Thursday, February 26, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. During his tour of the sinister International House of Espionage, Jack Strong realizes the dame in the hot pants isn't just another pretty face. But can he convince the powers that be in time to avoid an international incident?
2. The first of a litfic trilogy, in which a naive young man is led into dissipation and eventual murder by a persuasive existentialist grad student. The other titles are Convicted and Condemned.
3. This query is printed with ink permeated with a psychotropic drug. Shortly you will be CONVINCED to request the full manuscript, just as the editor will be CONVINCED to offer, and readers will be CONVINCED to buy. Thanks for your consideration. Yours, Stephenie Meyer.
4. Emily's irritating coworker happens to be a wizard who believes that the key to magic is convincing it to do what you want. But he didn't count on the fact that Emily, by her very presence, nullifies magic. Now he detests her, and not just because he can no longer do all his filing by blinking his eyes.
5. Some broads don't learn. Like Mary Mabel Monahan. Hardened bartender Jake Stone knows a tough cookie when she walks in, all right--but is Mary just a slow learner, or is she really his long-lost brother Mike?
6. Duncan scoffed at the idea of a Higher Power, but when a lightning strike burns all his hair off and leaves him with the ability to persuade anyone of anything, however absurd, he's . . . convinced . . . that not only does a Higher Power exist, but it obviously has a sense of humour.
Dear Evil Editor,
Emily Daggett's childhood fantasy--find a wizard, be extraordinary, go adventuring--is coming true fifteen years late. [Shouldn't that be "fantasies"? Or is this one combo-fantasy?] And in the worst way possible.
The wizard, irritating co-worker rather than kindly old mage, detests her. She's extraordinary because she can't do magic but instead nullifies it with her very presence. And the adventure? It's a cloak-and-dagger battle that appeals to Emily's bookish ideas about good vs. evil--until she realizes she might have chosen the wrong side.
CONVINCED, a contemporary fantasy, is complete at 94,000 words. I'm a reporter at The Baltimore Sun. Before that I worked in Iowa, the setting for CONVINCED and not nearly as flat as vicious rumors would have you believe. [In fact, the Iowa Tourism Bureau's new slogan is designed to make this point: Iowa: Hey, at least we're not as flat as Kansas.]
Thank you for your consideration.
[Author's note: the title refers in part to the irritating wizard's insistence that the trick to magic is convincing it to do what you want.]
You've listed a few intriguing elements, but I'd like more detail and more plot. Where do Emily and the wizard work? Does he detest her because she nullifies magic? Is he involved in the cloak and dagger adventure? How does she get involved in the adventure, and what are the stakes?
Maybe the fantasy should sound less like three fantasies:
Emily Daggett's childhood fantasy--to have an exciting adventure with a wizard--is coming true fifteen years late. And in the worst way possible.
The wizard turns out to be Emily's coworker Ralph, who clips his nails at his desk, chews his ice, and detests Emily just because her very presence nullifies his magic. Sharing a cubicle with Ralph was bad enough, but now the two have been recruited by the CIA to assassinate the president of Peru. It's a cloak-and-dagger mission that appeals to Emily's bookish ideas about good vs. evil--until she realizes she might be on the wrong side.
That's about the same length as yours, but note the extra detail: the wizard's name, what's irritating about him, why he detests Emily, what kind of job they have, what the adventure involves, how they got involved in the adventure. It also unifies the elements by confirming that Ralph is in on the adventure, making it seem more like a story. And there's no reason you can't add additional compelling details to arouse our curiosity, as this is still pretty brief.