Wednesday, June 06, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Choice to Change
1. For Pvt. Mort Slimper, changing his socks and underwear in the field meant turning them inside out every week. But with the Army's new Laundry Battalion, everyone now has . . . The Choice to Change.
2. In this daring sequel to my groundbreaking The Choice to Feed, I show new parents how to avoid the whole diaper ritual.
3. Does this make me look fat? How about the slinky black dress? No? Maybe that navy blue blouse with the Peter Pan collar for that barely-legal schoolgirl look?
4. Join the author of this fascinating memoir as she first becomes invisible, and then attempts to find herself.
5. My life in the US Mint, where I dealt with decisions ranging from the thickness and sheen of pennies to the number of ridges on a dime, shaping the course of American coinage.
6. When a body is discovered atop a pile of $600 in quarters, Randy Roberts, change maker at the Galloping Ghost Slots Emporium in Reno becomes the prime suspect and goes on the run while trying to clear his name.
Dear Evil Editor;
I often wonder just how deep the effects of the trauma of my childhood go and whether I'll ever be totally free of them. I was so shy, naïve, protected, and isolated from all the problems of daily life. Except for the movies, TV and an occasional vacation, my early point of view was extremely narrow. [I think I'm the wrong person to unload on--movies, TV and the occasional vacation are still the only things shaping my worldview.] I had my own little world – my fantasy world. I had complete faith and trust in the people around me and believed that life would unfold in a good and logical way. [You were a kid. What do kids know?]
Then one day it all shattered. My father's infidelity created a nasty separation and divorce and mother moved us to a large city far away from my small rural town. I was totally unprepared for the realities that faced me. I retreated into the protection of the one place I felt safe – into myself. But I had no foundation upon which to draw and no one who would take the time to help me. It wasn't that I was unloved – just that I wasn't a priority. I became invisible. [Just to confirm, you didn't accidentally switch your letters to Evil Editor and to Dr. Phil, right?]
For years I drifted through schools, jobs, locations and men trying to find my place - always looking outside myself for the answers. I used sex and drugs as an antidote for my pain and developed deep-seeded [seated] abandonment and intimacy issues. Then I got cancer. [One problem with starting a query letter in first person and not mentioning the book is that the editor begins to wonder if the next paragraph is going to begin: Anyway, at the age of fifty, my life is finally settling down, I'm at peace with my father, my cancer is gone, and I've decided to become a science fiction author. Would you be interested in taking a look at my 100,000-word novel, Zombie Wolverines of Planet Q?] [Believe it or not, such query letters do make their way to editors.]
THE CHOICE TO CHANGE explores my journey from an idyllic childhood, through years of feeling lost and alone, through cancer and the related stress and changes it caused and the search to find my self. It relates the lessons I learned along the way and the importance of forgiveness [Forgiveness? Listen, speaking as Evil Psychiatrist, the only way you'll ever be happy is if you put a bullet in your father's brain.] and acceptance of responsibility.
THE CHOICE TO CHANGE is a memoir of 63,000 words. Thank you for your consideration of my submission. I look forward to hearing from you.
As I may have mentioned earlier, there's something discomforting about a query letter in first person that takes a long time to get around to mentioning a book. This wasn't as bothersome as Face-Lift 76, but you don't want the editor wondering if you're an infatuated stalker. I'd put the title, genre and word count up front.
Perhaps it's a sad commentary on our world, but no one wants to read your memoir unless you're famous or they're related to you--unless your life has been truly amazing. Writing this book was a good thing to do, but to sell it you have to show what makes your story interesting to a large number of complete strangers. Or convert it into a novel and throw in some truly amazing or hilarious fictional events.
This has given me a great idea for a new blog: Evil Psychiatrist. To see if it would be entertaining, I'll let Evil Psychiatrist take over my blog this weekend. Those of you with problems, real or imagined, write to me now. Sorry, I don't do bedwetting.