Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Face-Lift 9

Guess the Plot

Fast Lies

1. Jeb Macomber is a speed talking county prosecutor with a lisp. Will Jeb have time for speech therapy before the biggest trial of his career? Or will his lies all run together in one, big, long run on sentence that is totally ineffective and that no one understands and he loses the case in which case he might lose his job and end up on the street?

2. "I'll call you in the morning," Jack wheezed into Tessa's shell like ear.
"I'll be looking forward to it," she replied.

3. Nancy is hooked the very first time she tries speed dating. Soon, she's making up false identities so she can enroll in every speed dating club in Manhattan. She's having a blast, until she falls for a detective with a penchant for strapping on the lie detector in the bedroom.

4. When you need a lie, and need it fast, Mary Prevaricator comes to your rescue with her tome of fresh fibs:
"No, it makes you look too thin."
"Of course I remembered our anniversary."
"No one. It's just Tom from the office."

5. When Indy car driver Jessica finds that her late father's enemies are after her, she accepts help from her mechanic, who luckily happens to also be an FBI agent.

6. Caught red-handed with a can of spilled vermillion, TV decorator Todd Tiddwell must explain his color choice - as the cameras roll.

Original Version

Dear Editor: Thank you for your time and for your consideration of my work, entitled FAST LIES. FAST LIES is a 63,000-word completed manuscript targeted to (your romantic suspense line).

Set in the colorful, fast-paced world of 2006 Indy Car racing, FAST LIES fully intertwines an Alfred-Hitchcock-style suspense [I hope you're right, but let the editor decide whether your suspense is truly Hitchcockian, or merely Shyalamanic.] with an emotional Harlequin-style romance. [If you're querying Harlequin, don't presume to tell them your book is their style; if you're querying one of their competitors, don't imply that you've already tried to sell the book to Harlequin.] (Fine, we all know it's HQ now, ok?? :) ) [Evil Editor is sure you wouldn't put a smiley face in your query letter, and assumes this last line was an aside to him; please don't put smiley faces in your asides to Evil Editor.]

Indy racecar driver Jessica Drake lives to win. When her father is violently killed, Jessica finds out that he led a secret criminal life. This earth-shattering deception thrusts her into a race for her life [A race with whom?] and makes her question everything she knows [a possible exaggeration.] – including her own motivations for racing. Not used to needing others, and especially not used to asking for help from big, strong men, [On the rare occasions she's asked for help, it's always been from 98-pound weaklings.] Jessica must turn to a hunky mechanic for protection. [No wonder I can never find a mechanic on duty; they're all off moonlighting as bodyguards.] [What does she need protection from?] Along the way, she learns how to trust again and discovers that she doesn't have to win to find love. [Win what? Indy-car races? She thought she had to win Indy-car races to find love? Guess it's just a matter of degree; Evil Editor used to think he had to pick up the dinner tab to find love.]

Live-for-the-job FBI agent Jackson Hawke is bound and determined to find the millions of dollars that Jessica's father stole before anyone else does, but it becomes equally important to keep the beautiful, focused racecar driver safe. [Becomes important? Keeping her safe was secondary to getting the money until he fell for her? Jerk.] He’s never met anyone who could match his drive for success, but Jessica shows him that he can have both love and independence. [The two halves of that sentence have nothing to do with each other.] He knows that deceiving her to keep his true identity [Which is Hunky Mechanic, for those who haven't figured it out. This is obvious to Evil Editor only because he reads romance novels voraciously; others may prefer that you make this clear in your letter.] a secret means she may never be able to trust him when the job is done.

Although unpublished, [No need to brag about this.] I am an active member of my local RWA chapter - learning all I can about the craft of writing, volunteering as the Membership Chairperson, and writing book reviews for the newsletter. I finaled in (***) RWA Chapter’s writing contest last year. [Or this.]

Thank you for your time. I have included an SASE for your response and look forward to hearing from you soon.


Revised Version

Dear Editor:

FAST LIES is a 63,000-word romantic suspense novel set in the colorful, fast-paced world of 2006 Indy Car racing. The book combines a suspenseful story line with a passionate romance.

Indy racecar driver Jessica Drake lives to win. After her father is violently killed, Jessica learns that he has been leading a secret criminal life. This revelation thrusts her into a fight for survival as her father's co-conspirators seek the money he stole.

Unaccustomed to needing others, Jessica nevertheless turns to her new hunky mechanic, Jackson Hawke, for protection. Hawke is actually an undercover, live-for-the-job FBI agent who is bound and determined to find the millions of dollars that Jessica's father stole, before anyone else does. When Hawke falls for Jessica, he's torn, knowing that keeping his true identity from her may prevent her from ever trusting him. It's a risk he must take, however, for he's determined to keep the beautiful, focused racecar driver safe.

Thanks in no small part to Jessica's driving skills, Jackson Hawke brings his case to a successful conclusion. He has never believed he could combine a successful career with romance, but he's also never met anyone like Jessica, who shows him in the end that he can have both love and independence, just as he shows her that she can trust again.

I am an active member of the Romance Writers of America. Thank you for your time and for your consideration of my work. I have included an SASE for your response.



There isn't enough information about the bad guys. Presumably, as Jessica is in a race for her life, there are bad guys. Who are they? Do they think Jessica has the money? Does she? How do you steal millions of dollars, apparently in cash? A female Indy-car driver whose father robs banks? Why do women find mechanics sexy? They always have grime under their fingernails.

Don't forget to change Evil Editor's specifics to the ones that are actually in your book, the ones you chose to omit from your query letter in order to force the editor to request the book to see what happens. Good strategy.


KV said...

I get the feeling that you are having a rather good time doing this great service for many of us. Beneath those EE sarcasms, I detect a "professor in disguise".

Back to my rewrite here . . .

Kathy V

Anonymous said...

Found your site today and love it. I've sent links to all. Post more!

Patrice Michelle said...

As an added bonus, it'll now be a month before I can get to all those inconvenient manuscripts

I'm picuring Evil with a gleeful laugh after saying that! LOL!

Once again, great comments on the query letter.

So...Evil Editor doesn't like smilies


Couldn't resist, says the Evil Minion.

Mad Scientist Matt said...

Race car drivers have a very old joke:

How do you make a small fortune in racing? Start with a large one.

Maybe that's why her father is into organized crime. You've got to finance those teams one way or another, and if they can't drum up plenty of sponsor money... :)

Anonymous said...

I'm another blog reader who found you through Miss Snark.

Just out of curiosity (and since I haven't been able to find an explanation). Is there a reason why all the queries are for romance and/or erotic novels?

Anonymous said...

So you recommend no mention of RWA contest finals? Wins? Neither one? Just checking. Every finalist/winner I know, of even the smallest RWA contest, mentions this in query letters. It'd be good to know if this brands a writer as a nitwit.

Rei said...

[quote]How do you make a small fortune in racing? Start with a large one.[/quote]

I had heard that for rocketry. Doing a quick google search, it seems that almost every industry claims it as their own:


EE: In my first read, I didn't catch that Hunky Mechanic was an undercover agent. That most definitely needed clarification.

Of course, I'm one to talk. After rewriting my query based on a bad review at crapometer.blogspot.com for being too literary in style and not giving enough plot detail, it now sounds more to me like a book-a-minute synopsis :P I'm probably going to be raked over the coals.

Evil Editor said...

Winning a national contest: Very impressive, even to Evil Editor. Being one of 20 finalists in your chapter's contest? Less impressive. This does not make one a nitwit to mention it. Though the just-posted q & a might apply.

Tawny Taylor said...

As Aries said, I discovered Evil...somewhere. Can't remember who told me. Anyway, I checked him out. His first post made sense and he was offering to critique query letters. I posted on Romance Divas, encouraging the members to submit a query if they were having trouble--or just for kicks.

As the name suggests, we're for the most part romance authors :) And we're a large group. Something like 1200 now.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your advice and input Evil Editor! You were right about her father's co-conspirators chasing her! Impressive.

Sounds like I need to give more details, but I really like the organization of your revised version.

Thanks! :) :) :) :) ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Evil Editor, You realize, don't you, that due to Miss Snark you are going to be totally bombarded with emails? (Now I must check two blogs daily.) Oh, women do not always find mechanics sexy, but they're usually sexier than plumbers. At the top of my list are motorcycle cops. Just for the record, I write mysteries-suspense & some horror (short fiction) and am published. I'm working on my first novel and will most likely send you my query letter when things get that far along. Thanks for your blog. It's fascinating, funny and entertaining.