Saturday, November 18, 2006

Face-Lift 232


Guess the Plot

The Pride

1. Cliffnote Brown on safari tries to solve the murder of a water buffalo whose carcass is found picked clean by some type of carnivore.

2. Emotional struggles are played out as professional wrestling matches in a convention center in Lubbock, Texas. Volume 1: The Pride versus The Altruism. (Altruism gives up freely.)

3. When a teenaged girl escapes a religious cult, she discovers her connection to the Lion People. She teams up with a werelion, a shapeshifter, a grizzly bear, and an eccentric scientist to seek revenge on the cult leader.

4. In this self-published companion volume to The Prejudice, literary critic Bulwer Bluenose presents a compelling personal diatribe against agents, editors, publishers and readers. Citing the entire publishing industry, he vents his venom on uppity New York agents, wickedly evil editors, the Library of Congress and poodles in tams. Profusely illustrated.

5. Vicar Cy Loutly in the the quaint village of Boring-on-End is justifiably proud of his collection of Staffordshire porcelain. But will pride go before a fall when spinster detective Amelia Pettipants discovers a priceless Staffordshire spaniel in the lifeless hands of the village barmaid, Rosie Bottoms?

6. It's midnight in the Museum of Natural History, and Chief Curator of African Mammals Dr. Pinkney Mupps is horrified when the "Lions on the Savannah" diorama is vandalized. But the sight of his wife and the Assistant Curator of Primitive Tools cavorting naked among the tall grasses is what really hurts his pride.


Original Version

Dear Agent, (followed by a short sentence about why I chose them)

THE PRIDE is a young adult urban fantasy, complete at 77,000 words. When seventeen-year-old Alexis escapes certain death [Once someone escapes from it, I don't think you're allowed to call it "certain death" anymore.] from the religious cult that raised her, she doesn’t know she’s only half human. [She thinks it's perfectly normal to have a pouch, wings, and webbed feet.] She gains a protector in Gideon, a shapeshifter out for revenge against the mercenary who murdered his family, and learns the truth about her own connection to the Lion People. [Namely that she's one of them. She's half human, half lion, right? Does she look like the Cowardly Lion, like a person in a lame lion costume? Or does she have a lion's body and a human head, like a sphinx? It could be a woman's body with a lion's head, I suppose, but it would have to be a talking lion. A main character who just roars would get old quickly.] [Vincent had a lion face, on Beauty and the Beast, but being female, Alexis wouldn't have the cool mane, so the lion head idea doesn't get my vote.]

Working together, Alexis and Gideon discover that the cult’s leader is a banished god named Nassaner. Deriving his power from willing sacrifices, Nassaner has convinced his followers, including Alexis’s own mother, to kill their firstborn children. [That's some mighty persuasive convincing. I wonder, what's the best method for convincing your followers to kill their children? Should you talk to them individually, or is it better to gather them all together in an auditorium and speak from behind a podium? Probably the latter. People will believe anything you say if you're standing behind a podium.]

To stop the rogue god and save Alexis’s life, Gideon and Alexis must face the demons of their past and form an uneasy alliance with a newly turned werelion, an eccentric scientist, and an ancient grizzly. [Lions and scientists and bears--oh my!] But Nassanner won’t give up without a fight. He can take the form of a forty-foot snake, his venom will kill a shapeshifter in seconds and his devoted followers will stop at nothing protect him. [Fortunately, the shapeshifter can take the form of a forty-foot mongoose.] In the final confrontation, Alexis must find the strength inside to save herself and those she’s grown to love. [She's grown to love the cowardly werelion the most.]

THE PRIDE is full of action, suspense and a hint of romance. Although this is my first novel, my short stories have appeared in Review and Herald’s Insight Magazine (student contest winner) Horizon, Hope for Women, Angels on Earth, Aoife’s Kiss, Beyond Centauri and Peridot Books. I have enclosed the first five pages for review. For more information about Alexis, Gideon and THE PRIDE, or to read the complete manuscript, please contact me using the information provided below.

Sincerely,


Notes

It doesn't have enough cohesion. It sounds listy; it needs to pause and elaborate on something. Maybe it would help to explain what you mean by "her own connection to the Lion People," "willing sacrifices," "the demons of their past."

I'd leave out the werelion, eccentric scientist and ancient grizzly. It'll sound less wacko without them.

Why is Alexis's life in danger if she's escaped? Is she going back for revenge? Is she being chased?

30 comments:

kiss-me-at-the-gate said...

People will believe anything you say if you're standing behind a podium.]

ROFL

It's only so funny because it's true...

Word verification: uzqiam, which is almost usquam. Sigh. Latin on the brain.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to help me, Evil Editor.

I see what you mean and shall take your words to heart.

Naomi said...

I really hoped it would be this plot. I love urban fantasy and shapeshifters. I think there's a lot of good stuff in here, but there are a few points I think you could clarify.

I assumed that Alexis is a firstborn child and that's why she's running away from the cult, which lead me to question her age. If you're going to sacrifice your first-born child, surely it's better to do it before she's old enough to object?

And if she's not a first-born, does she run away because she discovers an elder sibling was murdered? Yeah, I guess my point is, what leads her to run away to start with?

What power does the cult leader actually gain from these sacrifices and why is Alexis' recapture so important to him?

I'd pick this up if I saw it in a shop. Good luck with the query.

eunuch said...

"People will believe anything you say if you're standing behind a podium."

Podiums are, also, good in case the speaker had an accident, or forgot to put on his pants.

Not speaking from personal experience, of course.

Nut said...

author: Sounds like a fun book. I especially like the idea of a lion-people cult.

eunuch: keep your pants to your self, PLEASE!

Zhvor. A nice name for a fantasy character, I reckon...

Anonymous said...

Looks like 230 needs some attention, for the re-write.

GutterBall said...

*stands behind a podium*

The Chiefs are going to the SuperBowl this year.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, gutterball, I believe you. You mean the cerial bowl, don't you.

Anonymous said...

gutterball, you really don't want to stand behind that podium after eunuch.

GutterBall said...

Meh, I didn't believe me, either. And I checked my shoes when I left, just to be sure.

Eunuch, you need either more fiber or less. I'm not sure which.

redcap said...

Would it be cruel of me to ask why people think books like that would sell in the first place? If I picked that up in a book shop, I would expect to be standing at the "dump" table at the time.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Naomi and Nut. I really apreciate the kudos and the advice.

Does anyone know if we can re-submitt improved queries to Evil Editor? Or does he frown on that?

Evil Editor said...

Improved queries may be submitted as comments (There's one at Face-lift 230 right now), but since Guess the Plot and EE's amusing remarks would be gone or minimal, it won't be front-page material.

nut said...

author: good luck, and don't give up.

redcap: different people like different books. This book looks great for fantasy fans, you might like some other genre. Everyone has their preferences. If you don't like the genre, or even the author's style, don't assume, that you're the only one with a sence of taste. I mean, I'm really not into romance, but there are plenty of people who are, so, great for them. Just cause its not your cup of tea, doesn't mean others won't drink it.

Okay, Proffessor not is done.

December Quinn said...

Would it be cruel of me to ask why people think books like that would sell in the first place?

No, just unimaginative. I guess you like exactly the same things as everyone you know, and don't ever try anything new.

It also shows a distinct lack of research and awareness, as urban fantasy is quite a popular genre.

If I picked that up in a book shop, I would expect to be standing at the "dump" table at the time.

That's cruel.

illiterate said...

Okay, redcap, looking at your profile, you do read fantasy(JKR). But you do understand that before the books you love were published, they were once unfinished works in progress, right?

This book sounds like the things I like, once that take me on an adventure. That's why I'd read it.

BuffySquirrel said...

It might be cruel if anyone took it seriously.

eunuch said...

Woe is me! Another case of frame the innocent eunuch. Will the horror never end?

All I really did, was spill some OJ, I can't help it, if it looks like pee!

Kate Thornton said...

This is the kind of fantasy adventure I'd have to pry out of my young niece's hands - the female protagonist, culty stuff, talking animals, and a final crescendo of a confrontation.

There's a thrivng market out there for this sort of story - and plenty of Aunties with credit cards to buy them, too!

Rei said...

This isn't a query. It's a short synopsis.

Anonymous said...

I had hoped it was gtp #3 also. it was the best one.

I suppose redcap is being honest about his/her personal feelings but I agree with december.

GutterBall said...

I wasn't talking about the wet spot, Eunuch. Heh.

eunuch said...

Ha ha, I got it gutterball! Oh wait... Hey, that's not fair! Mean gutterball make eunuch sad.

GutterBall said...

Mean gutterball make eunuch sad.

Aww...wait. Is your name Choog in another book?? That explains everything!

eunuch, fiber free said...

What insolence! The great eunuch never reveals his name. Not even to that nice publisher. Hence, no 'Ode to Evil' published, this year.

Now I shall embark on a great quest for fiber. Beware mortals, eunuch will be back.

Rhona said...

Okay...here is the new and improved query. Thank you for all your comments and advice. If anyone cares to rip this one up too...I'd really appreciate it! I’ve worked so hard on this book; I owe it to it and myself to represent it well, dagnabbit!

THE PRIDE is a young adult urban fantasy, complete at 77,000 words.

When seventeen-year-old Alexis escapes death from the religious cult that raised her, she doesn’t know she’s only half human. She’s never driven a car, never made her own decisions and never been alone. Hitchhiking down the highway at midnight disguised as a boy, she’s picked up by Gideon, a shapeshifter with problems of his own. Alexis finds a friend in Gideon (something she’s never had before) and together they discover the cult’s leader is a banished god named Nassaner, who derives his power from willing human sacrifices. Alexis cannot escape him for long, because he knows she carries the blood of the lion people and her sacrifice will give him much more power than that of a human. He’s spent years brainwashing his followers and since one is Alexis’s own mother, Nassaner will stop at nothing to get her back. If she is to survive, Alexis must learn to stop running, embrace her true self and let the lioness stand up and fight.

Followed by my published clips and contact info of course....

Thanks guys!

Rhona,

Nut said...

I like it; I think its much more to the point, and looks more adventurous.

I hope the ones that know what they're doing show up soon though, since all I can give you is an amateur's opinion.

'Break a leg' & hope to see your stuff on the shelf soon.

Rhona said...

Thanks, Nut!

illiterate said...

"Alexis finds a friend in Gideon (something she’s never had before) and together they discover the cult’s leader is a banished god named Nassaner, who derives his power from willing human sacrifices."

I heard that some agents/editors do. So, just in case you 'might' want to watch out for these.

The remake does look good to me, otherwise. Keep in mind that many of us here are compleately unpublished, and some may not ever be, so don't take the mimions' opinions too seriously.

Rhona said...

Thanks Illiterate,

I shall take the part in () out completely. It sounds better without it anyway I think. Too many "never's" there.

I sure do apreciate all the help!