Saturday, October 07, 2006
Guess the Plot
Less than Mighty
1. When Herbert swings the hammer at the State Fair, he not only doesn't ring the bell, he gets his money back.
2. During two weeks in drug rehab, Mediocre Mouse comes to realize that he does not need to live up to his older brother's reputation in order to find true love.
3. After six years in the superhero academy, Mortimer Minniman is finally ready to receive his superpower. But a clerical error leaves him with something less than he was hoping for, and now he must fight crime as... Minty Man.
4. When ER physician Dragan Sakic proves that several recent "deaths from natural causes" were actually poisonings, the cops immediately assume (mainly because of his scary-sounding name) that Sakic must be the killer.
5. When strongman circus performer Mighty Mike Murphy is crushed during his elephant bench press act, dung shoveler Lester Wilson feels, for the first time in his life, it’s better to be Les than Mighty.
6. Detective Mike Portis is staring down the nasty end of a 12-gauge shotgun, laughing his ass off. Having to deal with gun-wielding thugs is part of Detective Portis’s job. But being strapped with a rookie who just pissed his pants is going to make life real tough or real short.
Dear Mr. Evil ,
I am seeking representation for Less Than Mighty, a 90,000-word mystery, distinctive in its use of natural poisons for murder.
Less Than Mighty is the story of Dragan Sakic, a troubled emergency room physician whose faint memory of his childhood molestation eats away at him when he agrees to have a baby with his partner, Nina Jensen. His world begins to fall apart when he exposes, with the help of Chester Davis, homicide detective, that the death of Salt Lake City’s District Attorney was not of natural causes. [He was poisoned. By three of his eleven wives.] In providing an ailing investigation impetus by revealing more suspicious deaths for what they really are—elaborate poisonings—Dragan draws the wrath of those lurking in its shadow. When Nina is found near death, and evidence discovered at their home implicates Dragan in the DA’s murder, [Nina killed the DA, planted the evidence, and made it look like she'd been attacked, thinking this would throw suspicion off of her, not realizing that this would actually make her the number one suspect, simply because it's been done in thousands of mystery novels already.] [Of course a character named Nina betrayed the main character on 24, so I recommend you either change her name or change the plot.] [Thinking Dragan was also the name of a 24 villain, the one played by Dennis Hopper, I Googled the name. Turns out the villain was Victor Drazen. But here's the interesting part: Googling Dragan turned up Dragan Milicic, a mathematician from . . . Salt Lake City, and author of numerous E-prints, including Twisted Harish-Chandra sheaves and Whittaker Modules: The non-degenerate case. I don't think it's much of a stretch to guess that you based Dragan Sakic on Dragan Milicic, who gave you an "F" in math, and who you've been slowly poisoning ever since you became his pharmacist, just like the pharmacist on Desperate Housewives poisoned Bree's husband.] [Actual dialogue from Desperate Housewives:
Felicia: "You know, I know a store you would love. It specializes in antique jewelry. It's in Salt Lake City. Have you ever been to Salt Lake City?"
Edie: "No, I try to steer clear of Utah. It's a little too . . . conservative for me."
The Salt Lake City/Desperate Housewives/Dragan Sakic connection comes full circle; I believe I've made my case.] [Dragan Milicic: if you Google your name and find this article, I beg you, switch pharmacies.]
he becomes the prime suspect of the investigation, and in Nina’s attack. [An ER doctor had the motive and opportunity to poison the DA? And after getting away with it, was stupid enough to demonstrate that the death was from poisoning?] Framed for murders he did not commit, and faced with the loss of the person most dear to him, Dragan is thrust into a shady world of power, revenge and religious zealotry where only the rousing of an unfathomable betrayal buried deep in the recesses of his mind can set him free.
I am a pharmacist [Aha! So you admit you're a pharmacist!] with over ten years as a certified specialist in poison information. [Then maybe you can tell me what to take for this rank acid-gas I've been experiencing lately. Or is it a coincidence that rank acid-gas is an anagram for Dragan Sakic? Why else would you use such a ridiculous name?] The full manuscript of Less Than Mighty is available upon request. An SASE is enclosed for your reply. Thank you.
I'd turn that long paragraph into two paragraphs.
The language is a bit over-dramatic in places (Dragan is thrust into a shady world of power, revenge and religious zealotry where only the rousing of an unfathomable betrayal buried deep in the recesses of his mind . . . ; Dragan draws the wrath of those lurking in its shadow).
You might consider leaving out the molestation and giving us more about the natural poisons. No need to go into detail, but a couple sentences about the method would help. It's a mystery, after all, and if the poison is what makes it distinctive, as you claim, and if that's your area of expertise, it's a strong selling point.