Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Face-Lift 1082

Guess the Plot

The Wanderer and the Wyvern

1. Phoebus the vampire would have an easier time wiping out his former clan if he had an ally who was a wivern. Unfortunately, he turned the only wivern in town into a human. And then fell in love with him. Maybe they should just move to Manitoba together and get married.

2. He wanders the villages of East Umbria, riding upon his shoulder the last living wyvern in the Northern Realm. Those who would blaspheme the Lord of West Onyx tremble before his approach, many fleeing to the Southern Reaches, or maybe Palm Beach, depending on the season.

3. After twenty years of marriage to a nagging, passive-aggressive woman, Vern hits the road searching for happiness. Yet he cannot escape. A tiny black bird with his wife's voice and overdone make-up haunts his nights, endlessly asking: "why, Vern?"

4. Kakafonius is an itinerant bard. Dulce is a mauve and green were-wyvern, who can transform at will. Together they deliver tales of love, ambition, glory and deception as they ride united across the Kingdom.

5. Jack Schultz sets out to hitchhike across the United States. The first ride he gets is from a wyvern. As the two fly over the Great Plains, the Rockies, and the southwestern deserts, they debate serious philosophical questions.

6. Dr Marian Jacobs has finally found her Holy Grail: a pristine copy of the 13th C romance, "The Wanderer and the Wyvern". Unfortunately her long-term department rival, Dr Jason Reynolds, has also spotted the manuscript. Should she seduce him--or shoot him? Also, tenure.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Phoebus and Abatis are not your typical heroes. They're the ones you would usually find terrorizing villagers or taking over the world. [But with kindness.]

Phoebus has managed to capture Abatis, the legendary dragon. He hopes the creature will aid him in his conquest against [Conquest of or battle against.] his former clan, the Demon Whisperers; a formidable group of vampires that make pacts with the demons of Hell in exchange for dark powers of their own. [Do they whisper when making these pacts with demons? I ask because I've never thought of demons as the type who like it nice and quiet.] [Also, I'd go with a comma or a dash or a colon rather than a semicolon.] Though, instead of just asking for his help, Phoebus has turned the dragon human. [Big mistake. A dragon's power rating is much higher than a human's when it comes to fighting vampires.]

Having to deal with this resentful and foul-mouthed servant, Phoebus tries his best to keep things as professional as he can with a whip in his hand. This becomes difficult when his own demon, the flamboyant Gwynfor, continually insists on interfering and making things more intimate. [Things? What things? Is it Phoebus and his servant or Phoebus and his demon who are intimate?] There isn't much the vampire can do against the demon, lest he wishes for [without effecting/inviting] his own death. Or worse. So he goes along with it, and eventually the two [Which two?] begin to form a much closer bond. A bond Gwynfor intends to take full advantage of.

Just as things [There's that word again.] between Phoebus and Abatis have become nice and comfortable, Gwynfor comes to the vampire with the news that his new lover will be his downfall. That his goal to destroy his former clan has been greatly compromised by their relationship. [When a demon comes to you with "news," is it a good idea to base important decisions on that news? Is it a good idea to even believe him?]

Now the proud Phoebus must make a choice. Either one that will keep him from his victory over the Demon Whisperers. Or one that could not only endanger his own life, but the life of Abatis as well. [Apparently you're saying the choice to stick with Abatis means the clan win. From which I infer that dumping Abatis means the clan loses (though I'm not sure how that can be known; if Phoebus ends his relationship with Abatis, does he fight the clan alone or does Abatis fight with him?). You're also saying dumping Abatis endangers Phoebus and Abatis. From which I infer that not dumping Abatis keeps them safe. But if dumping Abatis means fighting the clan in an epic battle, I don't see how they can be assumed safe. Nor is it clear what endangers them if they stay together and move to Manitoba.

It sounds like P and A are pretty much through whether the Whisperers are defeated or not. So the obvious choice is to defeat them. Maybe. I need a chart to make this clear.

Stick with Abatis..............Dump Abatis
     Clan wins ..................  Clan loses?
  A and P safe?............A and P endangered.
That didn't help. The sentence (not three sentences) should be: Now the proud Phoebus must make a choice: victory over the Demon Whisperers, or his friendship/bond/fling/romance with Abatis. At least that's a choice. Is it the choice in the book?]

THE WANDERER AND THE WYVERN (137,111 words) is a co-authored erotic fantasy, where the point of view switches between both Phoebus and Abatis. [No need for the word "both," as it's implied by the word "between."] [And it's unlikely the reader will care whose POV the story is told from, anyway.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.


((P.S. I know the word count is HUGE. I am working on that. A lot. There's still a good amount to do editing-wise to my MS, but I figured I'd start on the query to help keep me motivated.))


In my opinion you must tell us why Phoebus is out to destroy his former clan. What does he gain from victory that might make it worth giving up Abatis?

How can one normal vampire defeat a whole clan of vampires who've acquired new dark powers? If only his one ally were still a dragon instead of a puny human.

Is Phoebus the wanderer? I would assume he hangs out where his clan is, plotting their demise. Where does he wander to?


Anonymous said...

Why did Phoebus turn Abatis into a human? That seems like a major turn in the story. Was it an accident? Is Abatis a him, her, or an it? Can Phoebus turn him, her, or it back into a dragon? (I'll never understand these dragon stories.)

Anonymous said...

Not to be picky, but is it a wyvern or a dragon? While some consider a wyvern to be a "subspecies" of dragon, they are still different creatures that evoke very different images. So if you're gonna call it a wyvern in the title, call it a wyvern throughout unless someone is using dragon to be insulting or respectful or something.

Also, the query does a lot of hinting and teasing, which you generally don't want. It also seems to be mostly be back story and explanation. It needs to be clearer:

* Phoebus is a vampire who wants to destroy his former clan (why, in brief?)
* At his side is Abatis, the legendary Wyvern, whom Phoebus tamed then woed (who is useful because? are they really lovers if he technically caught him/her first, i.e. did Abatis have a choice?)
* Phoebus' demon (friend? Foe? neutral?) claims they can't win as long as they are lovers (why not?), but Phoebus can't win without Abatis because ?

Drop most of the explanation and back story, and get us to the heart of things - who is the central focus, what do they want, what's stopping them.

If the story starts back when Phoebus is catching Abatis and goes through the entire of his taming/romancing before getting to the meat of things, that may be a place to cut some words and start us a bit closer to the main story.

Kelsey said...

What kind of pacts with the Devil can vampires make? Traditionally, humans give up their souls to get something the Devil can give them, but vampires, especially if they're called "dark" or "evil" wouldn't have souls and would presumably kill and maim anyway without any extra incentive from Hell. Why would Hell give vampires power for nothing, then? And on that note, what are the extra powers vampires gain with this pact beyond the scary things we usually expect of them (super strength, immortality, etc.)? What is the one most powerful skill/tool they have that's threatening Phoebus? On the flip side, what's their biggest weakness?

If you instead mean that HUMANS have been making pacts with the Devil--selling their souls in return for vampire immortality and super powers--that would make more sense, but then you can't call them vampires first and mention the pact second.

Good luck with revising.

BuffySquirrel said...


AA said...

First of all, there are too many small mistakes in a short space here. Using a semicolon wrong probably won't get you into trouble, but adding that to the "conquest against," plus sentence fragments ("That his goal..." "Either one.." "Or one...") and starting a sentence with "Though" for no discernable reason makes you seem like a sloppy writer, especially when you only have a few paragraphs to get through. (I'm also pretty sure it's "lest he wish...")

I don't get why Phoebus wants to conquer his former clan. Did they do something unforgivable, or is this lust for power?

Wouldn't Abatis want most to be a dragon again? It seems Phoebus can't keep him/her a human forever. Imagine being trapped in the body of a different species. Maybe trout sex is pretty good, but would it make up for being a trout?

A. M. Perkins said...

That "things" thing made me think of a wonderfully horrible movie that was used on Mystery Science Theater 3000.

A werewolf tried to explain his nighttime actions the morning after: "It was terrible. I was running through the streets...doing things!"

Oh, no! Not THINGS!

At the end of this I wasn't completely sure of who was sleeping with who was fighting with who was doomed to die with... I just lost track. I think revisions for narrative clarity are in order.

batgirl said...

Why would a vampire be called Phoebus? I know that's minor, but it niggles at me, since yr classic vamp dislikes the sun.

I hope that the stilted and awkward language in the query is done from a mistaken hope of impressing the agent, and does not represent the style of the book itself. Authors, could you try another version of the query in a more natural voice?

The 'erotic' at the end of the query made me stumble. Maybe build that a little more?