Monday, April 24, 2006

Summer Plans - vote time (paca)

OK, people. Last summer I put up a list of plans for the summer that was crazy over-ambitious, and your feedback on it was actually rather helpful. The old list. Things are more settled this time around. My editing job continues through-out the summer, so about 20 hours a week will be dedicated there. Next, I will be enrolling in French again 5 days a week, because I need to pass a third language exam this fall (translation of a linguistics article with a dictionary). That leaves a little time for fun, and I know I want to write in that spare time. I am going to pitch four ideas at you and see which one you like best / would read first / sounds least lame / would purchase if you were an agent. Please vote if you can, even if it is just to say "not number 2". Ready?

1) Ever since Tolkien's landmark works, the literary world has been seen innumerable Dark Lords who must be defeated by a band of noble friends before the Evil One destroys the world forever. In "Book Title Here" we learn what would happen if the Dark Lord had ever won. The novel begins in the normal way that Tolkein-inspired epics always do. A young man raised in the countryside has been swept into the great events of his day. All hope seems lost as he and his friends ride out to face Evil in one last desperate battle. Only this time, they actually lose. Chapter Two follows a young captain in the Evil One's forces who helps in the quick conquest that follows, but now at The End of All Things, what do they do? There are still people who wish to eat, people who wish to rise in power, people who wish to find a mate for an hour or a lifetime. As the world reshapes, we find the young captain trying to bring some order so that he and his kind can live for more than a day. To do this, they must eventually meet the Dark One again, but this time, fight against him. Can they win where the great forces of Good failed?

2) When J was just six, his parents sold the last track of land on the family farm to a developer. A young girl, T, and her family moved into the new suburb and into J's heart. After being friends for years growing up, they spend time together while Thuy is back from college and find that their feelings run even deeper than friendship. But life is never straightforward, even for dedicated young lovers, and T must go back to school. J must find a way to support his family and eventually joins the military. It will provide money to his mother and get him back to school one day, a place he has always belonged, as he possesses a rare and acute mind. Each step is oh so practical and logical but the distance between T and J continues to grow. Will they ever find each other again, or is just time to move on and remember the first love fondly as something that once was?

3) Tira lives in a world where every woman she knows is the property of one of the Courts. Of course, this is where they want to be. Who wouldn't want to live in the lap of luxury instead of laboring on a farm, even if they might have to wear a collar? One person who doesn't is Tira. She feels something is horribly wrong with her world, and her first struggle is simply to escape. After repeated failures to get away, caused by her best friend trying to save her from herself, she gets out, pulling that friend kicking and screaming the whole way. Disappearing into the mountains, they are at their life's end when they are found by Miyun and her friends at the Legion Bakery. Tira quickly discovers that this bakery is a lot more than it seems, as it is filled with girls who have also escaped from the Courts. Tira helps Miyun get more girls to safety or into hiding, but ultimately becomes dissatisfied with this limited work. She needs to destroy the whole system and change people's minds so that they don't want to ever enter a Court again. Can she do it without descending into violence? How much violence is justified to get rid of this odious world? Is there a middle way between chaos and freedom?

4) This isn't a pitch. It's just that I only have a few stories under my belts, so perhaps I should spend the summer writing short stories and getting better at writing before tackling a novel.

Any thoughts are great. I'd especially like to know if these have already been done. Well, of course, 2) has been done. It's a flat romance novel, so I'd be writing it in my own style to make it different. How about 1) and 3)? I know things are similar. Sometimes I say that 3) is like a cross between Robin Hood and Margaret Atwood with a splash of Raise the Red Lantern. 1) is kind of like a cross between Tolkein / Jordan / Eddings, Maus (which I haven't read), and The Screwtape Letters. All of them would be written with humour, though the last is obviously the darkest in tone. In fact, I am worried the last is too dark. I hate those women-as-slave worlds, and I don't want to have to spend too much time in one just so I can destroy it.



sr said...

If i had to pick, i would say #1. But honestly none of the story lines are particularly interesting to me (sorry!). What about doing some character focused short stories? I thought the blog you did with the interview of one of your characters a while ago was more interesting.
have you read "the Pleasure of My Company" by Steve Martin? That is the kind of stuff I enjoy.

kristybox said...

I like #3. I'd read that story. I hate the "women as slaves" worlds, too, but I like your spin on it so far.

I laughed so hard at the "mousey dung" comment that AlanBox/Sammy Jenkis questioned my commitment to him. He he.

J said...

I like 3. I enjoy Atwood and I liked Anthem and that's what it reminded me of.

I couldn't get into Tolkien because his books have so many maps and directions in them. I liked the movies, though.

I think I could dig the romance if it had a major twist - something "whoa! i didn't see that coming"ish.

I hope you let us know which one you choose.

naughtyloki said...

I, too, am voting for a short story. An unexpected ending would be great. I'll use StarWars as an example. Trash compactor scene, nobody gets out, compactor closes, end of story. Of course, you would need to put a few pages of text following the ending so that the reader wouldn't know what was coming. Or maybe have several stories in one volume, but out of page sequence. The reader would need to go from page one to page ten, back to page eight, etc. I really wish there was a way to do that for movies. No one has the cahones to kill everyone off thirty minutes into a movie.

I'm thinking #1 sounds familiar to me. Also, I'm not sure that you possess the fortitude to "do the right thing" and have the Dark Lord lessonate, with extreme prejudice no less, the Traitor and his/her Meddlesome Do-Gooder Gang.

pacatrue said...

Thanks everyone for the input. It is helpful, believe it or not. The most shocking bit was that someone actually read that long interview I posted. Must have been a slow day at work. With a couple of offline votes, the recommendation is pretty much split between #1, bad guys kick Gandalf's ass, and #3, good girls kick patriarchical ass. I wonder if I can use these as titles. The newest release from Random House "Good Girls Kick Patriarchical Ass" by Pacatrue. As requested, I will certainly tell you which I work on. N just says I should work on whichever I am most inspired by. She is right, but I can't let that interfere.

If the plots seemed more and less developed in different pitches, it is because they are. Last summer I outlined #3 all the way to Tira arriving at the Bakery and sketched out the ending. The romance is a short story, or long story, I have already written about the two falling in love, but I don't know what happens next. #1 is just an idea I carry around.

I am going to have to go dig up Anthem now.

My word verification was "tfexy". Rowr. Tfexy.