Saturday, November 23, 2013
Evil Editor Classics
Guess the Plot
1. It's the same old Prodigal Son story, only this time the hero is gay and seeking acceptance from his black redneck family and it's about as naked a play for Literary Merit as you can make.
2. It says buy 1 tin of sardines, get 111 free. Don't give her any lip about misprints. Even if Ethel has to get her bumbling hitman grandson to whack everyone at Rite-Mart, she is going to redeem this coupon!
3. Holy visions appearing in the sky. Miraculous cures. Global warming eliminated. Turns out, Satan's teenage daughter is going through a rebellious phase. But when her good deeds actually earn her a ticket to the Pearly Gates, can she win the cute angel's heart before Heaven changes its mind?
4. Bane is destined to become a demon. Rayleigh owns the world's only sanctuary-from-demons zone. They meet and fall in love. But can either of them survive in the other's world? Can Bane join his soul mate by finding . . . Redemption?
5. When Harry was 17, his girlfriend fell off a bridge and drowned because he didn't know how to swim and couldn't save her. Now a professional lifeguard, he spends his days soothing his haunted conscience, making sure it never happens to anyone else. But what will happen if his new girlfriend convinces him to try skydiving?
6. Crooked stock trader Perry Jones is being haunted by a word: Redemption. Billboards, magazines, websites, he sees it everywhere, and treats it as a series of disturbing deja vus--until wee critters with red eyes and pitchforks start dogging him, and his Monday morning cappuccino has 'Redemption' written in the foam.
Dear Evil Editor,
Reighlyn Anderson accepts the necessary dangers of loving Bane Thomas, even if with his cursed soul, he can’t promise her eternity. [The main problem with loving this guy is that even if it works out, he'll still be the Bane of her existence. Ba dum ching.]
When Bane Thomas learns of an Armistice Zone, [Once you've told us a character's first and last names, there's no need to use both again.] [Although in this case it does convince us that his name really is Bane Thomas and not Thomas Bane.] an area of land where Demons and The Fallen can do no harm, he knows it’s his one chance to protect his family. [This Zone better be the size of Asia, because there's gonna be six billion people trying to squeeze into it.] [Can you really trust demons to stay out of some arbitrarily designated zone? I'm sure when the idea of the Zone was proposed, the demons wouldn't have agreed unless . . .
Human Negotiator: Look, things aren't working out, we need a special zone where you guys aren't allowed to torment us.
Demon Negotiator: Yeah, right, the minute we agree to this zone, you'll all flock into it, and then who are we supposed to torment, cows?
Human: Whoa, you can't come in here.
Demon: Why not?
Human: It's the demon-free zone. Remember? You agreed to it.
Demon: Wait, you thought we were serious?]
While pursuing the land, he encounters a problem: [I assume he's seeking the land or en route to the land. "Pursuing" suggests the land is on the run.] Miss Reighlyn Anderson. In hopes of persuading her to sell, [To sell the Armistice Zone? She owns it? Seems to me that if two groups are agreeing to an Armistice Zone, they would choose land that they own, not Reighlyn Anderson's land.] Bane becomes the financial backer to her Crisis Center for Domestic Violence. While working with her he learns two things: selling is not in her vocabulary, and she’s undoubtedly penetrated his emotional wall of defense. [Can you come up with a less-clinical way of saying he's smitten?]
Unaware that her financial backer is also the despised developer after her land, Reighlyn soon realizes she’s falling for Bane, but determines there is something different about him after witnessing things beyond her explanation. [For instance, he has cloven hooves and his own private torture chamber.] Then, after revealing his special abilities during a crisis, [What special abilities? What crisis?] Bane’s compelled [Compelled by whom?] to tell her portions of his secret. [Which is that his soul is cursed? What portion of that does he tell her? Didn't she already know that in sentence 1?] Soon after, Reighlyn struggles with the discovery that Bane’s not only her financial backer, but much more: the developer after her land, and to her surprise, a direct descendant of The Watchers, cursed to become what he despises most: a demon. [If you put this part about becoming a demon up front, this paragraph will be down to: Unaware that her financial backer is also the developer after her land, Reighlyn soon realizes she’s falling for Bane. Soon after, Reighlyn struggles with the discovery that Bane’s not only her financial backer, but the developer after her land. At this point you realize that's a lot of wordy repetition and just delete it.]
They accept the necessary risks to be together, [Odd that I can so easily accept the existence of Watchers and Demons and a demon-free zone, but I find it hard to accept that a woman, upon discovering that the guy she's fallen for has been hiding the fact that he's the despised developer who's been trying to get her property, wouldn't toss him out on his ass.] but Bane fears he’s put her in more danger than he once believed possible when a punished demon arrives. [Are they together on her land, the Armistice Zone? If so, they're safe, right? If not, they're TSTL anyway.] Desperate to prevent his own sentencing, the demon attempts to create a gift for Satan. A gift of pure hate dwelling within Bane; hate so overwhelming he’ll beg to die, thus permitting Satan to capture him into servitude.
[Demon: Desperate to prevent my sentencing, I offer you the gift of a new servant: Bane Thomas.
Satan: Another servant? I got a billion servants already. I got a servant who massages my ass. I got a servant who wipes my ass. I got a servant who waxes my ass. Hell, my ass has more servants than the queen of England. You wanna give me a gift, find me some ice cream that doesn't melt in two seconds in this dump.]
The problem is, the demon plans on using Reighlyn’s death as the currency in which to purchase this gift. [I just knew some form of capitalism was the chosen economic system in hell.] Which leaves Bane on a race against time to rescue the one person he never thought could exist: his soul mate.
Redemption is a complete 93,000-word paranormal romance. I’d like to thank you for your time and your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Redemption is a popular title. Amazon lists over a half dozen books called Redemption. It was also the title of the books in Face-Lifts 690 and 643.
Who are the "family" Bane wants to protect by moving to the Zone? His parents and siblings? They're all descendants of the Watchers, right? Is he trying to protect them from himself? From demon hunters?
Is Bane the only person who knows Rayleigh's land is the Armistice Zone?
There's too much information here. Bane is destined to become a demon. Trying to buy the magical land where demons are benign, he falls in love with the landowner, Reighlyn. She loves him too, but when she sees him flying through the air with a glowing pitchfork she demands an explanation. (Romantic conflict.) He explains that he will become a demon unless he can live on her land. They move in together. (Conflict seemingly resolved.) Just when it looks like they'll live happily ever after, a demon shows up planning to kill Rayleigh to get in good with Satan. (Major obstacle that threatens happiness and expands word count by 20,000.) Focus on the romantic conflict and the obstacles. Leave out what's not essential to that.
Anonymous said...Interesting plot. Kind of a darker "You've Got Mail."
vkw said...EE's query is wonderful. Copy it and your done, and bonus, the book actually starts sounding interesting. May I suggest Keanu Reeves to play the dark, mysterious demon and Meg Ryan as the Reighlyn girl, in the movie?
"penetrated his emotional wall of defense." There ought to be an award for such long descriptive phrases whose meaning is basically ambigous.
Kings Falcon said...I didn't believe the "Geez you put me out of business and now I can forgive you for that and love you forever" in "You've Got Mail" either.
EE's comments are on point.
The first paragraph, which summarizes the story, caused me problems because you jumped back in time for the start of the second paragraph. Then when you pick up with Reighlyn later in the query, you start the story over again.
Also, it seems like you're trying to cram a fanasty query on top of a romance query. Pick one. If this is a fantasy with romantic elements, focus the fantasic elements. If it is a romance with fantasy elements, then query it as a romance and don't dwell on the fantasic. EE's suggested query is on the mark for a romance query.
Take a deep breath and try again. Writing the query is at least as hard, if not harder than writing the book.
batgirl said...What about Bane's family? He wants the Armistice Zone so he can protect his family, but then they vanish from the story. Are they demons too? Maybe cut that mention of family, since they don't do anything in the query except raise more questions.
The 'cursed to become a demon' thing is kind of confusing. Is it hereditary?
arhooley said...The gender-non-indicative names of "Bane" and "Reighlyn"* so threw me in the first sentence that I couldn't figure out who was cursed and who was accepting a risk. Is there a law against giving people normal names in paranormal romance and urban fantasy? (I expect an answer from one of you wags.)
I know this blog is about queries -- the novel itself is done -- but I have to say, your world does have some bizarre rules.
Joe G said...I'm a little confused by Kings Falcon's advice. If the query is well written, all the elements should come out, no? Both romance and fantasy?
I don't really understand what the problem is (Why doesn't Reighlyn just let Bane's family come live on the land? Isn't the land supposed to be the one safe haven? Apparently it's not if the demons can get on it--if it's convenient to the plot).
Also, I believe you may have written the world's first paranormal romance realty novel.
I can tell you're going for a Twilight thing here (nothing happens but two people talking to each other for 300 pages until an event of some kind is shoehorned in at the end so you don't feel cheated) but frankly, I'm not very compelled by either R. nor Bane. Particularly not by R., who seems to do little in the story but be in the right place at the right time for Bane to A. need something from her B. fall in love with her C. have to rescue her.
I like the notion of leading the reader on a bit with a little story about a guy who's trying to trick a girl into selling her his land, and then she falls in love with him, and then BOOM: They're actually in hell! Or something like that. But your query makes the book sound dead serious.
Amy said...Ok, my revision is a little longer-but I hope its better (hope!). If not, I have a really short one I worked on too. Also in regards to the title what do you think about Love's Awakening? Because this is a trilogy, the main name for all three novels is Redemption-but this first book’s sub-name is Loves Awakening, but if it's better to just pitch it as Love's Awakening, I can do that. I just didn’t want it to sound to cliché with the lovey dovey stuff because there is a lot of action. I’ll post revision in a separate post below.
Bane Thomas knows a thing or two about demons; in fact, as soon as they succeed in killing him, he’ll become one. Which is why an Armistice Zone, an area of land where demons can do no harm, would be a god send, and rumor is twenty-year-old Reighlyn Anderson has such a zone somewhere on her property. The problem is - she’s not selling.
To manipulate her into selling, Bane finances her crisis center. Though fails to reveal he’s the despised developer after her land, and is reluctant to correct the mistake once he realizes he’s in love with her, and she with him. But when Reighlyn witnesses Bane’s super human abilities, and discovers he lied, she severs all ties with him.
To explain his deceit, Bane reveals he’s a descendant of The Watchers, angels who bred with humans creating a hybrid offspring called Nephilim, and he’s cursed to become a demon. With his heritage come dangers and Bane must choose to let Reighlyn go for her own safety, or risk her life to have her in his. And when a demon arrives determined to use Reighlyn as a means to capture Bane into Satan’s servitude, Bane’s forced to battle against evil to rescue his soul mate, regardless of what the end could mean for him.
REDEMPTION is a completed 93,000-word Paranormal Romance. Thank you for your time and consideration.
M. G. E. said...I think it's just a wholly flawed premise, and needs to be considered more a learning experience than something that should be polished for publication.
The idea of a demonic armistice zone is just nonsensical. Then you've got this demon who wants to kill the girl so the dude will "beg for death" yet wouldn't he just be really angry and want to get revenge on said demon?
See, Twilight *cough* got at least one thing right: Edward can't give up on Bella because she's the only girl whose thoughts he can't read, making her the ultimate mystery, and unique in the world.
What prevents this guy from simply saying, "Screw it." And walking off to find cheap hookers and beer?
Amy said...What stops Bane from finding another is the fact that they are literally soul mates. -If she's killed, Bane will want to die as a means to punish himself for what happens to her, (not because he can't live without her). It would be a punishement to him, because once his immortal life is ended by a demon or another of his kind, he's obligated by a curse to serve Satan (something he doesn't want to do). The premise comes from the Bible and the book of Enoch, where God allowed a percentage of Nephilims to be spared from destruction, but thier spirits were to be bound to earth forever, forcing thier spirits to serve Satan as demons.
It's what many consider a true story, applied to every day life.
Posted by Evil Editor at 10:35 AM