Guess the Plot
The Loathly Lady
1. Myra Bendle spent many hours knitting and pondering the following thought: Am I lonely because I'm loathly, or am I loathly because I'm lonely? Or do I smell? When she resolves to find out, she learns that not all people are of the same quality. Nor all deodorants.
2. Medievalist Geoff Hanson's been assigned to transliterate and transcribe a fragmentary text of the "Loathly Lady." Soon she comes to him in a series of visions, telling him about the location of other manuscripts. Can he gain access to the secret rooms beneath the library, or will the trustees silence him first?
3. She had the perfect face for blogging, and the perfect personality for spamming. Could her Jane Austin reading circle prepare Lola, the loathsome lady, for Lyle, the loudmouthed lout?
4. Jaida thought the apparition called the Loathly Lady was rather cute, to which the ghost took violent exception. Thus began a personal haunting that followed Jaida home from a Scottish vacation, wrecking her job and relationships, bringing her sanity into question, and threatening her life.
5. As an unseen force wipes out everyone, Brandywine, a lowly, drunken, womanizing squire, turns over a new leaf and resolves to save what remains of the kingdom. With no idea where to start, he turns to a vile old hag for answers. Yes, if anyone can save the day, it's . . . The Loathly Lady.
6. Though she's the most beautiful woman in Regency London, Lady Charlotte's personality is so repugnant she's known as the Loathly Lady. If she's to attract a husband, she'll have to change her ways. Or should she just pretend to be a mute?
Brandywine is a squire with no interest in courage, honor, or chivalry, who has no ambitions towards knighthood. Along with his close companion, the wealthy Prince Dioneo, he seeks only the sophomoric pleasures of drink, women, and childish mischief. [Hey, that's my life you're calling sophomoric.] But Brandywine’s world is changing: Dioneo has decided to settle down and announced his intention to marry their mutual friend, Princess Ettarre, daughter of their King Ceolwulph [who, every full moon, morphs into a wolfman who can balance a beach ball on its nose]. Their modest kingdom of Dagâ Dainâ is besieged and surrounded by enemies, their neighbors offended by the king’s heterodox beliefs. [Heterodox beliefs stress that having a few circumflex accents in your kingdom's name makes you more cultured than the surrounding kingdoms.] And [the] very soil of the land is shaking, shifting the face of an entire mountain valley, causing one river to die while another springs to life far away.
Tired of the low opinion he has earned, Brandywine decides to amend [mend] his ways. He breaks off his shameful, adulterous relationship with Princess Ettarre. He takes up the cause of a damsel in distress, earning the enmity of a barbarian warlord. And he volunteers to investigate the cause of the earthquake and the death of the river.
As he begins his new-found quest for honor and redemption, Brandywine’s world quickly begins to change. King Ceolwulph shames Prince Dioneo, betrothing his daughter and his kingdom to the fanatical and controlling seneschal [(werewalrus)], Sir Birrstan. A faceless army of barbarians, invisible and unstoppable, begins ravaging the kingdom’s outskirts, striking without warning with unprecedented savagery, leaving nothing in their wake. When the king leads his mightiest knights to face this threat, they are slaughtered to the man. [It's almost always a mistake to go into battle against an enemy that is invisible and unstoppable.] Ettarre [Anagram: retreat!] is left mourning her father and anxiously anticipating the marriage to a man who does not respect her.
Sir Birrstan easily settles into his position as regent. He sees this army’s deprecations as a prelude to invasion, [An army has been ravaging the kingdom with unprecedented savagery and has slaughtered the king's mightiest knights, and Sir Birrstan sees this as a prelude to invasion? What is he, psychic?]
[Barbarian general: We should invade Dagâ Dainâ.
2nd-in-command: I don't know, those circumflex accents scare me.
Barbarian general: As a prelude to the invasion, storm through their lands leaving nothing in your wake, and slaughter all of their soldiers. That should soften them up.
2nd-in-command: The accents, sir! What about the accents?]
but by what nation? Surrendering diplomacy to fanaticism, he readies his nation for multiple preemptive invasions and relies on God to see them to victory. But Brandywine’s humble investigations of a dead river have uncovered unexpected answers: The stealthy barbarian army is more than it seems. Either by artifice or accident, an ancient force was awakened, a massive storm of magic that passes from the site of one attack to the next, slaughtering man, woman, and child and befuddling the minds and memories of the survivors. It shattered the mountain valley, and now its fury has been unleashed upon the kingdom.
As Birrstan prepares to lead the kingdom to destruction--he and his armies deep under the spell of the storm--only a select few seem immune to the mind-clouding magic. Brandywine must persuade a fanatic away from his visions of holy war. He must uncover the source of the magical storm, why some are immune and others are not, and what is required to put it back to rest. And he must determine who it was that awakened it and why. [I'd concentrate on what is required to put it back to rest. We'll work out the who's and why's later.]
But the only person who appears to offer answers is Gwnhyudwy, a [Welsh] crone of repulsive visage and vile disposition [and remarkably few anagrams]. She is the Loathly Lady, and the price for her answers may be more than anyone can pay. [No one uses the word "loathly." And she doesn't sound like a lady to me. Go with The Creepy Crone or The Hideous Hag.]
[Brandywine: Sire, our kingdom is doomed unless we listen to the Loathly Lady!
Birrstan: Then it's about time you worked her into the query.]
To save a kingdom, Brandywine must solve the riddle and become the hero. The Loathly Lady is complete, 147,000 words in length.
Thank you for your attention,
Dioneo and Ettarre disappear from the query, leading me to wonder if they were needed in the first place. Meanwhile, the only hope of stopping the unstoppable lies with a character barely mentioned, except in the title.
Your plot is: As a new king prepares to lead his nation into war against an invisible and unstoppable army, lowly squire Brandywine discovers that the enemy is not an army of men, but a powerful magical force released from it's age-old confinement by a mammoth corkscrew. Only the mysterious hag Grunhilda (English pronunciation) knows how to stop the destruction, but she refuses to help unless Brandywine convinces Prince Dioneo to father her children. Expand on that with stuff that's important, like Brandywine's obstacles and heroics.