Friday, September 14, 2007

Face-Lift 421


Guess the Plot

The Prettiest Little Antichrist

1. Six years ago Marlene was seduced by Satan himself. Now she's readying their daughter Firenza to compete in beauty pageants. But she needs the father's permission. Will she discover that there are some things too horrifying for even Satan?

2. He wore a beard, she was smooth-cheeked. He wore sandals, she wore stilettos. And anything he could do, she could do better. Dueling preachers Jesse and Mary were happily married until one vicious argument over transubstantiation tore them apart. Can Jesse ever apologize enough for calling his wife . . . the Prettiest Little Antichrist?

3. Investigative journalist Shiela Nagig is working on an expose of the child beauty contest circuit when the Archdiocese of Sheboygan hires her to find out why six of their little angels from the Christmas Play have mysteriously disappeared along with a valuable altarpiece.

4. “My daddy’s going to be President,” she said, and somehow she was right. Now the world wonders how someone so dim-witted rose to such heights – twice -- and whether anyone will survive eight years of his blundering. No one suspects that the true engineer of global destruction is not the man in power but the girl in his shadow, and nothing can stop her.

5. When movie director Marcus Bray is told that angelic Annika Angstrom, the child star of his latest film, is the Antichrist, he assumes that means she's a typical Hollywood spoiled brat--until a series of grisly “accidents” start killing off the cast and crew. Is a hit movie worth letting Annika achieve dominion over the world?

6. Nine-year-old Ashley-Blanche Carmichael leaves Catholic school to follow her dream of stardom, only to land in the middle of the most bizarre child beauty pageant ever. Can the nuns of St. Wendelyn's keep her from winning the title of . . . The Prettiest Little Antichrist?

7. Dan came prepared to judge the kiddie beauty pageant semi-finals with a full flask of gin and a bottle of Sudafed. But when Little Miss Pittsburgh began spinning her head around and vomiting on the other contestants, he knew he'd found his next Miss Photogenic.


Original Version

Your Evil Majesty:

The Prettiest Little Antichrist is a comic novel that shamelessly rips off lovingly pays tribute to the classic horror film The Omen.

Movie director Marcus Bray is thrilled when child star Annika Angstrom is cast in the lead role of his latest project. Little Annika has enchanted America with her angelic looks and girl-next-door charm. It’s her talent, though, that Marcus values most, specifically her talent for raking in heaping piles of cash.

When a friend mentions that Annika is the Antichrist, Marcus assumes he means “spoiled Hollywood brat.” But Annika literally is the Antichrist, whose ascension will bring forth the Apocalypse. Annika’s true identity is an open secret among Hollywood’s power elite, and while they all agree that this whole ending-the-world business is a bad thing—perhaps even a very bad thing—the bottom line is that Annika sells tickets.

The shoot is a nightmare from the start. Marcus, who’s spent his career terrorizing film crews with his egomaniacal bullying, discovers that Annika is essentially a shorter, prettier version of himself, times ten. The crew delights in watching her repeatedly eviscerate him (only figuratively, at this point). Marcus fantasizes about punching her little lights out, but her gargantuan Rottweiler, Lulubell, is always lurking nearby, staring at him. When Marcus finally tries to quit, his sinister producer warns that it would be suicide. (Marcus: “You mean career suicide, right?” Sinister Producer: “Sure, let’s go with that for now.”)

Then a series of grisly “accidents” start killing off the cast and crew. The accidents are revealed to be the work of a renegade Catholic priest trying to shut down the production. The priest tells Marcus that Annika draws her power from the adoration of her fans; the popularity boost she’d receive from the movie’s release would render her unstoppable. After the priest is killed, only Marcus is left to halt Annika’s master plan. The fate of the world hinges on whether he can summon the courage to do the right thing, even if it means sacrificing his career and potentially his life in the process.

The world is screwed.

The Prettiest Little Antichrist is complete at 70,000 words. May I send you the manuscript? I’ve enclosed a self-addressed, stamped envelope for your reply.


Notes

Very nice. I didn't even want to interrupt it with my usual cracks.

It might be a bit long. I would rewrite the "accidents" paragraph as so:

Then a series of “accidents” start killing off the cast and crew. A renegade priest tells Marcus that Annika draws her power from the adoration of her fans; the popularity boost she’d receive from the movie’s release would render her unstoppable. Marcus realizes that the fate of the world hinges on whether he can summon the will to scrap his whole project, even if it means sacrificing his career.

That saves a couple lines, and from the previous paragraph you can delete: (only figuratively, at this point). Also, the SASE sentence can go.

The only remaining question is whether declaring that the book is an homage to a movie is a good idea. I wasn't bothered in this case, but people write novels set in the world of Star Wars or Dungeons and Dragons, and those are instant rejects with most editors. If the Omen references are so obvious it'll sound like you've ripped it off, I guess you have to mention it. If the main similarity is that there's a child antichrist, it's not important to bring it up. If you do keep it, you might consider adding it to your last paragraph, rather than putting it up front.

Since The Omen has its own grisly "accidents," I would hope your "accidents" are of the slapstick variety. You don't want your comedy to morph into the horror novel it's parodying.

Trivia: The Omen is also a book, by the same author as the screenplay (David Seltzer). The book came out first, but was actually a (not totally-faithful) adaptation of the screenplay.

19 comments:

Bernita said...

Just. EXCELLENT!

blogless_troll said...

Best query I've read here. Particularly liked the description of Hollywood's power elite. I've never met one, but it exactly captures what I imagine their attitude would be. Only nitpick was the parenthetical "only figuratively..." but EE covered that. Good job, author.

Dave said...

Shirley Temple as the spawn of satan. I hope there's tap dancing. How delightfully awful, the apocalypse begins with a kiddie movie. I always thought Sailor Moon had a sinister side.
I really hope this gets published. I want to read it.

Precie said...

Fascinating! I'd buy it!

ME said...

HA! I wrote a GTP suggesting Shirley Temple as the Antichrist!!! This sounds wild enough to work. Good Luck, author and please, let us know when you clinch the deal!!!

jjdebenedictis said...

This sounds hilarious and the query letter is nearly note-perfect. Good luck - I think you'll sell this book!

BobbieAnne said...

Too funny! If EE and his league of minions can't manage to tear you apart, then I'd say we'll look forward to seeing this book in bookstores before the rest of us recover from various lashings. Can't wait. Best of luck.

Elissa said...

Amazing how many of the GTPs had something to do with child beauty pageants....

BuffySquirrel said...

Of course, "The Omen" was already parodied successfully by Gaiman and Pratchett in "Good Omens". Not that anyone but me remembers that, it seems.

This looks like a fun romp.

pacatrue said...

Ummm... ditto.

It might be worth saying that I also worried about pitching it as an Omen parody. That sounds like a better decision for marketing to make in selling thousands of copies, rather than in intriguing an agent.

When I realized that EE wasn't writing any comments, I decided that maybe this was EE's own joke query, so I scrolled down to look for such indications. It turns out the query was too good for jokes.

Awesome title, by the way, too. Who wouldn't pick that title up from the table in the bookstore just to see what it is?

I hope you can throw some Betty Boop allusions in. "Boop boob be doop," she says as the blood spurts from the Grip's neck.

~Nancy said...

OMG - that's the one I wanted to do.

Arrgh!

This sounds very good, if a bit long, as EE says. I'm not sure if you should even bother saying it's an homage or whatever to The Omen; I think the plot will stand on its own.

PLEASE let us know when this is published. I'll be first in line to pick it up!!

Good job!

~jerseygirl

McKoala said...

Great query, great idea. Go for it!

Robin S. said...

Congrats on a "very nice" from EE, and best of luck to you!

Phoenix said...

Ah, yes, the Rottie. Great allusion. Makes sense with the movie comparison, but I wouldn't have made the connection without it. I'm confused why people are opting for you not to include the comparison. You're not using copyrighted characters, and in this instance, I think it works. So many times it doesn't.

A little tightening as EE suggests, (I always like to see a little more humor in queries for comic novels -- more of the voice -- but that's taste, and EE has said it isn't absolutely necessary).

Get 'er out, and get that book sold!

Best of luck!!!!

Lightsmith said...

Author here.

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I really appreciated them. I'll let you know if/when I make any progress with selling this.

And thank you, EE, for your suggestions. They were spot on, as usual.

writtenwyrdd said...

Great letter. My only critical thought was that Good Omens is a comic novel that riffs off The Omen as well, and it was really hilarious. I was at first leery that your plot would too closely echo The Omen like Good Omens did; but you went in another direction that sounded really interesting. If I saw this on the shelf, I'd buy it.

Lightsmith said...

My only critical thought was that Good Omens is a comic novel that riffs off The Omen as well

Good point, writtenwyrdd (and buffysquirrel earlier). I think the main thing that is reminding people of Good Omens is the mention of The Omen in the query letter, more so than the story itself. I think that if I delete the Omen reference, as EE and many of the Minions have suggested, it will fix that issue. Thanks for pointing it out, because I'm sure many agents would've had a similar reaction.

dana p said...

Oh my. This is good.

I thought at first it must be EE's own creation, written to show us how it *should* be done. Great job, lightsmith.

Church Lady said...

I can't believe I missed this! LOVED it!
skip to the movie version. I'll send you an account number for depositing your extra cash.