Wednesday, March 14, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Horses of Roan
1. As hordes of rowdies march toward Roan Castle, Minnie Murphy grabs her wedding dress, jumps on the nearest horse, and starts a thundering stampede. The villains run away! Minnie saved the day! Then she finds a priest and her cowering beau, Sir Falderall! It's City Slickers meets Camelot as the wedding goes on as planned!
2. When musician James Morgan inadvertently releases the Horses of Roan, a man/horse demon gives him two weeks to get them back. But how? Can Morgan's music charm these savage beasts out of the swamp? It's Amadeus meets The Horse Whisperer, as Morgan races to round up the herd.
3. Professor Jones leaves more than a tip behind for busboy, Cole Wyatt. Stuck between chili smeared napkins, Cole finds a copy of a map and the Professor's notes, notes that describe the treasures of the "Horses of Roan." It's Raiders of the Lost Ark meets Diner as Cole seeks the road out of greasy spoon hell.
4. While the Knights of Roan get drunk on rum at the Roan Tavern, their enemies, the Knights of Naor, steal all the horses. Now what? Must King Roannaor cancel the jousting match? It's Monty Python and the Holy Grail meets Marie Antoinette, as Queen Naorroan says, "Let them joust on foot!"
5. Baz, lead stud of the Horses of Roan frat house, is organizing the annual ugliest-date orgy. When he mistakenly invites the Bitches of Eastwick sorority instead of the Coyotes of Camden, the mighty Horses end up toadying to the man-hating B's. It's Animal House meets The Wicker Man as Baz tries to de-frog the football team before those Bitches finally succeed in gelding the Horses of Roan for eternity.
6. Joey McDeever, son of a rodeo cowboy deadbeat dad, sees the Lippizaner stallions on TV and realizes his calling is to train horses for such grace and beauty. But all he's got is two worn-out, brownish nags. It's Seabiscuit meets Kramer vs Kramer as he trains the horses into champions, only to have his father return to fight for custody.
Dear Slightly Less Evil Editor,
My name is Roan.
People think like this: right and wrong. Black or white.
I think in terms of mine and not mine.
These horses are mine.
They will be forever.
[That was remarkably similar to a curse I uttered only yesterday:
My name is Evil Editor.
People think like this: brilliant bestseller. Millionaire.
I think, More manuscripts rejected = fewer manuscripts to edit.
The slushpile is unpublished.
It will be forever.]
When brilliant musician James Morgan moves with his parents to the home of his eccentric dead uncle, [Being dead is the first sign of eccentricity.] he uncovers secret upon secret in its maze of halls. By playing an ancient piece of music he discovers deep within the house, James inadvertently releases the Horses of Roan, a herd of preternatural water horses, and steps into the curse that accompanies them.
Roan – man, horse, demon – charges James with a task: return the horses in two weeks or join them. [Where are the horses? Were they released from an incorporeal state, and are now roaming free? Join them? That sounds like a threat: join them as incorporeal, cursed creatures? Or join them wherever they've been released to? This could be made more clear.] With the help of his new friend Cat and his increasingly powerful psychic perceptions, [Whose psychic perceptions? We can't tell whether "his" goes with Cat or James without knowing whether Cat is the same gender as Cat Stevens or Catwoman.] James must unravel the musical contract that binds Roan's horses to him before the curse destroys him and everyone dear to him.
Set against the wild marshlands of eastern Virginia, The Horses of Roan is an eerie novel geared towards a young adult audience. It is complete at approximately 65,000 words.
May I send you the complete manuscript for consideration? This is a simultaneous submission. Thank you very much for your time.
I feel like I have to guess at the plot details. Here's one guess: Some demon named Roan with magical powers declared that a herd of (roan-colored?) horses would be his forever. The horses have been trapped in the Phantom Zone ever since, but when James plays his bassoon, the horses rematerialize and run into the Virginia swamps. This ticks Roan off to no end, but being a fair-minded demon, he gives James two weeks to round up the horses. Otherwise, he'll kill James and throw his body into the swamps with the horses. How'd I do?
One could get the impression from the title that the horses are Roan's. Is it so wrong to want your horses back after some klutz accidentally releases them? In the old west, if you released some rancher's horses into the wild, you didn't get two weeks to return them; they strung you up. Outside of the term "man, horse, demon," there's nothing that indicates Roan is a villain.
Is that the curse at the beginning? Not clear how that curse threatens to destroy everyone dear to James.
I think just a few more sentences would clear things up.