Thursday, June 22, 2017

Face-Lift 1357

Guess the Plot

The Lair of 1000 Butterflies

1. Rolanda Devereaux doesn't understand why the bar she has opened in Steeltown, PA, isn't drawing any customers. Could it be the name?  

2. When 13-year-old Harlow is discovered covered in blood, he claims he was kidnapped by butterflies. But that doesn't explain why he suddenly can bust out ninja moves and communicate with cats. Or does it?

3. Evil scientist Mushas Mashississist has concocted a new scheme for world domination! He shall breed Chaos Butterflies (tm)!! Only two kids and their new superpowers can stop him!!! Small problem--they must steal their superpowers from evil scientist Og!vey and then learn to use them!!!!

4. With each flap of their wings, a hurricane happens on the other side of the world. A group of luckless explorers unleash a horror unlike any other as they uncover The Lair of 1000 Butterflies. Will the butterfly nets their local guide brought along contain the kaleidoscope?

5. In the land of Sydoz, butterflies are protected by the local religion, whose practitioners consider them unattached souls. But the newly arrived vampire butterflies will morph into enormous fanged dragons . . . unless Noknoor, butterfly slayer, can find and destroy the lair where these bloodthirsty beasts lurk - while risking being executed if he harms the wrong ones.

6. World renowned lepidopterist Merve Janks has almost completed the ultimate butterfly collection. Will finding his 1,000th new subspecies be enough to save his professorship, his marriage, and cure his rare form of cancer? Or, should he join a hidden cult in the Amazon and sacrifice himself to their butterfly god?

7. The sign out front said 'Massage'. So when 76 year old Peter 'Pops' Warren went in for relief from his old war wound, he got a real surprise ending. Now he has daily 'sessions', and his wife is getting more than a bit suspicious. Why, she might just go there and see what's up, as it were.

Original Version

If there’s one thing twelve-year-old Victor hates, it’s cats [Wait , is this the same book we did in Face-Lift 1351, which was titled The All-Mads? Or is this book 2 in the series?] —every time one talks, he’s cursed to die. He reincarnates since he’s an Arcana God, but he doesn’t want to grow up again, lose the memories of his 1000th life, or leave his adoptive mom/mentor. Not to mention dying hurts. So when a tabby chants a prophecy, Victor’s surprised he stumbles into an injured autistic boy named Harlow instead of some monster. [Harlow? Change it to Hugo. Like in Victor Hugo.] But the boy he rescues might be the villain, not the victim. [You said he stumbled into him. Not that he rescued him.]

Thirteen-year-old Harlow was kidnapped by butterflies. At least, that’s how he explains why he was covered in blood, not all of which was his; [To me, "I was kidnapped by butterflies" does not explain why you are covered in blood. In fact, the only thing for which that would be a good explanation would be if you were encasing yourself in a cocoon.] can bust out ninja moves; and is super friendly with the cat who cursed Victor.  When Victor realizes the cat’s prophecy is about Harlow, [If Harlow and the cat are such good buddies, why didn't the cat deliver the prophecy to Harlow? How can Victor realize the prophecy is about Harlow, if he just met Harlow?] he’s convinced: Harlow is the living manifestation of his curse. [I don't follow. What exactly did the cat say?] [Also, what is meant by "the living manifestation of a curse"?] Problem is, he likes Harlow. Maybe even likes likes him.

Desperate for a solution, Victor visits his shrine and views memories from his past lives. What he discovers isn’t exactly encouraging. If a God is deemed “not godly enough” at the end of their 1000th life, someone new will take their place. [If this information is in his shrine, why hasn't he ever discovered it before?] Victor needs to find a way to reverse the curse—preferably one that doesn’t involve sacrificing Harlow in a bloodstone circle—or this life might be his last. 


I'll assume this is the same book, as you've provided no word count, genre, or mention of a previous book. 

What is the cat's prophecy? I'm not asking because I want to know. I'm asking because I think you need it in the query. I'm not sure any of the information in the query is more important than that.

There too much information that we don't need, so much it feels disorganized. Why bring up Ninja moves, adoptive mom/mentor, or even butterflies if you aren't going to tell us how they affect the story? Focus on Victor and Harlow. What do they want, what's their plan to get it, what's stopping them, what's at stake.

When a cat tells 12-year-old Victor [PROPHECY], Victor fears he's going to die. It has nothing to do with the cat's prophecy; Victor dies every time a cat talks. It's happened 999 times, and after the 1000th, Victor could lose his status as an Arcana God.


Claudia_Witter said...

Since there were some major plot changes (for example, Victor no longer gets the Tarot card powers later in the book, he has them from the start) and a title change, I wasn't sure if it was all right to still consider it a revision. But since it's not exactly a revision, I should've included the word count and such. I apologize for that.

I see now that I need the cat's prophecy/curse in the query, but I wasn't sure how to include dialogue without it reading (even more) awkwardly. Your way, though, could work. Then I'd just have to fix, well, everything else that's wrong with this query. (X

Claudia_Witter said...

Of course, I can probably include it without using dialogue. I'll have to see what works.

Anonymous said...

Meh, the only reason we want to know the word count is so we can tell you if it's too long or too short. The word count you had listed for the previous version was high for YA fantasy, which should ideally be ~60K-80K.

I am curious as to the genre now. Are they ages 12-13 for the entire book? That's a rough sell for the YA market and the content doesn't seem right for upper middle grade. Are you pushing for Adult so you can get away with a larger word count?

When rewriting, remember you need to show how the detail your including is important, or don't include it. e.g. The ninja moves may be useful, but unless you tell me who/what they're being used on/for, they look extraneous.

Claudia_WItter said...

I've been trying to lower the word count, and realized a lot could actually be saved for the second book, and a lot of scenes weren't needed to move the story forward. Right now it's about 68K, so by the final edit, it'll probably still be around that. I did have it as a YA before because the word count was so high, even for that genre, but because of their ages, it's probably more MG.

Yes, I'll do that. I always include too much that doesn't matter and not enough that does.

St0n3henge said...

Honestly I don't think you're ready to query this. Previous incarnations were confusing and this is more of the same.
You write like a butterfly who's had an espresso- all over the place really fast.
Work on your revisions, word count and who your audience is supposed to be. You know, the boring stuff. Then do this again.

Claudia_Witter said...

I don't plan on querying it now, which is why I'm working on it: so I have something to query when I'm ready to query.
I am working on revisions and have been for some time, and have gotten the word count to one that's not so insanely high. I also decided that the book is an MG, since everyone expects an MG when they see a twelve-year-old MC.

Anonymous said...

I hope you realize there's a bigger difference between YA and middle grade than just the ages of the main characters, and there's a lot of books that fall through the cracks as commercially unpublishable because the content is inappropriate in some way for either audience. You might want to do a bit of research.

If you didn't/aren't changing the content, and the dialogue, and the world view of the characters, etc. as well as the ages, it was likely either wrong for ya before or it's wrong for mg now. I'm hoping you already realize this, but I thought I'd warn you in case, especially since you say you're still working on the book.

fwiw, Talking cats and butterfly abductors sounds middle grade, covered in blood and human sacrifice sounds ya heading into adult. I hope this is just a false impression given by the query. Good luck sorting it out.

Also, 68K is still a bit too long for middle grade.

Claudia_Witter said...

Yes, I did research it to make sure I shouldn't just up the characters' ages and keep it YA. Due to the way the MC views the world--he has a crush rather than falls in love, worries about things like getting in trouble for breaking things in a store, his mom is a main character, and his dialogue/the narration are from a child's POV, etc.--I think it was probably wrong for YA before. Several people had actually told me it seemed more MG, which is why I started looking into it.

The human sacrifice is never actually shown or done. The characters just discuss how that's how people usually get rid of human curses, so I figured that wouldn't be too much for MG. I could be wrong, of course. As for "covered in blood," he is bloody because he's injured, but it's nothing graphic; he's just cut. I realize now that that phrasing does make it sound wrong. I should probably just say "hurt" or "injured."

I read that there's usually a slightly higher length allowance for fantasy novels, but you're right. I'll lower it with the next edit.

Thanks for the help.

St0n3henge said...

The way you're describing it now is middle grade.
It is ok to mention the fact that human sacrifices exist and it's fine if characters get injured in a way that isn't too graphic.

Claudia_Witter said...

I see. Still, I'll be careful and make sure I don't make things sound too graphic.