Thursday, March 22, 2012
Guess the Plot
1. A wafer of unleavened bread drifts in interstellar space, while the long-dead astronauts who would have eaten it moulder in their own soluble fats.
2. A parrot and a police inspector form an unlikely pair as they hunt the man who killed the bird’s owner and cracked his safe. But the killer has other plans for the feathered witness.
3. Xavier thought he was finished with crime. But when the local loan shark comes after his kid brother, Xavier will have to put his gifted fingers to work one last time. But can even he crack the TL30X6 Elite?
4. The search for a cracker that doesn't contain partially hydrogenated soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, or even "evaporated cane juice" takes Freida Freelander to the wilds of Inner Mongolia, where she finds love with a yak herder. But still no safe crackers.
5. Zach's regular job is cracking convenience store safes. But now Harry, his partner in crime, wants to move up to high-end targets like jewelry stores. Zach would rather quit his job and become a famous artist. But is it really any easier to make a living in the high-end art world?
6. With all the unavoidable hazardous chemicals and genetically mutated garbage they put in snacks these days, Stan hopes to make a killing by marketing his gentle variety of wholly harmless crisp salty thin biscuits. He plans to decorate the box with inoffensive jokes, and enclose in each package an innocuous pyrotechnic device.
Zach Dixon would like to quit his regular job. Cracking safes is beginning to get a little old. [All jobs get a little old when you do them forty hours a week. I would expect a safecracker to have a shorter work week, however.] But his partner and self-titled manager Harry [Nice arrangement. Zach gets the money out of the safes and Harry manages things.] has other ideas: he’s working on getting himself and Zach into Mitch Danaher’s gang. Going from convenience stores to high-end mansions and jewelry stores would be quite a lucrative accomplishment, and Harry is sure they can do it. [I don't see why they need to be in Mitch's gang to rob mansions. One or two guys can claim to be checking the gas main or the cable. It looks more suspicious if a whole gang shows up at a mansion.]
Zach isn’t sure that he wants to do it. His hobby is painting, and he recently met an art dealer who loves his work and might be able to make him famous. Besides, Danaher’s boys play much rougher than pacifist Zach likes. He starts looking for a way out. [The trouble with being a pacifist convenience store robber is that often the people who work in convenience stores aren't pacifists.]
He’s heard the only way out of the Big Leagues is through the morgue. Dying is really low on his agenda right now. But so is betraying Harry, and it’s starting to look as if the only way to quit is to betray Harry and as many of the gang as possible. [He's not betraying the gang if he hasn't joined it. Has he?]
P.S. I beg, I plead, I implore you (or anyone!) for a decent title!
The whole thing is just setting up the situation. If you condense the setup to:
Zach Dixon and his partner Harry make their living robbing convenience store safes. But now Harry wants to graduate to high-end targets like jewelry stores and mansions, while Zach wants to quit the business and become an artist. He's even found an art dealer who loves his work.
. . . there'll be plenty of room to tell us what actually happens in the book. Do they join the gang? Participate in a big heist? What goes wrong? Does the gang target the art dealer's mansion? Give us some of the plot, preferably something that makes this different from all the movies in which the guy who wants to go straight gets stuck working one last heist.
Whether you like your title or not, I assume you know it should be included in the query, along with the word count. "Safecracker" is a word, even if Blogger doesn't think so, so you don't need the hyphen or a space. I don't hate it as a title if Zach is cracking safes throughout the book. If he's a safecracker for three chapters and spends the rest of the book making his way as an artist, however... Hey, has anyone else used The Artist as a title?