Friday, May 05, 2006

Face-Lift 14

Evil Editor quickly suspended comments on the issue of "a" vs. "an" preceding SASE. Half of those commenting were genuinely incensed at the idea that SASE, this "word" that mysteriously always has all its letters capitalized, could have anything but "a" in front of it. The other half didn't see how SASE could be preceded by "a," any more than HP monitor, LED screen, or M.C. Hammer concert could. Evil Editor sincerely hopes that those who saw this as a mock issue, stirred up to elicit a brief chuckle, are in the majority.

Our next query

Guess the Plot

Trevor's Song

1. Trevor Denver thinks he has the hottest country lyrics in the biz - until a regression therapist shows him the true meaning of plagiarism.

2. Trevor sat, sweating, in the shadow of the hedges, watching her through her bedroom window as he pricked his own finger over and over again with the tip of his Bowie knife. The stickiness of his own blood excited him as he quietly sang, In my bedroom, dancing all night long, that’s when I knew nothing could go wrong . . .

3. Trevor Boodle already hates Middle School. But when beautiful seventh grader Tanya Lippman is present when he auditions for the lead in the school musical just as his voice changes, he learns the true meaning of embarrassment.

4. Rock musician Trevor is in love with his best friend's girlfriend. He can't patiently wait till they break up, because he's dying of cancer. Should he make his move, or keep mum?

5. Unable to find a girlfriend in real life, twelve-year-old Trevor writes a sonnet, sets it to music, and sends it out as a spam attachment around the world. But when shy middle-aged secretary Sharon accidentally opens the file, she is convinced she's found true love.

6. Cora couldn't get Trevor's Song out of her head - it played night and day. But it wasn't anywhere near as annoying as Trevor's Snore, Trevor's Belch or Trevor's Fart. All in all, she preferred Trevor's Song to his other noises.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I am submitting a query letter for you to tear apart in your blog. While not the author, I am her designated representative. [A likely story. Doctor, a friend of mine wanted me to ask you what she should do about the painful itchy rash she has on her tush.] Daunted by the thought of your slashing pen she felt better having an intermediary handle the submission. [Evil Editor will be happy to take a look at your quer-- at your friend's query letter.]

Dear Evil Editor:

When you're the bass player of ShapeShifter, it should all be easy. After all, the band's pointed right at the top of the heap of stardom. [There's a heap of stardom?] You're not far off from getting that respectability that you long for. Life is supposed to be golden. And so Trevor's Song should be. [So Trevor's Song should be? What does that mean? Trevor's Song should be . . . Golden? What IS Trevor's Song? Shapeshifter's big hit CD, which should be a gold record? The title of your novel? Your novel should be golden?

But this is Trevor Wolff we're talking about, and Trevor's life has been anything but golden. [Aha! Trevor's life should be golden. Why didn't you say so?] And no matter how good things seem, [To whom do things seem good? You've just implied that Trevor's life sucks.] when he realizes that his best friend has fallen for a girl who, by rights, would be better off with Old Trev, it's really just more of the same. [The same what? Oh, right, the same old thing.] After all, Trev might thumb his nose at practically everything around him, but Mitchell Voss isn't one of those things he can dismiss so easily. Not when Mitchell's more of a brother than a mere best friend. [This paragraph is way too vague. It might as well just say, Poor, miserable Trevor Wolff has the hots for his best friend Mitchell's girlfriend.]

If that's not bad enough, [and it isn't] Trevor is diagnosed with cancer [Now that's bad enough.] before ShapeShifter heads out on tour. And now, Trevor's problems are a lot bigger than just some redhead who's so incredible, Trevor needs two girlfriends just to distract himself.

When you're the bass player of ShapeShifter, these things [Stop using that word!] should be no-brainers. [Having cancer should be a no-brainer?] But when you're Trevor Wolff, the decisions you make are the most surprising and life-altering of all. [Of all what? Of all decisions made by everyone?]

And when you're the mouthpiece for Trevor Wolff and his 68,000 word story, Trevor's Song, it's necessary to rely on the experiences gained both earning your BA and MFA [Explain how these educational experiences are relevant to Trevor's story.] and working in the music industry. I have worked radio, retail, and road crew; done promotions, pampering of stars, and pimping of upcoming concerts. I'm lower than a D-list celebrity, but I know the world I write about. I want to bring it to others like myself, who remember when MTV was about music [Evil Editor must be getting old; the days when MTV was about music are now considered "the good old days."] and who still appreciate what a pair of leather pants can do for even an unattractive man. [Not obvious what the appearance of leather pants on an unattractive man has to do with anything.] [By the way, those aren't leather jeans, are they?]

I'm enclosing the first chapter of Trevor's Song for you to read. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me at etc.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Trevor's Voice, MFA [No need to trumpet educational degree, even if it's an MFA in Creative Writing (which Evil Editor is betting against).]

Revised Version

Dear Evil Editor:

You're the bass player for ShapeShifter. The band is pointed at the top, and you're not far from the respectability you long for. Life should be golden.

But this is Trevor Wolff we're talking about, and Trevor's life has been anything but golden. And now, just when Trevor should be on top of the world, just as the band is about to head out on tour, Trevor is diagnosed with cancer. Suddenly the fact that he has the hots for his best friend Mitchell's girlfriend seems kind of trivial.

Insert 3rd plot paragraph (see notes).

I've worked in the music industry many years, specifically radio, retail, and road crew; I've done promotions, pampered stars, and pimped concerts. I'm lower than a D-list celebrity, but I know the world I write about, and I want to bring it to people like myself, people who remember when MTV was about music.

I'm enclosing the first chapter of Trevor's Song. Should you have any questions, feel free to contact me. A self-addressed envelope is enclosed for your response. Thank you.


Another plot paragraph is needed, something about whether this turns out to be the story of Trevor contending with cancer while on tour, or the story of Trevor giving up his dreams and beginning chemotherapy treatments, or the story of Trevor stealing Mitchell's girlfriend for one last romp before it's too late. However, Evil Editor also strongly suspects that the book itself needs a good going over before any queries are dispatched.

Somehow, distributing this bad news is bringing Evil Editor much less pleasure than usual, no doubt the result of knowing this wasn't actually your query letter.


Anonymous said...

Um, isn't the character's name Trevor, not Travis?

Evil Editor said...

Congratulations on passing Evil Editor's reading comprehension exam. Changes instituted. (Thanks.)

Anonymous said...

I'm convinced that someday I'm going to pick up a book and think "Hey, haven't I read this before...oh yeah! I read the query letter on some evil editor's blog!"


Anonymous said...

How about "pampered stars, and pimped events."?

Evil Editor said...

Done. Thanks.

Patrice Michelle said...

Go figure I'd get the double entendre post right away, but the "a" vs "an" one...sheesh!

Anonymous said...

Evil is right...
You've completely trashed this person... implying that his/her work is utter crap (saying that you think--based only on reading this query letter--that the book needs major work before it is submitted) and that he/she doesn't know how to write (questioning whether his/her MFA is in creative writing)

I can't even imagine how this person felt after reading your comments.

Evil Editor said...

The Blog is called Evil Editor (Why you don't get published), Not, Mr. Niceguy (Free writing instruction with a smile). And the query began, "I am submitting a query letter for you to tear apart in your blog." And Evil Editor trashes everyone. Is Evil Editor becoming too mean, minions?

Patrice Michelle said...

EE, if people take the time to read through your past postings, they'll realize that a lot of it is tongue-in-cheek with truth buried in there somewhere. By submitting to your blog, the expectation should be that you'll have a bit of fun at their expense...a trade off for you providing a valuable service. In the end, those who have submitted will hopefully benefit from your edits to their query letter.

none said...

You want to know if you're being too evil? Trash my query, then we'll talk!

Rei said...


I only pray that you're as thorough when you get to mine, even if that means ripping it to shreds.

I think few here want or expect service with a smile. We're overcome by the fact that you're willing to help us in this manner. Like students to a Zen master, we listen intently to your koans in an attempt to achieve that ever-elusive enlightenment.

Penina said...

Hm, having been at the author's house, I can tell you that MFA is real.

Now I will go help her scrape her self-worth back together.....

Evil Editor said...

It was merely suggested that the MFA was not in writing. One might logically assume, based on the author's career path, that it was in music. If it was in music, it would, of course, be relevant to this book, and worthy of mention in the query, whereas an MFA in writing would not.

Coneycat said...

Too evil? Hardly. How can someone submit a query to a blog called "Evil Editor" and then be surprised and hurt when the Editor in question is sort of, well... Evil. (And in this case, the original query was desperately in need of a firm editorial hand. Which makes me wonder about the book, myself.)

And really, you're not even that evil. I mean, if you were evil and uphelpful as well, that would be really evil.

Anonymous said...

Not evil enough. The orignial query was so poorly written that there is little hope the novel is readable. If someone had asked me for advice on this query letter, I would have said, "Based on this letter, your time is better spent improving your writing instead of working on a query letter." In my humble, but accurate, opinon, Mr. Nice Guy made an appearance on this one.