Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Face-Lift 1426

Guess the Plot

The Two Kinds of Magic

1. "Magic Carpet Ride," by Steppenwolf, and "Magic Man," by Heart. They're different.

2. Crazed sorcerers battle over the relevance of the definitive article before blasting themselves to shit with the exotic pyromantic devilry only the 17,276,187 have the expertise to muster.

3. There's the magic that's all unicorns and rainbows and pixie dust. Then there's the magic that's blood, bones, and dead-flesh-eating maggots--much more useful for a surgeon. Unfortunately for Nevern, the Inquisition doesn't see it that way, but fortunately, the neighboring warlord is a more understanding sort, even if he does indulge in necromancy and keep malicious dragons as pets.

4. Magician Antonio Sciarra can only attain the unlimited power he covets by killing Delany Riordan. And her only hope of thwarting him is to become a magician herself, before he succeeds. Will bad guy magic triumph over good girl magic?

5. There's the kind Samantha did on Bewitched. And there's the kind Lord Voldemort did in Harry Potter. Personally, I'd rather watch Bewitched, but only the ones with the original Darren.

6. Miles Estamini is an up-and-coming cynical stage magician who knows all the tricks. Martha Smith believes in true love. When these two non-compatible belief systems are thrust into a fantasy world where words, gestures, and beliefs have very tangible physical results, will they end up allies or squabble over who's the real evil overlord?

Original Version

After years of believing that magic is mere delusion, Delany Riordan finds out that magic is real—and dangerous [when she reads about Roy of Siegfried and Roy getting mauled by his tiger]. [I have seen magic shows on stage and TV, and in most cases I have no idea how they do that stuff. It has to be real magic. People like David Copperfield and Shin Lim would've been burned at the stake if they did their acts centuries ago. And rightly so. So, did Delany witness real magic, and assume it was all done with mirrors and sleight of hand? Or does she assume magic isn't real because she's never witnessed real or fake magic?] 

When Delany’s mother turns up drowned in a hotel swimming pool, Delany assumes that’s the last she’ll hear about magicians and secret societies. [Why? Was her mother the only one who ever talked about magicians?] Then Sebastian James arrives to protect her from Antonio Sciarra, the magician who killed her mother. [No way would Antonio Sciarra have drowned Delany's mom in a pool. He'd have drowned her in one of those tanks that magicians get lowered into upside down while wearing a straitjacket.] 

There’s no more room for doubt after Sebastian performs the impossible right in front of her. [He saws a woman in half, and restores her, then pulls a rabbit out of a hat.] Delany agrees to become his apprentice and learn all she never knew about the hidden world of magic, [No magician would reveal how they do it. Except . . . is Sebastian the Masked Magician?] where a mirror can become a passageway and a piece of paper can become a weapon. [Seriously, is anything worse than a paper cut?] 

She’ll need to learn quickly.  Sciarra needs Delany’s death in order to gain unlimited power, and is prepared to muster all his forces to obtain it. [What's so special about Delany that it's her death Sciarra needs? And what are these forces he's prepared to muster?] And with each strike, he’s getting closer... [How many times has he struck already, and why didn't he muster his forces those times?]

THE TWO KINDS OF MAGIC is a 70,000 word urban fantasy with romantic elements. [Sciarra casts a spell that makes Delany fall in love with him.]  I have a Creative Writing degree from Emory University and my short story, “Home”, will be in the upcoming anthology The Forever Inn.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


So are the two kinds of magic real magic like Penn & Teller do vs. fictional magic like Doctor Strange does? Or good magic that saves lives vs. evil magic that brings unlimited power?

We need to know who Delany is. Obviously she isn't some random person who inexplicably happens to be the key to Sciarra taking over the world. Is she the daughter of Glenda, the good witch of the north? How old is she?

It seems like a magician who's on the verge of becoming all-powerful wouldn't keep failing when he attempts to kill this girl or woman before she has developed her powers. He didn't have any trouble killing her mother. Does Sebastian keep saving her, or does she use her wits? You don't want your main character, a female, to depend on a man to keep rescuing her. 

Is it a coincidence that Delany Riordan is an anagram of "ornery Aladdin"? Consider calling the villain Aladdin instead of Sciarra, which is the name of a Bond villain, though not as well-known a Bond villain as Blofeld or Goldfinger (and his first name was Marco instead of Antonio). Anyway, you wouldn't do a superhero comic book and name the main villain Rex Luthor.

Tell us what happens in the book, not just who's in it and what the situation is. What's the Delany/Sebastian plan to defeat Sciarra? What goes wrong? What will happen if they fail (besides Delany dying). Like what is Sciarra's goal after he has unlimited power? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi author, congratulations on finishing your book. The word count is a bit low for urban fantasy.

You might want to take a step back and remind yourself that all we know about your book is what you have in your query. Specifics are a Good Thing. Example--we don't know if the mother was a stage magician, magician's assistant, fan girl, or something else. If it's worth mentioning her in the query, it's worth mentioning that and how she ties into the plot. At the moment neither she nor her death seem relevant enough to mention.

Things you might want to mention: How does Antonio try to kill Delaney or how does she know he wants her dead? What forces does he have to muster? What impossible thing does Sebastian do to prove magic is real? Why is he helping her or why does he say he is? Is Delaney learning magic for the lulz? for survival? because Sebastian is hot? Does she have some plan in life other than survival?

Good Luck
If you revise EE takes resubmissions