Thursday, March 08, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. When private eye Raerdon Smidley is hired to capture a mythical creature, he uncovers a plot he thinks could threaten the very foundation of his life. Or, it could just be nothing.
3. The first book in my Black Hole of Nothingness trilogy, to be followed by Nada and Zilch.
4. Nothing. Seriously: Nothing.
5. There's this guy, see, and he sort of, you know, does stuff.
6. In the vast Sahara desert, a lone philosopher sits at an oasis and ponders, and ponders, and ponders. Finally he is forced to admit: "I got nothing."
Dear Evil Editor,
When P.I. Raerdon Smidly is hired to capture a mythical creature, [297 queries without a private eye/mythical creature plot, and now we've had two in three days.] he believes he has found the easiest meal ticket in town, taking advantage of a silly old man's belief in fairy tales. Only after uncovering a murderous plot, one that threatens the very foundation of his life, does the private eye [Call him Smidly. When you come up with a name like Smidly, you have to use it as much as possible.] begin to reconsider the consequences of his actions. In small town Blumooth, blood flows like water, and secrets run deeper than the local river. [This feels like you're starting a new query. It'll feel less abrupt if you earlier say, "the easiest meal ticket in Blumooth." Or if you make this a new paragraph.] The silly old man is not so innocent, the creature is not so mythical, and even local heroes have blood on their hands. If Raerdon [Smidly!] is going to solve this case, [What case? I want more information about what Smidly is trying to solve. Blood flows and secrets run deep and the man isn't innocent: this is all vague. What's going on?] he has to decide how far he is willing to go for answers, and what is truly worth dieing for. [I'm dying--for some specifics.]
"Nothing" is a thriller set in the dark world of Kadith. [Now you tell us we're not on Earth? Smidly didn't believe there was a mythical creature when he got hired. Thus mythical creatures aren't the norm on Kadith. Thus . . . Why is the story set on Kadith? Why not Blumooth Minnesota? Tell us how Kadith is different from Earth.] At about 70,000 words, it is a stand-alone novel in a serialized world. Please use the enclosed, SASE for your reply. Thank you for considering “Nothing.” [Not sure why it's titled Nothing, but you invite rejection slips that read, "Thanks for Nothing, pal."] [Suggested title: Slick Smidly and the Blumooth Conspiracy. You'll have to change his name from Reardon to Slick, of course.]
If I wanted to hire someone to capture a mythical creature, I'd probably go with a hunter or a zookeeper or a mercenary. Why a private eye?
What do you mean by "the very foundation of [Smidly's] life"?
These last few queries have been kind of brief in the plot department. You ought to be able to squeeze about ten sentences of plot description into a one-page query letter.