Monday, October 24, 2016

Face-Lift 1331

Guess the Plot

Worlds Collide

1. Tiffani is a ballet dancer; Brandon is a stevedore. She loves arts and crafts pottery. He loves NFL football. They meet by happenstance and discover a mutual passion: both are serial killers.

2. Anna finds a mysterious cave that pulls her into a world inhabited by strange creatures who think her appearance represents the beginning of an invasion. Which is pretty much how Anna felt when the Roman Empire first invaded her country.

3. Something is headed straight toward Earth, with the resulting crash enough to wipe out all of humanity. However, unlike an asteroid, this is another planet with life of its own. Hey, if we all gotta die, we might as well take someone with us.

4. When a portal opens between earth and fantasy land, it's not young teens who move through, it's the whole planet. To set things right, Grandma McCurdy must face increased gravity, tidal anomalies, climate change, invasive species, etc. Oh, and cataclysmic magic. 

5. When opposing candidates for the office of mayor meet at the Worlds Collide bar, sparks fly, leading to a whole nother level of heat in their respective campaigns.

6. When a world of (really hot) vampires, werewolves and mummies collides with a world of discontented (and also really hot) high school students, the results are predictable yet strangely compelling.

7. The studios want something "new, but familiar," so Harvey writes a dystopian version of the 1950s classic When Worlds Collide that sees scientists murdered by mobs of zombies, a rocket crashing into the sun, and another ship piloted by Jennifer Lawrence and Lady Gaga making it to safety. Sure, Harvey gets a contract, but will he get a date with Jennifer?

8. The land of rainbows and sunshine collides with the world of zombies and darkness when a mishap with a happy-smile potion goes terribly wrong. Can Sparkles and Kazoo find a cure before their home is irrevocably changed forever?

9. Minky Flint wants to marry a hard working farm boy instead of the foppish prat her parents engaged her to before she was born. Fortunately, she has a fairy godmother. Unfortunately, the godmother agrees with her parents! What's a girl gotta do to get the right fairy tale ending?

Original Version

Worlds Collide is the first book in a Mid-Grade fantasy series complete at 35K words set in the time period of [during]
the Roman occupation of the Britons. [My sources (Wikipedia) tell me the occupied area is known as the Britains or Roman Britain. The Britons are the people. Also, you might manage to say the book is 35K words, rather than the series is 35K words, and that the series is set during the occupation, rather than the words are set then. It'll be easier if you use two sentences to convey the information.] 

Anna starts her life as a happy child with loving parents. She and her family live in a small village that goes unnoticed by both the Romans and the Saxons who are fighting with each other for control of the land. Anna's happiness is cut short by the death of her father and shortly after that, the death of her mother. [when her parents die and she must move in] She lives for several years with her drunken uncleuntil the day fate crosses her path.

[Years later,] Anna finds [stumbles upon] a mysterious cave that pulls her into a new world inhabited by strange creatures, who are just as surprised to see her as she is to see them. [It would be nice to know whether Anna is ten or thirteen or sixteen.]

There is a priestess among the people of this new world who is able to help[s] Anna to understand them and them her. [Are the "people" of this world the same beings you described as "strange creatures"? If so, calling them people may give the wrong impression. If not, then I don't see the arrival of one girl causing as much distress as it does in the next paragraph.] 

They are the people of Suan and many of them are very disturbed by her presence. Anna is unable to [claims she can't] explain how she came to be there but many of the Suan believe she is lying. Some believe that she [her arrival] could be the beginning of [portend] an invasion from her world.

Anna is brought before King Maaz of the Suan’s [Suans] and after she tells her story, the king decides that she is telling the truth and is no threat to his people.

With all societies in this world or another, things aren’t always as they seem. Saban, one of the kings [king's] closest generals had [, has] been working for a long time to steal the loyalty of the kings [king's] rangers, and seize power for himself,[.]  [He] sees Anna as a tool he can use to further his ambitions.

With the help of the kings [king's] treacherous oldest son[,]  the general is able to overthrow[s] King Maaz and have [has] him arrested.

 Anna finds herself a fugitive on the run with a small group of Suan’s [Suans] who are loyal to King Maaz. They desperately need help but don’t know who they can trust, so they attempt something that may cause two worlds to collide in war. ["Attempt something" is too vague. What's their plan? This is more important information than anything about Anna's parents and her drunken uncle and the priestess.]


Sentences that logically belong together should be in the same paragraph. Using a lot of one-sentence paragraphs gives the impression you're listing ideas without connecting them. Your plot summary could easily be organized into three paragraphs. 

As the Roman occupation lasted about 370 years, telling us the story is set in that time period is like telling us a story is set in the time between the pilgrims reaching Plymouth Rock and the debut of The Simpsons on Fox. We have a right to know whether this is set at the time Hadrian's Wall was being built or closer to when the self-proclaimed emperor Carausius was assassinated by his treasurer.


Mister Furkles said...

If I recall correctly, the Romans conquered part of Britain in 43 BC. The Britons were part of the Roman Empire. The Roman legions were withdrawn 410 AD. Lots of stuff happened in between. The Saxons do not appear until well after the Roman conquest and do not establish control until about one hundred years after the legions were withdrawn.

Even if you write middle grade historical fantasy, you need to research this and get it right.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

This is "middle grade"; mid-grade, according to google, is "between shwag and chronic."

Is this meant to be a synopsis, or a query? It reads like the former: this happened, then this happened, then this happened. That's okay for a synopsis, but not for a query, which has to hook the reader.

For a query, you want to hit the ground running. Something like

When 11-year-old Anna stumbles through a portal into the mysterious world of Suan...

Her backstory is slowing you down.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure why you're going for (inaccurate) historical fiction and then throwing in a portal to fantasy land. Why you need both should probably be set up in the query. It needs to be important to the story, not just a way to stand out of the slush pile.

What are Anna's goals/what is she attempting to accomplish? What's at stake for her? What changes her/in her life by the end of the book?

As a side note, "Anna" isn't a name historically accurate for either Britons or Saxons.

Middle grade is more than the word count and age of the MC. The books are marketed to the parents, not the kids. The protagonist's world view is expected to be slightly different than for a YA book. Etc.

Chicory said...

I have a hard time understanding why you decided to use a historic setting only to leave it for another world. Does Anna cross between worlds several times? The query makes it sound like Anna leaves earth behind for the bulk of the story, and that makes the historic setting seem unimportant. The story sounds like it would work just as well if the portal were discovered by a modern preteen, or by someone who lives in another part of the same world and arrives in the Suan court by shipwreck or some other means.

There may be a very good plot or thematic reason why Anna has to find the portal during the Great Roman Empire, but it's not coming across in the query. Please don't be discouraged! Queries are hard to write.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Okay. I was sticking to the query rather than the story, but since others are talking about the story, I'll throw this in.

EE hates us to talk about length (not sure what that's all about?) but the usual length of a MG novel set in a modern, non-magical world is 35k-50k. Both historical fiction and fantasy tend to run somewhat longer, 60k to 75k, because of the need for world building.

When you have both a historical setting and a fantasy setting, you have even more worldbuilding to do. Twice as much, I'd say.

So 35k is probably going to leave the two worlds somewhat unbuilt.

St0n3henge said...

This is too vague to capture my interest. I don't know who the creatures or beings are or whether or not they look like us. The priestess could be fourteen or eighty, dressed in plain robes like a nun or a flashy gown like a princess. Does the priestess know or use magic?

They are wary of an invasion from the other world. How much do they know about our world? How is one girl a tool a general could use to further his ambitions? Why is King Maaz a better king to have than the general? In real life, thrones are overthrown nearly constantly. Most people learn to accept it. What's different about this society?

Finally, why is it so important that Anna survive? Sure, she's the protagonist, but I can't see where she does anything so important in the story that it would make any difference if she doesn't survive. Does anything outside of Anna rely on her survival, and if so, what is it?

Anonymous said...

I was hoping for guess the plot 1... whomever posted that plot, can THAT become a thing? Please?