Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Face-Lift 924

Guess the Plot


1. Patricia Spintz lost a limb in a sailing accident, her leg to be exact. When she died her prosthetic, a solid gold and ruby studded affair, was left in a will to her daughter. But the false leg went missing. Will Lucy be able to track down her mother’s...Leg-acy?

2. When rich old Uncle Joe died, all Nancy got was Tupperware. It's ugly, messed up with scribbled letters that don't even spell anything and is so NOT her style! She just wants to recycle it -- until a treasure map comes in the mail and she realizes she'll only find that spot marked X if she cracks the code of the Tupperware.

3. Twelve cousins head to a deserted island to compete in a reality-TV style competition to determine which of them will inherit their grandfather's entire billion-dollar fortune. Also, a haunted grotto.

4. Danielle was expecting to inherit magical powers on her 18th birthday. She didn't, so it's on to Plan B: enrolling in college. Then her brother gets stabbed, her magic finally kicks in, and she gets trapped in a labyrinth full of sorcerers and mythical creatures. Can she escape in time to make it to the prom?

5. Harry and his wife Ilene have built their Caribbean cocoa plantation up from nothing. Now they practically own the island. But twin daughters Beatrice and Barbara are tired of waiting for their inheritance. Little do they know Harry and Ilene have secret insurance policies on them. Who will die first in this balmy epic of mayhem and palm leaves?

6. On her 16th birthday, Ka-ra'ne learns that she is fated to bear the magical Ruby Phoenix to the oracle for the Telling that occurs every hundred years. What no one mentions is that the Phoenix is actually her heart, and the oracle will tear it out to "read" it.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Danielle Angeletti isn’t a straight A student. She doesn’t play an instrument or paint or sing or play chess. [Fortunately, my book isn't about this boring loser.] But if there’s one thing she knows she’ll be good at, it’s magic. [With magic she can get straight A's and instantly become the world's greatest musician, singer, artist and chess master.] So when her 18th birthday comes and goes, and her magic remains dormant, she’s crushed. Still, Danielle stubbornly buries her disappointment, replaces [replacing] healing runes with prom dresses, levitation spells with college applications.

After a sorcerer ambushes her and her brother Jamie, [High school's bad enough when you only have to worry about bullies ambushing you.] Danielle is torn between elation and a panic attack when her magic finally awakens and saves her life. But she’s ready to [would] give it all up again if it meant the knife buried in her brother’s gut would disappear too. Removing the blade does nothing but aggravate Jamie’s condition, [When his remaining blood comes gushing out of the now-gaping wound.] and a misguided attempt at a healing rune triggers a curse that turns his own magic against him.

With her hold on her new powers strenuous [tenuous] at best, Danielle must ask Chris, Jamie’s best friend and her best enemy, [Is "best enemy" a synonym or an antonym for "worst enemy"?] for help in destroying the curse. [Wouldn't it be better to stitch up Jamie's gut and get him a blood transfusion and then worry about the curse?] After they get trapped in a deadly labyrinth that’d put the Minotaur’s to shame, Danielle, Chris and a dying Jamie must battle mythical creatures, [Minotaurs?] sorcerers, unwanted attraction and the biggest enemy of all: time. [Apparently having magic doesn't allow you to go through or over the walls of a labyrinth or to heal a wound or to destroy a curse. What does it allow you to do?]

LEGACY is a 70,000 word YA contemporary fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.



Given the choice, I think I'd rather fight it out with a guy whose head had been replaced with the head of a bull than with the original guy. If the minotaur leaned forward to try to gore me with his horns, the sheer weight of his bull head would cause him to collapse forward, and the strain on his neck of trying to stand back up would be unbearable. The key to fighting a minotaur is to remain calm and not get freaked out by the fact that his head is the size of a compact car. Just tell yourself it would be even freakier if he were a bull with a man's head, and wait for him to tip over.

If you want to Guess the Plot right, start by looking for a plot that seems to have nothing to do with the title.

When Danielle gets her magic, does that make her a sorcerer, or are sorcerers different from people with magic?

When you say contemporary YA fantasy I expect high school but with something different, like magic. When you toss in Centaurs and Krakens and Cyclopses, I start to wonder if there's an explanation for everything, or if this is contemporary times on some other planet.

If we knew why the sorcerer ambushed them, what he wants from them, what he gains by trapping them in a deadly labyrinth with mythological creatures (assuming he's responsible for that), the query would be more cohesive. Right now it sounds like someone is out to get these kids for no reason, and would rather get rid of them by creating an elaborate labyrinth and stocking it with fantastical monsters than just blow them up.


AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Once you've stabbed a character in the gut, you've got the reader's attention. But you've also focused the reader's attention.

It's rather like it would be in real life. If someone gets stabbed in the gut people tend to drop what they were doing. The general focus of activity becomes not letting the victim die.

But in your query, you take a sudden left turn to minotaurs and labyrinths. It probably makes sense in your manuscript, but from here it's hard to understand why there's time for all this other stuff and why Jamie isn't already dead.

Anonymous said...

Danielle must ask Chris, Jamie’s best friend and her best enemy, for help in destroying the curse.

Why doesn't she call 911? Even a B or C student should get that.

Also, what is Chris's gender? Is he the Cute Boy of dubious intent? Knowing would give a reader a better idea of the interplay between characters and what this story "looks" like.

Anonymous said...

I think the story sounds interesting. Just work on the query to show that more clearly.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested to know what the creatures are and how you link this modern character / setting to the ol' mythical world. It's easy to pop them in, but difficult to make it all seem congruous.

batgirl said...

What Alaska said - I spent most of this query worrying about the stab wound and weren't they going to get him to a hospital? Gut wounds are filthy and even if he is walking around somehow, he's begging for rapid septicemia, not to mention leaving a blood trail any minotaur could follow. Maybe just say 'injured'?
On the other hand, the Greek mythology is kind of interesting, and the Percy Jackson books have paved the way in prepping young readers for stories in that line.