Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Guess the Plot
The Mapmaker of Merivale
1. Jealous over his cousin Giochino's success with the 'Barber of Seville', Lorenzo Rossini tries to create a competing opera. Threatened with murder after a disastrous opening night, he wonders why he listened to that drunk cat singing outside his window.
2. He gets up around seven, has a piece of toast and then gets into the office by nine, where he drafts in the morning and inks after lunch. Oh, and there's a one-eyed unicorn pirate, but that's not really as interesting.
3. Glenda is a human girl living in the final days of planet Earth as the continents crumble one by one into the black seas. Be-mot is planet Merivale's finest mapmaker, born with the ability to draw landforms which become reality. A wish on a shooting star opens the portal between their worlds. Only Glenda can rescue Be-mot from slavery. Only Be-Mot can rescue the Earth from oblivion.
4. Being a teenager is rough enough, but being a teenager when the Spanish Inquisition is hunting you down is the pits. Mathias boards a ship to make his escape, and lands on the continent Merivale, where he becomes a mapmaker. Can Mathias justify the people's faith in him by completing an accurate map?
5. Every sixth-grader at Merivale Elementary has to make a map to scale, and Scott thinks, why not map the school? But his tape measure reveals an unexplained space between two classrooms. Curiosity leads him to a coven of math teachers and a plot too horrible to imagine.
6. Antonio makes the most beautiful maps in existence. Problem is, he never leaves Merivale, so his maps are highly inaccurate. People who do leave Merivale with one of Antonio's maps seldom return. Can the mayor convince him to become a fantasy artist before the population dwindles to one?
During the early 16th century in Spain, when maps still showed sea monsters swimming in the seven seas and suggested ships would fall off the edge of a flat world, Mathias Pellanore is eighteen and wants three things: to learn how to swim [(necessary if he falls off his boat)], a sense of direction [(necessary to navigate his boat)] and [...] his own boat (necessary for impressing senoritas). [The Spanish still thought ships could fall off the edge of the world in the 16th century, even though Columbus didn't in the 15th century?]
When the Spanish Inquisition persecutes his magical family, [The Pellanores were the Blackstones of the 16th century.] Mathias unknowingly sets off a chain of events that kick-starts his own adventure—only it looks nothing like he’s ever dreamed. For one thing, he’s running for his life and as for the other—his family didn’t make it out of Spain alive and it was entirely his fault. Now he hears the rescue ship he’s on is taking him to Merivale, [Anagram: Evil Realm.] a continent he’s never heard of or seen on a map.
To make matters more confusing, Mathias learns he does have family in Merivale. Only, he can’t meet them since they’ve been dead for 103 years. [Are they vampires? Or are they zombies? It's crucial that we know which.] Mathias’ bright idea is to offer his services as a mapmaker (despite never knowing what direction North is) to learn more about Merivale and his hidden ancestry, all while coping with the guilt and grief over the loss of his family. [Wouldn't it be easier to be a librarian or a historian? Is he mapping the whole continent?]
As the people of Merivale await his return, Mathias wonders if he’ll be worthy enough to finish the quest he signed up for. [Doesn't matter if he finishes. Magellan attacked a tribe in the Philippines because their chief refused to pay him tribute, and got killed. What an idiot. And yet we still remember him as the first to make it around the world, while forgetting about the few members of his crew who actually did make it.] [It suddenly occurs to me that Neil Armstrong may not have been the first man to set foot on the moon. Maybe he died on the way up and they threw his corpse out the airlock but he still gets all the credit. Of course if he was murdered by Buzz Aldrin, who actually did the first moon walk, I'm okay with it, but if he just died of fright or something . . . ] [Interestingly, more people watched Buzz Aldrin on Dancing with the Stars than watched his moon walk.]
THE MAPMAKER OF MERIVALE is a 76,000 Young Adult Fantasy. Please let me know if you would be interested in reading part or all of the manuscript.
I graduated from the University of Central Florida with degrees in Creative Writing and History. [Specializing in the history of lost continents.] Since then, I’ve worked as a baby/house/dog sitter, [Your book isn't quite right for my list, but if you're available, I might be able to use you next time I go on vacation.] a high school soccer coach and as an editorial assistant at a regional Florida magazine where I’ve published articles.
Thank you for your consideration.
Your backstory about running from the Inquisition sounds more exciting than your main plot line, which is making a map. He wonders if he'll be worthy enough to finish his quest is your boffo grabber? His quest is to make a map. You need to convince us mapping Merivale is dangerous and thrilling.
You might consider dropping the first paragraph and the credits, leaving you with plenty of room to tell us about Mathias's adventure. I assume lots of exciting stuff happens as he makes his map. I assume he doesn't just travel around measuring rivers and asking villagers about his ancestors. If that's the whole plot, I suggest you have him sail off the edge of the world.