Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Face-Lift 751


Guess the Plot

Wake Up

1. Wakey wakey! C'mon, slugger, you've got a big day. Up and at 'em. Get up, please. Kevin, I'm running out of patience. Don't make me come up there. Kevin? KEVIN! Fine, drive your own sorry ass to work.

2. My unabridged memoirs, chronicling how I overcame narcolepsy through strength and determinationandsfgsof0jrnovuhgfds.

3. “Hey, come on, I’m not even to my log line yet. Open your eyes! I’ve got a great synopsis. You’re gonna love the part when the . . . Hey! Stop snoring!”

4. Brent wakes up to discover that clowns have become the most revered people on Earth. Can a man who has dedicated his life to the art of Mime stand to see his rivals so elevated? The only solution is a mute rampage of destruction. "Die clowns die," becomes his soundless battle cry.

5. After dying, Andy decides to pass on heaven and come back as a ghost. Turns out being a ghost is about as interesting as sleeping. Plus ghosts have to suffer the ultimate humiliation: using doggy doors.

6. Arthur has been sleeping on the isle of Avalon for the past millennium. The world just doesn't need a hero with a magic sword and a wizard and undead knights at his beck and call. That is, they didn't . . . until glowing elementals invaded!

7. In Tevuron the night carries extra terrors: smoky wraiths that invade your sleep, stealing your life through your dreams. Shaabeth is an awakener, who awakens sleepers when the wraiths draw near. But who will watch over Shaabeth?



Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Andy is on her hands and knees crawling through the dog door, the dog door for cripe’s sake.

When all of her carefully laid out plans were thrown to the wind and she died, Andy told heaven to go to hell. She did so expecting a little of the glitz and glamour being a ghost could offer. Instead she has found herself locked in bathrooms, bored out of her wits, and yes, demeaned herself to the point of crawling through doggy doors. [There's nothing demeaning about going through a doggy door. It's like taking the secret passage from the lounge to the conservatory. Way cool.]

It takes stooping that low before she comes to terms with the fact that she's doing no good [getting nowhere] following Kent, her still very alive fiancé. Her first glimmer of hope comes when Summer, a pseudo body snatcher, introduces herself and shows Andy some tricks of the trade.

Wake Up, a romance genre novel, is complete at just over 99,000 words.

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,


Notes

As a rule, a six-sentence plot description should never devote more than one of those sentences to going through a doggy door. You can do without the opening "hook" sentence.

I'm not sure what a pseudo body snatcher does. Does she snatch pseudo-bodies or does she pseudo-snatch real bodies? Actually, as I'm not sure what pseudo-bodies and pseudo-snatching are, anyway, never mind.

You're not telling us what happens in the book; you're just telling us the situation. Girl dies, returns as ghost to be near fiancé, ends up in the fourth circle of hell, which has something to do with constantly going through doggy doors. What does she do about her situation?

Possibly you just need to change the last plot sentence to: Her first glimmer of hope comes when Summer, a pseudo body snatcher, introduces herself and shows Andy how she can take over the body of Penelope Cruz. Then you tell us what happens when Penelope and Kent hook up, how Kent is more affectionate than he ever was when Andy was Andy, which gets her mad, how he tells Penelope about his dead girlfriend's irritating foibles, which gets her really mad, how he eventually realizes that Andy's irritating foibles are actually quirky eccentricities that he loved about her, and how they live happily ever after until Tom Cruise decides he wants Penelope back and Andy realizes if she can have Tom Cruise, what's she doing hanging out with this Kent creep?

Or whatever happens. It's a romance. Hero, heroine, insurmountable obstacles, happily ever after. Your voice is fine, we just need to know a little about what happens after Andy learns to pseudo-body snatch.

23 comments:

Amy said...

I like the query's voice.

It feels too short, though. Shouldn't a romance query tell me something about the hero, about the nature of their relationship, and about the conflict that keeps them apart? (I can guess that the conflict here might be that she's dead and he's not. But there probably should be more to it than that.)

This sounds like a paranormal romance, rather than a "romance genre novel."

Jaymi said...

I know its short. I had a longer version, but other blogs I have read conviced me to shorten it. Everyone likes different things I suppose. I will add more of the plot back in.

It is a paranormal romance. I will fix that.

Thanks!

Jaymi said...

This is my first, longer version. Any input?

Dear Evil Editor,

When all of her carefully laid out plans were thrown to the wind and she died, Andy told heaven to go to hell. She did so expecting a little of the glitz and glamour being a ghost could offer. Instead she has found herself locked in bathrooms, bored out of her wits, and yes, demeaned herself to the point of crawling through doggy doors. It takes stooping that low before she comes to terms with the fact that she's getting nowhere following Kent, her still very alive fiancé.

Her first glimmer of hope comes when Summer, a pseudo body snatcher, introduces herself, shows Andy the ropes, and gives her an opportunity to have a life with Kent in her body.

Kent is annoyed when his almost-mother-in-law starts pushing Summer into his life. She is short, looks like a skater, and is obviously too young for him. The catch is she is the only person that makes him forget he is pining over Andy, and she does it in spite of the fact that she reminds him of her

Wake Up, a paranormal romance, is complete at just over 99,000 words.

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon.

150 said...

If Summer is a ghost taking over people's bodies, I'd call that ACTUAL body-snatching. But why muddy the water? Just be straightforward and clear: Summer is a ghost who gets around by possessing the living. Or whatever.

150 said...

Never mind, I now officially have no idea how you can be a pseudo body snatcher. And what the hell is wrong with being short?

Stephen Prosapio said...

This sounds like it could be a really cute story. I was surprised when I got to the line about it being a romance. Your expanded version is better. I don't know that someone really "pines over" (no pun intended) a dead person. The wording seems too trite.

It still seems a bit like you're trying to use terms that are used in the book rather than just telling us what these people/spirits do. The first time through I thought the body snatcher was another spirit; the second time it seems she's a person? Then you describe her as being young and short...seems like you could have fun with that while introducing her in the synopsis about how Ken would never fall for her? Just some thoughts. I think with the longer version you're pretty close actually.

Jaymi said...

So, yes, Summer does have a body, but she didn't just take it.Trust me, its not something that belongs in the query. It would take too much space to explain, hense the "psuedo".

Love the comments, keep them coming!

JTT said...

I like the longer version better. It tells me what happens in the book without spilling the good stuff.

Anonymous said...

Long query is MUCH better.

Dave F. said...

When all of her carefully laid out plans were thrown to the wind and she died, Andy told heaven to go to hell.

I don't know who that sounds like more -- Richard Nixon or Fezzik in the Princess Bride.

What on earth would be wrong with "When Andy dies too young, she decides to come back as a ghost and finish the plans she started in life. She comes back to find her fiance (Kent) falling for body snatcher (succubus, pseudo-dead person thingie)."

Just how Andy copes with death and guides her fiance to a new life (or something) is the heart of your story and that should be the subject of the query. Getting locked in bathrooms and using doggie doors are cute details but not the story. The reader and by extension the agent will want to know how Andy succeeds in making herself and her fiance happy.

Those details can make or break a story but they aren't the make or break of a query.

Jaymi said...

Short is great! One of my best friends it short. Sorry you aren't getting the psuedo body snatcher thing. Tough I guess. Its just not worth putting into the
query... here's the deal with her. Tell me if you have an idea of how to fit it in.

Summer is in about a third of the book. She is a vehicle for the story to be able to move past Andy being a ghost.

Summer's sister died after Summer did...long story, doesn't matter for this. She accidentally falls into her body while she is trying to wake her up and keep her from dying. That is how she got the body in the first place. Summer really doesn't want it. She is ready to go to heaven, but she never leaves the body because she doesn't want to "kill" her sister again.

She ends up giving up her body so Andy has a way of being with Kent.
It sounds lame put in such a sort version, but its not really...hehe

Any ideas 150?

150 said...

It's certainly worth describing the mechanics of what Summer's doing, which you seem to have done well in your last post.

Try this out:

When Andy dies two weeks away from marrying the love of her life, she tells Heaven to go to hell and stays on Earth...where she discovers that being a ghost isn't as great as she planned. Kent, her grief-stricken fiance, can't see or hear her. She can't even watch over him: turns out that ghosts can't go through walls like she expected. Maybe she chose Hell after all.

But before she can resign herself to an afterlife of being ignored, sucked into vacuum cleaners, and accidentally locked in bathrooms, she meets Summer: a ghost who has inadvertently discovered how to possess brain-dead bodies. Summer's willing to let Andy share her ride--temporarily. Can Andy win back a grieving Kent in the form of a schoolgirl with a tragic past and two different spirits inside her head?

Wake Up is a paranormal romance, complete at 99,000 words.

--

I made the assumption that Kent started falling for Summer's sister's body after Andy joined it, but it looks like Dave assumed that Kent started falling for her BEFORE Andy joined it. Make this clear--as far as I can tell, it's the heart of the conflict!

batgirl said...

wow, 150, whether that's close to the real plot or not, it sounds great!

Jaymi said...

Ok...will work on that...nice imprompt to, by the way. watch for more later...lol

Anonymous said...

Careful 150...you're going to be writing *all* our pitches if you keep doing such a good job!
:-)

vkw said...

wow I love 150's query. I want to read that book and I don't like romances, (paranormal or otherwise - nothing personal)

Can 150 write my query? The one I'm still working on?

Tom said...

Romance novels I don't read, but this one sounds cute. I liked the longer query better, but I'm not an agent or editor, so whudduh I know?

I bet my 13-year-old daughter would read this. That isn't a smack-down, she reads things way above her grade level.

Anonymous said...

150, that's great. But the way you laid it out sounds a lot like a book I know of, A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb... the plot of this novel is very similar. That may not be a bad thing, but just something to keep in mind.

Amy said...

Yeah, one concern I had was that it sounded similar to other paranormal romances I've heard of that involve ghosts--and yes, it's an entire sub-sub-genre. But while I do read (and write) paranormal romance, I haven't read any ghost romances, so I have only the vaguest familiarity with what's out there. It sounds like a good story, but I was hoping for some details that would help it clearly stand out from other ghost romances. However, since I'm not a reader of that sub-sub-genre, I don't know what's been done and what hasn't.

Jaymi said...

Its not done yet, but I am totally going to rip of 150's version, fix it to actually work and post it here....Go 150!

Anonymous said...

...I am totally going to rip of 150's version, fix it to actually work...

Ouch. Nice backhand, there.

Jaymi said...

Not at all intended as anything but a compliment. It is a great off handed query.

Anonymous said...

I will say that I am NOT a reader but the little bit of this I have read I love and can't wait to read the rest to see where it goes.....Grabbed my attention kept it the whole time I was engrossed in it!