Thursday, November 29, 2007

Face-Lift 459

Every 459th Face-Lift, I turn the tables. I write the Guess the Plots, it's my query, and my minions write all the blue comments and notes. It's payback time.

Guess the Plot

Love Letters From a Stranger

1. When Liz starts getting daily love letters from a complete stranger, she's flattered . . . until she reads a newspaper article about a serial killer known as The Correspondent.

2. With her love life going nowhere, Tricia tries answering love letters received by her roommate, little suspecting that within hours of meeting their author she will reveal her darkest secrets . . . and will be engaged to be married.

3. The love letters were anonymous, but the envelopes had return addresses. Lonely spinster Mildred Marshall decides to investigate, but when she discovers that the address is a local graveyard she must decide: was it was all a prank, or does she have a secret admirer who happens to be a zombie?

4. Snooping in her sister Marie's dresser, Mary finds a bundle of passionate love letters from someone named Charlie. She should put them back the way she found them . . . but it's so easy to change "Marie" to "Mary" and "Charlie" to "Charlesworth," and then no one will know . . .

5. Anabel Pennilocks had never heard of Eddie Bauer until he started sending her coupons and invitations and booklets filled with pictures of clothes he apparently wanted to see her in. It was a little scary that he knew where she lived, but he did seem to have good taste. Could this finally be . . . the one?

6. His love letters arrived every week without fail. But who was he? Janice hires a private detective to find out, little suspecting that she will soon be embroiled in a diabolical plot to wipe out all marine mammals on the planet.

Original Version

Dear Editor:

IZ (short for Ishmael) [thanks for the abbrev; two syllables can be a mouthful.] frequently falls in love at first sight. [Every morning while shaving his chest]. He's a writer, but the only stories he's sold appeared in [self-published Internet] porn magazines too disgusting to show to women, [Says who? Robin might be interested. I know McKoala would be.] [Anyway, the author's publishing credits usually go at the end; oh, these are the character's credits?] so he tells women he's a bus driver. Actually, bus driver is his day job, and one morning, watching a beautiful woman leave her apartment and walk to his waiting bus, he becomes wildly infatuated. [I'm glad; mild-mannered infatuation is so confusing.] So much so that he writes her a letter. [Wow, that is wild.]

TRICIA, [(short for Trichinosis)], a librarian [with an affinity for undercooked pork], lives in the same apartment with BETH, the woman to whom Iz wrote his letter. [This is your lead paragraph. Actually, I recommend cutting Iz out of the story altogether and having this be the story of Tricia and Beth having late night pillow fights and exploring certain feelings they've had for a long time, but they've never been with someone they were comfortable enough to try it with. Probably Iz has already written this story up.] Though Beth was unimpressed with Iz’s letter, [It was worse than a new beginning on EE's blog] and worries that Iz is a stalker, [A stalker who mails a couple letters instead of getting on Facebook and poking you every other hour? Who wouldn't be unimpressed?] Tricia was intrigued by the letter— [Well, actually, there was an enclosed photo.]and also by [the way the alliteration of “Is Iz it?” makes her hot, and also by] the second letter Iz sends when he receives no reply to the first.

[Dear Bus-Riding Betsy,

I’m coming for you. One day, when you least expect it – when you’ve turned off the shower, being careful to give the faucet handle the extra twist it requires to keep the water from continuing to drip, and you’ve pulled back the sea-through shower curtain with the little tropical fishies painted on it right across the middle, hiding most of your goodies from me, right then, when you’re just drying off with that towels with the tassles, I’ll be there with you.

Love, Iz (but you can call me Ishmael).]

Months pass. Her love life going nowhere, Tricia asks Beth to dig out the letters from Iz so she can reply to them.

[Dear Iz,

Is it only Iz, or is Iz an ironic ID? Your name makes me hot. Do you like raw bacon too? Check the box below if yes.

Hugs and Kizzez,


When Iz receives Tricia’s letter he phones and asks her out. Beth feels Tricia will be safer if Beth goes along, and Iz invites his womanizing roommate, REX, to make it a foursome. [Earth to Iz: Never invite a womanizing roommate along when you've already got a threesome for yourself.] Is this the blind/double date from hell? [Is this the query letter from hell?] Maybe not--the hilarious evening culminates in some strange revelations and some surprising events--including two wedding engagements. [Iz/Rex and Tricia/Beth].

Throughout the novel are many excerpts from Iz’s journal, a journal he intends to adapt into a novel (this novel). He describes the novel-in-progress to Tricia as “the Seinfeld of novels,” a novel about nothing. [Good God! You've sumarized my whole day in the slush pile in one sentence! Send me a full.] And admittedly the draw of the book lies not in its plot twists, but in the witty conversations Iz and Tricia have with their housemates, [with Kramer and Newman,] with other characters, and, at last, with each other. But there’s more here than [whiny Jews and] snappy dialogue. There’s a sweet, feel-good romance [please, you're ruining my EE image] filled with gentle [Translation: Not Funny.] humor.

Love Letters from a Stranger is a quirky romantic comedy of about 50,000 words [, 12 of which move the plot forward]. My book Novel Deviations, though a miserable financial failure, [Then why are you still charging so much?], is being adapted into a Martin Scorsese film [starring Daniel Day-Lewis as myself, and Leonardo DiCaprio as blogless_troll]. Also, my blog has had 800,000 visits from people [delete "people" and insert "weirdos"] [Make that "weredingos"] eager to read anything I write so that they can pan, blast, nitpick, slam and trash me the way I have done them. [That's a good-sized platform, but none of the minions can rub two quarters together, except Church Lady, who swiped them from the offering plate.] Thank you.


While this may have been a sweet, feel-good romance when it happened to you, it doesn't mean readers will like it. However, if you change the title to Seinfeld: The Novel, it'll be well into its third printing before anyone catches on.

You can’t expect much motile movement with that inadequate word count of yours, EE. And, while your platform may be large and well-formed, it is, you must admit, self-propelled, and, as such, may not be quite the platform agents are looking for in the requisite self-aggrandizement-and-suck-up query letter paragraph.

[Comments and notes submitted by blogless_troll, Church Lady, Bill Highsmith, Robin Sinott, Pacatrue and anonymous.]


Anonymous said...

Ooooh, do you have time to wait just a little bit longer? I'm inundated with work until after 5:00 pm.


Bernita said...

Well done, People (and Fellow Weirdos!)

Evil Editor said...

New material worthy of inclusion will be added if received Thursday.

Dave F. said...

sounds like ee cummings' "anyone lived in a pretty how town". I was hoping for "she being brand" but you can't have everything, can ya?

Iz/Rex and Tricia/Beth

zonkers so lived in a pretty high town (house)
sing hey so many up, as splat so many down
spring, summer, winter, fall
my pants just hit the floor with my jaw
Is Iz true Tricia and Rex true Beth
and blue flowers posing in red flower beds
Fruhling, Hot, Freezing, Abschied
zonkers so lived in a pretty high town (house)

(It's so freaky to be able to write that stuff while on cough medicine)

You guys really are too much. Very inventive and lots of fun.

Ello said...

That was Heelarryus! How come no one commented on the fact that it was way too long!

I want to add after he writes a letter - It was the letter P for porn.

OK if you don't think it is funny, you don't have to include it but as soon as I started reading this I thought of Avenue Q and the cookie monster voiced muppet that sings "the internet is for porn - grab your d**k and doubleclick for porn, porn, porn!"

Anonymous said...

I'm still new here, but one thing that strikes me is that your opening helps us get to know the character, but doesn't add urgency to the story. If he frequently falls in love at first sight, he's probably used to being rejected, unless he's real smooth in which case he'll fall in love with someone else soon enough and get them to bed.

In my opinion we need a reason for this love to be important to Iz. We also need a little more encouragement for us to empathize with him. I can imagine a hopeless romantic who writes porno but longs for something more meaningful, but you haven't quite portrayed him yet.

David Weisman

Church Lady said...

Evil knows how to put Church Lady into a full-blown tanty.

What happened to my poem? It's much better than that "Dear Iz" crap. Whose is that anyway? Highsmith's? Yours? It couldn't be Blogless. Nah....

My tanty is only just beginning.

Evil Editor said...

I admit blogless's letter sucks, but yours isn't even a letter. It's a limerick. I was just trying to save you from utter humiliation, but since you insist:

So much so that he writes her a letter.

[There once was a man from Nantucket.
Whose penis was as long as a bucket.
If you're as lonely as me.
You can have a looksee.
And maybe I'll let you suck it.]

Tanty over?

Robin S. said...

Whoa, CL, you wild woman!

I feel like the freaking singing nun in comparison - and that's definitely a feeling I've never felt before...

pacatrue said...

Dang. That's the problem with time zones. I just read the post for the first time and it's already marked up. I'll go see if I can find any extra space now. Maybe I can comment the comments....

Robin S. said...

Forgot to say-

to David W. -

Hi- and hope you stick around - right now it's EE-bashing time, and he (literally) asked for it - so it must be done.
If you wanna know why, look back at the bashing he's sent our way with the earlier 499 queries. He's damn good at it, AND, you learn while you laugh, (although he seems absolutely hellbent on pretending that's not true).

Anyway, I know someone who's had great success with a query after having been here, so it does work.
But not right now.

blogless_troll said...

Sucks?? Do you know how long I wrestled with using "Kizzez" over "Kizzes"? At least ten seconds.

And as long as we're complaining, where's my line about the Scorsese film starring Leonardo DiCaprio as blogless_troll?

blogless_troll said...

I was just kidding. You didn't have to go back and put it in.

McKoala said...

Hah! Church Lady's finest work. EE, please could it have a post of its own? In big flashing letters? In permanent position at the top of the blog? Attributed, obvously. It's that good.

And I need revenge for that porn remark. It was HER idea to rename me Hussy 22. Takes one to know one, I said and...ouch, that hurt...put the hassock, not the flower arrangement...NOT THE COMMUNION WINE..for pity's sake, help, help...

Sarah said...

LOL! Great job, guys!

EE, your reputation is at stake here. Are the minions funnier as a group? Does the whole equal more the sum of its parts?

I just got to read this and enjoyed it very much - even if I didn't get to critique it. *sigh* I don't even have time to rewrite it. Life is in session at my house (and work) lately.

Phoenix said...

So who pegged this as contemporary romance? Who the heck writes letters in contemporaneous times? Even writers don't write letters. Please re-label historical romance. Or maybe male ennui. Yeah. I have yet to see a male ennui label on this blog. And after 500 Qs, maybe it's about time to introduce one.

Phoenix said...

So Blogless, would that be DiCaprio in his What's Eating Gilbert Grape? character role?

blogless_troll said...

So Blogless, would that be DiCaprio in his What's Eating Gilbert Grape character role?

Dammit, I hate it when I set myself up for a retard joke. Actually, phoenix, it's more like The Man in the Iron Mask, right after they take off the mask.

pacatrue said...

So, EE, does this novel exist, and any word back on the queries? Inquiring minds want to know.

Evil Editor said...

It exists, but at slightly under 50,000 words, I'm thinking it may have to be an Evil Editor publication.