Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Guess the Plot
Wild in the Night
1. When a blood-drinking serial killer starts operating in New York City, no one knows if it's a vampire or a psycho, but two things are certain: someone's got to stop him, and the best person for the job is a street-smart wolfwoman.
2. Mother Superior has asked the nuns to reach out to the run-down community of St. Clare's parish. Can Sister Serena, the Tattooed Nun, convince her colleagues that they should bring Jesus to the local biker gang? Can the sisters be holy in the day and wild in the night . . . without giving up their old habits?
3. When the gibbous moon shines fully bright
And bathes the world in frigid light
Lord Ardred and his werewolf den run . . . Wild in the Night.
4. Down-on-her-luck waitress Betty Wilde swallows her pride and takes a job at Night Magic, Denver's most notorious strip club, where the skimpy uniforms and drunken patrons guarantee a steady haul of tips. But when the star pole-dancer twists her ankle just before the big number and begs Betty to sub for her, Betty discovers a talent she never knew she had.
5. The noises wake Mikey Tolliver up every night for weeks. Despite pulling the blankets over his head, he’s unable to sleep. Armed with his trusty teddy bear, he finally tracks the noise to his parents’ bedroom door. Will solving this mystery bring him peace, or will it haunt him for the rest of his life?
6. Even for a biology grad student, Stephen was fairly sedate. Yet when his mentor sends him off to study the nefarious mating rituals of the nocturnal hyena, little does Stephen expect that his guide will turn out to be a bewitching woman who's love of natural history is surpassed only by her desire to shimmy out of her Banana Republic shorts. Also, a rain of vampire frogs.
Dear [agent / editor, or in this case Mr EE];
I am seeking [representation for / publication of, delete whichever is inappropriate] [Is this whole thing gonna be multiple choice? If so, here's one for you: Dear author: I didn't make it past your (first paragraph / salutation)] Wild in the Night, an urban fantasy novel of 90,000 words.
Asa knows the ground rules for being a werewolf in contemporary society: 1) [always keep shaving cream and a razor handy and] spring for the really good fake ID, 2) smile with your mouth shut, and [use a pooper scooper, especially if you take a dump on the sidewalk in front of Mrs. Burger's place] 3) don't attract attention. What the "dentally gifted" fear most isn't silver bullets but exposure; telling people you're 400 years old and can turn into a wolf will get you either into a mental hospital or onto the front page of the National Enquirer. [Personally, I'd take either of those over a silver bullet, but that's me.]
New York City is a great place to be anonymous, and has enough of Asa's kind of people to allow her to let her hair down (or out) once in a while. The "community" help each other deal with the petty annoyances of life: finding pets-allowed apartments, faking life histories on job applications, explaining the facts of life to newbies who have just turned and think they're God's gift to Goths [and finding affordable full-body wax jobs]. Life is pretty good, especially compared to that "Dark Ages" stuff the oldies keep complaining about, even if you do have to pull up stakes whenever the neighbors start complementing [sp.] you on the way you maintain your youthful appearance. ["Charlie, you don't look much older than when I met you thirty years ago. Sure, your hai--fur is a little grayer, and there are wrinkles in your . . . snout, and . . . You know, Charlie, it's kind of annoying when I'm talking to you and you start licking your balls."]
But when a blood-drinking serial killer starts breaking rule #3 in a big way, the community find themselves under unwelcome scrutiny from the police
[Captain: Carlton, there's a blood-drinking psycho on the loose. Go down to the "community" and see what you can turn up.
Carlton: The community, sir?
Captain: Oh, right, you're new here . . . the werewolf district.]
and the media. Whether the killer is a rogue vampire or just a psychotic normal, ["Just"? You make it sound like it would be a relief if the blood-drinking serial killer were a psychotic normal.
Carlton: Captain, you were right: someone's killing people and drinking their blood. I think we might have a rogue vampire on our hands.
Captain: Relax. It's probably just a normal psychotic blood-drinking killer.]
the community wants him found and stopped - dead - before any awkward secrets get spilled.
Asa's good nose, street smarts and natural snoopiness make her the best wolfwoman for the job, until the killer starts stalking bona fide vampires [They're the worst kind.] - and Asa. Facing down a madman who is willing to wade through a river of blood to become "King of the Undead" is bad enough, [I once waded through a river of blood. The white socks I had on still haven't come clean.] but doing so in a way that won't expose them may take all the ingenuity and experience Asa and the little community of all-too-mortal gifted can muster. [Can you muster experience?]
Thank you for your consideration. I would be delighted to send a partial or full manuscript upon request.
I'd change the ending (right now it's a bit wordy) to something like:
Facing down a madman who wants to become "King of the Undead" will be hard enough, but doing so without exposing the community? That'll take all the ingenuity Asa can muster.
The idea of a werewolf community being threatened with exposure by a killer is clever, though I'm not sure why exposure is considered a disaster when it's been stated that they regularly pull up stakes and move anyway (whenever anyone compliments their youthfulness).
Having read the list of ground rules in the previous paragraph, I wasn't crazy about the lengthy list of petty annoyances. Obviously you want to set an amusing tone, but it starts to feel like you're putting off getting to the plot. I'd cut that second list to the two funniest items, maybe the pet-friendly apartments and . . . the body wax.