Monday, February 27, 2012

Face-Lift 997

Guess the Plot

An Airship Named Desire

1. Swelled to the point of inevitable rupture, the mighty dirigible Penoid Incarnate pierces the slashed flaps of reality, carrying mankind's hopes and dreams as semen into the most nebulous of unknowns.

2. The real reason for the Hindenburg disaster, and other fiery results of Mae West's hot radio broadcasts.

3. It's the maiden outing of Captain Hendricks's impressive dirigible. And all Miss Maisie has to do to help him get it up is blow here.

4. A disastrous culture clash is in the air when airship captain Stan "Steam" Kowalski reluctantly adds his cyborg sister-in-law Blanche to his crew.

5. Hired to steal a mysterious box, the crew of the airship Desire must defeat the British military, hordes of orcs, and armed mercenaries. Is it worth the trouble? Or will the box contain a case of Cocoa Puffs?

6. Blanca La Blanca leaves her family plantation after some vague unpleasantness. She takes an airship to her sister’s home where all the family’s secrets and vices are revealed.

7. On the Pacific island of Dr. Moreau, Blanche must find and kill her nemesis, Stanley. But she will have to avoid his abominations, and befriend a kangamoo (kangaroo-cow) who will lead her to her only means of escape: An Airship Named Desire.

Original Version

Bea, the first mate, and her crewmates on the airship Desire barely have enough coppers to afford fuel, so when a gentleman from Old Germany hires them to steal a box off a British Merchant ship, she leaps on board. [Literally?] However, their employer conveniently forgot to mention the military and hordes of guards protecting this cargo. [One horde is probably enough to give the impression you want.] [However, if the guards are orcs, you do want to mention that.]

The Brits are pissed, aggressive cannon fire kind of pissed, but once Bea and the crew exchange the box, they’ll sail the skies with enough money to gamble at the resorts by the Reno shores. [Wait, you're talking like they already have the box. What about the military and the hordes of orcs?] At least, until a crewmember [The Brit crew or Bea's crew?] makes off with their meal ticket and murders her captain. Bea and a couple crewmates race to the drop off site, only to find the traitor and their employer’s mercenaries waiting with loaded guns directed towards them. [I thought Bea's crew were the employer's mercenaries. He hires mercenaries to steal a box, and then he hires another set of mercenaries to take the box from the first set of mercenaries, even though they're delivering it to him?] [Is the traitor also in the employ of the employer, or is he just freelancing?] The traitor escapes leaving her with the box the captain died over. [Wait, you're talking like Bea's crew suddenly has the box. What about the mercenaries with loaded guns?] [Is the traitor escaping from Bea or the mercenaries? I had the impression the mercenaries had the upper hand.] Bea can’t imagine taking command of the Desire and would rather drown her grief in bottles of absinthe. But if she doesn’t strap on her captain’s aviator cap and start leading, the Brits and their ex-employer’s mercs will take the box off their hands—offing her crew in the process. [Offing her crew? Based on what I've inferred, the British military with their cannons, the hordes of orcs, and the armed mercenaries should be slinking off with their tails between their legs while Bea's crew are halfway to Reno without a care in the world. If they have the power to off her crew, why haven't they? What did I miss?]

"An Airship Named Desire" is an 87,000 word steampunk fantasy.



What's in the box? They haven't been paid for delivering the box, so I assume they would look inside to find out if it's worth all the trouble they're going to.

The long paragraph is confusing. Slow down and either tell us what happens when they try to steal the box from the hordes of orcs, or leave out the military and hordes, just tell us they succeed in stealing the box, and skip to the traitor and mercenaries part. And tell us what happens there.

Did you name the book first, or the airship?


none said...

The Brits are pissed, aggressive cannon fire kind of pissed

You seem to have us confused with someone else.

We always send a gunboat.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

When Brits are "pissed", they are drunk.

Most Americans learn this when a Brit announces "I'm pissed" and said Americans ask what they have done to offend.

Bea can’t imagine taking command of the Desire

Then what the hell is she doing being first mate?

Agree that the box is an annoying MacGuffin if we don't know what's in it: Tell us what's in it. And the title seems contrived.

kbradley67 said...

I liked the first paragraph, but it got confusing after that. Why were guns directed at them? Did the traitor turn thier employers against them? And what's the deal with the box? What does it have to do with anything, if the the traiter left it behind?

Khazar-khum said...

I get that the Desire is a de facto pirate ship. I don't get why anyone would go after the box. I really get confused when the mercenaries hire mercenaries to kill mercenaries for the other mercenaries who are being killed. By mercenaries. Over a box. Better be one helluva box.

150 said...

The voice is getting in the way of clarity, but you have the right idea, so good luck. Looking forward to a rewrite.

Laurie said...

Agree with everyone else: too many events here. I've lost track of the story, though I can feel it in there, and there's a good voice.

We do need at least a hint of what could be in that box. Didn't the employer say anything about it? And I can't believe they didn't open it when they got hold of it, in case it was worth more than they were going to be paid - particularly if the employer failed to tell them so much else. Or did your traitor purloin it before they had a chance?

Also, the shores of Reno? As in Nevada? I'm sure you've got a good explanation about why Nevada has a shoreline in your story, but it threw me out of the query as I considered this. Also, you don't want to risk someone thinking you were sloppy.

Nitpicking aside, what you've got so far sounds like fun. Good luck.

Rashad Pharaon said...

Maybe I'm misunderstanding this, but is the goal of the story to get to Reno and gamble?

I want to get on that airship.

batgirl said...

I'm not sure whether the lines about pissed Brits are worth the space. That cannon fire needs to be specified as 'aggressive' is a weak joke, and what would any robbed party be but angry?
Maybe cut some of the action that anyone could expect, and give us the story? What's at stake? Why is Bea so broken up by her captain's death? Find Bea's storyline and follow it, rather than tossing in yet another complication.

sarahhawthorne said...

Alas! You have fallen into the synopsis trap, where you try to recap all the various plot twists and turns in your query.

Try again, focusing on character and world instead of plot, i.e.:

The last thing Bea ever wanted was to go pirate. But ever since that unlucky hand at Montenegro cost her her own ship, Bea's been forced to get by as best she can. Usually with the help of a bottle of absinthe.

When a German gentlemen offers a fortune for relieving a merchant ship of a small box, Bea thinks her days of scraping by are finally over. However, their employer conveniently forgot to mention the military and hordes of guards protecting this cargo - which contains a secret that could bring down an empire.

Now her captain is dead, her crew is fracturing, and Bea's left holding the bag - and the box. If Bea can't put aside her bottle and strap on the captain’s aviator cap, her high flying days are over.