Saturday, May 06, 2006

Face-Lift 16


Guess the Plot

Resolution

1. Jack ruminates on his ruined marriage, his lost career, and Big Band Swing as he resolves to starve himself to death.

2. Captain Gerald Hineylad stares out over the bow of HMS Resolution, vowing to never look back. But his vow is broken a dozen times as first pirates, then a troupe of lady hockey players and finally natives from the island upon which the Resolution is shipwrecked have their way with him and the cargo of sheep below.

3. A Satanic murder and sex orgy cult operates behind the front of a seemingly ordinary Congressional call girl and opium ring.

4. Tillie Murdle greets her thirty-seventh New Year with a resolution: to discover the woman within and set sail for Dry Tortuga with "The Black Emerald," Captain Lizzie Wickham.

5. Computer geek Spuds Morton sells PCs by day, but works on his own inventions by night. When he discovers the beautiful girl in the monitor, will her flickering image be permanently burned into his heart? Or will his Oedipal anxieties cause his motherboard to turn on him?

6. After being kicked out of another night club for biting, Dracula resolves to stop drinking blood. From now on he will shave his victims, and eat their hair.


Original Version


Dear NAME:

I learned from Writer's Market that your firm is interested in representing literary fiction. [Or at least that you were, in 2001; I gotta get a more recent copy.] [Here plug in any personal refs I might have uncovered: "I liked your book,'xxyyzz',etc, that sort of thing. Just one sentence] [Attempts to butter up an agent by praising her clients' books, or even her own book, aren't worth the research you put into it. She is not more likely to take you on as a client simply because you write, I enjoyed reading your book, 50 Ways to Blow it with an Agent, so I assume you'll enjoy my book about the power of hate.] [And for the last time, Evil Editor does the brackets.] Resolution is my 86,0000-word novel [If that's too many zeros, fine. If that's a misplaced comma, we need to talk.] about the power of hate and the persistence of memory.

The only time Stan Garland ever admired his father Jack was when the old man starved himself to death. Only Stan believed he would actually do it - but he needed to understand why. Stan presses the fast-forward button on his amphetamine-fueled search for answers, [And the book shoots to its conclusion, eight pages in.] Jack lies on his deathbed, rewinding back through time and memory. [Rewinding, fast-forwarding . . . Wait a minute, is this one of those Books on Tape?] Back past memories of a ruined marriage and a lost career, memories of Big Band Swing and bar nights full of drunken alibis. [How did that "Big Band Swing" get in there? You're on your deathbed, trying to reflect on your pitiful life: failed marriage, lost career, years lost to alcoholic stupor, etc., and suddenly you can't get Bennie Goodman's "Stompin' at the Savoy" out of your head?] At the very end of his life, Jack confronts the childhood horror that splintered his soul and shaped his life - and, through him, the life of his son Stan.

I am a freelance writer who lives in North Carolina and frequently contributes philosophical/cultural essays to Free Inquiry magazine. Resolution is my first novel.

Thank you for taking the time out of your schedule to read this query. I have enclosed a SASE, and I look forward to hearing from you.


Revised Version

Dear NAME:

I learned from Writer's Market that your firm represents literary fiction. I would like to submit Resolution, an 86,000-word novel about the power of hate and the persistence of memory.

The only time Stan Garland ever admired his father was when the old man starved himself to death. Only Stan believed he would actually do it - but he needed to understand why. As Stan searches for answers, Jack Garland lies on his deathbed, rewinding through painful memories of a ruined marriage, a lost career, and drunken alibis. At the end of his life, Jack finally confronts the childhood horror that splintered his soul and shaped his life - and, through him, the life of his son Stan.

I am a freelance writer etc. etc.

Notes

It's a bit short; you should work more plot details into the query (for instance where, how, from whom is Stan seeking answers to why his father is starving himself?), or attach a short synopsis, as this may not be enough information to entice an agent.

6 comments:

McKoala said...

Hi Evil Editor

I'm a new convert to your royal evilness, but how evil you are! Bow down and etc.

I was having trouble reading your site - I got blue on a brown wallpaper background (nasty wallpaper too). I'm a Mac user and the problem turned out to be Explorer - when I changed to Safari all was clear and legible.

Hope that helps others too.

Cassandra said...

For the record, I loved the old colors and saw them just fine on a non-Mac, via FireFox. I actually contemplated sending an e-mail saying how pretty I thought the blog was...but I guess I was in the minority.

Anonymous said...

Nice job, Evil. The changes definitely helped tighten up the query. This is a fantastic service you're performing here. Thanks again!

Steve Gallagher

Benja Fallenstein said...

Dear Editor:

I just wanted to drop in to tell you that I think you're wonderful. And, contrary to what many people here say, in my opinion you are wonderfully evil, too.

Big cheers!

Anonymous said...

Evil,

Please change back to the old color scheme. This new one is too dull - unlike your sharp advice.

Dolor Ipsum said...

Dear Mr. E. Editor:

Love the blog and love the color scheme. It is a good day when I find someone with a clue.

Dolor Ipsum