Tuesday, November 22, 2016

2 for the price of 1 SALE!

Why You Don't Get Published, volumes 1 & 2.

Evil Editor's classic books on the craft of writing and the mysterious world of publishing are now available as a set that costs no more than the cover price of one of the books.

These are the only writing books anyone has ever read from start to finish. And the funniest. More than 150 questions from writers, and more than 150 answers from Evil Editor, the world's most famous editor.

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EE's five-part report on his dealings with email scammers trying to give me millions of dollars.

Guess the Title games.

Hilarious excerpts from query critiques on the Evil Editor blog.

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$10.95 gets you both books, and even includes shipping (to US).

Just click on "Bookstore" in the sidebar.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Evil Editor's Ad Campaign

These are ads I'll be placing in major periodicals in coming months, in hopes of attracting new readers to the blog.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

New Beginning 1060

July 4, 2015/Baton Rouge, Louisiana

“Please don't do it! I'm sorry, I didn't mean to!” the girl cried.

“Oh really, now?” I calmly stated.

“Yes, I am so sorry! Please don't kill me!”

I looked into the girl's eyes and saw only fear and misery. Then glanced down at the girl in disgust. Perfect. Whiny little bitch probably never imagined the day would come when she’d be on her knees, begging for her pathetic life. This girl used to hold her head up high, played guys and then threw them away like trash. She cared for absolutely no one but herself. Her whimpers meant nothing. After what she’d done, how could she expect mercy? The girl's whimpers brought me back to the present.

“I'm sorry, okay, I didn't mean to hurt him!” her tears fell onto the ground. She tried to get up but slipped again on the hard concrete.

I cocked the pistol, aiming it with perfection on the girl's face. “Get up!”

The girl got up. She shook all over. A violent tremor went through her. She glanced around at the fireworks in the distance. She yearned to scream for help. She knew what would happen if she did.

It happened anyway. "Sorry, Liz," I said as I fired.

I looked at the crumpled body of my sister. Sixteen years I'd put up with her bullying me, moving my things, teasing me and my friends. I could deal with that. But she'd busted my lego Darth Vader, and there's no coming back from that.

Opening: Chaunalea Tricia.....Continuation: Khazar-khum

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

New Beginning 1059

Frigid northern night winds coldly kissed the summer gardens goodbye. Inch by inch, joy by joy, they howled an eternal song, while happily and viciously introducing time. He went inside the classically columned, one story stone building, hoping to find some warmth and illumination, willing to settle for either.

He briskly walked down the dark, unpopulated, stark hallway glimpsing the doors closed to him and had no interest in them. At the end he encountered one of the oak variety stained a dark brown, with a black, rectangular sign, containing golden brass letters which said “S-U-P-R-E-SPACE-E-SPACE-C-O-U-R-T”. The tarnished “M” lay on the plushy light brown carpet, which covered a floor of indeterminate substance. The “M” was now companion to other debauched debris, rubbish, trash and junk. The inch deep undisturbed dust suggested long term abandonment. He picked up and pocketed a 1793 large cent, half buried in the grime, which displayed a woman’s head with long flowing hair on the obverse and a wreath on the reverse, thinking it appropriate. He then tried the loose knob on the door and was surprised how easily it swung open. The room was lit with buzzing overhead tubular lights. The walls, ceilings and floors were painted an irregular, but strangely equalized cream shade of white.

There were only two distractions from the two paintings hung on the wall straight ahead. One was a lavender blue marble fountain, which sprayed water two feet in the air, in which the light from the one and only small window near the ceiling gave the moisture laden bouquet a rainbow effect on occasion. The other was a stable black masonry composite bench, on which he sat and beheld the shadows of life.

His posterior pushed against the unyielding obsidian bench in accordance with all the laws of physics, as his eyes wandered curiously around the starkly barren room. They alit one more time on the small window: what little light it passed danced around a sturdy set of bars. He leaned forward for a better vantage and discerned the material of manufacture. Over-wrought iron. That explained it.

Opening: SumCan.....Continuation: Anonymous

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Face-Lift 1334

Guess the Plot

Cruel Sacrifices

1. "We all have to make sacrifices" is what Kelsie's mom told her when she drastically limited her phone time. Well, mom, say goodbye to your dragon dildo collection.

2. An imp pretends to be a genie and convinces poor 39-year-old virgin Eddie that in order to finally get laid, he first needs to perform a spell that involves sacrificing his testicles.

3. A 1980's period piece, inspired by the infamous McMartin preschool trial, featuring a bitterly divorcing couple, a desperate-to-please 4-year-old, and an eccentric, free-spirited young teacher who may or may not actually be a sadistic bride of Satan.

4. When Indigo Aimes made a deal with the devil to rule the world, he knew he would lose his wife, his children, his friends, and his soul. On the bright side, he would be immortal, eternally young, and wealthy. He didn't count on the nuclear holocaust and becoming a cockroach.

5. Jason's life is not all its cracked up to be. After a terrible accident he is left unable to eat a majority of his favorite foods. Now he must subsist on a rainbow color of supplements . . . and human flesh.

6. Dar'qhart Raevyncloake just wants to rule the world...but in this vicious satire of grimdark fantasy, he finds himself constantly having to sacrifice virgins just to prove he's Really That Evil.

7. Shannon and Andrea are the best of friends, partly because they enjoy going to parties and concerts together, but mostly because Shannon doesn't know Andrea killed Shannon's brother. Awkward. Will Andrea reveal the truth and risk sacrificing her friendship?

8. 28-year-old basement dweller Cody has finally found romance. But when his online lover, Heavenlee, insists Cody murder her abusive fundamentalist parents and all 9 of her siblings, he begins to have second thoughts. Especially when he finds out she's twelve.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Andrea is hiding a dark secret. She and her classmates played a cruel prank on a new student and he later dies [died] from it. Shannon escapes her unstable family [Wait, who's Shannon? I thought we were talking about Andrea.] and painful past by settling down in Andrea’s hometown. Shannon was that new student’s sister. [Wait, Shannon wasn't already living in Andrea's hometown, but her brother was?] [And after the students at her brother's school cause his death, Shannon decides that's the school for her?] [A high school student has an unstable family, so she moves to a new town and settles down? How is she paying her bills?] [Shannon should be introduced in a new paragraph. Her sudden appearance in paragraph 1 is jarring.] [And provide both girls' last names.]

Andrea and Shannon meet coincidentally and become close friends. They go to concerts, parties, [and] games, etc. together [ . . . until] Andrea moves on and closes that chapter on her dark past. She meets a new guy and enjoys her pleasant life [starts neglecting her friendship with Shannon]. [But] Shannon can’t move on and she constantly obsesses over her past. She rekindles the relationship with her old boyfriend and despises her new life.

[Eventually,] Shannon uncovers Andrea’s dark secret about her brother. She snaps and now she wants revenge against her best friend.

CRUEL SACRIFICES is a 51,000 word YA contemporary novel, with thriller and mystery elements. This is a standalone novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



It doesn't flow like a story. It reads more like an outline, a list of things that happen. Once you boil the story down to about ten sentences, it's time to connect ideas with smooth transitions.

Some specificity would help. What was the prank? How can a kid just move alone to a new town and start attending school? What is this past Shannon obsesses over? What are the cruel sacrifices?

Andrea enjoys her pleasant life? That's vague and doesn't sound like a description of high school.

Friday, November 04, 2016

New Beginning 1058

In the brave, struggling world of irrational hope, Calle de la Congelacion was a refuge, a sequestered haven, a quarantined boneyard, a loved union, a hated community, an irresistible beauty, a ghastly dread, an eternal presence, a temporary thing, a home for the white robed, a home for the unapologetic sinner, a place where people stood tall, a place where people dropped to their knees, a home of understanding, and a home of confusion. It was far from unique.

Jack lived there because he could afford to.

Each house bore no resemblance to its neighbor. Each property was a thick forest. Each house stood alone. Each property displayed the uniformity of a renewing, continuous nature. Each house was poor and showed the deterioration of time. Each property was rich with a timeless patience, waiting for the predictable renovation of spring. It was far from unique.

Jack lived there because it was a good place to hide.

It was a confession booth. It was a denial of the pious. It was perverse. It was ordinary. It was isolated. It was in a crowd. It loved. It hated. It bought. It sold. It lived. It died. It was far from unique.

Jack lived there because it was near his job. 

One could easily go on and on with Calle de la Congelacion’s traits to tiresome perpetuity. However, it would merely be indicative of a total, tragic, comic and ludicrous disregard for the harsh reality now brutally manifested in the street’s world of today.

You know, like the rest of this introduction.

Opening: SumCan.....Continuation: Khazar-khum


This reminds me of A Tale of Two Cities, in that both have three Jacks. Okay, in A Tale of Two Cities it's three Jacques, but . . .

The sentences starting with Jack keep taking me out of the voice. Possibly it's the name "Jack." Go with Sebasti├ín.

Repeating the "It was far from unique" sentence annoys me. 

I would go with a condensed version, and without the contrasts/contradictions:

In the world of irrational hope, the community bordered on the east by Calle de la Congelacion was a refuge, a sequestered haven, an irresistible beauty, a home for the unapologetic sinner. It was far from unique.

Sebasti├ín lived there because he could afford it and it was close to his work. And because it was a good place to hide.

That kills a lot of your babies, but since this place is far from unique, most of what you say could be said about hundreds of places. I'm more interested in what is unique about it, as I assume that's why you're starting the book here. 

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Face-Lift 1333

Guess the Plot

Illustrated Desert Under the Elms

1. This lovely, lively book features dozens of ideas for your next quick pick-me-up with desserts under that big tree in your yard, where--wait--DESERT? Never mind.

2. Political corruption involving garbage contracts. In the suburban desert. With pictures. Think The Sopranos, but with camels.

3. Anna has always visited the elm trees at her family's farm, gazing out at the wasteland, imagining a new life. When the local Native American boy is found babbling about the "Darkness", she discovers her imagination is the only thing protecting her home.

4. In a post-apocalyptic future where random words from ancient scraps of paper are used as names, 13-year-old Illustrated Desert, on an everyday scavenging mission with her friend Mortgage Knife, stumbles upon a sealed dome containing a magical world of towering green things and unimaginable lushness.

5. A delicate yet subversive kunstlerroman featuring sensitive, alienated young landscape painter Celeste, who despises the manicured suburban greenery around her, and longs only to create scenes of parched mesas and barren dunes.

6. A scrapbook-obsessed helicopter mom maintains an extensive photojournal of her 3-year-old's stunningly precocious Lego and Polly Pocket tableaux, all crafted in their backyard sandbox.

7. A 1,000-word picture book explaining ecological devastation and the world as it will be when young readers grow up. Don't worry, there's one cuddly bunny that doesn't die.

Original Version

A noir vision of a former southwestern rural which has been turned into a suburban community. It's [Its] newer residents have effectively taken over and want the reminders of the past de-facto obliterated; but are not fully aware of that. Themes include political corruption, widespread duplicity, young love, garbage contracts, and gangsta wannabees told through the lives of eleven people who live there. It's a total of 150,000 words and a 259,000 word version also exists; the former being stripped of many digressions. it's difficult to fully describe, but if one can see the main theme of "Infinite Jest" being a symbolic apocalypse brought about by the cold; then this is one brought about by the heat. [I see the main theme of Infinite Jest as tennis, which would make your main theme . . . short-track speed skating.]

I write in many fictional genres ranging from literary to a crappy short dalliance with bizarro; and have about thirty titles completed. So, if you have a heightened interest in one area please specify. [Alternate history haiku. With ducks.] Also, be aware that at age 67 I am not open to touring or book signings. [67 is the new 43. Get off your ass and promote.] My only interest is your indicated seven-figure-deal- negotiating skills. [I knew it. You're like Citizen Kane if he was a character in Plutarch's Lives (volume 2).]

Synopsis 56

 In 1995 Waxahachie, Texas, PAULA HARRIS, her husband TRAVIS, and their children--MELINDA, ANTONIO, and TASHA move into an allegedly haunted house. They are informed by the realtor and neighbors that a family named the Watsons were brutally murdered in 1970 in the house.

A couple of months later, the family finds the Watsons’ evil spirits are trying to force them out of their home. The spirits still think the house belongs to them and they want to retake ownership of the house. The deceased wife/matriarch of the Watsons [Watson?] family murdered her entire family and committed suicide after she discovered her husband, the love of her life, had an ongoing affair with their children’s nanny. 

Paula and her family learn that [all] the previous owners either fled, disappeared or were murdered. The deceased wife possesses Paula’s older daughter, Melinda. Paula gradually notices that [her eldest daughter] Melinda is acting very unusual. She finds out that [Turns out] the deceased wife is controlling [has possessed] Melinda. For a while, they [the Harrisses (or is it Harrises?] ponder whether to stay or leave the house. They decide to stay and get rid of the spirits. 

At first, Paula and her family think they defeated the spirits after they [arranges to] have the house blessed by a priest. [and]  All of the paranormal activity stops. The house is peaceful for a while[--] until the spirits come back with a vengeance and try to kill them all. Later, the deceased wife possesses Paula and forces her to attack her family. After getting [she gets] into a fight with Travis, he acts as if he is going [feigns trying] to kill Paula which in turn scares the deceased wife and she leaves Paula’s body. 

Everything in the house begins to move as if an earthquake hits it. When the Harris family sees that the evil spirits have come back and grown stronger and that there is no way to get rid of them, they decide to leave their dream home permanently. Weeks later, they buy a new house in the same neighborhood. [Good idea. Let's live down the street from the spirits who want us dead.] Instead of destroying the [haunted] house, the realtor sells the house [it] and the new owners turn the house [it] into a museum. [Presumably a museum that isn't open at night.] [On second thought, nighttime is the only time anyone would want to go.] [So that's it? After resolving to fight for what's theirs, they give up and leave? It seems like the ghosts are the main characters, and they learn to be careful what they wish for, as they were better off with the Harris family than with all these tourists visiting every night and demanding a horror show.]

Finally, the story flashes to the present and at this time, Paula, Travis, and their now grown children dine at their favorite restaurant and reminisce about everything that happened to them over the years. They talk about all of the latest events in their lives before they leave separately for a planned get-together. [This isn't needed in the query. It probably isn't needed in the book unless something startling happens at the dinner, like the waitperson turns out to be Mrs. Watson.


On the TV show Supernatural, now in its twelfth season, when a house is haunted, it's almost always haunted by ghosts of people who were murdered there. Which I mention only because this book is called The Supernatural. (See previous post.)

I've suggested some lines I think you can do without; whether you want to replace them with other lines may depend on how long a synopsis you need.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Face-Lift 1332

Guess the Plot

The Supernatural

1. Yet another house in which people were murdered. Yet another family willing to move in because the price is right and ghosts aren't real. Why should this one turn out any different?

2. Since people believe ghosts aren't real, it's incredibly easy for John and Shirley--who are ghosts--to go about their daily lives. Until those meddling kids show up.

3. Between the panhandlers, the drug dealers, and the wanted criminals, there's no room for ghosts or poltergeists in the subways of New York, and it's about time they did something about the situation. Also, a plague of rats.

4. Organic superheroes Kale Man and Flax Woman range freely until GMOnster teams with Gluten Beast in a diabolical scheme to sabotage free trade agreements throughout the world. The ensuing battle will determine whether Earth is transformed into a syndrome-free paradise or is plunged into a black hole under the weight of 16 billion obese people.

5. Haunted houses and ghosts aren't real, Martin reminds himself again while watching the half-transparent woman in the blue dress drink tea in the old family room. And he's not seeing her male companion, their maid, or their black Poodle either.

6. Blair purchases a book on how to summon the dead online so she can berate her girlfriend for dying so young. After seeing the thousand-page length, she decides to use the CliffsNotes version. Things go very wrong, and that's only in the first twenty pages.

Original Version


Twenty-five years ago, a woman brutally murdered her cheating husband, his mistress, and her two kids, before killing herself in her home. Flash forward to the 1990s, [No need to flash forward; twenty-five years ago was the 1990s.] Waxahachie, Texas, a new family has moved in.  [That sentence is two sentences with a comma between them. Also, when you say "Flash forward to the 1990s, Waxahachie, Texas," a reader could get the impression we weren't in Waxahachie to begin with. How about: Waxahachie, Texas, 1970: a woman brutally murders her cheating husband, his mistress, and her two kids, before killing herself. Flash forward to the 1990s. A new family moves into the murder house.]

Paula Harris is determined to start a new life with her family in the town [Waxahachie], after fleeing her cruel mother before the poisonous relationship harms her husband and children. The realtor and neighbors warn Paula and her husband of the tragedy and rumored hauntings, but the couple pegs [write off? discount?] the stories as small-town gossip and moves in anyway. [Deciding whether to treat "the couple" as singular or plural can depend on the context or even the country you're in. I usually decide based on what pronoun I would use to replace the noun. Since I would use "they" rather than "it" for couple in this sentence, I would use "discount" and "move" rather than "discounts" and "moves." Does that make me British?] 

Weeks later, evil spirits torment them. It starts with voices, footsteps, shadows, and the actual apparitions themselves [progresses to apparitions of the murder victims]. The family is [are] horrified when the evil spirits try to kill them in their home. The matriarch of the spirit family transports Paula to 1970 to witness the long-ago murders. Paula is appalled and determines to exorcise the evil spirits. [Are there five evil spirits? Or do only those who were evil in life become evil spirits in death?] 

Through painstaking research, Paula learns that every family who has ever lived in the home has either fled in terror or mysteriously disappeared [Or were killed by Mom.] During the day, the home sits quiet and peaceful, but at night the evil spirits possess one of their kids [Paula's children]. Unable to leave because the evil spirits attached themselves to her family, Paula desperately tries to destroy them because if she doesn't find a way to do so, [If she fails,] her family will die. [Is the possessed child still possessed in the daytime? If not, why don't they run for it?]

Complete at 70,000 words THE SUPERNATURAL is a Paranormal/Thriller Adult novel.


While it's good that you have a strong female lead taking charge of the situation, it's hard to believe Dad is sitting idly by. Is he arguing that there's no such thing as ghosts? Or is this a team effort?

Do they try leaving the house in hopes that the spirits just want them gone, and the ones that possessed a child will stay behind with the other spirits when Paula's family leave? Worth a try. Staying in a house where evil spirits try to kill you at night seems kind of stupid. In fact, after a visit to Waxahachie's Facebook page, I've decided that I'd be scrambling to get out even if my house weren't haunted.

This is mostly setting up the situation. I would replace the last sentence of paragraph 3 with the line about one of the spirits possessing one of the children. Then dump the rest of paragraph 4 and use it to tell us what Paula plans to do to destroy the spirits, what goes wrong, what decision she must make (abandon her possessed child to save the rest of the family?)

Transporting Paula to 1970 to witness the murders seems like something the spirit would do to make a point or to show Paula how to free the spirits from their earthly prison. Here it sounds like it's just to torment Paula. Is it supposed to accomplish something?

I don't know about books, but this plot's been done dozens of times on screen, so if there's something that sets this apart from all the others, emphasize it in the query.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Face-Lift 1331

Guess the Plot

Worlds Collide

1. Tiffani is a ballet dancer; Brandon is a stevedore. She loves arts and crafts pottery. He loves NFL football. They meet by happenstance and discover a mutual passion: both are serial killers.

2. Anna finds a mysterious cave that pulls her into a world inhabited by strange creatures who think her appearance represents the beginning of an invasion. Which is pretty much how Anna felt when the Roman Empire first invaded her country.

3. Something is headed straight toward Earth, with the resulting crash enough to wipe out all of humanity. However, unlike an asteroid, this is another planet with life of its own. Hey, if we all gotta die, we might as well take someone with us.

4. When a portal opens between earth and fantasy land, it's not young teens who move through, it's the whole planet. To set things right, Grandma McCurdy must face increased gravity, tidal anomalies, climate change, invasive species, etc. Oh, and cataclysmic magic. 

5. When opposing candidates for the office of mayor meet at the Worlds Collide bar, sparks fly, leading to a whole nother level of heat in their respective campaigns.

6. When a world of (really hot) vampires, werewolves and mummies collides with a world of discontented (and also really hot) high school students, the results are predictable yet strangely compelling.

7. The studios want something "new, but familiar," so Harvey writes a dystopian version of the 1950s classic When Worlds Collide that sees scientists murdered by mobs of zombies, a rocket crashing into the sun, and another ship piloted by Jennifer Lawrence and Lady Gaga making it to safety. Sure, Harvey gets a contract, but will he get a date with Jennifer?

8. The land of rainbows and sunshine collides with the world of zombies and darkness when a mishap with a happy-smile potion goes terribly wrong. Can Sparkles and Kazoo find a cure before their home is irrevocably changed forever?

9. Minky Flint wants to marry a hard working farm boy instead of the foppish prat her parents engaged her to before she was born. Fortunately, she has a fairy godmother. Unfortunately, the godmother agrees with her parents! What's a girl gotta do to get the right fairy tale ending?

Original Version

Worlds Collide is the first book in a Mid-Grade fantasy series complete at 35K words set in the time period of [during]
the Roman occupation of the Britons. [My sources (Wikipedia) tell me the occupied area is known as the Britains or Roman Britain. The Britons are the people. Also, you might manage to say the book is 35K words, rather than the series is 35K words, and that the series is set during the occupation, rather than the words are set then. It'll be easier if you use two sentences to convey the information.] 

Anna starts her life as a happy child with loving parents. She and her family live in a small village that goes unnoticed by both the Romans and the Saxons who are fighting with each other for control of the land. Anna's happiness is cut short by the death of her father and shortly after that, the death of her mother. [when her parents die and she must move in] She lives for several years with her drunken uncleuntil the day fate crosses her path.

[Years later,] Anna finds [stumbles upon] a mysterious cave that pulls her into a new world inhabited by strange creatures, who are just as surprised to see her as she is to see them. [It would be nice to know whether Anna is ten or thirteen or sixteen.]

There is a priestess among the people of this new world who is able to help[s] Anna to understand them and them her. [Are the "people" of this world the same beings you described as "strange creatures"? If so, calling them people may give the wrong impression. If not, then I don't see the arrival of one girl causing as much distress as it does in the next paragraph.] 

They are the people of Suan and many of them are very disturbed by her presence. Anna is unable to [claims she can't] explain how she came to be there but many of the Suan believe she is lying. Some believe that she [her arrival] could be the beginning of [portend] an invasion from her world.

Anna is brought before King Maaz of the Suan’s [Suans] and after she tells her story, the king decides that she is telling the truth and is no threat to his people.

With all societies in this world or another, things aren’t always as they seem. Saban, one of the kings [king's] closest generals had [, has] been working for a long time to steal the loyalty of the kings [king's] rangers, and seize power for himself,[.]  [He] sees Anna as a tool he can use to further his ambitions.

With the help of the kings [king's] treacherous oldest son[,]  the general is able to overthrow[s] King Maaz and have [has] him arrested.

 Anna finds herself a fugitive on the run with a small group of Suan’s [Suans] who are loyal to King Maaz. They desperately need help but don’t know who they can trust, so they attempt something that may cause two worlds to collide in war. ["Attempt something" is too vague. What's their plan? This is more important information than anything about Anna's parents and her drunken uncle and the priestess.]


Sentences that logically belong together should be in the same paragraph. Using a lot of one-sentence paragraphs gives the impression you're listing ideas without connecting them. Your plot summary could easily be organized into three paragraphs. 

As the Roman occupation lasted about 370 years, telling us the story is set in that time period is like telling us a story is set in the time between the pilgrims reaching Plymouth Rock and the debut of The Simpsons on Fox. We have a right to know whether this is set at the time Hadrian's Wall was being built or closer to when the self-proclaimed emperor Carausius was assassinated by his treasurer.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

New Nobel Literature Prizes.

The news that Bob Dylan has won the Nobel Prize for Literature for his songwriting (only a few years after Evil Editor won the same prize for my blogging), has me wondering if there might be Nobel Prizes in the futures of other authors of less-conventional works. For instance, Victor Mizzy, composer of the theme songs of both The Addams Family and Green Acres. Who doesn't get one of those running through their head at least once a week? Which is a lot more often than I think about anything by John Steinbeck.

What about commercial jingles? A lot of famous musicians have written commercial jingles, including Barry Manilow, Randy Newman, and The Rolling Stones, but the Nobel Prize would have to go to Richard Trentlage for the Oscar Mayer Wiener Song. Trentlage's body of work also includes the Buckle Up for Safety jingle.

I, myself, produced a line of greeting cards that would probably be worthy of a Nobel, though I don't think they give them to people who already have them:

I'm rightfully proud of some of my tweets, and in this day of short attention spans, it could be argued that tweets are to novels as haiku are to epic poems. In other words, Nobel Prize-worthy. Just look at these excerpts from my book The History of the World in Tweets, and tell me I don't deserve another Nobel:

1809: Embargo Act of 1807 repealed in the US; the Non-Intercourse Act replaces it. Name is quickly changed to quell mass rioting.
1814: USS Enterprise reaches Wilmington, North Carolina. Must have been one of those time travel episodes.
1818: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein published. Anonymously, as female authors were often attacked by mobs with torches and pitchforks.
1821: Astronomer Alexis Bouvard detects irregularities in orbit of Uranus. Hey, anytime there's irregularity in Uranus, it needs to be looked into.
1831: Charles Darwin embarks on historic voyage aboard HMS Beagle. But only after asking God not to create a sea monster that sinks him.

Other writing forms that will one day be Nobel-worthy:

Bumper stickers.
Signs held up by football fans.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Friday, October 07, 2016

Face-Lift 1330

Guess the Plot

Developing the Work Force of You

1. You can't do anything about the deadbeats and assholes you work with and under, but this book will show you how to make your own workday more efficient, productive, and fun. Plus it'll inspire you to reflect on how you ended up stuck in the rut you're in and might even help you get a date with Janice in accounting.

2. Theo is an under-performer in the machine empire. When he's assigned a personal life coach, he suddenly has incentive to learn all he can about repairing machines . . . and destroying them. 

3. Mark Candoleso buys an audio self-help book, Developing the Work Force of You to play while he's stuck in LA traffic. At first it's just a standard, self-motivational type of book, no different from some others he's heard. But when it starts to suggest ways of 'eliminating your supervisor without retribution', 'how to change management without involving others', and '10 chemicals that eat flesh', he begins to wonder if maybe he should try some of these plans on that goddamned bastard McReedy.

4. Two words: clone army. If Anya Belifonte can clone herself, her fashion line will never lack a dedicated workforce. Too bad human cloning is illegal, and the only shady scientist for hire would rather have her as his date than as his employer. 

5.  Joe's self help guide ends up a bestseller. Only it turns out he accidentally brainwashed anyone who read it to become an evil henchman. Can Joe undo the damage with a sequel before he takes over the world? 

6. Nobody else in her company knows what they're doing. Evelyn's solution: fire everyone under her and kill everyone over her. The place'll run way more efficiently. Hell, she'll probably get a promotion for coming up with this.

Original Version

I am writing to you today because you represented [inserted similar work that the agent represented} and I feel my book is similar. [Put this at the end of the query.]

DEVELOPING THE WORKFORCE OF YOU is a business book designed to help individuals obtain the most of [from] the working experience by providing guidelines that help an individual identify and correct counterproductive behavior that would preclude them from receiving the maximum benefit from their working experience.  [That sentence is so wordy and vague, the drudgery of my miserable job sounds rather enticing compared to slogging through this book. So in a way, you've already accomplished your purpose by showing me things could be worse.] [You've used the words "individual" and "working experience" twice each in one sentence. More efficient would be to say the book will help workers maximize X, (where X is . . . what? Efficiency? Pleasure? Size of their paycheck?)] The book is structured with guidelines to help aid in this process of understanding and analyzing ones on [one's own] behavior in the workplace.  [That's the second time you've mentioned behavior. Is your target audience people who behave badly at work?] [Also, are there really that many people interested in analyzing their behavior in the workplace?]  At the end of most of the guidelines, [Is each guideline a chapter? If so, use "chapter."] there is a reflection section.   This is where I ask the reader a question 
that they must ask themselves.  [For example, if I ask the reader, "Are you happy with your crappy job?" the reader must ask himself, "Am I happy with my crappy job?"] This enables the reader to be introspective [Maybe you should call it the introspection section instead of the reflection section. Actually, I wouldn't call it any kind of "section" if it's just a question. And if you do call it something, try to make it something that doesn't rhyme.] and will prompt the reader to consider his/her own actions.  [Sample reflection questions:

1. How many hours did I have to work to pay for this book?
2. Where does my boss get off ordering me around? 
3. Is it time for my coffee break yet?
4. Was I wrong to punch Cheever for laughing at my tie?
5. Why didn't I go to film school? I coulda been another Frankenheimer.
6. Uh oh, did I hit "reply all" when I sent Janice in accounting that DicPic?
7. Who you lookin at?
8.  Is daydreaming about Janice in accounting really that unproductive?
9. Who would win a fight between a kangaroo and a goat?
10. Hey, what's Cheever talking to Janice about? I'll kill the bastard.

[Start a new paragraph here.] This book is geared towards young professionals between the ages of 21 to 37 years of age, [First of all, 37 is a strange number to choose as the upper limit to your range. Second, when you say "between the ages of," you don't have to also say "years of age."] whom [who] have obtained at least a bachelor’s degree and are either starting out in the workforce or looking to obtain more value from their work experience.  My book is comparable to various titles such as The Outward Mindset: Seeing beyond ourselves: The Arbinger InstituteMaking Work Work: The Positivity Solution for any work environment and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. [You've already mentioned one title of a book yours is similar to; that's plenty.] 

Thank you for taking the time to consider my work and I look forward to hearing from you.


This is horrible. Assuming you've already completed the book, say so and tell us how many words are in the book.

Also, tell us what qualifies you to write it. Are you an expert in some business field or a psychologist? What business experience do you have?

What does your book have that the other books you've mentioned don't have? Provide a sample chapter or two so we can see one or two of your guidelines and what accompanies those guidelines in the book.

If you haven't completed the book, you still need to include samples, and perhaps an outline of the rest, or at least a proposed table of contents. 

This query letter hasn't done the job of showing specifically what's in your book or demonstrating that you can organize a lot of information into a cohesive work. 

Start over and be specific.