Friday, February 20, 2009

Face-Lift 605


Guess the Plot

Feral

1. When his dad tells Cooper he has to get rid of his beloved pets, Cooper sulks, cries, and finally releases his gerbils, hamsters, and guinea pigs into the wild. Then he follows them, and becomes their leader--and a legend.

2. Were-woman Cinnamon takes names and kicks butt as a wilderness guide through the urban subcultures of werewolves, were-panthers, were-hyenas and other preternaturals.

3. When Janet Watson let Tom, the blind date astronaut, kiss her cheek, she had no idea he was carrying a Martian neovirus. Two weeks later, her body is covered with orange fur, she has unnaturally keen senses of smell, hearing, and night vision, and all she wants is to stalk something and eat raw meat. So she heads for the subway.

4. Teenage runaway Andrew is easy prey for the predators of New York City until a female werewolf takes him in. As their relationship progresses, will the were-woman sense that Andrew isn't what he seems to be? Could he be . . . a weredingo?

5. Dog-boy Jeff Higgins, aka Shaggy, saves his town from an evil horde of communist hot-air-ballooners in 1972, thereby averting a Cuban plot to overthrow Richard Milhouse Nixon.

6. She hunts by night, cleaning the vilest vermin off the streets of San Francisco. She's the superhero known as The Ferret, and she faces her toughest opponent yet: Weasel.


Original Version

Dearest Evil Editor,

I am seeking representation for Feral, my 60,000-word YA urban fantasy.

Sixteen-year-old Kaia is a werewolf, the result of several decades of genetic manipulation. [You can manipulate my genes for a few decades if it'll make me sixteen again.] As a child, she escaped the government facility where she was created [If a child can break out of your top secret government facility, consider upgrading your security system.] and has been lurking in the shadows of Manhattan ever since, stalking the scum of society. [She hangs out outside Yankee Stadium?] Though she is not entirely happy, she is content to act as an unknown protector of innocents, until she meets Andrew.

Andrew is a teenage runaway who has taken to the streets to escape familial abuse. Frail as a bird and innocent as a child, he is easy prey for New York's predators, and against her better judgment, Kaia takes him in. As their relationship progresses, Andrew convinces Kaia that the only way to find peace is to return to the place of her birth and destroy the man who created her. [Change her from a werewolf to a spy and this is the plot of The Bourne Ultimatum.] But Andrew isn't what he appears to be, [What is he? This sounds like the crucial twist that might actually intrigue an editor enough to request the book, and you don't reveal it? Is he a weredingo?] and Kaia soon realizes the plan he has devised to set her free could lead to her immediate demise. [Andrew: Here's the plan: Strap this . . . device onto your chest, and when you meet your creator, push this button.]

I would be happy to send you sample pages or the complete manuscript of Feral. Thank you for your time.


Notes

Is Kaia a werewolf only when the moon is full?

It's stupid to tell a werewolf that you're her creator. She'll probably assume you're just a doctor trying to help her, and thus have no reason to one day hunt you down and tear out your throat. Having left when she was a child, how does Kaia know she was created by some scientist?

Kaia was content with her lot in life when Andrew came along. How does Andrew convince her she needs to "find peace?" Does she cry herself to sleep every night? Does she twitch when she sleeps, like she's dreaming she's chasing a rabbit? If she's already found her peace ripping out the throats of scum, she doesn't need to murder her creator to find peace.

Also, what is Andrew?

10 comments:

Whirlochre said...

I'm fine with this up to the point where you tell us Andrew convinces Kaia to destroy Mr Werewolf Fabricator. This, and the nature of Andrew's true identity, need a lot more fleshing out, and as this is a brief query as it stands, you have room to add the details. Given what's already presented, I'm sure if you did this, you'd have a workable query. Seems like a solid story with plenty of scope and your overall tone is considered.

batgirl said...

Yes, either more on Andrew and what his agenda is, or more background on Kaia and why she'd want to go back and what grudge she harbours against her creator.
Actually if you built that up, you could perhaps drop Andrew to a teaser: stuff about K's traumatic past, how she rips out a place for herself on the mean streets but still is haunted by the past, when a mysterious runaway shows up and shows her how she can even the score / free her family / stop the mad scientists - but can she trust him?

Could be a good story. Reminiscent of Keri Arthur's Destiny Kills, so there's a market for 'urban revenge fantasy'.

talpianna said...

Could Andrew be...a REPUBLICAN???

Dominique said...

The story smacked a little of Wolverine of the X-Men, but that might just be me. I can't vouch for how many people read comics as kids.

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

See, I just assumed that Andrew must be... a ZOMBIE !!!11!

Author, you have a good start here and you've done a great job of introducing the story and the characters. When you rewrite, you might want keep an eye on those cliches, i.e. "lurking in the shadows", "scum of society", "innocent as a child", "isn't what he appears to be".

This reminded me of "Dark Angel," that tv show about a runaway super soldier who also happened to be Jessica Alba.

150 said...

Eh. This isn't bad. I could stand to see some more details, and some zing in the wording.

Neelloc said...

Is Kaia a murderer, does she leave mutilated survivors, or such? If so, the authorities would be after her, which we can't see in the query. Do other minions think that should be mentioned, in that case? (I'm not being sarcastic; I'd like to know.)
This sounds like the sort of sci-fi/fantasy stuff I love to read!

chelsea said...

I see what you're driving at. This needs less "jacket copy description" and more "details of what the hell is actually going on".

EE, Andrew is the son of the man who created Kaia, but having forsaken his family's empire as a young man, he has to capture Kaia to get back in daddy's good graces and inherit the family fortune.

Kaia is a werewolf several days out of the month, and she knows who her creator is because she spent the first eleven years of her life in a facility surrounded by scientists (including her creator), being studied alongside other other genetic projects. Besides the Andrew info, does any of this need to be in the query?

Neelloc, yes she is a murderer. She doesn't actually stay in Manhattan the whole time, she moves around, but I wanted to simplify things for the query. Maybe a mistake!

GTP #6, yes! I once made a political cartoon where a ferret was the superhero. Her name was Lucy Ferret. You think I'm joking but I'm not.

Evil Editor said...

No, you don't need everything in the query. Knowing Andrew's motive is enough. Or even just a stronger hint than that he isn't what he appears to be. Did Andrew really run away because of familial abuse, or is that just what he tells Kaia? Does he just happen to come across Kaia? If not, how did he know where to find her?

chelsea said...

He really does run away because of familial abuse. However, he partially blames Kaia because the abuse worsened after she escaped, so when they meet again (she actually finds him), his intentions are to make her pay. He's torn between blaming her and blaming his family.