Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Confederacy of Heaven
1. Nasan Rattlingbones is caught up in a religious war. Seems the almighty ones can't agree on whether Nasan's people should be granted salvation in the next life, or something practical.
2. Robert E. Lee, Jeff Davis and all their long-dead cronies recall their glory days. But this nostalgic reunion of war buddies soon balloons out of control into a celestial civil war the angels will never forget.
3. When Jeb Stuart dies at Bull Run, he never expects to go to heaven, where God has a special place for fallen soldiers. The Stars and Bars fly proudly over the clouds...until the Yankees break out of hell. Can the Confederacy of Heaven survive, or will the cause be lost all over again?
4. Confederacy of Heaven is code for beer party behind the church at midnight. Or at least that's what Patty Arbuckle thought she heard. So now she's out in the cold, wearing her best outfit, and where is everybody? The only person in sight is Sister Constance, hurrying to ask what's up. Or . . . is that dark-caped figure . . . a vampire!?
5. Madge Gundarson is flabbergasted to arrive in Heaven and discover -- not a solitary magnificence or even the beneficent trio -- but hordes of gods of all descriptions doing battle with thunderbolts, ray guns, boiling lava, etc. She flutters around in bewilderment and finally flies back to her old job on earth, serenely aware that life as a receptionist is actually not so bad.
6. One hundred and fifty years after the war, the souls of dead Civil War soldiers are still battling away in heaven and God's getting fed up. Can St. Peter bring the war to a peaceful end or will Archangel Michael have to bust out the fiery sword?
Dear Evil Editor:
Though the myths of townspeople and nomads differ, they agree on one point: there has been no rain in two hundred years. [Is it the myths that agree on this point, or the nomads and townspeople? I assume the myths, or why even mention myths? But myths of different people are often similar, without being true. For instance, Christians and Jews both have the story of Noah, but did Noah really come up with two polar bears and two kangaroos?] Since the Stars cursed them, people have adapted to life in a sterile world by building fortified cities around the last remaining natural springs. Nasan Rattlingbones [Anagram: brainless antagonist.] is one of the nomads, people without a city who survive by trading for their water. But when the chieftain’s son [What chieftain?] dies in battle, [Who is battling whom?] Nasan is unfairly blamed for it and outcast from her clan.
[Orryn Chiggerboom: The chieftain is dead. We were supposed to be protecting him.
Tactuine Swillspigot: We're in big trouble . . . Unless--
Orryn Chiggerboom: Unless we blame it on the chick with the silly name.]
In the wilderness she crosses paths with a bird-spirit who claims to be her spirit guide but can’t quite seem to prove it. He’s the most irritating spirit guide imaginable, but he does manage to save her life on a couple of occasions.
[Bird-spirit: Hey, I've saved your life twice today.
Nasan Rattlingbones: I know, I know. But do you have to chew your ice?]
After much pecking and prodding, he gets her caught up in a bitter religious war between the city folk. [I expect a little prodding from my bird-spirit guide. I can even endure a bitter religious war. But if he's gonna be pecking me all the time, I'm dumping him and getting a hamster-spirit guide.]
Humanity will soon get the chance to plead its case with the Stars who rule the universe. Should they plead for salvation in the next life, or something more practical, like rain? [Let's see, joy, love and the wonders of the universe for eternity, or a glass of water tonight. Gee, I am pretty thirsty.] There are armed cities and Stars that walk the earth on both sides of the issue, and they become increasingly willing to kill as the time for judgment draws near. [Kill whom, and why? I'm not getting this. The "issue" doesn't sound like something rulers of the universe would kill for. What exactly is the issue?] Nasan signs up with a rebel Star’s army, but she soon finds she can’t trust Stars or even her own spirit guide. Why won’t the bird-spirit tell her what the war has to do with her? [More importantly, why won't you tell us what the war has to do with her?]
The Confederacy of Heaven is a young adult fantasy novel, complete at 70,000 words. I have included the first page and the synopsis according to your guidelines. Thank you for your time.
Are the Stars fighting because they can't agree on whether to give the people rain or eternal salvation? Why don't they give them both? They rule the universe; they can do whatever they want.
Why is Nasan blamed for the chieftain dying in battle? Was she present when he died?
What do myths have to do with it? Have myths about a curse developed to explain the lack of rain, even though there's a scientific explanation? If the Stars really have the ability to curse the people, I don't see that myths are involved.
It could be pretty funny if the bird does a lot of pecking. Especially if the bird turns out not to be Nasan's spirit guide, but a common bird who claims to be a spirit guide so it can get away with excessive pecking. There's no such thing as too much pecking. By the end Nasan's body should be covered with peck marks. Then the bird says, "My work here is done," and flies off to find another victim. It's a serial pecker.
If you change Nasan's name to Assani, not only will it sound like a girl's name instead of a decongestant; it really will be an anagram of brainless antagonist.