Thursday, August 04, 2011
Guess the Plot
1. A jar of blueberry jelly endures the boredom of shelf life until office worker Maria remembers the hapless jar. The action kicks into high gear when Maria drops the jar and it flees, gleefully rolling out the door, unaware it's leaving a vivid blue trail of goo.
2. After taking a tranquilizer dart to the neck and waking up in the corporate offices of the galaxy's top "preserve," where Rice Krispy treats are handed out by the ton, Toby fears he's to be a zoo attraction. But an alien named Freddie arrives and explains that this tourist trap is no zoo; it's a hunting ground. And Toby's the game!
3. Civilization has collapsed, thank God, and it's back to nature for the human race. Here and there a few people cling to the old ways in decaying networks of cubicles called "office preserves". But how long can they defend themselves against grizzly bears, feral humans, and tigers with a helluva grudge?
4. Everybody accepts sweet Donna Mae's gifts of strawberry preserves. She has hundreds of the jars lining her cubicles. But when coworkers actually open and taste the stuff, they suddenly realize what's become of all those missing temp workers.
5. 2125, Chicago. After the alien overlords from Beta Centauri have conquered man, they keep human zoos for educational purposes. The Sears Tower holds the most famous zoo of all: the Office Preserve, where Homo Nerdis can be seen in their native glory. Also, nerd sex.
6. After the Zombie Non-Discrimination Act passes, Oliver Penworth sees an opportunity to expand his formaldehyde trade. But when he hires a few of the undead, he learns valuable lessons about tolerance, respect, and proper ventilation in the workplace.
Dear Evil Editor,
Toby’s trip to the zoo abruptly ends when he catches a tranquilizer dart in the neck. He awakens in the corporate lobby of Preser Tech, a place where Rice Krispy Treats are handed out by the metric ton, [To whom? Superman? Can anyone else even lift a metric ton?] secretaries are passed around like candy, and the CEO is an alien named Freddie who eagerly welcomes Toby to his new life – life in one of the galaxy’s best preserves.
Despite the alien’s sales pitch, Toby has no intentions of spending the rest of his life as a tourist attraction, upcoming season or not. [Not clear what "upcoming season or not" means.] What Toby doesn’t plan into his escape are the facts that the food is drugged, his coworkers are insane, [Why does he need to plan these things into his escape?] and his new secretary, [Did he have an old secretary?] Clarice, is obsessed with cutting out his eyes. All of that, however, pales in comparison when he discovers that conservation isn’t what this preserve is for; it’s for hunting. [Pales in comparison for him, maybe, but I'd rather keep my eyes and be hunted than have my eyes cut out and work in an office.]
Toby gets a crash course in survival while Freddie and his loyal patrons go on safari. To Toby’s dismay, he discovers that the only person who might know a way out of this place is his psychotic, knife-wielding assistant. Worst of all, he realizes, if he can’t find a way to placate her soon and pry [out] her secrets, life on the preserve is going to be a lot shorter than he ever intended. [He never intended life on the preserve to be any length, as he didn't intend to be there.] [Does the crash course in survival involve being hunted on this safari, or is he being trained to be the hunted on a future safari?]
OFFICE PRESERVES is complete at 75,000 words. [Bio]
Thank you for you time and consideration,
If Toby is essentially a prisoner, as suggested by his planning an escape, then why is he given a sales pitch? What are they selling him on?
I also don't get why he has coworkers and a secretary. What work is he doing? If they tell me that tomorrow I'm to be the prey in a hunt, but today they need me to file some reports, I'm not gonna be highly motivated.
Is this set on Earth, or has Toby been whisked to another planet?
We need to know how old Toby is and who your intended audience is. The plot sounds like middle grade, what with silly touches like Rice Krispy treats and an alien named Freddie. But if Toby's a kid, why does he need a secretary? And I wouldn't expect a kid's book to use the phrase "where secretaries are passed around like candy."
There are too many details that aren't important to the plot. I can appreciate wanting to show humor to set this apart from the many non-comedic stories in which man is hunted for sport, but start by summarizing the main plot (Toby's predicament and what he plans to do about it) with a logical progression of events. Later, if you have room, you can work in a few examples of humor.