Sunday, June 05, 2011

EVIL EDITOR CLASSICS


Here's another query that appeared here (12/20/07) and whose book, The Spirit Thief, (and two sequels plus another on the way) was published without our knowledge! Not only that, but the "Look Inside" feature at Amazon allowed me to see the book's Acknowledgments page, and there's no mention of the Evil Minions! What gives?

Fomi alerted me to this one. The Spirit Thief got a starred review from Booklist.


Guess the Plot

The Spirit Thief

1. When a soul-sucking witch is picked for the cheerleading squad, it's up to cheerleader/amateur sleuth Allie Jones to uncover her identity before all the oomph goes out of her fellow cheerleaders.

2. Master thief Kadie will accept any commission if the pay--and the challenge--are enough. But when she "reallocates" the sealed jar on the altar of the crocodile god Sebek, the question becomes, Can she put something back before the world ends?

3. He's Eli, a charming wizard and the greatest thief in the world. She's Miranda, the wizardess hired to hunt him down. But when a more powerful wizard shows up and snatches the kingdom's throne, can Eli and Miranda team up to prevent him from also stealing the souls of inanimate objects?

4. One by one, the cheerleaders at Central High are succumbing to depression. The homecoming pep rally resembles a funeral. When quarterback Jack Van Helsing discovers that the new kid at school is more than a mere Goth/emo weirdo, can he stop The Spirit Thief before everyone starts dressing in black and wearing a lot of make-up?

5. Mrs. Mary Muffleton can't get through a day without a sip or two of hard spirits. When she finds her whiskey flask mysteriously drained, even teetotaling Mr. Muffleton gets involved in the hunt for the culprit. Strange noises in the basement, a blunt axe and a mismatched pair of shoes are the only clues to the identity of . . . The Spirit Thief.

6. When ghosts start disappearing, Trevor the poltergeist hopes that heaven has lowered its standards. But then he discovers the truth: the spirits are being systematically abducted by high-tech mercenaries, led by a nefarious scientist named Egon. In order to free his people, Trevor will pick off his foes one by one, possess a health inspector, and if he's lucky, get people to stop calling him 'Slimer'.


Original Version

Dear (agent-name-spelled-right),

In a world where everything has a soul, [Everything? Do people feel guilty about sending their trash to a landfill, knowing it deserves a proper burial?] and magic is as much about fast talking as raw power, Eli Monpress is a wizard who can charm a door off its hinges. [Does charming a door off its hinges affect the door's soul?] He's also the age's most famous thief, with a price on his head large enough to fund a small war. But that's not nearly enough for Eli, he has a higher goal, a greater purpose: earn a bounty of one million gold, or die trying. Of course, "die trying" is exactly what Miranda Lyonet, the wizardess with the impossible job [It's impossible?] of catching Eli before he ruins the reputation of wizards everywhere, would prefer he did. My fantasy novel, The Spirit Thief, complete at 75,000 words, is about what happens when magic, money, and a royal kidnapping gone wrong change the rules in the old game of cat and cat.

When Eli talks his way out of jail

[Eli: Guard!

Guard: What now?

Eli: Funniest thing. You're not gonna believe this, but . . . I'm innocent.

Guard: You're right, I don't . . . Hey, what's your cell door doing off its hinges?]

and steals the king of Mellinor, [Actually, we have a special word for stealing a person.] a country that has forbidden magic since its founding, there's nothing the nobles can do. [Well, they could send their armies after Eli, but his fast-talking skills would easily thwart them.

General: We've found you at last, Eli. Turn over our king or die.

Eli: Funniest thing. He escaped days ago. He should be back in Melanoma by now.

General: I don't want to believe you, but you're so damn charming.]

Fortunately for them, Miranda arrives right on Eli's heels. She offers to rescue the king, and catch Eli in the process, [Isn't catching Eli impossible? I know I heard that somewhere.] if Mellinor will rethink its ban on wizards. The nobles reluctantly agree, and Miranda begins the dangerous business of tracking down the self-proclaimed "greatest thief in the world." [Begins? I thought she was already tracking him down. Remember? To keep him from ruining the reputation of wizards everywhere?] But things get complicated when the kidnapped king's older brother, Renaud, himself a wizard banished by Mellinor's law, takes advantage of the confusion to make his triumphant return. Happy to have any prince, wizard or no, the nobles rush to follow his orders, but Miranda is suspicious. Can a banished prince really be willing to [Would a banished prince] stick his neck out for the younger brother who took his throne?

She gets her answer when Renaud sabotages the king's rescue, cheating Eli out of his ransom money and framing Miranda for the true king's death. [The true king? Isn't the true king the kidnapped younger brother? Since when is he dead?] To clear her name, and get out of the country alive, Miranda has to face the traitorous prince. But Renaud proves to be a more powerful wizard than she suspected, and it soon becomes clear she's going to need help. Unfortunately, "help" means swallowing her pride and teaming up with the thief who started this whole mess. But even Miranda and Eli together might not be enough to stop the plan Renaud has been hatching since he lost his birthright, and the price of failure could be much higher than Mellinor's throne. [The price of failure is the key. It's your query's Maltese Falcon. Its Ring of Power. Excalibur. The Grail . . . What is it?]

(Closing comments specific to each agent – not to exceed 25 words),

Thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you soon,

Sincerely,


Revised Version

In a world where magic is as much about fast talking as raw power, Eli Monpress is a wizard who can charm a door off its hinges. He's also the age's most famous thief, but that's not enough for Eli; he vows to earn a bounty of one million gold, or die trying. When Eli talks his way out of jail and kidnaps the king of Mellinor, a country that has forbidden magic since its founding, there's nothing the nobles can do.

Enter Miranda Lyonet, a wizardess who arrives on Eli's heels. She offers to rescue the king and catch Eli in the process, if Mellinor will rethink its ban on wizards. But things get complicated when the kidnapped king's older brother Renaud, himself a wizard, takes advantage of the confusion to make his triumphant return. Miranda is suspicious. Would a banished prince really stick his neck out for the younger brother who took his throne?

She gets her answer when Renaud sabotages the king's rescue, cheating Eli out of his ransom and framing Miranda for the former king's death. To clear her name, Miranda must take on the traitorous prince, and for that she'll need help. Unfortunately, "help" means swallowing her pride and teaming up with the thief who started this whole mess--and the price of failure could be the universal destruction of Cocoa Puffs.

The Spirit Thief, complete at 75,000 words, is about what happens when magic, money, and a royal kidnapping gone wrong change the rules in the old game of cat and cat.

Thank you.


Notes

How come when a wizard kidnaps the king there's nothing the nobles can do, but when a wizardess is framed for killing the king, she can't get out of the country alive? Are wizards that much more powerful than wizardesses?

I recommend calling the kingdom Melanoma. It has a nice ring to it.

I liked the query, but it seemed too long for one page. The shorter version probably doesn't include the real price of failure, as I don't know it, but if it's something really terrible, you might want to work it in.

24 comments:

Katie said...

I'm intrigued by the plot and I like the changes suggested by EE. However, I would add one small request. Does Miranda have to be a "wizardESS"? The word "wizard" isn't necessarily masculine. It's a combination of wise and -ard. Think "drunkard", "coward" and "dullard." Something about the word "wizardess" really annoys me. Make Miranda a wizard.

Evil Editor said...

Too late, the book's been published. Perhaps if you think of wizard not as a wise ard, but as an occupation, then you'll be able to stomach wizardess as you do actress, priestess and editress.

fairyhedgehog said...

These days I would use actor, priest and editor about women as well as men. Gender really is irrelevant to doing a good job!

Very naughty of all these published authors not to let you know how well they've done - but how hugely successful this blog has been at helping people get published!

Evil Editor said...

Hey, I was joking. There's no such word as editress; I made it up. And "priestess" is more commonly applied to voodoo and witchcraft and enemies of Conan the Barbarian than to women who are priests. As for "actress," until ultra-liberal Hollywood eliminates the Academy Awards for best actress and best supporting actress, we must assume that many women at the top of this profession don't mind being called actresses.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Can you imagine them changing the categories to "Best Actor - Male" and "Best Actor - Female"?


I prefer actor to actress, but some things may never change. It's that whole institutionalization process. There's a bunch of organizations who have older terms in their name, but they're not going to modernize their names.

And I thought it was editrix. Brings up a very different picture in my head though.

Love this classic look back. Very, very funny.

Dave Fragments said...

Triple congratulations are in order: congrats, congrats, congrats and best luck on more volumes.

BuffySquirrel said...

Yeah, because the actors totally control what the Oscars do, just as the tennis players control the fact that they're paid less than the men. Right.

Evil Editor said...

Not that tennis prize money is in any way related to whether women prefer to be called actresses or actors, but the prize money for the women and men in all the major tennis tournaments is equal, and I assume it was the women who lobbied to make it so.

BuffySquirrel said...

huh, my tennis knowledge must be out of date

Anonymous said...

Hey, never let the facts get in the way of a good rant.

Anonymous said...

Why don't the female tennis players lobby to pool the prize money and play against the men?

Fomi said...

Thank you for mentioning me! :) Actually, I looked up the title on the Internet because I actually liked the plot (though EE's changes could have made it better... A LOT!) That's it, I'm a sucker for twisted, hard-to-follow, nonsensical fantasy novels...

I have a question. I'm not English, but I have a nearly complete novel written in my native language. May I send EE an imaginary query (and be happy if you make fun of me - it'll sure help me!)

Evil Editor said...

We take queries for anything.

Evil Editor said...

I don't know why tennis is still coming up when it has nothing to do with the query, but the link provided supports my claim 100%. Nothing in it says that any major tournament pays less to women than to men.

no-bull-steve said...

Rut roh. I just checked *MY* acknowledgements and um...the paragraphs I extolled lavish praise on EE and my fellow minions was deleted!

I seriously thank you all. I'll make it "official" next book.

As for this, I don't suppose "Congrats" are in order since if she's not going to come back to report success, she's unlikely to now. If so...congrats!

The Amazon pitch rocks.

no-bull-steve said...

Oh - love the Sunday Classics. I'll have to make it a habit to get here sooner!

BuffySquirrel said...

Nobody's arguing with you EE. The situation has obviously changed since I last paid attention, because at one time the women at Wimbledon at least were definitely being paid less than the men. it was An Issue.

women playing the men would probably be even more boring than the men's game has become. oh look it's an ace. oh look it's an ace. oh look it's an ace. *audience goes to sleep*

ril said...

Wouldn't it be nice if the authors of these published works would share with us the queries that acutally snagged them an agent/publisher...?

troublemaker said...

women playing the men would probably be even more boring than the men's game has become. oh look it's an ace. oh look it's an ace. oh look it's an ace. *audience goes to sleep*

Eh. So you're saying the men play that much better than the women? Maybe they should be paid more, then? Eh.

Adele said...

That's quite a plot for 75,000 words. I'm wondering - how many words was it once it was published?

just wondering

Phoenix Sullivan said...

I assume it was the women who lobbied to make it so.

It would have been funnier without the "i" in "lobbied."

Ooh, I like "editrix!"

And, EE, gotta say that was a decent rewrite. You were pretty good back in the day ...

BuffySquirrel said...

heh, no, troublemaker, i think i was indicating pretty clearly that i think the men's game is inferior. but the men are stronger and if few men can return their aces, i'm betting even fewer women can....

troublemaker said...

Well, crap -- I have to pay more for stronger coffee.

batgirl said...

ril - the author does that very thing on her blog here:
http://magicdistrict.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/the-one-that-worked/