Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Guess the Plot
One Man's Treasure
1. An archaelology professor desperate for tenure. A son trying to pay his father's debt to international arms dealers. A monk on a mission from God. Everyone wants to get his hands on St. Peter's beard comb.
2. A sweeping, generational tale that begins with one man and a metal detector on a lonely, wind-swept beach and ends with a four page sentence that can't fail to impress the Booker committee.
3. Systems analyst David Schultz can't believe his luck when he meets beautiful nurse Jenny Heart. But Jenny doesn't understand David's intense love of Star Wars memorabilia and insists he sell his entire collection on eBay. Is getting a real girlfriend worth . . . One Man's Treasure?
4. One man's trash is another man's treasure, or so the saying goes. Ted thinks he's in luck when he finds incriminating photos in a Hollywood mogul's trashcan, but the newspapers aren't the only ones who are interested.
5. One man's treasure is another man's trash, or so the saying goes. But when the existence of an entire planet depends on that treasure, it's trash to no man. Well, except maybe men from another planet. Who, naturally, will stop at nothing to get it, even if it turns out to be trash.
6. When the town of Nutville closes the local dump and opens a waste transfer station, "One Man" Dooley is caught breaking in after hours in defiance of regulations protecting other men's trash.
7. Desmond ignores warnings that it's dangerous to keep hoarding newspapers, tin cans, and lumber. Because when the sheer mass of his condemned house warps time and space around it, he'll be able to travel into a neighboring dimension -- he'll show them -- he'll show them all!
Dear Evil Editor
I am seeking representation for my science fiction novel, One Man’s Treasure [That's a rather pessimistic title to give your novel.] (80,000 words).
Spacers visit Arrax’s world every few years. They stay long enough to reprovision their ships with essentials like water, [liquor and women,] and then move on.
This time the spacers are back early. This time they’re searching for treasure.
For Arrax, the local leader, their reappearance couldn’t have come at a worse time. Salle, the head of his spy network, has just been murdered. He himself is weakened by poison meant for Salle.
[Arrax: I've been poisoned! Where's the cook?
Cook: You've been poisoned? Shit, I meant to poison the head of your spy network.
Arrax: Well, next time be more careful.]
Not only that, the woman he and Salle defeated fifteen years ago has returned, and seems determined to resume the wars she started back then. [One woman started multiple wars? What does it take to start a war in this place, eye contact?]
Treasure hunting spacers are the last thing he needs, especially not ones looking for Callan’s fabled treasure. [Who's Callan? You need to tell us what Callan's fabled treasure is. If for no other reason than it's hard to write the true Guess the Plot without knowing what it is that's motivating all the characters.] [Also, do the spacers have a treasure map? Because searching an entire world for a specific treasure seems hopeless.] Because one man’s treasure is not necessarily another’s, and Arrax knows that if the spacers find what they are looking for he and his people are doomed.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
You've described the situation that exists on Arrax's world when the spacers show up. That's all backstory. Your main plot is what happens after the spacers show up. We want to know some of that.
It seems odd, if Arrax got the poison intended for Salle, that Arrax lived and Salle died. Was everyone trying to murder Salle?
Without knowing what the treasure is, we fail to appreciate the urgency of stopping the spacers from finding it. Telling us they're doomed isn't enough, especially as we don't even know if they're good guys or villains. Can you say something that makes us care about Arrax and his people, and tells us what's at stake?