Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Face-Lift 64


Guess the Plot

Lack of Control

1. When the president loses his remote somewhere in the White House, right before Desperate Housewives, a state of emergency is declared.

2. From A-list actor to couch-jumping, cult-spouting cartoon fodder in mere weeks, life couldn't get worse . . . until Tom learned the agony of incontinence.

3. Upon the death of his gay lover, alcoholic Air Force One pilot Mack Thompson relapses. Now he has two secrets - one dead, the other threatening the president's life.

4. Human #FGY-K7195 doesn't know that she is capable of ending the age of human subjugation created by the sentient machine Alpha System--yet.

5. Jenny’s diet is out of control--until a steamy new coach starts leading her waist-watchers group. Can she replace one craving with another?

6. Adventure on the high seas, with gay pirate lovers, Spanish gold, and the horrible consequences of colitis in close quarters.



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Lack of Control is a science-fiction novel about the life of human #FGY-K7195, a young girl enslaved by sentient machines. She doesn't know her parents, nor is she even permitted cognitive thought. It is only after she is rescued by a small team of insurgents that she even receives a proper name—Tensert Asil. [Well, it beats #FGY-K7195, but I'd hardly call it a proper name.] She doesn't yet know she is capable of ending the age of human subjugation created by the sentient machine Alpha System. [Wasn't this a Star Trek?]

After a botched mission to steal food from one of the factories, Tensert learns the fallen dynasty of her world had vowed to destroy Alpha System, and that she is the last in the bloodline. [Which means her parents are dead? Odd to have said, She doesn't know her parents, when you could have said, Her parents are both dead.] To fulfill this ancient promise, she must revive Ionos, the Chaos Warrior of a forgotten legend. [Right, the entire dynasty tried to destroy the thing, and they're all dead, but as soon as she wakes up Conan the Barbarian, problem solved.] However, the power of Ionos is sealed within the architecture of Alpha System itself—and Tensert must release it to save her world from Alpha System's warped sense of duty. [Typical teen, no appreciation for what her parental machine has done for her.]

Lack of Control, complete at 87,000 words and standing alone as a story, is the first installment in an epic storyline spanning multiple books. I have completed initial writings of the second and third books, and am currently revising them. The fourth is in outline form. [The fifth is currently a one-sentence log line, which I would be delighted to send along at your request. The sixth is currently nothing more than the first two words of a tentative title (The Last-). For the seventh book, I currently have the letter "r." For the eighth, I have the horizontal line that connects the two vertical lines in the letter "H." Book 9 will be a prequel, in which human #FGY-K7195 is born to human #FGY-T7166 shortly after her husband, human #KHX-Z3391 dies attempting to destroy Alpha System. I'm saving the prequel for last because it can be a bit tedious to read, what with each of the 120 characters being an alphanumeric text string.]

Thank you for considering this proposal. I would be happy to provide you with the complete manuscript and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Respectfully,


Notes

This doesn't need much work. I wouldn't mention that you're revising books 2 and 3, as you'll surely be done with that task long before those books are requested. You might want to make it clear that Tensert plays a major role in destroying Alpha System. Right now one could get the impression Ionos does all the work, and Tensert just revives him. Surely there's more to the ending than a mystical legendary warrior taking on a sentient machine that could destroy him with one laser blast anytime it felt like it.

26 comments:

kis said...

Actually, EE, I think it was The Matrix.

And I don't know about the name Tensert. Ironically, considering recent posts, I'd like it better backwards: Tresnet. Something about two words seemingly joined together--"tension" and "insert"--just makes me wince. It also doesn't sound at all feminine. (Not saying you should name her Katrina or anything, but it's unbelievably easy to change a name in a manuscript even when the book's all done. Hint, hint.)

And is this a bizarre mix of Sci-Fi and fantasy? I get the Alpha System, but it doesn't seem to mesh with Ionos the Chaos Warrior. If Ionos is some kind of weird cyborg or something, you ought to mention that in the query.

And Lack of Control is as memorable a title as Striking Distance, and I'm probably the only person in the known universe who knows that's a cliche Coast Guard/cop thriller starring Bruce Willis, Sara Jessica Parker, and that guy Eldin from Murphy Brown. (And I only know that because I hate, hate, hate Sara Jessica Parker.)

I like the concept--I just don't know if I'd be able to get past the name Tensert. Just my humble O...

December Quinn said...

I like the concept, too. I especially liked it when the Wachowski brothers made it a movie starring Keanu Reeves (althought the second was so dumb I didn't even bother with the third.)

The query isn't bad, though, but you really might want to find ways to emphasize how this book is NOT like The Matrix, because this query really makes it sound like The Matrix meets King Arthur. War against the machines is good, but how does your book stand out? I agree with kis. Tell us more about Ionos.

tlh said...

I hate that, when I see a name that just bugs me until I reverse it. And then it either doesn't quite mean anything, or it's an attempt at being cute.

Lisa Tresnet... might work if that was her original birth name before the aliens (?) brainwashed her or something. But then I'd call her "Asil" instead of "Tensert", seriously.

BuffySquirrel said...

If she isn't capable of cognitive thought, then no wonder she doesn't know her parents. Surely she doesn't even know there are such things as parents. How can anyone lacking cognition undertake a quest? Or is it really like The Matrix, where an adult can acquire perfect visual perception (and muscle tone) in seconds? (Yes, great movie, but still...)

kis said...

Yeah, Buffy, I had a hard time suspending disbelief when Keanu went from atrophied and pasty to all hot and sexy too. I just had to chant my usual mantra :

"This could never happen in real life, this could never happen in real life, this could never happen in real life...."

It's effective on anything from Lord of the Rings to soap operas.

tlh said...

Heh, I thought the Matrix actually explained that with a montage of what looked like several weeks or months of therapy? The part with all the needles and his hair growing out.

I saw the second one but forgot to see the third, which tells you how riveting the second one was.

Dwight The Troubled Teen said...

For the eighth, I have the horizontal line that connects the two vertical lines in the letter "H."

Genius, thy name is Ed.

Anonymous said...

I'd say that Chaos Warrior is a massively cooler title than Lack of Control.
Lack of Control sounds a bit like a adolescent issues YA novel, maybe one about street-racing.
-Barbara (secret word for today: qjinbo!)

Anonymous said...

Why is it always the "Alpha" System? Gamma or Phi at least allude to some interesting back-story. Alpha sounds like they achieved utopia on their first try.

kis said...

Lack of Control:

What my husband exhibited the last time I told him my nausea might be morning sickness rather than the 1040-hour flu....

I swear to god, if I ever have another kid, I'll name it after word verification. Zyhdz. Isn't it beautiful?

Rei said...

My verification word is "Nylark". I dare say that would be a better name than "Tensert", even though it's just random letters figuratively drawn from a hat.

The Matrix had a rather cheesy plot on its own; it survived through great action and visuals. Taking that plot as a starting point to add in cliche fantasy elements doesn't bode well.

A reasonably well-written query, though.

tim said...

cognitive thought?

as opposed to the non-cognitive kind....

Anonymous said...

kis said...

Lack of Control:

What my husband exhibited...

Well, I'm glad I read on. This could have gone in a whole different direction...

GAL-123 said...

Even Tenser, without the last t, would be better than Tensert. But then, old D&D gaming fans would be reminded of such awesome spells as "Tenser's Floating Disk" and those may not be the synapses the author was hoping to spark with the heroine's name.

Anonymous said...

If Tensert isn't capable of cognitive thought, I really really hope this is NOT written in first person as that would be a major plot hole just by writing it.

And really, if she can't think, she's quite a dull main character...

BuffySquirrel said...

Okay, tlh, you're doing well. Now explain how Neo could see :).

Anonymous said...

When Ionos is revived does that incite Ionos fear within the Alpha System? -JTC

tlh said...

Hee, I can't explain The Matrix, I didn't understand it myself! I'm pretty sure his eyesight would have adjusted, though, eventually? Nothin' on google, or maybe I just need more coffee.

Rei said...

Why pick on things like the atrophy problem in The Matrix when it provides you such lovely gems to go on as the whole "keeping humans for power and feeding them each other" notion. Just ignoring the obvious "why use something as troublesome as humans" issue...

Loudspeaker: "Paging the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Second Law of Thermodynamics, you're needed on the set..."

Director: "Never mind; we're just going to have to start without him. Lights!"

kis said...

Ionos fear? Groooaaaannn!

All right, JTC, a few more like that and we're gonna have to have a moratorium on puns here.:)

kis said...

tlh,

Val Kilmer starred in a movie about a man born with cataracts or something, who had surgery as an adult and had to learn to see. It took a while for him to realize shadows weren't solid and stuff. Not sure how accurate the story was, but I'm guessing in real life, it would take months to teach your brain to interpret visual info, if it's even possible...

Anonymous said...

kis, Callahan's Crosstime Saloon by Spyder Robinson is one of my all time favorites. He is the pun-master. -JTC

roach said...

"why use something as troublesome as humans" issue

They could have used cows and it would have been the Mootrix*!




*shamelessly stolen from bash.org

BuffySquirrel said...

rei, dear, that wouldn't have been at all relevant to the query!

Watercolorz said...

Striking Distance, and I'm probably the only person in the known universe who knows that's a cliche Coast Guard/cop thriller starring Bruce Willis, Sara Jessica Parker, and that guy Eldin from Murphy Brown.

Uh… no, actually, I er… how can I say this… Dennis Farina and Tom Siezmore… Don’t ask, it was a desperate, lonely time for me ~W

Nick said...

Is this any better? Or not as bad?

Lack of Control is a science-fiction novel about the life of human #FGY-K7195, a young girl enslaved by sentient machines. She doesn't know her parents, nor is she even permitted cognitive thought. It is only after she and her father are rescued by a small team of insurgents that she is even given a proper name—Tensert. She doesn't yet know she is capable of ending the age of human subjugation created by the sentient machine Alpha System.

After a botched mission to steal food from one of the factories, Tensert learns the fallen dynasty of her world had vowed to destroy Alpha System, and that she is one of the last in the bloodline. To fulfill this ancient promise, she must revive Ionos, the Chaos Warrior of a forgotten legend. However, the power of Ionos is sealed within the architecture of Alpha System itself, but Alpha System has already leeched most of its strength. Now, Tensert finds herself reluctantly taking up the armor of Ionos to become the new Chaos Warrior—if she can overcome her own fears.

Lack of Control, complete at 87,000 words and standing alone as a story, is the first installment in an epic storyline spanning multiple books. I have completed writings of the second and third books. The fourth is in outline form.

Thank you for considering this proposal. I would be happy to provide you with the complete manuscript and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Respectfully...


There's a time-delay between when the story starts and when the plot in the second paragraph kicks in. Is that a problem?