Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Face-Lift 1353

Guess the Plot

Crimson God

1. He is the Crimson God. All things in the red hue he rules over with an iron fist. Sadly, that includes everything Valentine's Day. Can Alan appease the god so he can charm Gwen or will he have to suffer a bloody-red fate?

2. Yahweh and Satan battle it out for the right to wear that red suit, the skin-tight one. The part where they go at it in the River Styx, sloshing around and hurling taunts is a hoot.

3. Disliking blood sacrifice enormously, the god Filenaiy'dis needs to somehow lose the title of "Crimson God." Unfortunately, his cult warring for sacrifices to him has other ideas. Like adding him to the list of victims.

4. The Crimson God and its gun-toting robots were defeated by Rio's ancestors ages ago. Now they're back, and unless Rio can stop them, her people are doomed. The good news is Rio can become invisible. The bad news is it's hard to beat gun-toting robots even if they can't see you. 

5. When Al Gonzalez, jockey of Triple Crown bound Crimson God, dies after a fall at Santa Anita, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, Gonzalez didn't shoot himself in the backstretch; and two, maybe he should break down and buy his daughter a pony.

6. It shouldn't be that hard for a god to land the goddess of his dreams, but Eros's face turns red every time he tries to talk to a female, and he runs away in embarrassment. 

Original Version

Dear (Agent's name),

In the new world, many have supernatural abilities, but Rio is more transparent than most, she can turn invisible. [That last comma should be a dash, semicolon or period.] When she was twelve, she survived the frozen wasteland, [That comma should be deleted.] known only as the labyrinth. That's where she gained her gift along with the scars the wolves gave her as souvenirs. [What do you mean by she's more transparent than most? Obviously an invisible person is more transparent than one who isn't invisible. Are the others partially transparent? I would just say many have supernatural abilities; Rio can turn invisible.]

Now at the age of seventeen, Rio is the best hunter in her kingdom and has earned the title of Arch-Huntress, but because her father needs an heir, he forces her to marry her best friend, Leon. She protests to no avail. Every king needs a successor and her father will secure one anyway [any way] he can, so he demands that she forfeits her rank to become a loyal and submissive wife.

Just when Rio thought her hunting days were over, a strange sound erupts in the middle of the night. The sound of a gunshot, [or] at least that's what she thinks it is. But no, that's impossible. Guns are the forgotten weapons of robotic creatures who served the Crimson God. [You're just now getting around to mentioning that your book has robots with guns? This changes everything.] Assuming the history books she read in school were accurate, the false god and his empire were defeated a long time ago by Rio's ancestors. [The Germans were defeated in WWI, but still managed to have guns when WWII rolled around. And even if the Germans had been eradicated, it wouldn't be impossible for some of their guns to still exist.] So when her father quickly dismisses the strange sound, she knows that he's hiding something and that he's been doing it for a long time. [I don't see how she can know all that just from his dismissing the sound quickly. It's not like she's ever heard a real gunshot. If a loud noise startled my child, I think I'd be quick to tell him what it was instead of waiting awhile and letting his imagination run wild.]

With nothing else to look forward to but an awkward wedding, she heads out on one last hunt. [A hunt for the robots with guns?] Rio's experience won't help her this time as she uncovers a secret that will leave her city vulnerable to the reawakening God, still bent on revenge.

My novel is complete at 90,000 words and is the first in a planned series. My manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. Thanks for your time and consideration.


I can see how invisibility would be useful to a huntress. But you don't mention how her gift plays a role in the story. You might as well start with paragraph 2: At the age of seventeen, Rio is the best hunter in her kingdom, thanks in part to her ability to become invisible. But can her gift let her defeat an army of robots with guns? We don't need to know about the wolves and scars and labyrinth if they aren't going to come up again in the plot summary.

Another advantage to dumping paragraph 1 is that you get to the robots with guns faster.

How did these primitive people ever manage to defeat the Crimson God with its army of robots with guns?

I think I'd like this query to carry the plot beyond the uncovering of the mysterious secret. All we have is:

 17-year-old huntress Rio, who has the ability to become invisible, is being forced to quit hunting and marry her best friend. Before the wedding, she goes on one last hunt and discovers . . . what? That the Crimson God, who was defeated by her people eons ago has amassed an army of robots with guns and is bent on revenge? And she tries to stop the God by _______, but her plan is foiled when _______.

She could run back and warn her people, or she could try her plan B, which of course requires invisibility. Each has its pros and cons.


Anonymous said...

The MC's been forced to marry in para 2, so I found it strange that she was awaiting the awkward wedding in para 4... do people in this world get married before their weddings?

If her father was willing to secure a successor any way he can, why doesn't he assign or adopt someone to be his successor? I don't see how her getting married fits the description. Also, why does she need to forfeit her rank to get married? I thought the whole reason she's supposed to be getting married is she has the rank 'princess' or 'daughter of the king.' You said 'arch-huntress' is a title--is there a rank involved? Still, why would she need to give it up? [it may just be me who finds this an annoying trope]

If a secret is worth mentioning, it's worth mentioning what it is.
If she hadn't discovered this secret would her city be less vulnerable?

You might want to include the title of the book in that last para with the word count. You don't need to mention the manuscript is available--if it wasn't available, why would you be querying?

Also, double check grammar and punctuation. Have someone else check it too.

InevitablePlotTwist said...

Being forced to marry your best friend doesn't seem like the hardship this query implies it is. That's actually a life goal for lots of people.

I agree with EE - get to the robots with guns faster. I actually think that the GTP for the query would be a great place to start with for your revised version.

This query needs work, but on the plus side, you have one of the coolest concepts I've seen on EE. I'm not sure there's a story out there that wouldn't be improved by adding robots with guns.

Unknown said...

Thanks everybody for the great advice. Here's my updated query letter so far...

In the new world, many have supernatural abilities. Rio can turn invisible. The seventeen-year-old is the best hunter in her kingdom and has earned the title of Arch-Huntress, but when her father, the king, arranges a courtship between her and her best friend, she is expected to forfeit her rank to become a loyal wife and mother.

Just when Rio thought her hunting days were over, a strange sound erupts in the middle of the night. The sound of a gunshot, or at least that's what she thinks it is. Guns are the forgotten weapons of the mechs, robotic creatures who served the Crimson God. Even though he was defeated by Rio’s ancestors, some of the mechs might have survived. Rio’s father convinces the people that they are safe and tells them he will send out a search party in the morning.

With nothing else to look forward to but an awkward wedding, Rio heads out to see for herself. Just as she’s about to leave she is caught by Leon, her faience with superhuman strength. Intent on winning her affection he convinces her to let him tag along.

After hours of searching in what has become a dense jungle, the two are about to turn back when they stumble upon a wounded outsider. With shackles around his ankles, he claims to be an escaped slave of the Crimson God. She must decide if she can trust him. He could be a spy, but if he’s telling the truth Rio and her kingdom must prepare for a war against a reawakening God, bent on revenge.

Evil Editor said...

Much better.

P2: Change "he" to "the God" Since we don't know whether the God is male or female, it isn't clear who "he" refers to.

P3: Faience? I assume that's supposed to be fiancé. It sounds odd to throw in "with superhuman strength" if he doesn't need it in the query. In the first sentence Rio heads out. In the second, she hasn't headed out yet. Changing the first to "decides to head out would remedy this.

P4: Change the first "she" to "Rio." (Or "they" if Leon is in on this decision.) Not sure what someone spying for another kingdom would be doing in a dense jungle with shackles on his ankles. Whether he's telling the truth or not, it seems the obvious action is to take him back with them and let the king decide what to do. Is there another option that might be better, like the three of them taking down the God on their own?

Anonymous said...

Is this book about preparations for war and then the battle (with a postponed(?) wedding)? If not, you may be giving the wrong impression.

The marriage doesn't seem to have much to do with the reawakening god plot. You might want to try removing it to maybe cover what actions they plan on taking after finding the outsider.

Who else would the guy they find be a spy for? Is there another kingdom nearby?