Thursday, May 10, 2007

Face-Lift 334

Guess the Plot

The Wanderer

1. It was his song; it was her song; it was their song. And hearing the cover band butchering "The Wanderer" on the night of their anniversary pushes Christine over the edge.

2. "The Wanderer" arrives,
From another time and place.
Lilly falls in love with him,
He takes her into space.
But then the ingrate ditches her!
The guy was just a bum.
All men are jerks no matter,
What planet they are from.
They're all wanderers. Yeah they're wanderers.

3. Harry roams New York’s sewers, battling twenty-foot alligators flushed decades earlier by irresponsible pet owners. Yeah, they call him the wanderer, the wanderer, he roams around around around around—but who the hell else is gonna clean up this mess?

4. Denny’s the type of guy who’ll never settle down.
His ex-lovers stalk him as he roams from town to town.
When they suddenly attack with cleavers in the night,
Janie takes his left arm, and Mary takes his right.
He nearly escapes from all the fuming rest,
But they reach inside his shirt and pull his heart out of his chest.
He's through wandering . . .

5. Larry's new gig as a Dion impersonator is taking over his life. When he gets slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit, can he blame the lyrics of "The Wanderer" for hugging and squeezing girls who don't even know his name? They call him The Wanderer. Yeah, he's a wanderer.

6. It's midnight in the Produce Section.
Got nowhere to go.
I push my empty shopping cart,
Around from row to row . . .
Didn't I see a commercial for microwave artichokes?

7. Wilbur went out shopping, got an early start,
Biggest box store ever, Super-Duper-Mart.
When he finished shopping, he wandered all about,
Couldn't for the life of him, find the way out.
Now he's a wanderer. He's still wandering. He roams around around around around . . .

8. Mary takes her husband,
On her business trip to Rome.
While Mary's at the conference,
Frank wanders 'round alone.
In the red light district,
Checking out the chicks,
He suddenly spots Mary
On the corner turning tricks.
She's the wanderer . . .

9. She knew it was the wrong time of day to go to the mall.
She drove around the lot, couldn't find any space at all.
Desperate for a ladies room, her tushie hurts like hell.
Stuck between two minivans, way out in section "L,"
She's the wanderer . . .

10. Tokyo, Sao Paulo,
New York, and Mexico,
Mumbai, Delhi, Shanghai,
Paris, Dhaka, Seoul,
Rio de Janeiro,
Miami, Moscow too,
Jakarta and Karachi,
London, Timbuktu,
She's the wanderer,
Yeah the wanderer,
Will Miss Snark ever find George Clooney?

Original Version

Dear Mr Evil,

“Don’t worry, it’ll be fine,” they all said, over and over until she wanted to scream. But it wasn’t, was it? [She should have known better than to get a dye job at Supercuts.] The Elders had fasted and prayed for seven nights and days, and a fat lot of good that had done. Had the Change taken hold of her? No it had not. [It had, however, taken hold of the Elders, who each lost about fifteen pounds.] Had she suddenly found herself linked to the great web of Sense? No, she sodding well had not. And now it was the day of her sixteenth birthday. The last chance for her to prove herself to be normal. And she would bloody well have to try and fake it.

No-one’s ever failed to Change, and Lilly’s [We used to name girls after flowers. Now we name them after drug manufacturers.] damned if she’s going to be the first. But even indomitable Lilly finds it hard to stay upbeat when she ‘vanishes’ during her transformation ceremony. Sure, she’s still physically present, but in a world where every woman is mentally linked that’s no great comfort. She’s a freak – and she knows it.

Worse still, a stranger – a Wanderer – arrives from an outside world that Lilly’s been taught cannot possibly exist. He’s cute, no question about it, but the last thing Lilly needs are more of her convictions shattered. [Not clear what convictions you're talking about, or what will shatter them.] Surely she’s been through quite enough already? But when she discovers a plot to assassinate the charming stranger she finds herself entangled in his escape attempts and, even more terrifyingly, enjoying it.

Try as she might, Lilly can hardly deny the truth of an outside world whilst travelling in a spaceship that just happens to travel through time. And when a simple meal out turns into kidnap, imprisonment and a fight for survival, [She should have known better than to agree to go to dinner on the Gohr prison planet, Lycus IV.] Lilly discovers that while she may not have the right training or the right shoes to be a kick-ass heroine, she can certainly hold her own.

But then Wanderer abandons her back on her home planet. It’s inexplicable but that’s no help. Lilly saved his life and this is the thanks she gets? Lilly may be madly in love, but right now she’s just plain mad. And hurt feelings are the least of her troubles when she’s forced to face the people she left behind. It’s safe to say, they’re not happy…

THE WANDERER is YA fantasy novel, which is complete at 80,000 words. Whilst it stands alone, I have a trilogy planned. I thank you for your consideration of my submission, and I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely,

Revised Version

Dear Mr Evil,

A stranger – a Wanderer – has arrived from an outside world, a world Lilly’s been taught cannot possibly exist. He’s cute, no question about it, but does Lilly need a new boyfriend? No, she does not. Not on her sixteenth birthday, the day of her transformation ceremony, her last chance to link with the Web of Sense. She sodding well has enough on her mind, doesn't she? Did I mention that he was very cute?

Then Lilly discovers a plot to assassinate the charming stranger, and finds herself aiding in his escape . . . and loving it. Especially the part where she's riding in his spaceship that just happens to also travel through time. And when a simple meal out turns into kidnapping, imprisonment and a fight for survival, Lilly discovers that while she may not have the right training--or the right shoes--to be a kick-ass heroine, she can certainly hold her own.

But then Wanderer returns to Lilly's home planet . . . and abandons her! This is the thanks she gets for saving his life? She may be madly in love, but right now she’s just bloody mad. Did she desert her transformation ceremony for nothing? Will she ever see the Wanderer again?

THE WANDERER is YA fantasy novel, complete at 80,000 words. Whilst it stands alone, I have a trilogy planned. I thank you for your consideration of my submission.

Yours sincerely,


The query wasn't bad, but a little hard to follow in places; possibly a result of trying to cover more ground than necessary. The third paragraph was loose and losing the tone. Because it was a bit long, and seems to have two plot lines that aren't strongly connected to one another, I attempted a revised version concentrating on the story line involving the Wanderer. If the main plot is not the Wanderer's, but the linking with the Web of Sense, and the Wanderer is around for only two chapters, you may want to go the other way, but I assume if that were the case it wouldn't be titled The Wanderer.

The Web of Sense? Come up with a better name.

If you must feature both plots, some tightening is possible. For instance, the words in red can be removed without affecting this passage:

And now it was the day of her sixteenth birthday. The last chance for her to prove herself to be normal. And she would bloody well have to try and fake it.

Dion performing "The Wanderer"


Bernita said...

EE's dead on.
NICE voice.

Two Write Hands said...


Marissa Doyle said...

Oh yeah, definitely voice but it's thrombosing in too many words. Polish ruthlessly, and if you're submitting to New York leave out the Britticisms like sodding and bloody--they'll distract.

One question--this is a fantasy setting, yes? Then why "the right shoes"? That makes it sound like chick Lit, and passe chick lit at that.

Um, why aren't her people happy? Why did they want to kill the wanderer? Who is he and why does she fall in love wih him? And where are we, anyway?

After you tighten up the prose, you'll have plenty of room to go back and answer a few of those questions. And I hope you do, and submit widely, because I'd love to see this on the shelves.

whitemouse said...

I really couldn't figure out what the story was supposed to be about or why I should care. A buncha stuff happens to Lilly; so what?

Even in EE's version, I'd still like to have a better idea of what the book's central conflict is. What's Lilly trying to accomplish? Who's the bad guy? Who's the good guy? What has the Web of Sense got to do with the cute guy? Does she ever figure out if there's a reason why she got dined and dumped? None of this holds together logically.

writtenwyrdd said...

I like EE's changes. This sounds cute, and I'd read it. However, the cliffhangar where you dont' say what happens bothered me. Not sure it would bother agents, but I thought it was a bit too coy.

Dave said...

Certain parts of very serious and dramatc operas always cause laughter in Opera houses. One of those moments occurs in Wagner's monumental Ring of the Niebelungen Cycle where Wotan fathers the twins - Siegmund and Sieglinde - separates them and then continues to visit with an eyepatch.
Why is this important? The name he travels under is "Wolf, the Wanderer" ! ! ! ! !

He leaves a sword called "NEED" for his son to find in his (wait for it) time of peril. HAHAHAHAHAHA.
Sorry to laugh like that. I needed to do that. Somehow, I just can't get a handle on a hero named Wanderer.

In another of the four opera, the Wanderer plays "twenty questions" for his LIFE with one of the other characters. Giggles abound as they retell the story.

Dion aside. It's nice to hear someone else say "Too Many Words."

oh by the way, Wolfie the Wanderer lost his eye paying for sexual and the knowledge of the future from the Earth Goddess. He sired eight daughters (The Valkyrie) by her (she's green and lives in the ground).

another BTW - Siegmund and Sieglinde have a son named Siegfried and (guess what?)
He marries his aunt/sister Brunhilde (the youngest of the Valkyrie). Siegfried promptly forgets her and gives her in marraige to Gunther Gebitch.

I wouldn't make this up, you know. Now you see why "Wanderer" is not a good name to use, I hope.

phoenix said...

I was trying to decide if this was supposed to be romance. SF/fantasy romance is a good market right now for adults, probably so for the YA crowd as well. Why I bothered wondering is that you're not really pitching the SF or the romance. I don't really get any clear sense of the world(s) to make it feel SF, and if it's romance, well, it appears a bit one-sided. We don't get anything but a rebuff from the hero. If it's not a romance, it's setting up like one and there should probably be some clear indication that Lilly will be left with a broken heart instead of an HEA.

A little less cute -- but keep the voice in there! -- and a little more concrete. Take EE's version, then, especially if it's a romance, give us the payoff in that last paragraph. If it's not romance, then let us know there's a villain and bring us full circle back to the Change and show us how she changes.

phoenix said...

Oh my. Took all my willpower to not write my comment in verse after those GTPs!

Evil Editor said...

For those who read the post before I added this, Dion performing "The Wanderer", the song, of course, that all the poetic GTPs may be sung to the tune of.

Dave said...

Ten GTP's and set to music! Is this a record we should celebrate? Have there ever been ten GTPs before?

Anonymous said...

I hope my whining about my two GTPs not getting into the last batch didn't affect your editorial focus, EE. It's your damn blog... if you think my GTP entries aren't worthy of the top six, then cut 'em! I like having just six. It's a nice harmonic number (I don't know why I said that, maybe it's all the Jack Daniels tonight).

Though you really were on a roll setting them to the complex rhythmic cadence of The Wanderer.

Author: "The Wanderer" is an overplayed, mediocre song. I recommend retitling your book "Runaround Sue" or perhaps "Born to Cry."

Xenith said...

Evil Editor to music: nifty.

The query sounds like an extra long Dr Who episiode :\

writtenwyrdd said...

I hate it when blogger eats my posts!

Author, I really like the story idea. The original is a bit unfocused, but EE's revision really improves the query and clarifies what's going on. The only thing that I personally don't care for is the questions at the end. I don't know if that is a problem for agents or not, but I find that sort of thing too coy and cute.

phoenix said...

FWIW, I thought the same thing Xenith did on first read: Dr. Who.

I didn't say it, 'cause, you know, didn't want to be the first to admit it :o)

functioning fruitcake said...

LOL at all the GTPs. How many did EE write himself?

Evil Editor said...

I totally wrote the correct one, as always. Of the other musical ones, only #4 came to me in rhyming form, but while I converted the others, the "plots" were not mine.

Crystal Charee said...

I like EE's revision. The author's version was intriguing, but I Definitely want to read the revised one.

Twill said...

"Bloody" is fine for me -- I even know a few Americans who use it -- but "sodding" clangs and distracts me.

Don't bother changing the MS, though, just leave it off the query. It's so minor an issue, if any at all, that it can be dealt with at the same time as any real issues that pop up in the structure.

Blogistani said...

Ha! Miss Snark AND my hometown (Karachi) mentioned in the same verse!