Monday, September 12, 2011
Guess the Plot
1. Raels travels from Australia to attend college, and meets other travelers. But these travelers become obsessed with her. Two of them just want to get her in the sack, but one of them wants her dead, because she's a danger to all of . . . the Travelers.
2. Some of the gods hang out in heavenly Olympus. Others are Travelers who roam the universe and make occasional visits to our world to cause trouble, get laid, do battle, whatever. This is their story according to a talking Liverpool cat who was formerly Prime Minister of England.
3. Take one map, one car, a girl with no sense of direction, a mysterious hitchhiker and toss out the map. Wherever The Travelers go, trouble and romance follow.
4. When Mark and Mason Colbert, the twin singers who founded the 60's folk group "The Travelers", are found stuffed together in an antique steamer trunk, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: someone took the group's old song "Bound Together" a little too literally; and he'll be stuck dealing with aged hippies all weekend.
5. A scrappy band of exiles from planet Zora-nai agree to transport land-dwellers infected with the Red Plague across hostile skies to quarantine in exchange for a full reprieve. But the Plague looks curiously like political dissent, and reprieve looks less and less tempting.
6. Mo, Dixie and their week-old daughter Sunsprout hop a Greyhound from Utica, New York to Seattle, Washington. But when they get off in Billings, Montana to buy diapers, they find themselves mistaken for spies who've come to trade Soviet-era nuclear weapons for gold stolen from Fort Knox.
I am seeking representation for my 100,000-word young adult paranormal novel, The Travelers, a story about an Australian girl who discovers a link between two handsome students and ghost stories in her college town.
When 18-year old Raels starts her freshman year at Algonquin University, strange things happen from the moment she steps off the train. A shockingly attractive stranger guides her to her dormitory, then vanishes in mid-air. [Was he/she in midair during the entire trip to the dormitory? Because if someone hovering in midair offered to guide me somewhere, I'd hail a cab.] [There are enough attractive people in the world that I doubt it would be shocking to encounter one.] Dark shapes seem to follow her through the forest when she goes jogging. [I thought this was a list of strange things that happened as soon as she stepped off the train. Why is she jogging through a forest?] The mystery turns sinister [What is the mystery?] one night when she witnesses a woman pushing a man off of Ulysses Tower—but when she peers over the edge, there’s no body below. [He vanished in midair. Happens a lot in this place.] [Isn't it odd for a freshman girl to be on top of a tower at night? That sounds more like a sophomore guy thing.]
Masquerading as PhD students, Zane and Severin are actually members of an elite group of djinn who sojourn in the human world. They call themselves Travelers. Witty, sly, charismatic and cruel, Zane thinks he has seen it all before. Aloof and quietly observant, Severin is Zane’s protégé. [I'd dump these adjective lists and focus on what happens.] But neither knows what to make of Raels, a human who has an aura almost like the djinn. Zane and Severin's friendship is put to the test when they both start pursuing her.
Like _Twilight_ or Becca Fitzpatrick’s_ Hush Hush_, this [book could be a huge moneymaker, possibly for you. It] is a story about [You already said what it was a story about in the first paragraph. Choose the description you like best and live with it.] an ordinary girl [I don't think a girl with a djinnish aura qualifies as ordinary.] who discovers around her a hidden world of powerful, attractive, and sometimes dangerous creatures. There is a mystery to unravel: who are these beautiful men with pale eyes, and what are their designs on the girl? And there is also an unfolding romance, one which is threatened when an unknown Traveler decides that Raels is a danger to all djinn.
The novel’s fictional college town is based on Princeton University, where I studied [and first encountered Travelers hovering in midair]. [And here I thought it was based on Algonquin College, in Ottawa. This is like saying it's set at fictional Harvard, based on Yale. Sort of.] I currently teach anthropology at a university in Australia and I am the author of an award-winning nonfiction book published by University of Texas Press. Unfortunately, this may not be of much help in marketing the novel [But it will help when they're making the movie trailer: From the producer of The Hangover and the director of Lord of the Rings and the writer of The Archaeology and Anthropology of Aboriginal Society comes . . . ] since the overlap between readers of ethnography and paranormal genre fiction is not huge (if the snickers of my colleagues are anything to go by), [Your colleagues are idiots. Paranormal fans are into vampires, wolfmen, zombies and Bulgarians, four of the leading ethnography . . . things.] but I will shamelessly promote the book amongst the 1000+ students I teach every year [Welcome to Anthropology 101. The three textbooks for this class will be Introduction to Cultural Anthropology, The Human Species: a New Perspective, and The Travelers.] [You claim you teach 1000+ students about Anthropology every year? Maybe fiction is the right field for you.] with promises of extra credit for anyone who reviews it on Goodreads.com. [Do they have to read it or just review it?] ["I gave your fucking Travelers five stars on Goodreads! And you give me a C?!! WTF?"]
Thanks for your time and consideration. Enclosed are a short synopsis and the first three chapters. Please let me know if you would like to review the full manuscript.
Once you've set up the situation, you lapse into listiness and vagueness. What's the story? What happens? Who is Raels (really), what danger is she in, what is she gonna do about it, and what happens if she fails? Don't describe the book's aura; tell the story.