Wednesday, November 04, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. 101 excuses to use when your family, friends, and complete strangers ask why you're not published. Also, ways to get words on a page without saying anything important, constructive, or plot-based.
2. After Joe breaks his writer's block by writing himself into his book, things get strange and soon he finds he can't do anything that he hasn't already done in the book. He tries writing that he won the lottery and got lucky with Madge, but all that stuff happens to his cousin Reggie, while Joe becomes the deranged elevator killer.
3. With his deadline rapidly approaching, panic-stricken Dan Harris goes on a crime spree, intending to end up in the state penitentiary. Can he come up with another best seller from behind bars in . . . Writer's Block?
4. To escape a loveless marriage, two characters give their author writer’s block. They enter a realm called “Writer’s Block” where characters live while their authors are unable to write. Turns out their lives in Writer's Block are far more interesting than in the book they left, but can they find a way to give their author permanent writer's block?
5. Charles Wallers thinks he has a clear case of discrimination when he complains to the Equal Housing Office. Then he notices the fine print in the neighborhood zoning regulations. If he wants to put in a bid for that charming split-level on the corner, Wallers is going to have to come up with a manuscript or at least a query letter.
6. When gossipmonger Gale Strong is found dead in her home on Elysian Fields Avenue, the truth behind the lives of her suburban thirtysomething neighbors surfaces. Unwittingly, writer Charity Midland uncovers several tawdry secrets, which provide ample material for her next novel.
Dear Evil Editor,
To escape a loveless marriage, Nicholas and Aaryanna [, two characters in an unfinished romance novel,] give their author writer’s block. They enter a realm of Fiction, coincidentally nicknamed “Writer’s Block” where the characters live while their authors are unable to write. Aaryanna pursues an inter-book relationship with Prince Donovan, a Rambo like warrior prince from another novel. Nicholas learns from his roommate that it is possible to enter Reality and either give his author permanent writer’s block, or become Real, like the great King Arthur.
In Reality, whatever an author says about her character instantly becomes true. In order to become Real, Nicholas has to act against her. If she says he loves apples, he must hate them. This is easier said than done. Nicholas is incapable of recognizing when his author, Anne, is controlling him. She makes him love washing dishes so much that he sings. He takes a moment to remember how incredibly handsome he is. When she plays ‘he loves me, he loves me not’, he falls in love with her. [You're losing us with all this trivia about the world. Only the last six words are important in that paragraph.]
Nicholas’ time to achieve Reality is limited. At any moment Anne could begin writing again, which would instantly send him back to the book. Also, he is not the only fictional character in Reality. Fictional characters have roamed Reality for centuries, seeking their authors in order to become Real. Real people call them “supernatural”, and they are drawn to Nicholas. Anne’s small town of Greenriver gains a lake monster, the Mothman, and leprechauns. If he stays in Greenriver too long, it could be overrun by fictional characters. This could cause it to be claimed by Fiction itself, like the continent Atlantis. [Another paragraph filled with random facts. Only the first two sentences are focused on Nicholas's problem.]
Nicholas’ disappearance causes problems for Writer’s Block. Anne is a beginner author. She chose not to give the Baron Farent, Nicholas’ villain, any redeeming qualities. Because of this, the Baron is unfit for proper Block society, and must be imprisoned to protect the characters. When Nicholas leaves fiction, the Baron is able to escape imprisonment. He cannot focus on anything other than revenge against Nicholas. [You need to acquire the baron's admirable ability to focus on one thing.] He starts kidnapping characters in order to draw Nicholas to his fortress in the Beastlands, where the monsters of Fiction live. Because of a prophecy in the book, Nicholas is the only character capable of capturing the Baron, and he resides in Reality.
The Baron kidnaps Aaryanna, and Prince Donovan enters Reality to talk Nicholas into returning to Fiction to rescue her. The Baron also learns that Nicholas is in Reality, and follows him there. He discovers Anne and Nicholas’ relationship, and kidnaps Anne as well. Nicholas must return to Fiction to rescue both Anne, and Aaryanna, before the Baron realizes that he has kidnapped his author and can control the rest of the book. Unfortunately, Nicholas has become Real and is no longer a fictional match for the Baron.
Writer’s Block is complete at 60,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration,
It's too long and too detailed. Your main selling point here is the idea. For once we can do without all the plot specifics. Drop paragraph 2. Follow paragraph 1 with something like:
Nicholas’ time to achieve Reality is limited. At any moment his author, Anne, could begin writing again, which would instantly send him back to the book. Also, he is not the only fictional character in Writer's Block; the place is overrun with villains and monsters.
Shortly after becoming real, Nicholas learns that Aaryanna has been kidnapped by the fictional villain Baron Farent. Only Nicholas can save her, by returning to Fiction. But there's one problem: he doesn't want to leave Reality; he's fallen in love with his creator, Anne.
I'd leave the part about Anne being kidnapped for the book. The query has enough conflict for Nicholas without it. This is the kind of book in which an author can easily go overboard, making it more complicated than it needs to be. If you keep the query--and the plot--reasonably clear and simple, it could work very well.
Wouldn't it be better if the characters simply found themselves in Writer's Block, rather than sending their author there? If they have the power to give Anne writer's block, it's less worrisome that she might start writing again; they can just give her writer's block again.