Thursday, January 20, 2011
Guess the Plot
Spirits of the Unknown
1. Ludlow hears voices in the surf. Wally thinks he ate too many pufferfish, but Ludlow is pretty sure the Spirits are speaking to him. Who are they, and what do they want? If only they spoke English! It all sounds like some kind of repetitive alien hissing/roaring noise.
2. When nature enthusiast Melvin Wilcox inherits his father’s vineyard, he decides the produce will be used for a new eco-friendly wine beverage. Unfortunately the concoction has a slow-acting but devastating side effect: it wipes out the drinker’s long-term memory. Can Melvin remedy the formula before he forgets he owns a vineyard?
3. Balah is a psychic, able to peer into the world beyond the Veil. When strange, amorphous blobs called Riphons begin to call to her, she wonders: is she losing her mind, or reaching the lost souls of another world?
4. When hopeless alcoholic Johnny Beam drunkenly swore to sell his soul for a whiskey, he had no idea his offer would be accepted. Now he’s doomed to a fiery – and thirsty – afterlife, unless he can win an unholy contest of the palate, by correctly identifying the . . . Spirits of the Unknown.
5. Ghosts haunt a spaceship on its way to planet Earth. This has nothing to do with the plot, but everything to do with the title. The plot is set in another solar system, where a brutal civil war has devastated a planet and everyone is a suspect.
6. Sparkle Starshine's investigation shows the house is full of haunting spirits, but spirits of what??? Tiny feet seem to run up and down the walls and in the ceiling. By night they make crunchy chewing noises, gnaw holes in the upholstery, and leave toothmarks on the furniture. Could they be the spirits of wererodents? Is it time to call upon the Ghost Cat?
Dear Evil Editor,
Tilvanau has survived a murder plot which has claimed the lives of every member in his family. [Not quite. The plot didn't claim Tilvanau's life.] He doesn't know who to trust and grief may be clouding his judgment.
In an attempt to escape, his brother has [Apparently the plot didn't claim Tilvanau's brother's life either.] taken his family, [Didn't claim the lives of Tilvanau's nieces, nephews, or sister-in-law. Who, exactly (if anyone), is dead?] setting a course for earth [If we're not on Earth, I wanna know that up front. A conversation like:
"There's a murderer on the loose! We gotta get outta here!"
"But where will we go?"
"How about Earth?"
. . . is a bit jarring if you weren't aware that the speakers were on the Gohr prison planet, Lycus IV.] with the murderer hidden inside the ship. The ghosts of his family now haunt the ship [The ghosts of the brother's family? Were they ghosts when they boarded the ship or did the murderer kill them on board?] trying to disclose the killer to earthlings that don't understand their language and Tilvanau who doesn't believe in ghosts. [Are these earthlings on the ship or has the ship already reached Earth?] [Is/was Tilvanau on the ship?]
Meanwhile Tilvanau must face a brutal civil war which devastates his planet, [Where the hell is Tilvanau?! If he's still on his planet, facing a brutal civil war, how are the ghosts on the ship trying to reveal the murderer's identity to him?] and although the woman he loves can help him, she is found to have the greatest motive and opportunity. [I assumed Tilvanau's wife was among the family members who were murdered. So who's this woman he loves?] [Also, motive and opportunity to do what?]
Tilvanau finds himself fighting a war he can't seem to win. [You're talking about the brutal civil war? A guy fighting in a brutal war doesn't think thoughts like, I can't seem to win this war. He thinks thoughts like I hope I don't die today.] He must find the murderer before the murderer finds him. [The murderer was hiding on the ship that Tilvanau's brother took to Earth (see paragraph 2). So how can Tilvanau find the murderer or vice versa?] Everyone is a suspect having motive and opportunity, [Everyone? How can everyone have the opportunity to do whatever you're talking about?] but they all fear he has betrayed them by killing his own family to gain control over the planet. [How would killing his family give him control over the planet?]
SPIRITS OF THE UNKNOWN is a science fiction complete at 95,250 words
Thank you for your time.
Scrap the whole thing. Start by telling us who Tilvanau is. Like, is he the leader of the biggest country on the prison planet, Lycus IV? Then tell us what he wants, who's standing in his way, and what Tilvanau plans to do about it.
If you can't organize your information and express it clearly in the query, the reader will assume your book is also a mess. Let's hope it isn't.
If the spirits in the title are the ghosts of Tilvanau's or his brother's family, why are they "spirits of the unknown"? Aren't they spirits of the known?
Let's assume the motive/opportunity phrase applies to the murder of Tilvanau's family. If the woman Tilvanau loves was found (by whomever) to have the greatest motive and opportunity, why does everyone think Tilvanau did it?