Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Face-Lift 1086

Guess the Plot


1. The magical beings in my book are called wildlings. For instance, Mia Twinblades is a wildling. The book is called Wilding. For instance, Lock your doors while Wilding's wily wildlings are wilding.

2. Chronicles of a weredingo that refused to conform.

3. The multigenerational saga of the Wilding family, whose plucky women struggle to regain control of the fashion empire built by the poor but feisty Emily, and ripped from them by scheming rich girl Adeline. On the way they battle heartaches...oh, you can fill in the blanks.

4. A nation is horrified as a group of young boys, apparently engaged in "wilding," brutally attack a woman jogging in a park. Twenty-some years later, when it turns out that the now-grown-men, all of whom served prison terms, hadn't actually attacked anybody, a nation shrugs.

5. Amish youth have Rumspringa, a time to sample the decadent outside world before committing to Amish life. Were-creatures have the Wilding: two weeks without the Magistrate’s rules, a time to slake blood-lusts (and other lusts). When Rumspringa and Wilding collide in Lancaster County, teen Amanda Hofstetter must decide which lifepath to take: hallowed, heretical, or hairy.

6. Gangs of hooligans have made Gloucester the most dangerous town in the country. And the police are helpless to stop it. Enter ex-Navy SEAL Jake Carter, aka . . . The Vigilante.

Original Version

Dear Agent,

Being a wildling has its advantages: perpetual youth, enhanced strength, and accelerated healing. [They're like that angel guy on Supernatural. Or vampires.] Unfortunately for Mia Twinblades, it also comes with side effects like hallucinations, uncontrollable magic, and incipient madness that may lead to an explosive death.

When Mia stumbles upon a murder and kidnapping in progress, [Or is it one of her hallucinations?] she finds herself caught in a web of political intrigue and slavery. Magically gifted children are disappearing from the streets of Iliana, and demons are being ripped from the Abyss against their will. [By whom?] Forced into a deal with a demonic auditor, she has seven days to stop the abductions or spend eternity in the Abyss. [Why is she the one who has to do this? I don't see perpetual youth, enhanced strength, accelerated healing . . . and uncontrollable magic making her a better candidate than the authorities (or a demonic auditor) to handle this job.] Having a newly orphaned kid underfoot is bad enough, [I take this to mean the kid was the target of the kidnappers and she rescued him? And this somehow forces her into a deal with a demonic auditor?] [Is she supposed to just stop the gifted children abductions or also the demon abductions?] but things really get complicated when another wildling enters the mix. After nearly fifty years of searching, Mia’s elation at finding another one of her kind—and a gorgeous male one at that—quickly fades when she discovers that he is determined to sacrifice the boy she has sworn to protect. [So the boy isn't a wildling?] Will she choose the man she could come dangerously close to loving or the child who has captured her heart? [Or will she find a third option, one that makes everyone happy?]

Set in the fantasy world of Mara where demons operate casinos an [and] aristocrats use magically gifted children as weapons, my novel, Wilding, is complete at 92,000 words and will appeal to fans of Lisa Shearin’s Raine Benares books.

Currently employed as a nuclear chemist in southern Vermont, I’ve done everything from wrestling alligators to modeling. [Needless to say, my modeling career pretty much hit the skids after that last alligator wrestling match.] [On the alphabetical list of occupations that goes: aardvark breeder, actuary, aeronautical engineer, airplane pilot, alligator wrestler, anaconda wrestler, Aquaman, hundreds of other occupations, model, I doubt you've been everything from alligator wrestler to model. However, on the randomly ordered list of occupations that goes . . . cartographer, demonic auditor, alligator wrestler, waitress, cosmetics salesperson, model, falcon trainer . . . okay.] Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you.


[Note to EE: Wildlings are a race of nearly extinct magical beings to which Mia Twinblades and the primary antagonist belong.] [So the new wilding is the primary antagonist? I had the impression he was the love interest.]


Presumably you've misspelled the only word in your title?

If the magically gifted children being abducted aren't wildlings, what are they?

Aristocrats are kidnapping magically gifted children and using them as weapons? Against whom? Are the aristocrats also the ones behind the demons being pulled from the abyss? Is that what they need the children for? What is the goal of the aristocrats?

In a world where demons are being ripped from the abyss against their will, I wouldn't expect them to also be running casinos.

Why doesn't the demonic auditor suggest that Mia team up with him instead of telling her she has seven days to fix things on her own or else?

How does Mia know this new guy is a wildling? Can you tell by looking at someone that he/she is a wildling?

The story isn't presented with enough clarity. Talk to us like we're idiots incapable of understanding anything that isn't explained with baby steps.


AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Mia’s elation at finding another one of her kind—and a gorgeous male one at that—quickly fades when she discovers that he is determined to sacrifice the boy she has sworn to protect. Will she choose the man she could come dangerously close to loving or the child who has captured her heart?

See, now this is an example of a Waterworld Error.

Insofar as anything can be said to further ruin a movie that opens with the hero drinking his own urine, Waterworld was ruined when the hero had to be talked out of killing the cute little kid. The sex appeal of would-be child-killers is negligible.

I'm pretty sure this isn't just me.

Oh well. No doubt it works in the manuscript.

The only thing that caught my interest in this query was "demons operate casinos". Those three words seemed different, evocative, and yet straightforward. For the rest, you're giving us a lot of dramatic language but not enough substance.

For example, "finds herself caught in a web of political intrigue and slavery" doesn't tell us anything about your story. It could describe a historical novel about the Underground Railroad, or about Cleopatra. Or an expose about an S&M club in Washington.

It vague.

I agree w/EE. Talk to us like we're idiots.

150 said...

I saw "demons operate casinos" as the kind of kitchen-sinkery writers like to include to imply a full, wacky world, but mostly because it happened at the end where such kitchen-sinkery tends to go.

Like the others said, this needs more plot at the front and more specificity throughout. Personally, I was interested in the hallucinations, but first try to pare this down to an extremely clear plotline, end on a dilemma with clear consequences both ways, and then garnish from there.

Good luck!

none said...

The first paragraph has little to do with the ones that follow. If eternal youth and/or hallucinations etc actually play a part in resolving the plot, then show us how. Else, cut them. Each paragraph should follow from the one before.

Chicory said...

Mia is fifty? I was picturing her a teenager. The age thing almost at the end of the query really threw me. It's probably explained in the book, but are you sure you need to mention it in the query?

khazar-khum said...

Chicory, it says she's ageless.

I can't resolve how demons can run casinos, but be dragged out of the abyss against their will. Do demon wise guys get them?

Maybe the wildlings should be feral demons, ones who've run away from the casinos of slavery.

Killing a kid isn't always a deal breaker; if you're killing Damien before he gets too big, no one will yell. But there has to be a damn good reason.

Unknown said...

I actually perked up when you mentioned demon casinos. I recently went to Vegas, and I think you're onto something here.

The rest of the query left me with too many basic unanswered questions, like - what exactly is a wilding? As your main character is one, I'd like to know if it's a social class, a choice, a tradition, a blessing, a curse, or a species. Or something else. I know a query letter doesn't give you much room for this, but I think you may be able to eliminate the side-effects and actually tell us who she is.

Without this info, the rest of the query doesn't make sense to me.

Signed, Just another idiot in search of enlightenment.