Monday, April 27, 2009

New Beginning 631

Okay, I put this title in the query queue without reading it. (It came in an email titled " . . . working on a graphic novel want sound advice.") On the one hand, it could be an attempt to write a clever query in the POV of a character, but I'm pretty sure it's the opening. However, I'm posting some fake plots so those who submitted fakes won't feel their efforts were wasted.

Guess the Plot

Mermaid Country

1. Genetic manipulation has gone too far. Passenger Pigeons are darkening the skies over London, Mastodons are rampaging across Siberia, and Cretaceous Parks are growing up all across the U.S. Spencer Wildman isn't one to be left behind by a trend. His plan to engineer creatures from out of mythology should make history, but he'll need to convince the Minotaurs not to eat the Kraken if Mermaid Country is to become a success.

2. After Jerry saves the fish at the Orlando Aquarium from disaster, reporters hound him night and day, but unless he wants to be thrown in the loony bin, he can't reveal the true story of Layla, goddess of . . . Mermaid Country.

3. The brochures talked up the new island getaway, Atlantis, as a great place to relax and get in some swimming and surfing. But when Andrew and Lauren finally arrive, they discover that their parents have already been taken captive by the mermaid overseers of the place. Can two teenagers beat the fishy fiends and save their family and the other vacationers?

4. When small-town deputy Dan Hickett accepts his cousin's challenge to try a fisherman's life, he doesn't imagine he'll be swept overboard and forced to deal out justice and lay down the law to mermen and tritons--or lose his heart to a green-skinned beauty.

5. Charlie the Tuna thought he was a whale of a good guy, but when he gets swept out of his comfort zone by a rogue tsumani, he learnsd that he doesn't know fishsticks. It all happens when he lands flukes over fins in . . . Mermaid Country

6. Jefferson High School's football team has quite a mascot to live down--despite being 500 miles from the nearest ocean, their mascot is the Mermaids. But no matter how much the McCutcheon Maulers laugh, this here's . . . Mermaid Country.

Chalk it up to fate on the eve of the 1976 Bicentennial to be the night Jerry Ingram's life changed for the better

Unless you have been hiding in a cave for the past week, you must have seen the story in the local papers.

He saved the marine life at the Orlando aquarium from a most horrific fate,and unwittingly thwarted one of the most heinous plots in the Aquariums' History.

The reporter's were hot on his heels. The dogs hounded poor Jerry ,until he wearily agreed to tell his side of the story.

Of course he lied right through his pearly white teeth. It was an absolute necessity. He couldn't have very well told them the real story. It was a tad too bizarre. The truth usually is.

You couldn't blame the guy for stretching the truth a little.He was just reaping the just rewards of being a good person,The last thing in the world he wanted was for the citizens of earth to think he had lost all of his remaining marbles.The humans would lock Jerry in the loony bin and throw away the key.

This would be his fate if he told the earth people the real story or anything about me. I am of course the biggest reason for the cover up. I shudder at how the citizens of earth would react if they ever set their beady, little eyes on me.

My name is Layla, goddess of an underwater, deep sea demention, known as Piaska, by our native inhabitants or Mermaid country, by the few non - sea life creatures who know of our unique culture.

I ,Layla Empress of the deep, will serve as your tour guide through this thoroughly Rollicking tale.

Anyway, the guy in the room across from me is an editor, and I asked him how he’s crazy, because I like to know that sort of thing, and he just sobbed and said he couldn’t take it any more.

So I said editing couldn’t be that hard, you’re just reading books all the time and he said something about typos and commas and spelling and I was like, let me see, so he gives me this paper.

It’s about this goddess named Layla, which is me! But it doesn’t have the whole story and I said to the guy, "This is kind of fun, what’s wrong with it?" and he starts screaming and now I understand why they put padded walls in these places.

Opening: Kristy Hoard.....Continuation: _*Rachel*_


none said...

Demention? Is that where they put the mermaids who have Alzheimer's?

Yeah, okay, sick joke.

Needs a lot of work on spelling, grammar and punctuation.

Evil Editor said...

I assume each of these paragraphs is accompanied by artwork. The question is, do you have the artwork, or are you submitting the text and expecting them to hire an artist? I'm guessing that publishers of graphic novels want to see the art.

There are too many errors: apostrophes, commas, hyphens, capitalization, and spaces. Plus the use of demention instead of dimension.

I don't see "rollicking" as an apt description unless this is an odd graphic novel; they're usually pretty dark. I'd leave off the last sentence anyway; if Layla's our guide, that will be obvious without her telling us.

I would think the more concise you can be, the better, so the artwork isn't obscured by text. For instance,

Of course he lied right through his pearly white teeth. It was an absolute necessity. He couldn't have very well told them the real story. It was a tad too bizarre. The truth usually is.

could be shortened to

Of course he lied through his teeth. The real story was too bizarre. The truth usually is.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

We'll begin our tour with the mountain of papers on your right. Every day at 5:00 pm, Evil Editor unloads the pages he rips...err, edits, from fantasy manuscripts.

The larger pile on the left is John Grisham's fan mail. Don't ask me how Evil Editor gets to it. It's a trade secret.

Up ahead is the pile of the writing exericses his minions have done throughout the years. You'll also notice is serves as the undersea toileting area.

Our last stop is the shark area. The one with the sharp teeth has been taunting Evil Editor with her own piles. But that's a separate tour.

-Chris Eldin

Anonymous said...

Chalk it up to fate ( Period. New sentence capitalize On) on the eve of the 1976 Bicentennial to be (change to be to was) the night Jerry Ingram's life changed for the better.

(I expect you to tell me how. Instead you insult your reader.)

Unless you have been hiding in a cave for the past week, (delete the first half of the sentence and add the second half to the first paragraph) you must have seen the story (about the Orlando aquarium) in the local papers.

He saved the marine life at the Orlando aquarium from a most horrific fate,and (Delete ever thing in in Front. Jerry) unwittingly thwarted one of the most heinous plots in the Aquariums' History. (really people plot against the aquarium on a regular basis?)

The problems highlighted follow throughout.

I'm curious about the creative capitalization at the end, but I'm sure someone else will address that.

This seems like a good start to a story with a strong voice. But the grammar errors make it hard to read, and it's over written. For example "most horrific fate" and at the same time that's extremely vague. The MC is kind of fun, but I'm leaning more toward fun to hate than fun to read. Try starting your story after this.

Sarah Laurenson said...

I like the voice. The story sounds interesting.

It's hard to say what editors want in the graphic novel market. Some want it all - with the art for the whole novel mostly finished. Some want the first several pages of both text and finished art. Some will look at text only. It's still a young market and the standards haven't settled yet. And asking an illustrator to do this on spec is another issue entirely.

I like the idea of an underwater demention. Sounds like a watery asylum to me. But I don't think it's the word you meant to use. Or maybe it is.

Good luck with this. I suggest getting help from your nearest English major.

Stacy said...

I like the opening, but it could use some tightening. And . . . this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but four cliches/overused phrases in four paragraphs would keep me from reading on.

Paragraph 1: Chalk it up

Paragraph 2: unless you've been hiding in a cave

Paragraph 3: a most horrific fate

Paragraph 4: hot on his heels

It's probably just my personal preference, though. The writing is interesting in spite of that.

The continuation is one of my faves. I'd put it in the top five so far this year.

Dave Fragments said...

I didn't read demention as "dimension" I read it as some awkward spelling of "Demon" something. I'm odd, yanno.

I love the voice and the sheer audacity of the speaker to the reader. It promises a wild-assed ride for the reader and a completely outrageous story. It could be lots of fun.
(Please pardon my profanity.)

This opening or query is different in tone and voice. That's good in a way. I'm not sure I could handle 80K to 100K but it really does work as an opening or as a query.

You need a spelling and grammar checker. If you use WORD, it has them built in.

I don't like that you repeat "Layla" in the last two paragraphs. There is some fat that can be removed to punch up her introduction. Try this: I am Layla, Empress of the deep, goddess of an underwater, known as Piaska by the few non-sea life creatures aware of Mermaids and I will serve as your tour guide through this tale. Clean up the mistakes and swim forward.

Dave Fragments said...

If you want to read some truly outrageous plot summaries, go to Post Modern Barney at

I squirmed uneasily at some of them and it takes a lot to make ME squirm.

_*rachel*_ said...

I think you get my idea on the grammar and punctuation; you read my continuation.

Looking at it again, the writing isn't as bad as I first thought it was. In a graphic novel form, it feels plausible. With a complete spellchecker overhaul and some judicious editing, you've got a chance. It'd better have some good artwork--for me, that's a selling point (beautiful watercolors just get me somewhere deep inside).

Sarah from Hawthorne said...

Hmm. This is a nifty hook (no pun intended), but... what is this?

If this is a pitch, fix the grammatical errors and you've got a good start.

But if this is the text of the actual book it should be scripted, like this:

Panel One.
We're underwater looking upwards, sunlight filtering down through the bubbles. Bits of seaweed and a few fish swim overhead.

From the corner of frame, a HUMAN HAND claws desperately toward the surface.

Chalk it up to fate that the eve
of the 1976 Bicentennial would be
the night Jerry Ingram's life
changed for the better.
Panel Two. As our POV shifts to the side, we see the glass and cement framework of the GIANT AQUARIUM TANK. In the glass is the reflection of our POV character - JERRY is a nebbish, skinny guy in street clothes, eyes bulging in terror as he sinks. He's drowning.

Unless you have been hiding in a
cave for the past week, you must
have seen the story in the local
And so forth and so one. If you google "comic book scripts" you can find samples online.

One other thing - if Layla is a goddess of the depths, why is she using human idioms?

Faceless Minion said...

Another thing that could be improved is to keep in mind 'tell vs. show' with the visual media.

The first three paragraphs reduced to one shot of a newspaper with a headline 'Ingram Saves Orlando Aquarium' with enough text visible to show the relevant dates. This is being read by a watery femme (visuals of drifting locks of hair, fish, etc). Close up of the picture of Jerry. Femme says, 'you liar'

I second the advice to look up script formatting. The examples I'm familiar with (admittedly not from graphic novels in English) involve more of a rough draft layout with text. The pictures don't need to be much more than stick figures with labels as to what they should be/are supposed to look like.


talpianna said...

WE plot against aquariums all the time.

---Sethra and Aliera