Friday, May 28, 2010
Guess the Plot
1. Abstract painter Jefferson Polak's creation Third Rainbow sells for a cool million, but when it's revealed that his medium was excrement produced on a diet of Skittles, he drinks himself into oblivion before he ever reaches his pot of gold.
2. Madeline hasn't had much luck with the kittens her single father has been buying her. Rainbow I got run over; Rainbow II died of sudden respiratory failure. Will Madeline find out about her father's crush on pretty pet store owner Helen before the same fate befalls the . . . Third Rainbow?
3. Sophomore Amy cares for her alcoholic mother, tries out unsuccessfully for school plays, and secretly crushes on uber-popular Madison. She feels invisible--until an assignment to write a letter to the local paper thrusts her into the gay rights spotlight, and she finds that being heard can be even harder than being ignored.
4. Enshaya is in an uproar. The unicorns' legendary Third Rainbow soccer championship has gotten so out of hand (what with the scandals, gorings and rioting) that the Queen might cancel it altogether! Their solution: kidnap shy, sports-hating Patrick from Earth to referee the game. And they thought things couldn't get any worse?
5. The first time a wolf pup whined, a rainbow was created between the north star and Earth. The first time a kitten meowed, a rainbow formed between Earth and the big dipper. Now another rainbow has formed after the first cry of a penguin chick. No one knows where it leads . . . or what will come to Earth.
6. Three rainbows appear in the corner of a man's vision, rainbows that only he can see. They slowly stretch across the sky. Years pass. The man takes a wife, they have a child, and still the rainbows slowly stretch further across the sky. The man can't help but wonder, What will happen next?
Dear Evil Ed,
I am sending you this query letter because I hear you are evil, much like my best friend Ed, so I figure this must be fate, which just happens to be what my novel is about. So here's my query:
The Narrator’s first memories are of hell, of being transformed into a demon, made into a slave, living life from one beating to the next. This all changes when Raven appears in his life. She awakens in the Narrator [I see we're capitalizing "Narrator." Is that because his real name is never revealed and he's referred to in the book as "the Narrator"? Wait, is the Narrator a superhero or villain, like The Punisher or The Joker or The Wayfarer? My first memories are of hell, of being transformed into a demon, made into a slave, living life from one beating to the next. Now I battle the forces of evil to protect mankind from the fate I endured. I am . . . the Narrator!] a desire for something more, however vague that sense of something may be, and together they devise their plan to escape hell.
The Narrator is forced to escape on his own when Raven’s preserved head ends up strategically placed on the floor of his cave. [Maybe it's just me, but when I find a severed head on my floor, I never consider whether its placement is strategic.] Now he has one demon chasing him across hell and another planning to crucify him.
In another world, Beta is plagued by nightmares – nightmares of demons chasing each other through hell. He has written a program to stop his dreams, but the program isn’t working any more. [Guess he should have done more Beta testing. Ba dum ching.] [Sometimes you people make this job too easy.] He tries seeing a doctor. The doctor helps, until the demons start appearing in his waking life. When Beta’s friends end up dead he has to go into hiding.
Three rainbows appear in the corner of Beta’s vision, rainbows that only he can see. They slowly stretch across the sky. Years pass as Beta spends his life in hiding. He has a wife, a newborn child, a home. But still the rainbows stretch across the sky. Soon they will have completed their journey. [This part of the book where rainbows take years to stretch across the sky doesn't sound as exciting as the part with demons. Is there some way we can speed up the rainbows so they spread across the sky instantaneously?] What will happen then, Beta can’t help but wonder. [Possibly nothing will happen then. Didja ever think of that?]
THIRD RAINBOW is a completed, 97,000 word science fiction novel about man-made demons and time travel. [Time travel? If it's about time travel, maybe time travel should be mentioned in the plot.]
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Why isn't it called Three Rainbows? Is there something special about the third rainbow?
What happened to the Narrator? I was looking forward to his battles with the demons of hell. Although I think he needs a better name. Son O' God is already taken, but how about The Redeemer? Or Deliveryman?
Is Beta the Narrator and the part about being in hell was one of his nightmares? Opening with a dream sequence is bad enough, but opening with six chapters battling out of hell and then declaring it a dream is a nightmare. Especially when reality turns out to be six chapters of rainbows slowly stretching across the sky over the course of a decade.
In other words, don't expect us to figure out what's going on. Spell out how your two worlds are connected. And if the only cliffhanger you've got is What will happen when the rainbows finally stretch all the way across the sky, I recommend just telling us what will happen.