Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Face-Lift 111

Guess the Plot

Choke that Chicken

1. When Henrietta, star of the petting zoo, goes beserk and pecks out the eyes of two kindergarteners, Farmer Jones takes matters into his own hands.

2. When Super Chicken appears as a celebrity competitor on Iron Chef, Chef Campbell mistakes him for his main ingredient and fricassees him to death.

3. Blind 14-year-old jockey Harry Palms pits his knobby-kneed thoroughbred "Choke That Chicken" against favored competitors "Spank That Monkey," "Slap My Hamster," "Rub the Armadillo," "Flog the Dolphin," and "Pet That Weasel" in a race to see which one will come first.

4. Margo's new animal private eye business has it's first client: she's hired to delve into the mystery of Max, a bloodthirsty goat caught red-bearded with a dead chicken dangling from his mouth.

5. When 10 year-old Rosemary moves to farm country, her friend Mindy cries, then begs to visit. Mindy brings her best swimsuit and a loaded ipod, but Rosemary's father forces Mindy to clean chicken coops 12 hours a day.

6. When animal-rights activists stage a midnight attack against a poultry factory-farm they discover evidence that Colonel Sanders is alive und well und livink in Argentina.

Original Version

Dear Undisputably Savvy Editor/Agent,

I would like to submit for consideration my 62,000-word commercial fiction novel currently titled This Sucks, Rename Me Please. (alt title: Choke That Chicken!)

Margo Gunniere calls herself an animal behaviorist and a boonie-bunny horse trainer/investigator. A mature, happily single woman (40 ackchoke something years old) she's got a hard-working physique, a somewhat irreverent take on life, and a firm conviction that one is never too old to enjoy a happy childhood.

She's recently segued her horse training business into an animal consulting business which leads her into investigating strange animal behaviors that leave owners perplexed. Aided by her friend and horse training confederate Carol, she's hired to delve into the mystery of Max, an apparently bloodthirsty pet goat caught red-bearded with a dead chicken dangling from his mouth.

[Are you the animal detective?
Yes, what can I do for you?
My chicken's been murdered.
I'll take the case. Suspect anyone in particular?
Yes, the goat.
Which goat?
The goat in whose mouth I found my chicken.
What does the goat have to say?
Says the chicken was already dead.
And what do you say?
I . . . loved that chicken. I say give the goat the chair.
The chair? But he's just a kid!]

During her investigation she interacts with an eccentric crew of small town locals, interesting critters, and a very sexy mystery man named Travis (who's apparently assigned by an unnamed and ominous govt. agency to a liaison with her). He's following an unusual gene-altered cat who's escaped from a secure compound and may or may not be involved with the killer pet goat belonging to Betti Hylund. [May or may not be? That can be said of everyone in the world.] When Margo discovers Travis is actually a veterinarian and capable of beating her in a pool tournament, she's intrigued enough to consider at least toning down her social life a bit in favor of monogamy.

Fans of Janet Evonovitch may enjoy this book for its irreverent and quick-paced readability. [They also probably know that she spells her name "Evanovich."] Margo is strong, opinionated and independent with plenty of confidence and a healthy sex drive.

Much like the author. [TMI.] I've been a lifelong animal behaviorist, a desert rat-ette, and a dedicated though unpublished scribbler of many a humorous tale. My critters and I live quite happily on a small rural farm somewhat similar to the one featured in this work of fiction, where all names have been changed--to protect the guilty of course.

Thank you for your attention and time,


Evil Editor made his changes on the original, as the majority were spelling errors--at least eight of them--that would have been caught by spellchecking. If the manuscript has that many, it will be a distraction, and probably fatal. Speaking figuratively.

The query is funny; the question is, can you sustain the humor for an entire book? Readers aren't likely to care who killed the chicken, so there has to be more here than a detective story. Presumably the Travis/Janet relationship and the govt. agency/cat play major roles. We can't tell if the chicken/goat story is the main thread, or a minor section. Perhaps cut the Evanovich paragraph and give us one more tidbit about where the story is going.


Anonymous said...

I . . . loved that chicken. I say give the goat the chair.
The chair? But he's just a kid!]


Anonymous said...

"The chair? But he's just a kid!"

Ack, choke! :-)

Ok, I did think the query funny.

[OTOH, if you, hopeful author, want to channel Evanovitch and do it in the 3rd person, *please* don't head hop. I've decided to fail to read any of her books that aren't in the first person, cause she seems incapable of sticking to a single POV in 3rd.]

Kiki said...

And here I was thinking "What the...? None of these plots sound plausible."
Goes to show what I know.
Oh, and I believe JE spells her last name "Evanovich". No 't' whatsoever. But still only one 'o'.

I must admit, I *am* curious how anyone could write about a murdering goat. Not sure if I'd be interested enough to pick up a book if that's the high point of the plot though.

Oh, and I loathe queries that compare themselves to a bestselling author or claim that said author's readership will love this book. I've yet to see a case where this was true.

magz said...

EE comments; LOL! The book hangs on the Far Side, hopefully humorous, it's an ongoing series.

Personally, I think Dear Janet E sux as far as anything close to believeability goes, yet her shining example leads ever onwards. (SalesWise) I've devoured her books, mostly from the used bookstore.

I Read, people: to the tune of 8 or 10 novels per week, every week. An assortment of non fiction mixed in when there's nothing else..
I write, for fun mostly. I submitted to EE because I have a great deal of respect for his opinion, NOT because I'm trying to sell anything.

The books I write that I actually CARE for... are totally different, and most likely unsaleable.

Thank y'all and especially EE for this extra-fun exercise! (BTW, the actual Query I submitted took about 15 minutes to create, and was wayfun to do; practice.)
With my deepest respect, Maggie Baker aka magz
p.s.; for those interested in the
Tale O The Killer Goat (silly, I know yet very fun to write)

the whole thing is available here at http://ibmagz.blogspot.com
formatted for an easy read, lol.

Disclaimer: Sex and Dead Animals: (not neccessarily at the same time of course)
but it IS... an Adult's kinda novel.

Anonymous said...

Alas, poor chicken... I knew her well...

Anonymous said...

'an unusual gene-altered cat who ... may or may not be involved with the killer pet goat'

Did anyone else's eyes boggle at that?

Maybe a little rephrasing might be in order...

Anonymous said...

I suspect the government cat. Free the kid. Free the kid. Free the kid. -JTC

James Goodman said...

He's just a kid

My, but coffee burns as it comes out the nose...

Anonymous said...

What, no zombies or militant eunuchs? ;-)

Thanks for the fun read.


Anonymous said...

This story sounds like an extremely funny Andy Griffith Show episode (with Don Knots). I actually like the premise. Although I agree it may not be a good idea to compare one's writing/story with another author's, this reference to JA did put the whole cast of characters in perspective for me.

Anonymous said...

Very enjoyable and entertaining! I find I am more than just a bit curious as to where the cat, gov't agency and Travis all fit in as well, so I suppose I shall follow the link and find out!


Sha'el, Princess of Pixies said...

The Goat did it? Likely story! HA!

We're vegetarians. So, we'll chew your coat to shreds, but we don't eat those feathered things!

Other than being the best living Goat novelist of all time ... well, so I'm the only goat novelist ... my interest is only in life's essentials, and chicken salad isn't one of those.

My mistress would tell you that for goats the essentials are food, climbing rocks or anything else that makes us feel high, and sex. ... AND we don't do chickens! They're way too short.

Shame on you for insulting goats! We're polite and handsome. We'd never hurt a chicken. Brainless creatures that they are, they need goat protection.

Bill E. Goat

Anonymous said...

You're all wrong! It was the farmer, I tell ya... That chicken ate up all the seeds, then refused to lay eggs. The rebelious bird had to be crushed, even if to set example to the others! Hasn't anybody seen 'Chicken Run'?

Anonymous said...

Magz-obviously you should have taken longer than 15 minutes to draft your query. While you might have been doing it for fun, eight typos smacks of unprofessionalism. Especially if you can't spell Janet's name and yet you're a fan.

Michelle said...

Re the "typo's, blind freddie can see that the typo's are placed there for a purpose! *tsk* *tsk*

taza said...

follow the link, read the darn thing....it's great fun! (plus, ms. magz handles steamy scenes waaay better than JE. just sayin'!)