Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Guess the Plot
1. Two-year-old Lyle Buffet has an existential crisis when he can't decide between the red lollipop or the orange one. Will he decide before his mother abandons him out of frustration at the grocery store?
2. Lee Trenton knew better than to be afraid of vampires. In fact, he made a fine living off of them, running a scam mail-order coffin service. But when he gets an order from Dracula himself, which one of them will end up being the sucker?
3. When Kalinda has a one-night stand with Steve, she never dreams that she'll soon be taking him home to meet her parents. Or that theyll be followed there by three supernatural beings. Or that Steve is a vampire. All she knows is he's great in the sack, and that makes him a keeper.
4. Graham Payne always knew his calling in life was to be a dentist. But when his wife leaves him for a candy factory owner, his sanity shatters faster than a rotten tooth. Armed with his trusty drill, Graham declares war on sugar--and anyone who sells it.
5. When Julia takes a shortcut through the creek, eight magical leeches attach themselves to her ankles. Julia, pale and feeling weak, climbs into an unattended dryer at the launderette and undergoes a transformation akin to that of Gregor Samsa without the hardshell: she becomes one of the . . . Suckers!
6. Paul Taylor Barnum's Freak Show isn't just entertainment, it's escape. For years, Paul's been running it as an cross-dimensional underground railway, helping refugees from across the multiverse relocate in more friendly worlds. But when the locals start to catch on, and publicity threatens to close down the circus, Paul has to pull the greatest con ever and hope that his great-great-grandfather was right.
Dear Evil Editor,
I am seeking representation for my urban fantasy novel, SUCKERS, complete at 100,000 words.
When Kalinda's one-night stand disappears before dawn, she's bummed out but not too surprised. The surprise comes when he reappears weeks later, waking her up from a horrible dream about banana crumb cake, [There's a limit to how horrible a dream about banana crumb cake can be. Did she accidentally use crushed red pepper instead of sugar in the recipe? Thank God her one-night stand broke into her house while she was sleeping and woke her before she served it to the Ladies' Auxiliary Club.] and says he's a vampire. She's still trying to wrap her head around the idea that a guy named Steve is a vampire—and wondering what kind of blood-borne pathogens she might have gotten from him— [If someone tells me he's a vampire, I'm not trying to wrap my head around the idea until I see him morph into a bat.] when he admits that he's being hunted...and they've followed him to Kalinda's apartment. He doesn't know why they're after him, but the math is simple. Three supernaturals against one vampire and one human means that it's time to run. Even worse: the only safe place Kalinda can think of is her parents' house. [Why does Kalinda have to run? Won't the hunters just follow Steve if he runs?]
Kalinda's career as a freelance technical writer did nothing to prepare her for this. Mysterious figures are prowling around the house, her parents' desire for grandchildren is resulting in a disturbing level of interest in her sex life, and she's trying to figure out whether Steve really has any feelings for her or whether the only thing they have in common is a desire not to be eviscerated. [The undead. It's so hard to read them.] The two of them trap the hunters only to discover that they've been hunting Steve for the wrong reasons. [I hate it when that happens.] Either there's been a horrible miscommunication or someone is out to get Steve. When they discover Steve's kitchen drenched in blood with a message written in blood on the table, they figure it's probably the latter. [That depends on the message. There's a difference between Hey Steve, dropped in and borrowed a couple beers, See you tonight--Tom and Die, Spawn of Satan.]
As they try to figure out how to keep themselves and Kalinda's family safe from the master vampire stalking them, Kalinda wonders about something else, too. Is she safe from Steve, or is the crush spawned weeks ago by an eighties song reference and a bottle of domestic not-light beer going to lead to her death? All she knows about Steve is that he was fantastic in bed and her parents love him: one positive, one negative. [Two negatives: you forgot the one where he subsists on the blood of living humans.] Does she have enough courage to deal with bloodsucking killers or a potential relationship with Steve? Are those different questions?
She'll tackle those questions later. Right now, things are getting weird(er), as it becomes clear that there's more to this than a little confusion over whether Steve killed his maker. Kalinda has a sneaking suspicion that despite all their attempts to hide, the master vampire knows exactly where they are and is just playing with them—but playing means that people keep dying; every new message means another person's death. The few vampires that Steve has met in his five-month life as a bloodsucker are nowhere to be found. The best plan that he, Kalinda, and their newfound enemies-turned-allies [When did this happen?] can come up with is to go after the master vamp in his own lair. [So the math is now four supernaturals and a human against one vampire? Piece of cake.]
Sometimes, the best plan is still a very bad one.
I'd be happy to send you sample chapters or the full manuscript at your request. While this is my first novel, I have had short stories published in [several places]. Thank you for your consideration.
It's too long. You have four long plot paragraphs, and three is plenty. I'd delete the fourth one, as most of the sentences assume we know things you haven't told us. There's been no mention of Steve killing his maker or new messages or vampires Steve has met or the enemies becoming allies.
When you have a crush on a guy and he tells you he's a vampire, whether you believe him or not you are well-advised to seek alternative companionship. Especially if the second time you saw him was the night he broke into your house and woke you from a dream about cake.