Thursday, December 27, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Each year, God selects the most worthy spirit in Heaven to serve as the Holy Ghost. This year, He's making his selection through an American Idol style contest, with the losers spending the year in Hell. For Justin, it's damned if he does, and damned if he doesn't.
2. They were ratty, they were torn, they were holey ghosts. But now, thanks to a little help from the Spirit of Christmas Past, they're getting it all together. Demons better watch out - its the all new . . . Unholy Ghosts.
3. The Baptists had it all wrong - way wrong. Now they're sitting in a very Catholic purgatory, all 200 million of 'em, contemplating just how wrong they were. Soon, it's gonna be time for revenge. If you've ever taught Sunday School, pack your bags and get out of town - before the Unholy Ghosts come calling.
4. Lex Hopper's mom refuses to ruin a perfectly good sheet by cutting eyeholes in it so he can be a ghost at Hallowe'en. Later that night, a still-incensed Lex meets the Devil enjoying a hot tub in Mrs. Minchpick's back yard. There's more than one way to make a ghost and Lex's mom is about to discover there's more to life than good sheets.
5. After a long series of flubs and mistakes, paranormal investigator Rory Mitchell isn't really sure of anything anymore. She knows one thing, though: ghosts can't really hurt anyone. But soon she finds out she's wrong. Again.
6. A drug addict is hired by her dealer to banish spirits from an airport so he can use the place for smuggling. It sounds like a piece-of-cake job, but there's a downside: these are no ordinary spirits; they're . . . Unholy Ghosts!
[Insert line or two about how I found agent or whatever.] [Agent or whatever? Listen, if you can't get an agent immediately, keep trying. Don't settle for a mannequin or a weredingo.] I would love for you to consider representing UNHOLY GHOSTS, my approximately 83,000 thousand word [83,000 thousand equals 83 million. 83 million equals instant reject. Unless it's an encyclopedia.] [Word count should be approximated by rounding down to the nearest ten million, and subtracting 1 so it doesn't seem quite so long. In this case it would be 79,999,999.] dark urban fantasy set primarily in a punk-rock ghetto known as Downside.
[When you're depressed and shit is making you bitter
You can always go - Downside
When you're hopped up on drugs and feel suicidal
You can off yourself - Downside
Just listen to the racket of the axemen and the drummers
Linger with the emos as they claim their lives are bummers
How can you breathe?
The waste and puke fill the air
You can deny all your responsibilities there
So go Downside, tell yourself life is great
Downside - great place to take a date
Downside - everything sucks when you're there.]
Sometimes addictions are more trouble than they're worth… [If you're going to start your sales pitch with this line, I think I'd start the whole query with it. It feels weird following the previous paragraph.] [Though my advice is to start the query with the song parody.]
In a world where having a ghost in your house could earn you an enormous cash settlement from the Church of Truth—government, state religion, and the only line of defense between humanity and the spirits determined to destroy them—faking a haunting is seen by some as a better shot to [at] riches than the lottery. [Standing in the desert hoping a bag containing 10,000 thousand dollars falls out of the sky is a better shot at riches than the lottery.] [I would delete everything between the dashes. It's a lengthy and somewhat confusing interruption of the set-up.] That's why the Church has Debunkers. Their job is to disprove the hauntings, or banish the ghosts back to the City of Eternity if the haunting is proved real.
Cesaria "Chess" Putnam is a Debunker. She's also an orphan, a former abused foster child, and a loner for whom drugs are all that make life worth the bother.
When her drug dealer offers her a way to work off her debt to him, by debunking or banishing the haunting at an abandoned airport so he can use it for smuggling, she agrees. [Banishing I can see, but debunking? Why would anyone fake a haunting at an abandoned airport? Who stands to get rich?] Wiping fifteen grand—it should have been only four, but he's decided to charge interest—off the books suits her just fine, and the job should be as easy as swallowing a pill.
Too bad nothing is ever easy, especially in Downside. [But nothing is ever easy in Downside.] A rival drug gang discovers what Chess is doing and offers a counter-deal she can't refuse: if she doesn't banish the ghosts, they'll supply her for free. [That's it? Unless they pay off her debt as well, she can easily refuse.] She'd be glad to turn her back on the whole thing and curl up on her couch getting high, but what's going on at the airport is far more sinister than a mere haunting. When a decaying corpse is found with a soul trapped inside and the black magicians responsible decide to pay a middle-of-the-night visit to Chess' apartment for a little weapons practice, Chess realizes she can't just walk away. Solving this one is going to take every bit of bravery, intelligence, and skill she possesses…and an awful lot of amphetamines too. [What does she need to solve? You said the black magicians were responsible.]
Unholy Ghosts is a stand-alone novel, but is planned as the first in a series.
I have [small press credits]. I'd be happy to send the complete manuscript of Unholy Ghosts for your review. Thanks for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Your Church of Truth won't be the only one. There's an International Church of Truth and a Cosmic Church of Truth and a Marvel Universe Church of Truth. But don't worry, I'm guessing more people read this blog than are members of any of them.
What's the point of faking a haunting if the Church sends in Debunkers? Is Debunking an inexact science?
What's the point of banishing ghosts "back" to the City of Eternity? They left it once; why won't they leave again?
Is haunting an abandoned airport more fun than being in the City of Eternity? Just wondering about the spirits' motivation.
You'll have to get Chess off the drugs soon. It'll interfere with her debunking, and her employer won't stand for it.