Guess the Plot
Murmurs of the Mad
1. A vampire has walked the world for centuries seeking a human strong enough to challenge him. Finally, just outside Sprangsdale, his path crosses with Jack's, and an epic battle begins.
2. When Mr. Hyde finally breaks away from Dr. Jerkyl, he must make a living. Under an alias, he opens a literary agency, that charges reading fees.
3. After five decades as a top Beltway journalist, Pam Archer decides to publish the secret recordings she has made of every Democratic National Convention since the Kennedy Administration.
4. King Dope dismisses the fortune teller's predictions--until these predictions begin to come true! The rebellion, the broken treaty... Now, the king fears, the worst prediction of all; the growth of nose hair down to his knees.
5. In Georgian London, Dr. Edward Pringle hopes to expand medical knowledge by using the inhabitants of Bedlam as experimental subjects to test his theories. But will the lunatics collude to overpower the doctor?
6. Brother Luke's penance for breaking his vow of silence is community service at a soup kitchen. But can he control his anger--and his voice--when he discovers what's really in the soup?
Dear Mr. Evil Editor,
After reading hundreds of web sites, searching for the perfect literary agent who is fresh, ruthless, and looking to build a respected client list, I found you. [Lucky me.] [I had a feeling constructing that web-site was going to come back to haunt me.] Once I saw that you represent horror, fantasy, romance, and literary fiction, I literally frothed at the mouth. You and I, on paper, seem like a perfect match. [The list of mannerisms Evil Editor seeks in his perfect match is not yet complete; however, EE is confident that when it is complete, "literally frothing at the mouth" will not be on it.]
My novel, Murmurs of the Mad, combines horror, romance, and psychological thriller with urban fantasy. [My alternate title is, The Bride of Frankenstein Falls in Love with Norman Bates in the Emerald City.] It is set in a remote part of Undiscovered America in the late 1700’s. [What better setting for an urban fantasy?] The story encompasses 97, 518 words. It is the first of what I will be an on going series.
“Murmurs of the Mad” is not a story for the weak minded or the weak of heart; so if you are either, put the query down and send me your “thanks but no thanks” letter now without reading on. [Evil Editor would not like to have to count the number of his colleagues who would jump at this offer.] However, if you decide you can take the heat a little longer, let me ask you two questions. What do you want from life? [A good book, my health, and home-made tapioca pudding. Oh, and Angelina Jolie.] and If I gave you the means, would you pay the price to accept it? [Having looked ahead at the remainder of your letter, let me ask you a question: what do your questions have to do with anything?]
Greed is a deadly sin! [Explain somewhere why you are telling me this.]
Jallend, vampire, self-proclaimed artist, and humanities judge and jury, [He judges the annual art-and-culture essay contest for the Rotary Club.] has two missions; the first, to send the sinners to hell; the second, find someone worthy to rival him. Walking the earth three times over, killing for hundreds of years, left him with doubt that the human race would ever produce such a hero, but still, he wanders the towns, feeding and waiting -- life blurring about mundanely. [Uh oh. Any red flags that weren't up long ago have just hit the sky.] That is, until he stumbles into a town where he must confront his own deadly sins in order to escape with a human woman, someone he never thought he could love. [Angelina Jolie.]
However, Jallend’s story is not the only one told. Wandering the world just to see what’s out there, is Jack. Everywhere he has ever gone people love him. They all want him to stay, but he keeps on moving. [They call him . . . The Wanderer.] Never resting, always working. [Wandering the world just to see what's out there sounds more like never working.] When he leaves the mountain folks and heads on into Sprangsdale, [Ah, the big urban center.] however, his life changes forever. He finds himself caught in the wake of Jallend's on going massacres. Being righteous, Jack vows to stop the monster from slaughtering innocent people. But every town he enters he is too late. The dead stack up, and Jack’s mind corrodes, bringing life to the horrors from his past that has him running the world to evade. [Evil Editor has taken flak in the past for declaring, based solely on a query letter, that a novel needs a makeover, so he'll probably get raked over the coals for suggesting that this novel needs a makeover, based entirely on that one sentence.]
In the end, Jallend finds his match in Jack, but for reasons no one could have predicted. [They both literally froth at the mouth?] You’ll be shocked to see who dies in the big battle, and what happens next. [Suddenly I must know what happens next. Can you Fed-Ex the manuscript?]
For ten years, I've made my living entertaining; performing magic, palm reading, balloon sculpting, while on the side-line, writing. For the rest of my life, I plan to use what I have learned about people, natural perceptions, history and English to achieve publication. [You have achieved publication, publication of this letter, and it is being read by thousands. That's more than read most authors' books. Can't you settle for that, and move on to a less daunting challenge? Something like creating a life-sized balloon sculpture of the Battle of Gettysburg?] Once I jump that hurtle, I will begin the real work of selling every novel that has my name on it.
Out of everyone I wish to work with, Mr. Evil, I hope the subject matter interests you most. I look forward to hearing from you soon. If you find you like what you've read so far, I could have the entire novel in your hands within a week of receiving your go ahead. I do have this novel on submission to Medallion Press, publishing house. I expect to hear back from them this next month. [Medallion? You'll be lucky to hear from them in three years.] Thank you for your time.
It's way too long, and two thirds of it isn't about your book. It has typos, misused words, self-promotion, buttering up of the agent, irrelevant credits . . . But worst of all, the plot description doesn't have much clear information. Does Jallend kill only sinners? Why does he want a rival? Who is the woman Jallend never thought he could love, and why do you never mention her again?
Look, here's the thing. The competition to get published is fierce. If Evil Editor tried to write a symphony, he would expect someone with an MFA in music to mock his first attempt mercilessly. If Evil Editor tried to create a giraffe or a Dachshund out of a balloon, you would laugh at his comic ineptitude. So it shouldn't be shocking when Evil Editor suggests that while what you've learned about people, natural perceptions, and history may be impressive, what you've learned about English, particularly the craft of writing (so far), isn't going to get you to your goal. Take classes, join a critique group, read a lot, and maybe ten years from now you'll read this letter and laugh. When you're not groaning. Sorry, my friend.