Thursday, June 07, 2012

Face-Lift 1034

Guess the Plot


1. Her father wrote Carrie and The Stand. She wants to form an eighties-style hair band. "Damn Yankees" is taken. What to do?
2. Alyanna has three sisters--correction, three dumb-as-bricks, boring, drunken half-sisters. They are called princesses only because they fell out of the brain-dead Queen's womb, while she is the child of the gorgeous, brilliant royal mistress. When she hears that Prince Fabrian is coming to visit, Alyanna decides that maybe it's time those bimbos learned a few lessons.

3. Bruce orders a sign for his Scottish pub, The Royal Princess. The sign maker employs non-English speakers. Their boss mistranslates the name and the sign maker mistranslates it back. It goes up while Bruce is on holiday and the Board of Commerce won’t permit a replacement for ten years. He’s the laughingstock of the county. But they won’t be laughing after he drowns the hecklers in cheap scotch.

4. Princess Natale can't understand why her father is at war with the dark king. Hating the bloodshed, Natale demands answers from her father, but he uses her as a sacrificial pawn in hopes of ending the conflict. But before she's lost forever, a black knight falls in love with her and sweeps her to safety. The bishops on both sides declare the two heretics, and the queen, the one person who's always protected Natale, is unable to help. Now it is up to Natale to save herself, and her land.

5. In aneffort to gether wordcount downto somethingsaleable, anauthor hitsupon thestrategyof combining wordssothe computer willdeclare hercount tobe 147,000 insteadof 240,000, butitstillgetsrejectedforbeingtoolong.

6. Princess Alena is heir to the throne, but when her father dies, her evil stepmother hires assassins to get rid of her. But Alena has a few cards up her sleeve, including magical armor and an army of centaurs.

7. After the king is mistakenly informed that his new progeny is male, the queen and her courtiers rear Prince Layne the way all royal princes have been educated, including his choice of horse, sport, and princess. While fox hunts and archery are enjoyable, that last item gets a little dicey. When the princess of the neighboring kingdom comes for a visit, Prince Layne falls hard – for her brother.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor

The king is dead. Now his daughter will do whatever it takes to keep a kingdom that has never had a ruling queen from falling apart. And she's not sure who's more of a threat: the men who want to kill her, or the men who want to marry her. [It's the men who want to kill her. (Eliminate them first. Then when you get married there's just one guy you have to eliminate).]

Alena Theradran [Anagram: Dan Rather.] has been training to take her father's place for the last decade. But Alena's stepmother has a plan to get her own claws on the throne. [Does the plan include the use of claws?] Fleeing from assassins, Alena takes refuge with the powerful Duke Rurik Northgarde. With Rurik's aid she may yet claim her throne, if she can persuade the wild horselords to honor the pact they made with her ancestors. [How was that pact worded? We the wild horselords will aid you against your enemies if, when the time comes, you can persuade us to do so?]

Rurik Northgarde uses duty like armor to protect his past. [I'm too busy to try to figure out what that means.] Aiding Alena forces him to reveal, one after another, his battle magics and his hidden disgrace. [Or that.] Still, he clings to his last secret, even if it means the woman he loves and fought for will marry someone else. [Are we talking about Alena?]

Becoming queen is only the first of Alena's problems. Her lords demand she marry. Alena challenges all her suitors to prove their worth by combat. [Why?] When the tournament takes a threatening turn, Alena decides to enter. Her armor hides more than just her face, and Alena discovers [when she falls and can't get up, that] her most dangerous enemy may be herself.

I am seeking representation for my epic fantasy novel, Kingsdaughter, complete at 147,000 words. This is a stand alone work, but I am currently writing a related novel. Thank you for your consideration.


I missed the part where Ruruk falls in love and fights for Alena. Do you mean he fought off the assassins? Or did they have a history? What about the wild horselords? Did they come through, or did they say, Pact? What pact?

Get rid of the wild horselords. I can't even tell if they're people or horses or centaurs. Though I assume centaurs. Get rid of the third paragraph and replace it with something that bridges the gap to the fourth paragraph, like, Ruruk kills the assassins and leads his army to Alena's castle, where they kill all the men who want to kill Alena and all the men who want to marry her, and her evil stepmother. Finally she's queen, although there's no one left to rule over.

Who does Alena marry if she wins the tournament? If she wins, does the guy who comes in second say, Hey, WTF? Does Rurik participate in the tournament?

What are these magics? I don't see a princess winning this tournament without magic, but isn't that cheating?


Anonymous said...

The plot & characters sound like so many others, you'll need stellar prose to sell this book. Clarity and charm are your goals here. The cumbersome names aren't helping.

Paul Penna said...

I got a headache once from trying to solve a Rurik's Cube, so I took some Theradran.

journeytogao said...

When the tournament takes a threatening turn, Alena decides to enter? Why doesn't she call it off?

Like EE, I was disoriented by the surprise announcement that Alena had become queen. Who came through? Rurik, the horselords?

And since this is a query, not a book jacket, I could do with less mystery about Alena's armor and her danger to herself, even though it's s safe guess you continue to follow formula and Alena finds out she has darkish magical powers that she must learn to control.

Anonymous said...

I admit, my knowledge on throne succession isn't much, but wouldn't the step-mother already be queen if she was married to the king when he died? If so, then the plot point, "Alena's stepmother has a plan to get her own claws on the throne" doesn't make sense to me, as she would already have it. Moreover, this would then make Alena as the one who is threatening the stability of the kingdom since she is usurping the throne. Also (and this came to mind) wouldn't suitors be looking at wooing the queen and not the princess?

Anonymous said...

Either Evil or the author submitted GTP #5, right?

none said...

How succession works depends on the law of the particular kingdom, of course. But if it's anything like English law, if the king was king by right of heredity, and the queen a queen only because she was his wife, then no, she doesn't become queen in her own right on his death. Hereditary succession passes by right of birth, not marriage.

So, for example, when George VI died, his widow didn't become Queen of England, his *daughter* did. When Queen Elizabeth II dies, Prince Philip doesn't become king. Charles does. He's the heir apparent (heir apparent because we have a system of male primogeniture, where the eldest male offspring is the heir automatically; his mother was only ever heir presumptive because of the whole being female thing; this is shortly to change).

And that's far more about that subject than anyone could possibly want to know....

Tk (just Tk, not T.K. Marnell) said...

Hello author,

I'm confused. This seems to have two plots - first one about her getting her rightful throne and then after she does that one about suitors that... I can't tell what happens. Since the book is really long, perhaps end it after she gets the throne and save the suitors for a sequel?

It also needs more focus on your MC - it's not good that Rurik sounds more interesting than her, with his superpowers and his secret. It might help to stick with Alena's POV. (Unless I'm totally confused and this is a romance, in which case I think that is the correct style, to have one paragraph from pov of each.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Buffy :) So my follow up would be this then, if the plot follows something like English law, then isn't the princess automatically queen on day 1 of the king's death, and if that's the case, why would she need to run at all? I get that the step-mom is trying to kill her at that point, but why can't the princess (now queen) just do an "Off with her head!" and be done with it?

Maybe I'm getting to nitty here, but that's what I'm getting hung up on, plot wise.

PLaF said...

The problem presented after “the king is dead” is too ambiguous. When a ruler dies there is always uncertainty. What makes this circumstance special? If Alena is prepared to take the throne, does her stepmother execute a plan to take control (i.e. an assassination attempt before the princess is crowned)?
The query presents many more questions than it answers.
Why does she flee to the Duke? What makes her believe he’s not part of the assassination plot? Why does she need the wild horselords and what are they?
Why does Alena need to get married if she’s not crowned the queen? Why would the lord’s demand this of her? How does Alena have enough power to challenge her suitors to Worthy by Combat? What’s the prize if they win, especially if she’s not the queen?
And lastly, the names…
Thereadran – here a dran, there a dran, everywhere a dran-dran…
I don’t mind Northgarde, particularly if his castle is in the north at the border where they are always on guard, but Rurik - and Duke Rurik? Did his parents not like him?

none said...

Hmm, well, I suppose automatically becoming Queen is one thing. Actually holding onto your crown is another. If the lords and the assassins and the step-mother are all against her, it may be that at that point, they're simply more powerful than she is.

(Look at what happened to Lady Jane Grey.)

Then we have the intervention of Northgarde the Kingmaker and all is (briefly) well.

Anonymous said...

The author here

Thanks to EE and commenters. This has been really, really helpful. I asked some folks in my writer's group for suggestions and they had nothing for me. This shows me how to write a query letter that hopefully really works. And how some of my phrases need work - no centaurs in this story, sadly!

To answer a couple questions: the king's children inherit, not his widow. However the old queen turns out to be pregnant and wants the throne to go to her son, if that's what she has.

The book may be too long but both threads do tie together pretty well and the suitors don't just appear after she's queen (again, thanks for showing me that the query doesn't make this clear).

Thanks again for the tips. You'd think that just lurking on this blog would have taught me how to write a decent letter but it's different when it's your own!

journeytogao said...

Okay, now I think EE is deliberately nuking my posts to get me to write a post about my post being nuked, which I myself then have to nuke when my original post mysteriously shows up.

Evil Editor said...

Sometimes a comment is so fascinating it takes me into another world and by the time I come back I've forgotten that I didn't click "publish."

none said...

Ah, well, if they have a system of male primogeniture and there's a posthumous pregnancy, all bets are off until the child is born.

Wilkins MacQueen said...

So that's my comments don't appear. I've been blaming blogger.

Evil Editor said...

Sometimes a comment is so inane that to post it would utterly humiliate the sender, and I take pity.

Maura said...

Rurik is the name of a major NPC in the MMO Guild Wars. You may want to change that one.