#36 Crapometer

Title: A Faerie Fated Forever
Genre: Historical Romance (this is actually a romantic fantasy)

The Clan Maclee dwells in the Scottish Highlands, upon the Isle of Skye and the magic that pervades the island flows through their veins. Long ago Ian, laird of the clan, fell in love with Tara, a faerie princess. Her Father, King of the Faeries, allowed a hand fast marriage of a year and a day. Then Tara had to return to the land of faerie, leaving her husband and infant son. She made Ian promise not to leave the babe alone and to tend him so he never cried, for she couldn't bear his tears. For a time Ian kept his promise.

any time I see “dwells” and “upon the Isle” for “lives on the island” my antenna for over writing start to quiver. There’s a lot to be said for using the gilded vocabulary only where it counts.

However, one evening a party lured the nurses away and they left the child alone for the first time. The babe's cries drew his Mother and she soothed and wrapped him in her shawl. When the lad aged, (oh..grew up?) he told his Father that shawl was a flag the laird could wave to summon help from the faeries if the clan faced danger. How did Ian repay this boon? After the clan's fortunes dwindled, he wed another lass for money. Furious, the Faerie King cast a curse upon future lairds that each shall have one faerie fated love. She will set the claws of passion to his manhood, (yanno, if I was a guy, I’d like to think manhood wasn’t always the equivalent of sex) the need to possess to his soul, and the magic of love to his heart. He will be handsome, sensual and chased by lasses seeking to trap him. But marriage to anyone but his fated love will force him to live a lie, forever tormented by desire for his fated lady, whom he will meet but will never have.

This is where your story starts:
Now Niall Maclee faces the choice and (you mean “when” here) the elders insist that he wed Heather MacIver because the marriage would bring security and great wealth. Niall can't reconcile himself to the union. He chases ladies from his bed and uses the Maclee swipe to swat their hands away at gatherings. He feasts upon the tastiest lasses in the land (I thought he was chasing them away from the sentence preceding this) and knows dowdy Heather could never spur his passion. She could not be his faerie fated love.

Heather knows she is peculiar because Granny told her so. Her hair contains every shade of brown from tawny to auburn to chocolate. Surely her golden eyes must be cursed, and her figure resembles a twig holding up a pair of boulders. (hair and eye color, and body shape as the description of a character is LAZY ASS WRITING) She agrees with Granny that it is what is inside that counts and dresses to hide her flaws. Her attire makes her a target for the other lasses, who delight in making fun of her well-known crush on the laird. Heather believes Niall is the Prince Charming who will love the woman within. (too bad all we know about her right now is the exterior, huh)

But a witch summons Niall's desire with dark magic. Heather finds him entwined with the witch in the garden and a twig tears away her bonnet as she flees in tears. Too late, Niall sees that she is the faerie fated love who burns him alive each night in his dreams. Heather goes to family in London where she decides that every living thing changes or dies, and she vows to change and succeeds. Her transformation frees the panther within to prowl and prance. (prancing panthers? oh those adverbs) She conquers the ton (do you think everyone will know what “the ton” is?) but can't forget the love she left behind.

When Niall follows her to London he must use his family connection to a Duke and every sensual power in his arsenal to win her from handsome Viscount Badgerton. His Maclee charm and sensual enticements are not enough. It takes a heroic should-be suicidal rescue to convince Heather to give him a second chance. Even after she accepts his proposal, Niall must duel with the Viscount to defend her honor before they can go home for their wedding.

But there is no peace even on Skye. Niall's cousin, the Duke of Sedgewick's sixth sense warns of danger. After Heather is nearly poisoned, Niall becomes frantic to protect her. His security fails because the threat came from his friend, Calum, who refuses to let Niall win again - even if he must kill Heather to insure the loss. (this is the critical point of the narrative and you drop it in out of space and then don't explain it)

Calum shoots Heather as she walks to the chapel to be married. The healer determines the wound to be mortal and all grieve. In desperation, Niall draws out the faerie flag but the elders object to its use for the death of one lass will not endanger the clan. Niall disagrees because it would destroy the clan's laird. He waves the flag to summon the faeries, intending to demand their magic. Unfortunately, faeries don't take demands well and the price the King demands is Niall's pride and - in the opinion of the surrounding crowd - his manhood. The King decrees that Niall drop to his knees to beg for the magic that will save Heather. Begging violates the Highland creed, and all expect he must refuse.

What would he do to keep Heather? He would do anything. He would do everything. He would cast aside any pretension to pride or dignity and beg like a trained hound. Niall is a proud man, but if the cost of his pride is loosing (you mean losing, unless she’s tied up) Heather, then it is a price he can not pay. To the loud jeers of the clan, their laird goes down to his knees before the King and begs abjectly for Heather's life. The magic is granted and the payment of Niall's pride buys him a love beyond price.

They wed and Heather tells her Prince Charming that it is time for them to live happily ever after. Niall prefers to live satisfied ever after and anyway, he doesn't have a glass slipper. But he has something else he knows will fit and he thinks she will like it even better. The faeries sigh sadly but perk up when they remember that they will soon have a new laird to play with and that one will be named Ian.

Imagine the fun they will have with him!

You’ve got a LOT of words here for a pretty simple story. You can cut way down on the backstory and give us more about the characters. You’ve got the bad guy turning up with no explanation for his antipathy for the hero. You don’t need to explain all that stuff about the faeries and flags. In romantic fantasy a lot of that stuff is understood, much like in murder mysteries you know there will be a dead body, a suspect and a detective.

You’ve fallen into the cliché pit a lot too. If I never see “manhood” in a romance again I’ll be happy.


SAND STORM said...

If I never see “manhood” in a romance again I’ll be happy.

posted by Miss Snark at 12/28/2005 | 0 comments

I think it's used primarily in westerns about mountains now:)

Maxwell said...

'Manhood' is often used as euphemism for a particular part of the male anatomy. I was sure that was what it meant here.

Bernita said...

Ah well, the faerie flag of the MacLeod's abused again.

Demented M said...

Having been to Skye and seen the Fairy Flag and being a MacLeod, I was intrigued by the synopsis.

Unfortunately, it didn't keep my interest because of the cliches Miss Snark mentioned. Typical romance set up, but for me, since I've been through Dunvegan Castle and spent time exploring the area, it doesn't capture the feel of the geography. The Isle of Skye is a fiercely beautiful island, a land of light and shadow, its nature unconstrained by the people who live there.

Of course, it's probably not much of an issue since most agents probably have never been there, but, for me, the magic of that region was missing.


Bernita said...

"I saw "manhood" used here in the sense of masculinity, testosterone, and consistent with the era.
"Manhood" as a euphemism for the manly bits is actually one of the few I can tolerate without screaming "look out, girl!"
Ah well.