Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Face-Lift 33

Guess the Plot

Katz Cradle

1. When macho cop Zero Katz's partner is murdered, then outed, Zero find himself visiting gay bars to investigate.

2. At Dogs N. Katz Grooming Service, no one could figure out why the new cat washer, Brock, wasn't off modeling Calvin Kleins in New York. When Old Lady Jones finds Brock head down in the cat bath, the towns finds a whole mess of suspects that need investigating.

3. Sherri-lynn Katz wants a baby more than anything else in the world, but remains hopelessly virginal. After a compelling dream, she wakes with the words 'rock them and they will come' ringing in her head, and takes up a new profession--building and selling hand-made cradles.

4. Cartoon characters Katz and Mousie have feuded since their ink first dried. When they realise that their constant battles have been a disguise for the love they really feel for each other, their troubles seem to have ended--until Baby arrives and takes after both his parents.

5. Jeremiah Katz grew up believing his family was a nurturing haven. But when he tried to move out, he found himself caught in a bizarre tangle of intersecting plot-threads.

6. Caring social worker Amy discovers that her mute charge, Bobo Katz, is a savant at creating complex string figures. Will his over-protective parents allow Bobo to travel to Polynesia where his art can be nurtured to fruition?

Original Version

Dear Evil Agent,

Rookie cop Zero Katz embraces life's three C's: Country, Coors, and Classic rock. [Actually, life's three C's are chocolate, Cherry Garcia, and Penelope Cruz, but go on.] Where he’s from, men drive muscle cars and queers are for smearing. So what to do when his LAPD partner Ray Wilson is murdered [while behind the wheel of a pink minivan] [Yes, I'm serious, that's why you brought up muscle cars, right?], then ‘outed’ postmortem?

Keep investigating, dammit.

Even when it drags straight-laced Katz to his first gay bar. [Even when he decides to stick around the place after his shift is over.] Even when it requires an uneasy alliance with Ray’s friend Samuel Miller – an ex-Marine ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ victim – who’s hell-bent on tossing Hollywood action star Hunter Calloway out of the closet.

As Katz and Miller burn through suspects, a killer runs free in a town where fiction is fact and everyone has an agenda. Did Calloway’s four-headed monster (agent, manager, lawyer, publicist) go too far protecting their client? Was Ray’s murder ordered by a desperate Sioux shaman? [Now that possibility never even occurred to Evil Editor.] And what’s the deal with the furry assassin and his werewolf sex doll?

Leaving no question unanswered, [Unlike this query, which just left three questions unanswered.] no wisecrack uncracked, Katz Cradle’s plot [Whoa. Katz Cradle is your title? Presumably you're aware that there's already a well-known book entitled Cat's Cradle: a Book of String Figures, by Anne Akers Johnson?] swings from gay activism to superstardom, fur fetish to blackmail, presenting the world of LA oddity through the eyes of a small-town, sarcastic narrator.

Based on your Agentquery.com profile, I believe you’d be a good fit to represent my completed manuscript, and I would be pleased to submit upon request. A synopsis is enclosed. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Not much to complain about, so no revised version.

Lots of books have the same title, but we're talking about one of the most beloved books in American literature. This is like naming a book The Great Gatzbee, only this is even worse, because by spelling it Katz instead of Catz, you lose the few sales you were going to get, the ones from people who search for Vonnegut's book on Amazon.com, and then accidentally order yours. Would you seriously consider naming a book Slaughterhouse 4? Catch 23? The Da Vinci Codex? Why not try Zero Hour or Katz Pajamas? Anything. Even if Katz Cradle is the best title for the book, if the agent's favorite book during his college years happened to be Cat's Cradle, and that book holds a special place in his heart, he'll be thinking, Why you pompous, self-absorbed ass, how dare you presume to imply your book has anything whatsoever in common with the Master's? as he feeds it into the shredder.

The tone of the query won't appeal to every agent, but one suspects that it's not unlike the tone of the book. Chances are if you're writing to an agent who would like this book, you're writing to an agent who won't be bothered by this tone.


michael gavaghen said...

Don't forget "Native Son-in-Law," "The Naked and the Really Tired" and the popular story of bitching and moaning along the Hudson River: "Port Noise Complaints."

Anonymous said...

Ha, I just saw one in the bookshop the other day called "The Va Dinci Cod" by Adam Roberts (writing as Don Brine). I'm going back to buy it, as even the few lines I read out of curiosity had me nearly wetting myself then and there. I just love the cover, too. It's hysterically funny. You can find it on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Country AND classic rock?

Anonymous said...

Consider setting the novel a couple decades back. Hollywood isn't hung up on homophobia (witness The Rock's fabulous preformance in "Be Cool"), and small towns are getting over it, too. In my mostly-rural county, there are at least two gay sports bars. The one I've been to has a NASCAR theme, compleat with a cheesecake poster of a pit crew wearing seatless jumpsuits. Get with the times!

Brenda said...

Hmm. Our rural town wouldn't have bars set up at all. Not all small towns are that tolerant, so for my area, it's believable.

And I think by "country" they meant as in patriotism. That's how I read it.

I think this one sounds pretty neat and one I'd pick up if the blurb was similar to this query. Love the tone.