Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Guess the Plot
1. Katie's mom finds work at Coyote Ranch, Nevada's hottest new bordello/sex theme park. That means Katie, 13, gets to spend the summer across the highway at Camp Coyote. Sounds like a blast--until she discovers it's not a summer camp, it's a training center.
2. Cecil Coyote has impeccable taste in home decor, wine, and cuisine, and a fabulous wardrobe. And he's very quick with a witty put-down when judging at the annual road-runner cook-off. Or would be, if any of his colleagues could just catch one of those damned birds.
3. Coyotes aren't the problem; the werewolves can keep the coyote population down. No, the problem is that Jo Redfox's mother has vanished and the only person who can find her won't--unless Jo lets him screw her on the hood of her truck. Hey, that's life, at . . . Camp Coyote.
4. Fourteen year old Beth hates her parents for sending her to summer camp. And she hates them even more when insane camp leader 'Gizzard' informs the kids that only one of them will make it out of Camp Coyote alive.
5. When the coyotes who gave their beloved summer camp its name disappear, pint sized sleuths Harry, Maddie, and Alejandro know there's dirty work afoot. Still, they weren't expecting international jewel thieves.
6. The 100% true story* of Ennis Delaforte, who ran away from home at age ten and integrated himself into a family of coyotes, with whom he lived in urban Chicago for 16 months.
*Story not actually true.
Dear Evil Editor,
Jo Redfox liked stargazing before she realized the Stars gazing back were alive. And giving her the finger.
Three months ago the fun in Jo’s life vanished with the dying Seer she called ‘Mom’. Every minute Jo spends searching, [Comma not needed.] is one more minute she misses in what is left of her mother’s life. [What's your point? She should stop searching?] [I can't tell if she's searching for the dying Seer who vanished, or for her real mother, who gave her up or ditched her long ago. If the person referred to as her mother is the same as "the dying Seer she called Mom," just call her mother both times instead of confusing us: The joy in Jo Redfox's life ended when her dying mother vanished. We don't need to know in the query that the Seer isn't Jo's biological mother. If she isn't.] So she has no time for eviction notices, or being arrested for failure to obey them.
John Casteel – aka the Asshole who had her (accidentally) [Explain that word or delete it.] evicted - wants to help. John is good at two things – finding what doesn’t want to be found. And what he wants to do with Jo on the hood of her truck. [I think most women would agree, if a guy claims to be a good lover, and insists on doing it on the hood of a truck, he's a liar and a loser.] [Once you declare there are two things, I expect both of them to be named in the same sentence unless you number them. Thus I'd change the period after "found" to a comma or semicolon.]
But Jo knows better than to hop into bed with the first hot guy to bail her out. [Bail her out of jail? There won't be a second and third guy to bail her out of jail, so why refer to John as the "first"?] First, he’s a Regular. [What is a Regular? Why is it capitalized? The impression I get is that he's a regular customer, and Jo's a prostitute. Possibly that's not what you're going for.] Second, her best friends are a lethal Werewolf Pack ["Lethal" is a word better applied to a werewolf bite than a werewolf pack. You want something like "ruthless" or "savage."] known as the Scythe. And Shifters from the sticks don’t like outsiders much.
Third, a Pre-Cog still has the advantage at Cosmic Hide and Seek, even over ex-marines. [The three items on that list are impressively consistent in their ambiguity.] Jo’d love to ease her worries on his military-honed body, but with the Stars above against her, she can’t take any chances. [What are her worries, and why would she love to ease them on the body of someone she considers an Asshole? And why was "Asshole" capitalized?] [Like screwing on the hood of a truck, capitalizing words that aren't normally capitalized gets old if you do it too much.]
Random post-its are Jo’s only clues to what happened to her mom. The first note said 'start here', the second 'stay put'. [Doesn't the person writing the notes know enough to capitalize the first word of a sentence?] [Why are the notes described as "random"? What's random about them? Did you mean "cryptic"? "Anonymous?" How does she know those notes have anything to do with her mother?] The third told her tall, dark and deadly lurked in her back yard.
Jo doesn’t scare easy so until she finds a note saying, “Goodbye” nothing’s stopping Jo from finding her mom.
Wait. Was the tall, dark and deadly on the last note plural?
Maybe John watching her back wouldn’t be so bad. [I'd rather have my best friends, the Scythe, watching my back than the Asshole.] [It would be amusing if the character were never named, and were referred to exclusively as the Asshole, in both the query and the book.]
CAMP COYOTE is a 120,000 word paranormal romance set in West Virginia's New River Gorge and my debut novel.
Thank you for your time.
I note that there's no mention of a camp or of coyotes in the query.
This many paragraphs on one page will be a problem if you're skipping lines between paragraphs. Try to get the body of the letter down to five paragraphs.
I don't know why the Asshole is in the query. You claim he's good at finding what doesn't want to be found, but there's no evidence that he's helping with the search.
I worry that I don't have the characters straight. I'm guessing the Seer and the Pre-Cog and the mother are all the same person? John, the Asshole, the Regular, the outsider and the ex-marine are all the same guy? Jo's best friends, the Werewolf Pack, the Scythe, and Shifters from the sticks all refer to the same characters? That's a dozen names for two individuals and one group.
Capitalizing "Seer" indicates that it's a special name for certain people. So we don't need another special name for the same people. In Minority Report "precog" isn't capitalized, and there are only three of them.
What are the Stars? Living Gods? Do they make an appearance in the book?
I find the whole thing unnecessarily confusing. I can appreciate the attempt to inject voice, but not at the expense of clarity. Part of the problem is the last sentence of each paragraph. Occasionally it's nice if the last sentence ties the ideas together, but all these last sentences leave me thinking, Huh?
Start over, dump the first paragraph, and focus on Jo's goals and problems. Her goal is to find her mother. Is there someone who doesn't want her to accomplish her goal? If so, who and why? If not, is there a villain? Is the villain forcing mom to foretell the future?