an audience. Focus on the important story.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

It is, however, a brilliant title.

Adele said...

I don't see the conflict. Haleva wants to be a ranger and she becomes one despite the mental handicap of not having any magic. Then Mom dies and suddenly Haleva has magic just like everybody else.

How does regaining what she ought to have had all along mean she "must change and grow in order to survive"?

Xenith said...

earning a ranger’s badge

At this point I remembered that Rangers are the senior section of Girl Guides. If their merit badges are that hard to earn, I'm glad I never continued.

(Also wondered how many fake plots have gone onto to become real plots for someone.

vkw said...

But Dave ranger is so much easier to say than "itinerant hobo, doubting wanderer who can track orcs and stuff and lives for longer than would otherwise be expected."

That's what cool about fantasy and world-building, one gets to make up words that mean a lot.


Not Normally Anonymous said...

As this one has already topped the NYT Best Seller List and several major motion picttures have been made out of it, I'll not point out the poor plot, writing and miscatagorized genre.

Oh wait. Those were the vampire books.

Anonymous said...

Let me just say, great jobs on the plots. I only spotted one of them as fake.

I do wonder why Haleva pursues the dream of becoming a ranger when she lacks basic qualifications. It reminds me of a comedy sketch I saw about a one-legged actor trying out for the part of Tarzan. Ah, but there's "the turning of enemies into allies, and the trust displayed by her fellow rangers." Do I detect a PC message of tolerance for the differently-abled?