Monday, December 17, 2007

Face-Lift 465


Guess the Plot

The Dracula Chronicles: The Dragon Awakes

1. The wind brings glad tidings--a child is born unto a minor prince in the little town of Wallachia. And he shall be named Vlad. And he shall be a good man. Then a dragon shall awake and ruin everything. Also, a vampire.

2. Another in the cross-genre series in which the author seeks to reinvigorate the moribund fantasy novel, following her widely-acclaimed "Frankenstein and the Philosopher's Stone," "Zombies of the Round Table" and "The Lion, the Witch and the Weredingo."

3. Dracula was on vacation, working on his memoirs in Newark, the least likely place to have a sleeping dragon. But there was a dragon, under the old Peoples' Express terminal and it smelled Dracula's aura. Was Newark ready for total war between Dracula and Dragona? Would they even notice?

4. It has vampires, it has dragons. As long as both are on the cover, it doesn't need a plot, because every fantasy/paranormal fanboi will buy it anyway. Now if only we could fit werewolves in there somewhere...

5. Dracula gives the fang to a dragon, creating a new creature that drinks blood and throws away the meat, quadrupling the dragon's harvesting of humans. Thanks a bunch, Dracula.

6. Dracula's late-night heavy toga-partying with his werewolf buds pisses off a neighborhood dragon, causing a flame war.


Original Version

Dear Evil:

I've recently completed a 90,000 word novel of supernatural suspense that focuses on the early life of Vlad Dracula. [Just the first 400 years.]

[Dracula: The Early Years

I. Dracula breast-feeding

Mrs. Dracula: Hey, you little bastard, just suck it!

II. Dracula in kindergarten

Teacher: Okay, which one of you drained Maria's blood?

III. Dracula in ninth grade

Principal: Okay, which one of you drained Mrs. Wallenstein's blood?]

In this richly drawn portrait of the infamous vampire, The Dracula Chronicles: The Dragon Awakes tells the story of an extraordinary man with the power to change the face of Europe forever. [By making it very pale.]

The story begins in 1431, high in the Carpathian Mountains. A Black Dragon sleeps, as he has done for a hundred years, sated on the blood and pain of the Crusades. Then the winds bring Black Radul tidings of a child – the son of a minor prince in the insignificant country of Wallachia, which borders the Black Sea. Vlad has the power to cast Europe back into another Dark Age, and postpone the Renaissance for centuries. Radul's goal is to tie the boy to him before the other Great Dragons of Europe can manipulate him for their own purposes. [When a gigantic lizard wakes up after a hundred years, I suspect his only immediate goal would involve pigging out on a couple dozen knights.]

When Vlad is singled out for induction into the [Vampire Hall of Fame,] Holy Roman Emperor's powerful and secretive Order of the Dragon, the ceremony gives him strange new powers . . . [while robbing him of the ability to pronounce the letter "w,"] and binds him to Radul, the Black Dragon of the Carpathians, in an unholy servitude that Vlad can neither accept nor escape.

This sumptuous tale travels from the debauched and glittering Nuremburg court of Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor, to Adrianople, and the hashish-soaked harem of Murad II, the Grand Sultan of the Ottoman Turks.

The Dracula Chronicles: The Dragon Awakes combines the actual events of the life of Prince Vlad Dragula [That's what Dracula goes by when he dresses in women's clothes.] with the myth of Dracula, to tell the tale of an exceptional man at the center of a whirlwind of magic and evil, seeking to insure that the world remains in the hands of the mortals it was created for, no matter what the price. [Wait a minute, Dracula's the good guy?]

Please let me know if there is anything further I can do to facilitate your consideration. Sample chapters and the full manuscript are available at your request.

Sincerely,


Notes

It wasn't clear to me whether Radul wanted to use Vlad to postpone the Renaissance or wanted to prevent other Great Dragons from using him to postpone the Renaissance. What are the various dragons' motivations? It must be made clear what Radul wants with Dracula.

Better to let the editor discover that your story is richly drawn and sumptuous than to declare it so yourself.

This reminds me of other books based on the actual events of Dracula's life. Except it has dragons.

Anne Rice wrote The Vampire Chronicles. Unless you're Anne Rice, you might consider a new title.

Charter Members of the Vampire Hall of Fame: Dracula, Angel, Lestat, Armand, The Count, Count Duckula, Count Chocula, Evil Editor's first wife, the IRS.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I like the premise, but you are up against steep competition (as the Evil one pointed out). Your book might be very different. It might be better. But it won't be looked at unless you can make it stand apart form those that came before.

While writing an Arthur story, it was suggested to me that I change the main character to an unknown and tell the same story I was going to tell in order to avoid the comparison. I'm still thinking about it.

Putting in the 'rich' and 'sumptuous' characterizations makes it sound like you're in love with your words (aren't we all?), but those editors don't want to hear that.

I wonder if it would help to play up the historical aspect of it. Not sure. I'm pretty sure Anne Rice included a lot of historical references as well.

Anyway, I played with this a bit. I don't like the run-on last paragraph, but there's a suggestion or two in this:

The Dracula Chronicles: The Dragon Awakes, a 90,000 word supernatural suspense novel on the early life of Vlad Dracula, tells the story of an extraordinary man with the power to change the face of Europe forever.

In 1431, high in the Carpathian Mountains, a Black Dragon sleeps, as he has done for a hundred years, sated on the blood and pain of the Crusades. Then the winds bring Black Radul tidings of a child – the son of a minor prince in the insignificant country of Wallachia, which borders the Black Sea. Vlad has the power to cast Europe back into another Dark Age, and postpone the Renaissance for centuries. Radul's goal is to tie the boy to him before the other Great Dragons of Europe can manipulate him for their own purposes.

When Vlad is singled out for induction into the Holy Roman Emperor's powerful and secretive Order of the Dragon, the ceremony gives him strange new powers . . . and binds him to Radul, the Black Dragon of the Carpathians, in an unholy servitude that Vlad can neither accept nor escape.

From the debauched and glittering Nuremburg court of Sigismund, the Holy Roman Emperor, to Adrianople, and the hashish-soaked harem of Murad II, the Grand Sultan of the Ottoman Turks, The Dracula Chronicles: The Dragon Awakes combines the actual events of the life of Prince Vlad Dragula with the myth of Dracula to tell the tale of an exceptional man at the center of a whirlwind of magic and evil, seeking to insure that the world remains in the hands of the mortals it was created for, no matter what the price.

Sarah

Chro said...

Dracula in 12th grade:

He goes to his senior prom with a monster of a pimple right on his nose, oblivious to its presence because he can't see it in a mirror. The relentless teasing that ensues drives him towards becoming the epitome of evil. Damn bullies.

And yes, I think Dragula is one of the more amusing spelling mistakes I've seen in a query. ;)

As for the query itself, it suffers from not developing a protagonist. Is it Vlad, or the Dragon? Typically the first name you mention in your query should be the protagonist, and you should focus your mini-synopsis on what he tries to accomplish. And as EE said, are you making Dracula the GOOD GUY here?

Dave F. said...

"binds him to Radul, the Black Dragon of the Carpathians, in an unholy servitude." I had a girlfriend once who bound me in unholy servitude. Aside from the black leather harness, I doubt this is the same thing.

"facilitate your consideration I used to use words like that. I once sent my straw man on his quality journey to find his inner self. He returned and slapped my face. Another time I strapped my straw man to his quality vector and launched him on his quality journey. In that way I facilitated his inner development.

Please, I beg you, do not use the word facilitate unless your character is a quality person. Dragula ain't. heh heh heh heh heh....

I once read a book coauthored by Radu Florescu (a descendant of the real Dracula) about his forefather. Vlad Tepes was raised in the Ottoman Empire and not as a prince of the Holy Roman Empire. Amazon is selling used copies real cheap. Look up "In Search of Dracula: The History of Dracula and Vampires" with Florescu as an author.

But then, this is fiction and I can live with the Holy Roman Empire and a conspiracy theory.

I have a couple questions:
- Is Black Radul a person or a dragon? The query uses the name for both, it seems.
- Wallachia is not a country but a principality and part of Romania. It is mountainous.
- the Carpathian mountains are like the Rockies or the Andes mountains. the mountain range passes through Romania, the Ukraine, Poland and Slovakia. The Carpathians begin on the Danube near Bratislava. They surround Transcarpathia and Transylvania in a large semicircle, sweeping towards the south-west, and end on the Danube near Or┼čova, in Romania. Saying the "Black Dragon of the Carpathians" is confusing.
- Was Romania part of the Ottoman Empire in 1431? Or was it disputed territory? I don't know.

Robin S. said...

I'm not qualified to comment on your query, although my guess is, as has been mentioned, if you have a useful angle on the vampire theme, you may well be 'good to go'.

Has that much been done with the younger, much younger, days of this guy before, the ages you are focusing on? I really don't know.
The only two vampire books I've ever read were Bram Stoker's, and then Salem's Lot - but I'd think a young-years history would interest people.

Good luck with your work, author.

EE, this is one of the funniest Face-Lifts you have ever done. I really tink this should go on the 'best of' list. I laughed so hard I embarrassed myself. (Two people came in to my office to check on me.) From the nipple to Count Chocula. Good Lord.

deb hoag said...

Oh, yes, Dragula is the good guy here. It all started as a conversation about sympathetic bad guys. And Sarah, thanks! You have many good suggestions.

Historical note: Dragula is actually a closer rendition of Vlad's name than Dracula. I totally blew the Vampire Chronicles thing, i'd forgotten all about that. And i'm still laughing too hard about Vlad's mother and her nursing trauma to say anything else sensible at the moment. I wonder what the La LEche League would say. Remember, suck, don't bite.

I love you guys!

Phoenix said...

And yes, I think Dragula is one of the more amusing spelling mistakes I've seen in a query. ;)

I loved EE's riff on the name, but I wasn't sure if you really thought this a spelling mistake, Chro. It isn't. However, Author, I do think that it's a bit risky to use the "Dragula" name and the "Dracula" name together.

Speaking of names, didn't Vlad have a brother named Radu, or am I mis-remembering? Seeing Black Radul as a character threw me a bit. And you vonder vhy Dracula prounounces w's like v's vhen "Wallachia" is also spelled "Valachia" (the name I know it by).

The title of the book also makes me think you plan a series out of this. Good that you don't explicitly state that, but then, since we know from history that Vlad didn't get the Impaler moniker for naught, nor go from the Dragula to the Dracula name because he was a nice guy, some indication of where the ending of this book winds up in his life might be in order.

"The story begins" is OK for a synopsis that has a lead-in hook or some characterization prefacing the synopsis part, but doesn't work well for a hook. Just use "In 1431..."

Your setup for Radul really doesn't leave me with a good sense of who or what his purpose is. Does "the wind" really bing him the tidings? Already I'm not feeling so much grounded in history as taking a flight of fantasy, and I think you want to keep this focused on the historical, don't you? And "the son of a minor prince in the insignificant country of Wallachia, which borders the Black Sea" doesn't really contribute much except to take up real estate. Get to the story.

Others have pointed out the MC shift from Radul to Vlad. Whose story is this? If Vlad's, then try focusing the query on him, starting with his induction into the Order of the Dragons as a naif who only gradually learns that he's the Dragons' pawn.

Since the reader knows the monster this man will become, we need to be given a sympathetic portrait of a man who is changed by circumstance rather than his innate nature. And the query needs to assure the reader that, as others have pointed out, there is indeed a protagonist worthy of our attention linked to this debauchery of a life. As it stands here, as EE points out, there isn't any real inciting events or characterizations that set it apart from other stories about dear old Vlad.

blogless_troll said...

I'd like to see a story about Skippy the Buck-Toothed Vampire, who has trouble feeding because his two front teeth keep getting in the way.

And Sarah's right. The only thing that kept me from wanting to read this story was the name Dracula. Change it to Marvin and it's a bestseller.

Anonymous said...

I'm confused about who's who. Vlad is Dracula, got that. Is he also the child of the minor prince, or is that somebody else? Is Radul actually going to tie a boy onto a dragon's back? No, wait, Radul is the dragon and he's going to tie a boy to Dracula? But then somebody ties (binds) Dracula to Radul instead? Where does the exceptional man come in?

Dave F. said...

I real life, the real world, in history,
Vlad Tepes was the ruler (sort of Duke or Prince who ruled over Wallachia in the early 1400's. As I recall, he was raised in by Saracens or Moslems because he was the hostage to keep peace. It was common in those days to raise your enemies princeling to guarantee the peace. In his teen years, Vlad returned to the family (thanks to a war) and then was schooled by the Church.
Needless to say, Vlad was screw up. he was incredibly cruel. He conquered villages and then impaled the surviving townspeople on stakes for all to see. That is why history names him "Vlad the Impaler." They have woodcuts of impaled people commemorating his deeds. Bram Stoker used the story of Vald Tepes as the basis of his legend of the undead, the vampire - a man so evil he was cursed by God to suck the blood of innocents to stay alive.

Impalement was a terror weapon. It wasn't the first but it is effective in subduing a population.

I can name other terror weapons - IED's and V2's just for starters.

Chro said...

Well, I don't know squat about Mr. Impaler, so I don't know the story behind the names Dracula and Dragula. Perhaps the agents being sent this query will recognize the spelling with a G, perhaps not. But as someone else said, switching between the two on a whim in this query isn't going to help the author any. I say stick with one and leave the name explanation to the actual book.

Phoenix said...

So, um, how many wives has EE run through? (Not meaning with stakes or other pointy objects. Guy's gotta keep some secrets after all ...)

deb said...

okay, just to clarify:

Vlad II was called Dragul after he was inducted into the Order of the Dragon by Sigismund, holy roman emperor. He got the nickname because he liked to flash a fancy dragon emblem the emperor gave him. Vlad III (the impaler) was called Dragula i.e. son of the Dragon. Vlad III was born in 1431, and went to Turkey around 1442ish. Wallachia was an independent nation in the 1400s, and most of the citizens lived on a large plain in between Carpathian mountains and the Alps. So, Dragula is actually more correct than Dracula, you can be Wallachian Dragon and live in the Carpathians, and Vlad was associated with both the Holy Roman Empire and with the Ottomans. And Radu the Handsome, his younger brother, was executed by Vlad after Radu tried to overthrow him with the help of the Turks. And Count Chocula is the best vampire, although I don't think he was ever held hostage by the Turks.

Mignon said...

I'm trying to figure out if soaking in hashish is a beauty treatment or some sort of aphrodisiac for women. Just wondering.

Dave F. said...

Did Count Chocula die by nipple-ectomy?

pacatrue said...

Just chiming in that EE was quite funny today.

deb hoag said...

am i the only one who remembers the hash oil scene in . . . firestarter by thomas tryon, or someting very like that?

talpianna said...

EE wrote: [When a gigantic lizard wakes up after a hundred years, I suspect his only immediate goal would involve pigging out on a couple dozen knights.]

No, silly, he wants maidens--virgins for preference.

hashish-soaked harem? Try saying THAT ten times really fast!

Vampire Hall of Fame: You left out Tanya Huff's Henry Fitzroy (vampire, romance writer, and bastard son of Henry VIII) and the hot guy in the current TV series Moonlight

If you're going into the real-life history of Vlad Dracul, you might deal with the fact that for centuries he was regarded as a great champion of Christianity, because he fought the Turks to keep them out of Europe.

But I love the pic of you.

Robin S. said...

EE, inquiring minds want to know....

1- How many exes have there been?

2- You were on fire today...

Evil Editor said...

Vampire Hall of Fame: You left out Tanya Huff's Henry Fitzroy (vampire, romance writer, and bastard son of Henry VIII) and the hot guy in the current TV series Moonlight

I specifically said "charter members." Henry Fitzroy doesn't go back far enough to have been an original industee.

pinhead said...

I have mixed feelings about The Count being a charter member. Sure, he created a niche all his own and is terribly memorable, a true pioneer vampire, but he counted slower than a scared child on the high dive. One........ two....... three....... kinda got annoying, even to a kid who loved the old lug.

talpianna said...

EE said: Henry Fitzroy doesn't go back far enough to have been an original industee.

Is an industee a vampire who's already been staked?

stick and move said...

I'm a little confused here. Everyone keeps saying, "what separates your story from the others?" Then they make mention of it in the post.

Doesn't the early years sort of set it apart? It's been done before, maybe, but ah, with Dracula as the good guy? I'm no expert on vampire stories, but that sounds pretty fresh to me.

Also, has Dracula been involved with Dragons in other books? Again, no expert here, but I've never heard of it. Sounds fresh to me.

Dracula as the good guy, fighting dragons. How much more original does someone have to get?

Good job, author. With some of the suggestions on rewriting the query, I think you're on to something.

deb said...

After all the back-and-forthing (not to be confused with to-and-froing)I can't believe we left barnabas collins off the charter member list.Duh!

talpianna said...

And don't forget Le Fanu's Carmilla and the title character of Varney the Vampire.

Robin S. said...

You're right, deb. Barnabas is a camp classic.

And I agree, stick and move. The young angle, coupled with weird good-guy status, would seem to set this apart.

deb said...

Talpianna, you must be an actual old vampire movie buff!

Dave F. said...

WELL! We really sucked the bloody life out of that query!

I like the idea of the story if you can get around all te preconceptions about Dracula and Vampires.

deb said...

Thanks, Dave. I am still just laughing like a loon over the "Dracula as a child" thing. Evertime I read the 'suck, don't bite' quote, I start laughing out loud in my office, which causes people to poke their heads in to see if i've finally lost it.

Thanks again for all your helpful input, everybody. And, as a footnote, a query letter I poseted here a couple of months ago has been doing its job; the manuscript for that novel is currently sitting on an agent's desk - at her request, no less.

Phoenix said...

Hey, Stick and Move:

The history of Vlad has been pretty well documented, so all the setup in this author's version feels like nothing more than yet another historical treatise. We get very little plot or motivation in the query to set it apart.

Recently, a little book called The Historian dealt with Vlad and his troubles in the Ottoman empire (even if Vlad wasn't the MC in the book). So from the query the book doesn't appear to offer anything more than what people already know.

As for making him out to be the good guy, well, the anti-hero is still alive and well. Loveable outlaws, vampires with souls -- we buy into them as long as we are given the motivation to like them. The query lacks that motivation. It's like querying a book about Hitler as a young man and insisting the reader embrace him as an anti-hero. To get away with it, that query will need to be very strong on characterization and motivation if it's to convince an agent that the pages will work.

The author may well offer up a new and exciting version of Vlad from what a hundred history books tell us, but it's not coming through in the query. Alas, no, I don't believe there are any dragons -- at least not of the Puff or Fafnir ilk -- in this book. These Dragons are just a group of men with a cool name. Unless the author really does mean scaly, giant-reptilian, Dragonheart dragons, which would, truly, be a pretty unique angle, come to think of it.

talpianna said...

Deb: I'm not really a vampire fan; but in college, waaay back in the last century, I did a term paper on the horror story as a literary form. (Scared me so much I had to sleep with a night light.) And I'm on a romance forum where a lot of people are fans of paranormals, so I've picked up a lot about vampires/werewolves/demons/faeries/Republicans and other supernatural evils in passing.

The Tanya Huff books are different because the vampire is a good guy working with the heroine, a private eye, and her cop friend to foil supernatural criminals. I also like Susan Sizemore's Laws of the Blood series, about The Enforcers, a special group of vampires who police the rest, and their human Companions. They are really gorier than I like, especially the first one; but the characters and relationships are great, and she even manages a bit of humor. (In one book, the vampire is undercover in his wolf form (Enforcers can do this) and winds up participating in a dog show. When he doesn't win, he's so mad he eats the border collie that did.) I recommend both these series; but otherwise I'm not into supernatural characters other than werewolves, and that's because I like wolves. (I always wanted to grow up to be Akela, or to marry him.)

talpianna said...

By the way, am I the only one to notice that the portrait of Evil Editor is a dead ringer for the supposedly-late Isaac Asimov? Makes me REALLY wonder about the fangs....

WouldBe said...

Recently, a little book called The Historian dealt with Vlad and his troubles in the Ottoman empire (even if Vlad wasn't the MC in the book). So from the query the book doesn't appear to offer anything more than what people already know.

I think it's fair to separate the setting from the story. The query sets up the setting with these historical figures, but it is a work of fiction and does offer something substantially new:

Vlad has the power to cast Europe back into another Dark Age, and postpone the Renaissance for centuries. Radul's goal is to tie the boy to him before the other Great Dragons of Europe can manipulate him for their own purposes.

Church Lady said...

I'm late to this party, but wanted to comment on the unusually spritely humor of EE today. Especially loved Dragula!

Author, I don't know, but I liked it. Hope you can emphasize the fresh spin your story takes.

Wonderwood said...

Phoenix, my comment was intended to address the "what's different about your story?" question, not whether or not the query hits the mark. I thought it was pretty obvious what was different and unique about this story, and was confused why people would ask what's different, then go on to comment about the youth angle, the good guy angle, the dragons. I thought, "Am I the only one that sees it hiding in plain sight?" And I read the query as if it were referring to scaly dragons. So if I'm wrong on that count, I think the good guy angle still gives the Dracula story a new twist. Especially if, as someone mentioned, we see his character arc come to fruition as the evil dude whom we all know.

As for the query itself, I'm afraid I can't offer any suggestions that haven't already been made.

Anyway, I'd be curious to know from the author if these are scaly dragons or just bad guys called dragons.

deb said...

Phoenix: yes, real, honest to God, fire-breathing dragons. No guys in funny tights with cool names. Damn straight. And Freud. And the Historian dealt with Vlad's activities in the Ottoman empire only as reported through flashbacks-within-flashbacks-within-flashbacks, within . . . flashbacks? I'm sure someone could tell you more about it, but the readers are all asleep. :)
(Sorry, but I spent an entire night reading it, and was really, really glad I hadn't paid for it. Except with hours of my life. and my wits. And my wililngness to read anything else that starts out with "This bok was made possible in part thanks to a grant from . . . " Did I say arrggh! yet? Although, a Romanian travel agency is now offering a "Historian" tour of the Drac sites mentioned in the book. Muahaha!

Phoenix said...

Hmmm, then Deb. While I think the dragon angle is cool, the query didn't make it clear to me at all that the Dragons (with the capital "D") were the scaly, fire-breathing type. Not with mention of Sigismund's Order of the Dragon, and his two dozen, or however many there were, Dragons in fealty to him. Obviously, I read it wrong, as did a couple of other minions. I'm familiar with the history, including the Dragon references from history, which no doubt tainted my interpretation of the query. I do think the query needs to be clearer on that point since it can be read both ways. I just figured the "other Great Dragons" were Vlad II and the other 22 of Sigi's personal, quite human, Dragons.

Evil Editor said...

Of course there was the claim that the main dragon had slept for a hundred years.

talpianna said...

In one of the Sizemore books, the protagonist was hired by Vlad the Impaler, back in his (Istvan's) youth, to GET RID OF the local vampires. I guess things changed.

Incidentally, the heroine calls him "Steve" because "Istvan is so fourteenth century."

Phoenix said...

Of course there was the claim that the main dragon had slept for a hundred years.

Well, yeah. But there's magic and vampires and the part about being sated by blood, so I very clearly saw Black Radul as a Dragon (of the bipedal persuasion) who was also a vampire and who would, based on the ties and binding references, be the one to turn Vlad.

The version I was reading in my head made some sort of historical sense to me. The version with the fire-breathing dragons doesn't feel menacing enough because I don't know the dragons' motivations or place in this alt universe. I love historical fantasy, and I'm ready for the ride. It's just from the query, I'm not getting a sense of how the dragons play into this world or what Vlad's role is.

Author said...

Dear Evil:

I've recently completed a 90,000 word novel of supernatural suspense, entitled Revealing Dragula. When a melancholy Dragula asks an eager young psychiatrist for help, they both get more than they had bargained for. Especially the doctor, young Sigmund Freud, newly arrived to study with the great Jean Martin Charcot, at the Hospital Salpetriere in Paris.

Freud does not believe Dragula's story, but he agrees to undertake the madman's analysis in the hopes that the new “talking cure” can dispel Vlad's grief and undo his obvious delusions. Under the influence of mesmerism, Dragula reveals to Freud that as a mortal he was a member of the powerful and clandestine Order of the Dragon, inducted in a ceremony that gave him strange new powers and opened his eyes to forces beyond the imaginings of mere mortals.

Vlad had learned the secret of the Order of the Dragon – real dragons walk the earth still, and it is they who truly rule the world, using mortal kings as pawns. Vlad stood at a turning point in human history; crucial choices he made could bring on the absolute rule of the Ottoman Empire, virtually eliminate Christianity in Europe, or help the Order fend off the invaders and throw Europe back into a new dark age. Vlad did not find either alternative acceptable.

Looking for a way to elude both futures, Vlad traveled from the emperor's debauched and glittering court in Nuremburg to Turkish Adrianople, where he was held hostage by the grand sultan of the Ottomans. There he learns of the powerful Jinn, and begins to see the possibility of a third choice – if he has the will and the nerve.

Freud, at first concerned solely about how to help his new patient shed his odd delusions, soon comes to realize that Vlad Dragula stands at the center of a whirlwind of magic and evil, seeking to insure that the world remains in mortal hands, no matter what the price. And in order to accomplish that, he's going to need Freud's help.

I hope you enjoy the enclosed sample chapter of Revealing Dragula. The full manuscript is available at your request.

Sincerely,

Sarah said...

It's better. It flows better though the mix of tenses is throwing me. It looks like there are three choices and not two to begin with, so that needs to be cleaned up a little.

Here's my take on it:

When a melancholy Vlad Dragula asks a young Sigmund Freud for help, they both get more than they bargain for. Freud, newly arrived to study with the great Jean Martin Charcot at the Hospital Salpetriere in Paris, does not believe Vlad's story. He agrees to undertake the madman's analysis in the hopes that the new “talking cure” can dispel Vlad's grief and undo his obvious delusions.

Under the influence of mesmerism, Vlad reveals that he was a member of the powerful and clandestine Order of the Dragon, whose secret is that real dragons walk the earth, and it is they who truly rule the world, using mortal kings as pawns. Vlad was inducted in a ceremony that gave him strange new powers and opened his eyes to forces beyond the imaginings of mere mortals. He stands at a turning point in human history. He can bring on the absolute rule of the Ottoman Empire and virtually eliminate Christianity in Europe, or help the Order fend off the invaders and throw Europe back into a new dark age.

Vlad, who found neither alternative acceptable, traveled from the emperor's debauched and glittering court in Nuremburg to Turkish Adrianople, where he was held hostage by the grand sultan of the Ottomans. There he learned of the powerful Jinn, and began to see the possibility of a third choice – if he has the will and the nerve.

Freud, at first concerned solely about how to help his new patient shed his odd delusions, soon comes to realize that Vlad Dragula stands at the center of a whirlwind of magic and evil, seeking to insure that the world remains in mortal hands, no matter what the price. And in order to accomplish that, he's going to need Freud's help.

Revealing Dragula is a 90,000 word novel of supernatural suspense. I hope you enjoy the enclosed sample chapter. The full manuscript is available at your request.

Liosis said...

This whole story is a flash back? I always find that disapointing.

"He can bring on the absolute rule of the Ottoman Empire and virtually eliminate Christianity in Europe, or help the Order fend off the invaders and throw Europe back into a new dark age. "

I'm glad you've fixed it to 'dark age' here. Since a dark age is a time of fighting, where as dark ages=middle ages= me ranting at you about how the 9th and 12th century renaissances were far more potent then the silly latin murderers of the 15th century.

"soon comes to realize that Vlad Dragula stands at the center of a whirlwind of magic and evil, seeking to insure that the world remains in mortal hands, no matter what the price. And in order to accomplish that, he's going to need Freud's help."

Is your novel about Dracula and Freud protecting the modern world from evil or is it about Vlad on the cusp of the 15th century? I assumed it was the first, but I suppose it could be the second and now I'm confused.

It is much tighter but it still seems to be more detail then you need to work anyone.