Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Guess the Plot
1. A beautiful princess is woken by a kiss from her handsome prince but all she wants to do is catch a few more years.
2. It's only two weeks till the big event of the year - Katie Rossi's slumber party. But a mysterious sleeping sickness is sweeping the school and kids are dropping like drowsy drosophila. Maybe Katie shouldn't have chased those fairies off her poppy garden.
3. Grant, Sevars and Tony are in a 60's folk band stuck in the Summer of Love. Trouble is, they're vampires--and while neither they nor their music may have aged, the same can't be said of the fans. Also, lots of panty-tossing Boomers.
4. In a wonderful land called Slumber, which she visits when she's asleep, Kate Isley meets her identical twin. Kate's life has been sucky lately, so she agrees to switch places with her twin for a while and stay in Slumber. But the twin turns out to be a ruthless murderer. And guess who's gonna get the blame? Also, a bird-watching gas station clerk.
5. 17-year-old Rafer Winslow awakens after 200 years, in a future where global warming has literally fried everyone's DNA so they are incapable of sleep and must "relax" wide awake with the assistance of dangerous drugs. Scientists are the hunters, Rafer is the target, and every 16 hours he has to find a secure place to hide so he won't be captured while he sleeps.
6. When Kelly McKinney, spokesmodel for the Sit & Sleep chain of mattress superstores is found headless and stuffed into a pink Laz-E-Boy, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: the security guards were asleep on the job, and maybe it's time to get him & his wife one of those fancy tempopedic mattresses.
Dear Evil Editor:
Seventeen-year-old Kate Isley can't sleep. Haunted by the car accident that killed her old brother a year ago [Come on, he couldn't have been that old.] and left her scarred, her only comfort stems from a bird-watching gas station clerk and a bottle of whiskey. Until her mysterious therapist places her under hypnosis.
Once hypnotized, Kate gains access to the land of Slumber, a vivid dream world where her brother is alive, [she's married to the bird-watching gas station clerk,] her runaway father is home, and her scars are gone. Everything is perfect again...if only the buzzing of the alarm clock didn't yank her back to reality each morning. But when Kate meets Lilia, a girl who appears identical to Kate in the dream world, she's offered an opportunity to escape her crumbling life.
The deal: Kate would live in Slumber while Lilia would awaken to reality. Thinking the switch will be temporary, Kate chooses to live in the dream, where she's free from her guilt over what happened the night her brother died. But as Kate's forced to watch Lilia take over her real life, she soon discovers Lilia isn't the sweet girl she presented herself to be. Lilia will do anything to get what she wants, including murder.
Kate's dream quickly turns into a nightmare. She must warn those she loves about her replacement before it's too late. But how can she reach them when she's trapped inside her own subconscious? [Enter . . . the parrot. Turns out birds have access to both worlds, so Kate sends a parrot to tell the bird-watching gas station clerk that her evil twin Lilia plans to pour whiskey all over a gasoline pump and toss a match onto it. But will the bird-watching gas station clerk believe the parrot's incredible tale, or will he just find it an amusing novelty act?]
There are two sides to every dream... [If you're going to make that line a full paragraph, I suggest making it the first paragraph. That seems to be the standard place to put vague hook statements.]
Slumber is a YA psychological thriller complete at 55,000 words. Think Black Swan meets Inception for teenagers. [I have a feeling if I tried to think of that my head would explode. Can't we just say it's like the His Dark Materials trilogy?] My short stories have appeared in Monkeybicycle, Staccato Fiction, Word Riot, and Pank. I currently work in the publishing industry. [As what? Better to say nothing than to say something so vague it sounds like you're hiding the fact that you're the janitor at a greeting card manufacturer.] May I send a partial or full manuscript?
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Lilia will do anything to get what she wants, including murder. But what is it she wants? That seems like a vitally important point to include.
The story idea sounds like a winner. The query seems a little long. We can eliminate the movie titles, at least one of the one-sentence paragraphs, the bottle of whiskey, and, alas, the bird-watching gas station clerk.
Calling the therapist "mysterious" leads us to ask a question you don't answer. For purposes of the query, maybe we should just say that she's haunted by the accident and sees a hypnotherapist. We don't need to suspect that there's something mysterious about the therapist.
So Kate thought the deal was that she would spend all of her time in Slumber until she got past her guilt feelings, and then would switch back with Lilia? But the deal turns out to be that she spends only her sleeping hours in Slumber--which she was already doing--and her waking hours are still spent in the real world, except that Lilia has control of her body? Actually, it's a better deal this way, because Kate knows what's going on and can try to stop it. If she spent three months exclusively in Slumber and then returned, she might find herself on death row. And the claim that her evil twin killed all those people probably wouldn't fly.