Sunday, May 28, 2006

Face-Lift 39

Guess the Plot

The Midnight Diaries

1. Prostitutes write entries in a shared journal each night in a coffee shop. Shockingly, the book falls into the wrong hands.

2. Two kids venture out every midnight to solve crime and help their mom get elected mayor, aided by GPS technology.

3. A vampire shares the angst of eternal teenagehood (and that pimple that won’t go away) in her stack of 2351 diaries.

4. With Angela's supply of carrots dwindling, night blindness threatens to destroy her only defense against clinical depression: journaling in secret after dark.

5. When Manhattan prostitute Brandy's diary vanishes, all her clients are suspects, including the entire roster of the New York Jets.

6. Dear Diary: Lover #51. Thirteen minutes. Missionary. Excellent use of toes! Distracting mole on shoulder. Will see if his twin has one tomorrow.



Original Version

Attn: Agent's Name

What do a brother and sister do when they sneak out of the house at midnight [Let's put it this way, they're not collecting for UNICEF.] [My guess: they're making a heroin buy.] [Which would be better than my second guess.] and unwittingly witness the planning of a crime? [Unwittingly, meaning they didn't know they were witnessing it?] Solve it, of course! [If they saw it being planned, they've already solved it, assuming solving it means figuring out whodunnit.] But for these kids, there’s a twist: They still have to help Mom get elected mayor, and the election is less than a week away. [What's the "twist" part? Are the election and the crime related?] Fortunately, they’re clever enough to thwart the guilty parties, save a classmate [From what?] and ultimately help Mom win. [You could have given a spoiler alert, you know.]

The Midnight Diaries is a 40,000-word middle grade novel featuring humor, mystery and adventure. Twelve-year-old Ricky narrates the story [and writes it all in a diary?] as he closely studies every move of his 15-year-old superstition-starved sister [Let's see, love-starved means not getting love, so superstition-starved means . . . not getting superstition? Or what?] Rory (Aurora when she’s in trouble). The novel takes place over six sweltering days in April, climaxing on Election Day when the protagonists use their wits to overcome both long odds and a well-connected adversary: the current mayor. The heart of the mystery surrounds [The heart of something tends to be at the center, surrounded by something, not surrounding something.] a Global Positioning System (GPS) bracelet all kids must wear to school. [Obviously the kids slipped the GPS bracelet onto the mayor, hacked into the GPS data center, and tracked the mayor's movements the night before the election. When police investigating a killing spree (eleven teenaged girls hacked to death with a machete) have no leads, Rory and Ricky turn up with proof that the mayor was at the site of every murder. He confesses to all eleven murders. And still garners 47% of the votes.] [Oops, Evil Editor should have given a spoiler alert.]

I’ve had two short stories published and have a series of 12 half-hour, live-action DVD comedies (“Space Scouts”) aimed at a YA audience and due for a fall 2006 release. I have written scripts for eight other live-action videos produced for elementary schools.

May I submit The Midnight Diaries or sample chapters for your consideration?

Sincerely,


Revised Version

Attn: Agent's Name

What do a brother and sister do when they sneak out of the house at midnight and witness the planning of a crime? Prevent it, of course! But do they have time for crime fighting, when they also must help Mom get elected mayor? And when the election is less than a week away?

The Midnight Diaries is a 40,000-word middle-grade novel featuring humor, mystery and adventure. Twelve-year-old Ricky chronicles the story in his diary, as he and his fifteen-year-old sister Rory ("Aurora" when she's in Mom's doghouse) become amateur sleuths. The novel climaxes on Election Day when the kids use their wits--and a GPS bracelet all kids must wear to school--to battle long odds and a well-connected adversary: the current mayor. Fortunately, they’re clever enough to thwart the guilty parties, save a classmate from being devoured by sharks, and ultimately help Mom win.

I’ve written a series of 12 half-hour, live-action DVD comedies (“Space Scouts”) aimed at a YA audience and due for a fall 2006 release. I have also written scripts for eight other live-action videos produced for elementary schools.

May I submit The Midnight Diaries or sample chapters for your consideration?

Sincerely,


Notes

Evil Editor isn't sure what information should be added, because he doesn't know the answers to so many questions. What is the crime? Is working on a political campaign the kids' punishment for sneaking out after midnight? What was their real reason for sneaking out? Who are the guilty parties? Is the mayor involved? Is the mayor's name Quimby? Whom do they save, from what, and is it a minor subplot, or vitally important? Is the book in diary form? What boy keeps a diary? Why didn't the mayor take out "Mom" during his killing spree? Some of these answers could be worked in without adding much length.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

't means starved by superstition. Too afraid to eat.

Anonymous said...

Can those waiting in line get a number like the deli or DMV to know when they might be up to bat? This uncertainty pisses me off.

nir said...

The kids have to wear GPS bracelets to school?? Is this SF or North Korea?

Dhewco said...

Kids in Ireland and Britain have them...I saw it on discovery. It's not mandatory from what I've seen, though. So it's not exactly scifi. The GPS is part of the 'alert' bracelets kids can get. They can punch in a code if they're in trouble and the police will zero-in on the gps signal.

Frainstorm said...

Evil One,

Ah, the timing. I was just about to rewrite this query with some more meat so I could move up in the line that doesn't exist.

Really, I just would hvae given you more fodder for ridicule, but I've been too busy and you beat me to the punch.

Thanks for all your ideas, here and elsewhere throughout the blog. Mostly, though, thanks for the wisecracks because with the challenging brain that I have I seem to get much more laughter than learning when I visit here.

John

Akuseru said...

The second anonymous needs to learn to not bite the hand that feeds it. Evil Editor, thank you for taking the time to read through these query letters and show us how to make a better impression through revamping them. I haven't submitted anything (yet), but I've learned a lot just from seeing the changes that you've made to the ones that have been posted.

Anonymous said...

40,000 words?

Anonymous said...

Erm, I do believe Adrian Mole kept a diary ...

Sorry, I just couldn't resist!