Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Face-Lift 858

Guess the Plot

A Girl and Her Octopus

1. Come on. Do I HAVE to explain what this book is about?

2. Tiffany spent her entire summer vacation coaxing the octopus to emerge from that tide pool. But now Dad won't let her bring him home. If she pretends to obediently flush the gastropod, can she sneak her new pet back to Kansas in her suitcase?

3. Every time Nemo Jones tries to complete his speech for the documentary about his undersea miracle of post-modern living, that damn girl swims to the window and makes silly faces at the camera while her octopus sullies the glass with its arm-slime. Where does this pesky wench come from, and how can he be rid of her?

4. In 2487, Earth depends on the asteroid miners for raw minerals. Miner Jax Subit is one of the youngest, driving her eight-armed mining droid in the outer belt to support her family Earthside. When war leaves half of Earth a smoking hulk, Jax realizes that she can finally afford those implants, since she doesn't have to send money home anymore.

5. Sheila's cool with the prune look, the suction cup hickies and scarecrow hair from all the salt. Octi makes it all worthwhile, bringing her pretty shells and bits of coral from the deep. But when Octi brings her a doubloon, greedy eyes take interest and the hunt is on.

6. Ever since an octopus saved Octavia from drowning, the two have been inseparable friends. But when she falls in love with Otto, who is allergic to gastropods, Octavia must decide if she can give her octopus up, and be content with a man with only two tentacles…er, arms.

7. After the hurricane, Tina does her best to hide her new pet, but at story time three suckered tentacles grab Mom by the ankle and pull her under the bed, where she is summarily devoured by a monster that will quickly grow to enormous proportions and devour everything that moves in Orlando.

8. Michelle is the richest girl in the universe, but she won't be happy unless she and her octopus guardian Soangdu can break her Aunt Lisa out of the mental institution. Fortunately they have help from a doctor, if they can just get him to focus on the mission instead of his quest for the Twinkies recipe.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

A generation after spaceflight begins, humans have spread to hundreds of planets and haven’t found other sentient life forms; right? [Wrong. Space flight began a couple generations ago, and humans haven't reached any planets.] For ten years after her mother’s kidnapping and murder, twelve-year-old Michelle Gulden, the richest girl in the universe, has lived in her father’s lab on a small planet. Now she must get her aunt, Lisa, from a mental hospital before her father dies, an adventure she’s always wanted. [This is the plot of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, except set on Pluto.]

She has the help of her two guardians, Chirpizadon and Soangdu, but her guardians must be passed off as pets. Chirpizadon, who was bred in her father’s lab and has a genius I.Q., as a furball. [Was that a sentence?] Soangdu, is an octopus that hates people and hates being thought a pet. [No comma needed in that sentence.] When they discover that her mother’s murder was only part of a conspiracy trying to take over; [Take over what? Whatever. Change semicolon to comma.] they must try to destroy the whole conspiracy with the help of a pet-shop owner who seems to know too much and is close to the leader [Leader of what?] and a doctor on a quest for [a] mythical recipe for Twinkies.

My 60,000 word young adult book, “A Girl and Her Octopus: It’s a Beautiful Thing”, is a science-fiction story that plays with ideas about what is “human”.



It's safe to assume that if this were a real query for a real book it wouldn't have "It's a Beautiful Thing" tacked onto the title. Even A Girl and Her Octopus is a title so ridiculous it could be applied only to bad fan fiction about Spiderman's nemesis, Dr. Octopus.


arhooley said...

My favorites were "the richest girl in the universe" and the bad punctuation.

Nice going, Author!

Anonymous said...

I love the title "A Girl and Her Octopus". As I don't like sci-fi, I'll leave further comments to the experts. (I was secretly hoping it was chick lit. I can just imagine the cover.)

150 said...

Smells like middle grade.

Dave F. said...

There's a lack of specificity and vagueness that doesn't help the query. In order to buy the book, a reader or an agent needs to like Michelle. The query doesn't give us any information.

Think about the current movie "How to Train Your Dragon." It's about the 97lb weakling son of a Viking who doesn't fit in and discovers that he can train dragons rather than slay dragons.

Why is Michelle so likable?

arhooley said...

>>(I was secretly hoping it was chick lit. I can just imagine the cover.) --Anonymous

Google "tentacle porn" and you won't have to merely imagine it.

BuffySquirrel said...

If the book has errors as grave as those in the query, it doesn't need querying; it needs editing.

Learn the use of the semi-colon, or don't use it.

How is the opening to the query relevant, given that nobody seems to discover any sentient aliens in the course of the novel? Also, 'begins' should be 'began' in order to make sense of the rest of the sentence.

You've missed out some of the plot here, I'm afraid, which means it's hard to understand what happens. Why does Lisa have to rescue her aunt? Does she need a guardian? Can her aunt cure the father?

If Lisa's so rich, surely it would be easy to arrange to get her aunt back? She could just buy the hospital, appoint her own staff, and have her aunt discharged. What obstacles can stand up against her immense wealth?

Who are the conspirators and what are they conspiring to do? How will it affect Lisa, her aunt, or her father, if they succeed? If they fail? We need to know the stakes.

Anonymous said...

Do you know the painting called Fisherman's Wife? It's drawing of a woman getting it on with an octopus and it comes from Japan, the birthplace of tentacle porn. It's also quite infamous.

When I read the title I thought this book would be scathing critique on the perversions of Japan: Subway groping so bad that they've decided to build a second subway just for woman; tentacle/rape porn cartoons; a history of raping wartime captives and using them as "comfort women" for their soldiers after they were hit by the nuclear bombs, and then denying such a thing ever happened by writing it out of their own history.

...turns out this is a kid's story.

no bull steve said...

ummm, okay;

So is this a hoax/fake query then? I'm not sure if I should be critiquing or chuckling.

As for the title, I'm wondering if this could be part of a series a la:
A Girl and her Orangutang
A Girl and her Orange Juice
A Girl and her Octagon...

Evil Editor said...

I made the assumption it was a hoax and so labeled it. Others seem to be giving the author the benefit of the doubt

batgirl said...

Other than the (unintentional?) hentai overtones, this query isn't any more ridiculous than several previous serious ones. And I kind of like the plot as described, reminiscent of James Schmitz's Telzey Amberdon series.
If the author is for real, I'm guessing she's also fairly young and has plenty of time to improve grammar and syntax skills.

Najela said...

A girl and her octopus sounds like tentacle monster hentai. Just sayin' =/

The plot seems more appropriate for MG or early readers...

AA said...

If this is real, the writing needs a lot of work. I'm guessing the writing in the book has similar problems, so I'd say it isn't ready yet.

BuffySquirrel said...

Blooming octopus ate my comment.