Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Guess the Plot
The Cobweb Tree
1. No Grandma! You can't make a Christmas tree out of fake cobwebs from Halloween! But Grandma did, and strung it with lights, and Jake and Alyssa loved their grandma's cobweb tree until it started eating stuff. Now it's trying to eat them.
2. The sun shines bright
And the winds blow free
And Charlotte nests safe
In The Cobweb Tree
Then the sky turns dark
And the air sooty
Tiny Charlotte coughs
In The Cobweb Tree
Poor Charlotte takes wing
Flies to new safety
And at night she cries
For her Cobweb Tree.
3. Wanda is the coven's newest Wiccan candidate. To prove her mettle she must raise awareness and funds. She tried a bake sale and a warlock walk to no avail. The town's founding father's have taken notice and built bonfires at Wanda's newest idea. Hilarity and death ensue when Wanda starts her own "gifts to the poor" Cobweb Tree.
4. Katie is thrilled when Finn asks her out, but not so thrilled when he abandons her deep in the forest where the first person she meets tries to put her to work for his credit agency. She escapes, but can she also escape the mysterious and unmentionable . . . cobweb tree?
Dear Evil Editor (may your shark's grin never blunt)
Sixteen[-]year-old Katie Harrison has had only one thing on her mind for the past two weeks: new boy Finn O’Malley. The most exciting thing ever to happen in her chocolate-fuelled, [fueled] bookworm life, he’s mysterious as a cat—tall and dark and utterly gorgeous. Katie is sure he’s interested in her, and when he asks her to meet his family, it seems that all her fantasies are coming true. What she didn’t expect was for Finn to tell her that he and his family are actually sidhe—wild, magical beings from an other [another] world. [Is it really necessary to tell us she didn't expect this? No one would expect this. And if it happened, who would believe it? Reminds me of the time when Get Smart and The Man from Uncle were popular shows and I phoned one of my classmates I had a crush on and told her I was a spy and needed her help on my next mission. She not only didn't buy it and agree to help me save the world, she also gave me a wide berth for the rest of my college career.] And none of her fantasies included Finn abandoning her in the never-ending sidhe forests to save his own skin.
The sidhe otherworld is treacherous and secretive, full of unwritten rules and protocol that Katie has no idea how to handle. Just introducing herself is dangerous, as she discovers when she accidentally binds herself into the thrall of the druid Cahal. Katie can’t believe that Finn would desert her like this, [Already said; see last sentence of previous paragraph.] but [and] in the end, only blind chance saves her from a lifetime of slavery. With no sign of Finn and no food, no toilet paper or hand sanitizer, just rain and trees and creatures that howl in the night, Katie is desperate to get home. Too scared to trust anyone after Cahal, the only thing she can think to do is to try and get to the edge of the forest. So she starts walking.
But the forest is full of dangers, and a growing number of creatures are curious about Katie’s involvement with Cahal, who, she discovers, was far more than just an ordinary druid. [Considering how little is known about the druids by us, not to mention Katie, how can she tell if a druid is ordinary or not? It's like a spaceship from another galaxy lands on Earth, and when the first being exits we immediately declare it no ordinary space alien.] Her connection with him puts her at the heart of a massive network of curses, promises, debts and secrets; and all of the people involved are now looking to Katie to write off their debts, fulfil their favours and tally up their credit. [Cahal is no ordinary druid; he manages a payday loan agency.] Katie’s never so much as killed a spider before, but in the forest, weakness is something to be exploited and ignorance is no excuse. No one believes her protests of ignorance; bluffing her way through the business transactions complicates everything; being kind only creates more problems, and things start getting bloody very quickly. With werewolves, ghosts and sidhe hunters on her trail, and the threat of dysentery, mortal injury and starvation, Katie's going to have to learn fast if she wants to live to see tomorrow, never mind get home in one piece.
THE COBWEB TREE is a YA fantasy novel of 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Finn has too big a role in the query. He's here only to explain how Katie ends up in the forest.
Bad enough that Katie Harrison's secret crush turned out to be sidhe; now he's abandoned her in the treacherous sidhe forests to save his own skin. Seeking a way out, she meets Cahal, the sidhe equivalent of VISA, who wants to enslave her as his collections officer. Katie escapes, but now everyone in the forest is after her to write off their debts, and if she can't bluff her way through a few business transactions, she may not live to see tomorrow, much less her home and family.
That's your setup, and it leaves plenty of room to tell us what happens. What's Katie's plan? What goes wrong? What's her new plan? Does she have an ally? Make sure you're telling a cohesive story, not just listing a few random things that happen. One thing leads to another. Cause and effect.