Wednesday, January 23, 2008
Guess the Plot
Bless the Dying
1. Bless the dying, it is said, for they make way for our children. "Fuck that," Oscar Munker says, and so begins his hilarious quest to find a way to cling to this mortal coil forever.
2. Dear old Father Gabriel spends his nights at the hospital, ministering to the terminally ill. But only Ian, the vampire who works in the lab, knows that 'Father Gabriel' is really a devil known as Gabron. Can Ian destroy Gabron before he harvests any more souls?
3. Afer a routine medical test, a cop checks into the hospital. He's been poisoned! His ex-lover suspects he's dying, so she says a little prayer for him. He dies anyway. She decides to solve the case.
4. When evil scientist Ray Winegast accidentally infects himself with homemade zombie microbes and starts an epidemic, it's up to Thor Jones and Bongo Mugwump to save voluptuous Screaming Mimi from the roof of Virus Central before the US Air Force flattens Pittsburgh.
5. Sally Bless has only one month in which to make her handicraft store show a profit, or the bank will seize all her assets. Then she meets Oliver Quilby, an aging hippie who shows her the forgotten art of tie dying. Suddenly a craze for tie-dying hits the USA and Sally finds herself richer than she ever dreamed. But will her new millions alienate the hippie she has grown to love?
6. Candace always wanted to see Africa. When a brutal coup occurs, though, hunky CIA agent Tom Thomas whisks her off to a secret resistance base in the jungle. Can she win his heart by going under cover as a nun into the new regime's hospitals and extract useful secrets from its soldiers while administering last rites?
Dear XX: [Nothing assures a rejection like spelling the editor's name wrong. That's EE.]
When a policeman falls ill after taking a routine medical test, his former lover, head of public relations for the hospital where he’s been admitted, suspects the worst. [I have no idea what "the worst" is because the test and the illness aren't specific enough:
Prostate Exam........Bug eyes..............Normal
Cholesterol test......Numbness........Tourniquet too tight
Steroids Test....... Gigantic Head.....Cantaloupe-sized tumor
AIDS test.................AIDS......Needle used to draw blood for test was infected
Eye exam...............blank stare..........Dead]
Was his poisoning an accident, or did someone prescribe the test knowing full well the outcome?
[Doctor: Where's Crampton?
Nurse: I sent him to the lab to have some blood drawn.
Doctor: Excellent. Mwaahhh ha ha! Soon he will be dying from a slow-acting poison administered by lab assistant Igor, and we can move on to the next phase of our diabolical plan.
Nurse: May God bless him.]
That’s the premise of a character-driven mystery I’ve written titled BLESS THE DYING.
When not writing fiction, I’m a feature writer for the Houston Chronicle. I spent ten years in health care public relations before becoming a journalist, and still have many contacts at the Los Angeles Times, Orange County Register and other media outlets, which will prove helpful when publicizing the book.
My short stories have appeared in BorderSenses Literary Journal, Farfelu magazine, and Texas Magazine. A portion of BLESS THE DYING, which comes in at 65,000 words, was honored by the Florida First Coast Writer’s Festival in its annual competition.
Written in the vein of Irene Allen’s Elizabeth Elliott series, BLESS THE DYING is the first in a planned series of mysteries. The second novel follows the protagonist as she’s called upon to defend a physician accused of molestation. [BLESS THE MOLESTED will be followed by BLESS THE SNEEZING, in which the protagonist must deal with the aftereffects of pollen being released into the hospital allergy clinic. Accident, or Mother Nature's henchmen?]
Please feel free to phone or e-mail if you’d like to read BLESS THE DYING. Thank you for your time.
That's all we get? The premise and a bunch of stuff about you? If you tell us what he was being tested for and what his symptoms were, we'll have some grounding, but this being a mystery, I assume someone gets murdered. Is it the cop? He dies from the poison? Who wanted him dead? Who had opportunity? Get us interested in the mystery.
How do they know the routine test had anything to do with this? Obviously if you have your hearing tested and later get a stomach ache you aren't going to connect the two. Usually if you have an illness you assume it's caused by the usual suspects, not a medical test you had recently.
The cop's former lover is going to be your protagonist in a series of mysteries, and we don't even get her name? The only character named in the query is Elizabeth Elliott, and she's not even your character.
Come up with eight or ten sentences summarizing your plot. Your premise can be two of them.
If editors had to decide which manuscripts to request based on two-sentence premises, they'd have to request everything or nothing. I, for one, would go with the latter.