Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Face-Lift 1379

Guess the Plot

Covert Cinderella

1. When mice Hickory, Dickory and Doc overhear plans for murdering Prince Charming, they come up with a plan: Send some underling in his place, while having the poor girl from the Step family stand in as his lady love. If they can get the three drunk fairies who live under the stairs involved, they can't fail!

2. It's like the Cinderella story, except this time Cinderella is an enemy undercover operative who attends the ball to get information from the prince. Needless to say, they fall for each other.

3. What happened after the slipper fit? Cinderella became the princess and lived happily ever after? Well, yes, eventually, but first she had to exact revenge on her evil stepsisters by disguising herself as a church missionary and hounding them mercilessly.

4. Cinderella infiltrates the home for forgotten fairy tale characters and recruits Snow White, Rapunzel and Gretel for a MeToo rebellion against the brothers Grimm. 

5. Jezebel saw the house for sale in the local paper. It was reasonably priced and within walking distance of her job. Yet after the house tour, it seems twenty years have passed since anyone has seen her, and she hasn't aged a day. 

6. Super spy Ash Wednesday is assigned to uncover a government plot by posing as the daughter of a widow. She doesn't like her 'sisters'; hates the household chores, and the pestering by faeries--but it's all part of the job. As for the masquerade balls where deals are going down, there's a reason Ash is known as a Master of Disguise: animal, vegetable, and mineral are fair game. Also, glass stilettos that aren't footwear. 

7. When he finds a glass slipper resting on the chest of a homicide victim, ace detective Zack Martinez knows two things; he's never been much into fairy tales, and the slipper doesn't fit his foot anyway. 

8. The plan was simple: steal an invitation to the ball, gear up with clothing, weapons and a vehicle from tech division's 'fairy godmother', and protect the prince from a pair of ruthless assassins known only as 'the ugly stepsisters.' But nothing is what it seems and by midnight Ella finds herself fleeing from the assassins and from the prince, leaving behind a key piece of gear that could lead all of them right to her door.

Original Version


I am seeking representation for my YA fantasy, Covert Cinderella. Complete at 85,000 words, this novel provides a covert twist on the classic fairy tale. [It's not the twist that's covert.] [I think Undercover Cinderella would be a cooler title.]

When Cinderella is recruited from the Grimmalds Academy of Espionage to [by] Sprice special forces, she is excited. [Sprice is not a name I would expect special forces to use. Is it a name from some version of the Cinderella story? The Disney version has such names as Tremaine, Charming, Drizella, Anastasia. You use Cinderella and Fairy Godmother, so why not other Cinderella names?] Also very green, she is prone to mistakes. On her first mission, Cinderella is sent [Sent] to attend a royal ball where she is told to try and flirt out an explanation [, Cinderella's first mission is to learn] from the prince of Illyria as to why his kingdom has suddenly started to [been recently] spend[ing] significant amounts of [so much] money. Nervous, Cinderella bumbles her words a few too many times. When the prince starts to look at her strangely, she is worried she might have [worries she's] blown the opp. [op] That is when Cinderella decides to leave suddenly and warn her fellow agents that their mission may be compromised.

Their leader, code name Fairy godmother, decides the team should wait to see what happens [await further developments]. The next morning, heralds pour into the town with an announcement. The news is surprising. It turns out that [seems] the prince was more smitten than suspicious and wants to find the mysterious and intriguing maiden from the night before. Thrilled at the prospect of having [being?] an agent on the inside, Cinderella is sent back [returns] to the castle to see what intel she can gather. After a few days, she learns that Illyria’s sudden wealth is due to a goose that lays golden eggs. The mission goes “afowl” though as Cinderella becomes torn between loyalty to her team and the feelings she is developing for the prince.

With a strong and capable heroine, Covert Cinderella is similar to [should appeal to readers who enjoyed] Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix. It combines the nostalgia of a familiar story with fresh humor and gives a more reasonable explanation as to [of] why a shoe that “fit perfectly” would fall off on the castle stairs. As per the submission guidelines, the first ## of pages are included below. Please let me know if you are interested in seeing the full manuscript.


That they have a golden egg-laying goose isn't really an answer to why they're spending a lot of money. The mission would be better worded as finding out where they're getting all the money they've been spending lately. 

What have they been spending all this money on, and why does Sprice special forces care? I assume Sprice and Illyria are on opposite sides of some issue or argument or war. In which case I would expect the mission of an undercover agent who infiltrates the castle to be more useful. Like stealing the source of the money. 

It seems, though I can't be sure, that you've removed the magical aspects of Cinderella, i.e the fairy godmother changing mice and a pumpkin into horses and a coach), so that the golden egg-laying goose seems to come out of nowhere. It's like you're watching a James Bond movie, and at the end he casts a spell that changes his martini into a flying saucer to escape the island that's about to blow up. In other words, you need several instances of stuff that's not based in reality, or none.