Thursday, May 27, 2010

Face-Lift 775

Guess the Plot

The Nightmare Dragon

1. A lesser-known nocturnal legend vies for popularity with the Tooth Fairy.

2. Vanessa's new pillow allows her to physically enter the dream realm where a sulking dragon threatens to turn all dreams into nightmares unless someone gives it a pony.

3. As a dragonling Billy was teased unmercifully by the other dragonlings at Waverly School for Dragons. Now he's grown up to be Bilrazbullah, Lord of Nightmares, and those other little bastards are gonna pay.

4. High school freshman Jennifer learns that she is the chosen one who must save the world from a great evil. Knowing she cannot go into battle alone, she recruits Nikki and Naomi, the twin girls she used to babysit. We're pretty much doomed.

5. Nightmare and his middle school classmates love to frolic in the autumn mist. But when their good friend Puff is accused of dealing narcotics, the band of immature dragons must grow up . . . and quick. Puberty ensues.

6. Dragon's life is bad enough; then he mysteriously turns into an actual dragon one day. Dragons are hated by the people of his village so much that he can't even set foot in his home. He travels the world searching for some way to turn back into a griffin. I never said he was originally a human.



Original Version

Jennifer Moraine was a semi-average girl [As may be seen clearly in the chart below, neither boys nor girls come in "semi-average." And if they did, we wouldn't know whether that was on the average/below average border or the average/above average border.]


that only had to deal with visions given to her by a necklace that was passed down in her family for millennia. [Are these unpleasant visions? Because it seems like someone would have pawned the necklace by now if they are.] That is she was until her first day of high school, where she met a mysterious boy by the name of Abasi. Now she's learned that she has to save the world from a great evil that happens to be in the form of Abasi's cousin, Jibade. Along with the twin girls, Nikki and Naomi, she used to babysit and Abasi, she travels the world, preparing for a battle against Jibade and her entire family. [If they know where Jibade is, why don't they go directly there instead of traveling the world? And if they don't know, how likely is it they'll happen upon her while traveling the world?] [What means of transportation do these children use to travel the world?] Things can't get much worse for her. [How do the parents of Nikki and Naomi feel about their children traveling the world with a high school freshman, and preparing to do battle with a great evil?]


Notes

That's it? I'll assume this is just the plot portion of the letter, but even so, there's plenty of room to expand on this. What kind of visions does Jennifer have? Does she learn that she must save the world in a vision, and if not, how does she learn this? Why Jennifer? And if it's because she has the necklace, why didn't any of the previous necklace possessors take out Jibade? Is Jibade a dragon? How can these kids possibly defeat Jibade?

10 comments:

Angie said...

Agree with EE. This just dies off without any resolution. What is Jibade? I didn't understand that from the query.

Why is it called The Nightmare Dragon when I get no hint of a dragon in the query?

How old are the twins that their parents let a freshman travel with them around the world and let the kids fight evil? My son's almost 15and I don't trust him to watch my 8year old daughter for more than 2-3hours.

Go back to the drawing board with EE's advice and hit us up again.

Eric said...

The other problem is this: Not only do you simply give us the plot setup, the plot setup is "An average teenage girl discovers she is the Chosen One and goes on a quest with a band of friends to save the world from Evil."

You might as well pitch a romance novel with the plot "A young woman meets an attractive man and can't stop thinking about him, but things keep threatening to push them apart."

First, spend some serious time reading something along the lines of Limyaael's Fantasy Rants. Next, scrap all the cliches and tell us something about the Nightmare Dragon, who actually sounds cool.

Becca C. said...

Yikes. I agree with Eric: this is all set-up, and a very cliché set-up at that!

Don't forget the word count and the business parts of a query.

Stephen Prosapio said...

Holy Nightmare without a Dragon, Batman!

Author, kudos to you for submitting this publicly in what might be your first step in researching the query process. Keep exploring. Read a bunch of the queries here.

This isn't close to ready yet, so keep going and working!

Marissa Doyle said...

What everyone else has said...and also, review comma usage. Your query needs to be as squeaky clean as possible. So does your manuscript, but an agent won't look at your manuscript if your query is riddled with usage errors.

Good luck!

Phoenix said...

Angie, after a peek at EE's gender chart, wouldn't it be wiser to let your 8 yo daughter watch your 15 yo son?

We're pretty much doomed. hehe.

Author, as others have said, we need more of a hint of what happens in your story. Also, why is Abasi in the query? Yes, he's Jibade's cousin, but other than that, there doesn't seem to be much reason for him to show up. Can you elaborate if he's important to the plot?

Read a few more of the queries here, paying special attention to the meanings behind those funny blue words. Then try again. We'll be here when you're ready.

In fact, there's a lull over at my place right now.

Hear that, people? There's a query revision lull -- guess that means I can spend my long weekend mowing instead of posting more revisions for you all to critique ;o)

_*rachel*_ said...

Fill in the gaps in the plot, and give us a sense of who your character is, besides "semi-average." Even if she is pretty normal, there's got to be something special about her if she's supposed to save the world. She doesn't have to be able to fly or anything, but you can show us through her actions that she's resourceful, witty, scared stiff, lovesick, or brave.

Eric has a point. Check out some online Mary Sue tests, just in case.

writtenwyrdd said...

Ditto what everyone else says. In addition, however, you need to master grammar and punctuation. I had a hard time following your meaning due to awkward sentence construction and failure to place commas on either side of parenthetical phrases/clauses. If you have that many errors in a query letter, you can almost guarantee you won't have anyone requesting pages from you.

Anonymous said...

And no matter what teenage boys may think, teenage girls are not a "that" but a "who". She's a "semi-average girl who", not a "semi-average girl that" -- and this may sound nit-picking to you, but you have 60-second chance to impress an agent with your query, so make it count. Incorrect pronoun usage can kill your query.

batgirl said...

I note that Abasi and Jibade are Egyptian names. Author, if you're using Egyptian mythology or setting in your novel, you might want to point that up as something to make your story stand out a bit.
Also, um, mentioning things like wordcount, saying hello, thanks for your time, and so on.