Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Guess the Plot
A Storm Hits Valparaiso
1. It wasn't a meteorological storm, it was Aunt Agatha, who was driven there by James in the Bentley, on a mission to save the chicken franchise management career of Cousin Nigel, who was ready to toss it all to get lucky with Roxanne -- not realizing that Roxanne was a secret agent named Charles Johnson, or that the lowly driver, James, was his true father and the genius behind the family fortune, or that the chicken franchise was a front for an industrial spy syndicate run by former members of the KGB.
2. 1822. Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín have liberated South America, from Venezuela to Chile. They decide to meet over coffee in a sleepy town to share war stories and to argue over which one of them will get a country named after him. Bolívar wins after what may have been history's most significant game of rock, paper, scissors.
3. There's something odd about the Valpo basketball team, but transfer student Jack West doesn't ask questions. He just wants to play point guard and date his study partner, Annabel. Sure the team's opponents have met with a string of bizarre accidents. Yes he saw the assistant coach with a van full of live chickens. No Jack doesn't know why there is a mysterious symbol sewn into the back of his uniform. When Annabel starts investigating, Jack must decide whether to keep his eyes closed, or help the woman he loves.
4. Juan, a Chilean boy, earns a scholarship to study meteorology at a college in the US. Radioactive lightning from a freak storm during his Christmas holiday makes him grow seven feet tall. Back at school, he faces a moral dilemma: Figure out what's causing the devastating storms back home, or take Valpo to its first Final Four ever. He lets his cheerleader girlfriend decide for him.
5. Just as vampires overrun Valparaiso, a massive storm cuts it off from the outside world. Wolfsbane Joe, stuck in town after his werecheetah wife ran off with a waiter, is Valparaiso's only hope. But can one drunken ex-prizefighter werewolf take on a vampire army?
6. During one eventful week, college student Jessica has come to Chile for spring break. Swiss engineer Hans has come to study the unique funicular elevators while his brother Father Peter has come for more private studies. Ralph and Milly have returned to repair their ruined marriage, even as General Mosquite ignites plans of his own. Their stories all intersect when.... A Storm Hits Valparaiso.
Dear Evil Editor,
I would like to send you my novel A STORM HITS VALPARAISO for your consideration. It’s approximately 99,000 words in length and is set in the early 1800s during South America’s struggle for independence from Spain.
In 1822, after twelve years of a dirty war, Spain was on the verge of losing her Empire. José de San Martín had liberated Argentina, Chile and Peru, while Simón Bolívar had freed Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. The two greatest figures in South American history met for the first and last time in Guayaquil to discuss the conclusion of the war, as neither man had sufficient troops to finish the Spaniards off. They met alone, and no historical record was made of their meeting.
At the end of their talks, San Martín resigned as Protector of Peru and handed over control of the combined armies of Argentina and Chile to Bolívar. [I feel like I'm back in World History, sixth period, with Mr. Green droning on while I read the Batman comic I've concealed in my book.] San Martín retired to become an anonymous farmer, while Bolívar went on to immortalise himself in the final victory. San Martín’s reasons for stepping aside have always remained a mystery. [This is a history lesson, not the plot of a novel. Does your novel solve the mystery?]
The novel is aimed at the same market as Louis de Bernières, [Who? Ah, thank you, Wikipedia. Louis de Bernières, author of The War of Don Emmanuel's Nether Parts, Señor Vivo and the Coca Lord and The Troublesome Offspring of Cardinal Guzman. And three-time winner of the Philip K. Dick Wackiest Title of a Serious Novel Award.] (but should also be popular amongst fans of historical fiction, anyone with an interest in Napoleonic era history, or South America in general. The 200th anniversary of the beginning of the war is next May, and I believe there are huge opportunities for marketing tie-ins for the respective anniversaries of notable points in the conflict over the next few years, especially Chile’s 200th birthday in 2011. [Considering the speed with which the publishing industry works I suggest you forget Chile's birthday and aim for a marketing push that coincides with the 200th anniversary of the 1821 Battle of Carabobo.]
This is my first novel, which I completed this summer. It was written over a three year period while travelling around the world. I have begun work on a second novel. I have posted the first five pages of the manuscript below. If you would like to read the entire manuscript, or if you would like me to send on a synopsis and some sample chapters, please let me know the submission guidelines.
Usually it's the end of a war we commemorate, rather than the beginning. Your novel seems to center around the 1822 meeting between San Martín and Bolívar, so it seems the book might make the Guayaquil, Equador El Telegrafo bestseller list in 2022, but I wouldn't expect big sales every time an anniversary of a conflict in the decade-long+ war comes up. In other words, if the book will appeal to fans of historical fiction, that's enough; no need to bring in Napoleon and marketing tie-ins with 200-year-old battles.
Is the whole novel set around the meeting in Guayaquil? If so, tell us what you envision happening at that meeting. Focus on your main characters. Does your novel present a fascinating theory on what led San Martín to fade out of the limelight? I don't have a clear picture of what's in your book.
Dump the marketing plan and the bio. Shorten the background to something like:
In 1822, after twelve years of war with Spain, José de San Martín and Simón Bolívar, the two greatest figures in South American history, met for the first and last time to discuss the conclusion of the war. They met alone, and no historical record was made of their meeting.
Then summarize the plot of your novel. Or, just use the first sentence, changing "met" to "meet," and launch into your plot. What happens?
The title seems to indicate the focus is on something that happens in Valparaiso. Is what happens there worth mentioning in the query?