Saturday, July 13, 2013

Evil Editor Classics

Guess the Plot

Short Timer

1. The dynamite set, Eleanor Priddle ponders the meaning of life in her remaining two seconds.

2. It is Garrett McCarthy's lifelong dream to be an official timekeeper for the Olympic marathon, and he is determined not to let his dwarfism keep him from achieving it.

3. The story of Sid Charles, sentenced to three to five years for armed robbery, whose records get mixed with those of a death row prisoner.

4. Detective Grant has only a short time before retirement when the biggest case of his career falls into his lap--someone has murdered the Loch Ness monster.

5. Celebrity chef Drake Cutter accidentally uncovers a scheme to assassinate the first female U.S. President. Can he and his sexy sous-chef save the President, armed only with a creme brulee torch and an egg timer?

6. She's a six-foot-six center in the WNBA. He's the home team's five-foot tall clock manager with a giant crush. Will he fudge the timekeeping of the championship game to win her love?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Detective Sergeant George Grant just wanted to mark time for ten more days. He and the Missus had a nice little Guest House all picked out for their retirement. The last thing he wanted for his final case was the murder of the century. [Murder of the century? Who's the victim? A movie star? A senator? The Pope?]

An elephant-sized reptilian carcass with flippers and a long tail has washed up on the banks of the Loch at Inverness. And its head is missing. [The victim in the murder of the century is a fish?] [How do they know it didn't die of natural causes, wash ashore, and then someone cut off its head?]

Trapped in a media frenzy, DS Grant is as shocked as TV viewers the world over to discover that the creature is not a hoax. Every byline in the literate world shares the same lead: Where is the head of the Loch Ness Monster?

[Open up. Police.
Yes, what is it officer?
We have a warrant to search the premises, ma'am.
Goodness. What are you looking for?
The severed head of the Loch Ness monster.]

The mystery will lead DS Grant to Veterinarian Gwynneth McInnes. Her doctor, and the police, dismissed her semi-conscious ramblings about being abducted by an elderly local bridge club as a product of her recent concussion. But Dr. McInnes’ story is supported by one crucial bit of evidence: DNA at the bridge club’s hostess’ house matches the creature.

[Gwynneth: I was abducted by some bridge players.
Officer #1: We don't believe you. If only you had proof.
Officer #2 (bursting into room): Joe, DNA from the Loch Ness monster has just turned up.
Officer#1: Where?
Officer#2: In the home of a bridge player.
Officer #1: Hmm. Possibly a coincidence.]

[It's obvious what's going on. The elderly bridge players caught the Loch Ness monster and were keeping it in the hostess's swimming pool. After the monster ate the pool boy and three neighbors, they decided people would get suspicious, so they abducted the veterinarian, drugged her, and forced her to sever the head of the monster. They then dumped the carcass in the Loch, and are keeping the head alive in a hot tub, in hopes of attaching it to the body of a more manageable animal: a giant panda.]

[The police find a concussed veterinarian who claims she was abducted by a bridge club. They dismiss her ramblings. Yet they go to the home of one of the bridge players and collect DNA evidence? And just for the heck of it, they compare it to the DNA of the Loch Ness Monster? You need to explain why they think there's a connection between the missing head and the vet.]

The angry American-√©migr√© daughter of one of the elderly card sharps cannot account for her whereabouts on the night of the “murder.” [They know when the carcass washed ashore; do they also know the day and time it was "murdered?"] [Technically, killing the Loch Ness monster isn't murder, even if you put quotation marks around it.] If DS Grant can discover the motive for this bizarre act of mother-daughter rebellion, [What bizarre act of mother-daughter rebellion? All you've said is that the daughter couldn't account for her whereabouts at whatever time they think the monster's head was cut off.] he will solve the highest-rated TV news mystery of all time, locate the head of the monster, and unveil the face that has frustrated and fascinated conspiracy theorists and novelty-hunters for hundreds of years. [Actually, if you Google Loch Ness Monster and click "images" you'll find many photographs of Nessie. My favorite:


Short Timer is a completed 90,000 word speculative murder mystery, and my first novel. I am ready to work as hard as necessary to build a platform. A partial or full is ready. Thank you for your attention.



Much of the plot seems improbable, but we'll trust the author to have logical explanations for everything in the book. Those plot points that cry out for explanations in the query are often best left out of the query if those explanations aren't included.

Selected Comments

Anonymous said...This mystery is off-beat enough that I'd probably read it. (I agree that it does need an actual murder at some point, though.)

Anonymous said...A mystery this wacky needs a better title than "Short Timer." Like "Who Killed the Loch Ness Monster?"

Jenna Black said...I like Where is the Head of the Loch Ness Monster? as a title. Yes, it's long, but it's attention grabbing. Short Timer is way too bland for such a quirky story.

Yoyogod said...It sounds like it might be interesting, but you might want to do a little more research on Nessie and related subjects. Then you might learn that:

conspiracy theorists=People who think the government killed JFK.

cryptozoologists=People who chase after Nessie, Bigfoot, and other cryptids (hidden animals).

DrJSA said...I'd pick it up for the off-beat factor, though agree with the posters who've suggested a new title.
My niggle is the 'DNA evidence,' insomuch as matching the two samples would most likely require specific knowledge of Loch Ness monster DNA. If they've just discovered the first sample (the carcass), then I highly doubt enough research has been done on the beastie's DNA that a conclusive match could be made with the second sample (blood from the bridge club hostess) in what sounds like a relatively short timeframe.

I'd suggest the author have them find a different sort of evidence at the bridge club hostess's house, rather than invoking the Holy (and surprisingly limited) Power of DNA Analysis.

BuffySquirrel said...Erm, with regard to the dead monster and its severed head...what crime are the police investigating, exactly?

Daisy said...I agree on the DNA thing. In order to do that kind of analysis you need to start with some knowledge of the sequence, you can't just hold up two samples of DNA and say, "yep, these match".

Zombie Deathfish said...An actual Zombie Deathfish? My niche has been usurped by a headless pleisosaur. *sob*

acd said...How useful is the head of Nessie really going to be? It'll give you clues on how the creature sounded and what it ate, but you can get the latter from the stomach contents. I have a feeling that even half a carcass would be enough to, say, match it to an Ichthyosaur, and probably the number of vertebrae and size/orientation of fin bones would suffice to solve the mystery of what it is. The best reason to find the head is that soon it's going to start to stink.

Do you have cryptid- or dinosaur-related credits?

December Quinn said...Totally agree, it sounds off-beat and fun, but needs a title to reflect that. I vote for "Who Killed the Loch Ness Monster?" or "Where is the Head of the Loch Ness Monster?"

If I were an agent/editor, I'd probably be really tempted to reuqest more based on the title alone.

Daphne Major said...Fun...quirky...I can see a national examiner type cover...Big flashy headline of a title...Headless Monster Washes Ashore...

(can you add anything about a vampire cat? or an apparition of the virgin mary?)

Alison S said...And "veterinarian" is a US term. If Gwynneth is a British (or Welsh-Scottish, judging from her name) vet, then she'll be a vet or a veterinary surgeon (like me..)

McKoala said...Also in the interests of authenticity I've never heard Loch Ness described as the Loch at Inverness, mainly because it isn't at Inverness. 'the missus' is a very English term, but maybe he is an English detective.

Anonymous knows she needs a title said...Thank you, all. "quirky," "fun," "off-beat," -- you got it.

Thank you for the specifications, as well. Like the chimps in Will Self's Great Apes, or the werewolf in American Werewolf in London or some of the phenomena in some of the stand-alone episodes of X-Files, Nessie is there as a trope. She is neither a fang-toothed killer, nor does the story care to examine theories of pelagic morphology (folderol!). It's really a story about what makes mysteries so necessary.

mckoala: yes, and kinda

A local place conversation might sound like,

"on the loch."
"At Drumnadrochit"
"At the inver."

The open Loch proper does not touch Inverness, no. That is where the Great Glen police office is, and it is at a point just south-west of the Ness Castle Hotel on the River (Ness) where she actually turns up, indicating she had somehow moved against the current for several miles.

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