Monday, February 11, 2008
Guess the Plot
Dark is the Wrong Color of Night
1. Evan is a vampire with a problem--he can feed--and live--only by day. Unfortunately he loves Persephone, a more traditional vampire. They say opposites attract, but can these latent lovebirds overcome the barriers keeping them apart?
2. In the city of Colora, artist Tristin Periwinkle has made his name thanks to magic paint that allows his landscapes and animals to come to life. But when rival artist Orvin Brown steals the paint and creates a monster that threatens the lives of everyone else in Colora, it's up to Tristin to save the day. Also, frogs.
3. Design guru Oliver Stuart regrets taking the job decorating Lady Pertwhistle's country house. Every color he suggests is wrong, blue is so last season, and "Dark is the wrong color of night." He's ready to quit--until he meets Lord Pertwhistle. Trying to balance an impossible client and a new romance, can Oliver find the perfect hue for the drawing room? Or is pink the wrong color of butch?
4. Trudy Hench's new play about life on the bright side of the moon offends two of the lesser gods who obstruct her production with minor plagues in the form of large black spiders which are impossible to kill and intermittent bouts of irrational lust for the guy who plays "Waiter."
5. Danger and romance galore await students at Polaris Academy, the most northerly art school in the world, when a giant floe unexpectedly breaks away and the entire "solstice ice-scape" painting class heads toward the pole. Will this band of misfits and geniuses keep the igloo warm together, or will they argue over the color of ice until they freeze?
6. When Jedi master Yoda takes over the Jeopardy! franchise, questions and answers turn inside out and ratings plummet. Can the producers right the sinking ship before Yoda turns to the Dark Side to recover his place in prime-time?
Dear Evil Editor:
Following is my query letter for Dark is the Wrong Color of Night, a humerous fantasy. [Whether you mean a funny fantasy or a fantasy about an arm bone, a typo in the first sentence is never good.] [Actually, while humorous fantasies are a dime a dozen, a humerus fantasy would be truly original. An archaeologist on a dig in Britain finds Merlin's humerus and uses it to destroy the world or to get chicks. A bullied kid finds a magical humerus and uses it to make his tormentors pay. There are a thousand ways to go. I'm considering assigning a humerus writing exercise.] The title comes from the fact that everything in the novel, people's names, the city's name, the clothes people wear, all relate in some way to a specific color. [I considered the possibility that this paragraph wasn't part of the query, and was here only to explain the title, but it's the only place that mentions the title, so we'll assume it's part of the query.]
When Merlin Tristin Periwinkle's license to practice Magic is revoked by the Magician's Union both for flubbing a spell--which exposed the Mayor's affair with his cook--and filling the courtroom with frogs during the ensuing trial, he thinks his life is over. But it's only just beginning [, for he now wields the enchanted humerus of Magenta].
Returning to his previous occupation as an artist, Tristin is certain he has an advantage. His newly amended license allows him to both purchase and use already enchanted items, such as paint. Now he's able to paint landscapes and animals that come to life. But only if the paint cooperates and he doesn't lose his voice. [Why would he lose his voice? Also, if you're not going to tell us what losing his voice has to do with it, better not to mention it at all.] [Also, if Tristin isn't the only person who can purchase magic paint, the world would be filling up with painted landscapes that would be on top of each other.] [What happens if you get a map of the Earth and paint water all over it with magic paint? Does everyone drown?
Though eventually Tristin succeeds in making a name for himself, [As an artist? If the pig you painted becomes a living pig, is the pig considered a work of art? Or a source of bacon?] not everyone rejoices at his success. One artist in particular, Orvin Brown, craves that fame for himself and will do anything to get it, including stealing the magic paint. But Orvin is ill-equipped to handle such a fickle, troublesome substance and makes some grievous errors. When he mixes Magic paint with normal paint, he creates a monster that threatens not only his life, but the lives of everyone in Colora. Unable to handle the monster himself, he turns to Tristin for help.
Now, hounded by a Magic Inspector intent on arresting him for the illegal use of Magic, Tristin and Orvin must unite to destroy the rampaging painting before Colora is destroyed for the eighth, and possibly final, time. [Should that be "arresting them"? If not, it should be, Tristin must unite with Orvin. Actually, it probably should be Orvin must unite with Tristin. Who does the inspector want to arrest? Seems to me Orvin is the one who illegally used magic.]
Explaining the title, you said the city's name related to a specific color. But Colora doesn't sound especially specific. (Unless we're talking about a specific disease.) Also, what's this about the people's clothes relating to specific colors? Do Orvin and everyone in his family wear only brown clothes? Are there people stuck wearing nothing but lime green?
Speaking of the title, must I point out the obvious, namely that dark is the right color of night?
It would help to know the intended audience. As described, it seems like a book for kids, except for the part about the mayor's affair with the cook. Will adults go for a book in which everyone's last name is a color in the city of Colora? Or will they think it's kind of lame?
On the other hand, everyone's last name is a color in the board game Clue and adults play that. Maybe you could change Brown and Periwinkle to Colonel Mustard and Professor Plum, and get some cross-over sales.
Am I the only one here who had a thing for Miss Scarlet when he was a teenager? Miss Scarlet in the billiard room with the rope. Mmmm.