Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Face-Lift 1242

Guess the Plot

At Stake

1. When Becca Sanchez's uncle tells her that her history teacher is actually a vampire, Becca isn't sure she believes him, but just to be on the safe side, she and her friends decide to kill the guy. Hey, even if he isn't a vampire, at least they won't have to sit through any more of his boring lectures.

2. Down to his last dollar during a high-stakes poker game, inveterate gambler Rhett Lovelace thinks nothing of pledging a first-born child he thinks he’ll never have. Consumed by his addiction, Rhett never questions why his diabolically lucky adversary would accept such a pledge, nor does he realise exactly what’s…At Stake.

3. Where is your heart when you date a vampire?

4. What's at stake? Only the future of Earth, the sanctity of human life, and the future of one very special teenage girl. Only she has the supernatural powers to compete in a winner-take-all game of wits against our alien overlords, who, as luck would have it, are incredibly good-looking.

5. Penley and her small-time Iowa racing family have their hopes pinned on their unlikely stakes winner Norbert, a great-grandson of the immortal Seattle Slew. With the Breeder's Cup fast approaching, she must decide if she wants to sell him to a Japanese syndicate, run him in the Mile stakes race, or retire him to stud. And which way should she bet the family's money?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

AT STAKE, my YA novel of 73k words, is a modern-day mashup of Don Quixote and Dracula. When Becca Sanchez’s uncle Don [Quixote] tries to convince her that her new teacher is a vampire, [Dracula,] she must decide who to believe, and who to stop from killing whom.

The week Becca discovers her uncle is a total whack-job begins with a moving van and ends in handcuffs. First, her creepy history teacher moves in next door. Then Uncle Don tries to stake him. [When you explained the moving van, I assumed you were then going to explain the handcuffs.]

When a student goes missing, Becca starts wondering if maybe crazy Uncle Don isn’t so crazy after all. She decides to find out for herself. But when she’s caught shooting her teacher with a holy water spitball, she lands herself in a whole heap of trouble with the school and, worse, her mom. [A holy water spitball would prove nothing. Even if it was a lucky shot that hit the vampire's skin, at worst it would feel like a bee sting, which isn't much different from what it would feel like to a non-vampire. A garlic bulb soaked in holy water and shot out of one of those T-shirt cannons is what you need if you want to injure the vampire to the extent he can't immediately kill you. True, he's unlikely to kill you in the classroom, as that would blow his cover as a teacher, but as he lives next door, he'll have plenty of opportunity to drain your blood in private.] [Also, a spitball, by definition, is moistened with spit. Thus a wad of paper moistened with holy water would not be a holy water spitball, but simply a holy water ball (not to be confused with a holy water balloon, which, it now occurs to me, is probably the best projectile to launch at the vampire - unless he turns out to just be a teacher, in which case Becca would be in even bigger trouble with her mom).] 

Becca and her friends concoct a plan to kill the vampire before he can turn the Halloween Dance into his own personal buffet line. But she can’t get rid of the nagging voice wondering if this is all just a series of unlikely coincidences and her teacher is simply a creep. [Not clear what events are part of this series of coincidences. Only the missing student seems to suggest possible foul play.] Because this is real life, and really … vampires?

I have no previous publishing credits. Yet. I attend several conferences and workshops each year, as well as a weekly critique circle. My first novel was a finalist in the 2012 James River Writers Best Unpublished Novel Contest. [Credits aren't necessary. If they're requested, I'd just go with the last sentence.]

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to working with you.


Sounds like a good story, and the query has nice voice.

I don't see much that compares to Don Quixote or Dracula, outside of the obvious possible vampire and guy named Don. Okay, I see how the uncle is like Quixote if the teacher isn't a vampire. Otherwise he's more like Fox Mulder.

Maybe a holy water squirt gun or plant mister would be a good compromise.


AlaskaRavenclaw said...

Yeah, I think the query is fine, except for the (lack of) credentials paragraph. Cut that.

The story sounds more middle grade than YA, though.

InkAndPixelClub said...

if Becca still has nagging doubts about whether her teacher is reall a vampire or he's merely a weird guy and isn't sure if vampires are even real, why has she told her friends that their teacher migh be a vampire?

Add in some of the evidence that Becca finds and some kind of ticking clock that makes killing the vampire ASAP necessary. You mention the possibility of a big vampire attack at the Halloween dance, but I don't know why Becca thinks that might happen.