Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Face-Lift 136

Guess the Plot

Wonderful Pleasure of Seeing

1. After spending the whole of her life in darkness, Abigail finally gets the chance to open her eyes to the world - but decides to wait until her mother finishes changing her nappy.

2. When Evan Landrieu, blind since birth, undergoes a revolutionary new type of surgery to restore his sight, he suddenly....ooooooh, shiny...

3. Being sucked into another dimension and living blind was the easy part. Returning home to the visual overload of modern society with its lack of malevolent overlords sends Ace Whitman into a tailspin.

4. World renowned painter Jesús Carles de Villalonga struggles to carve his name into the pantheon of Modern Art--and to fit his name onto the bottom of a canvas.

5. When Sam, a blind senior, accidentally captures a fairy in his briefs, she grants him a gift of eyesight, in exchange for freedom. Of course, Sam declines.

6. First of a five-part series introducing a race of benevolence-espousing, space-faring, but sense-lacking, gerundal-speaking aliens to our nerve-having species.

Original Version

Dear 'Nat',

Wonderful Pleasure of Seeing is about the unexpected consequences of an encounter and resulting dialogue between a young woman who travels to Barcelona to stay at the art studio of an eccentric world renowned painter Jesús Carles de Villalonga. [after "between," it's necessary to name two entities; no doubt you think you've done so, but look closely.] We discover from the odd juxtaposition of two strangers a generation and literally a world apart a unique perspective not only into the inspiring story of the painter's life, but an undeniably controversial viewpoint of the current Art World and its personalities, as well as a whimsical portrait of one painter's struggle to carve his name into the pantheon of Modern Art. [Lots of big words crammed into one sentence becomes confusing to the reader--and to the writer, who might have done better to move the "not only" after "apart."] The completed text of 35,000 words [Perhaps the woman should have stayed through April, so the book wouldn't be so short. Then again, how long can you stand to live with an eccentric artist?] would be classified as narrative fiction. The events took place from January to February of 2006 in Barcelona, Spain and have been documented in a weblog,_________________. [If the events took place, which part is fictional? If it's fiction, is there a plot? Will the artist mind you using him as a character? Wouldn't we gain more insight into the artist's life if it were nonfiction?]

Circumstance permitting, [If this book sells big . . .] my intention is to continue this ethnographic-biography style into a serial format, [I'm gonna write some more of them . . . ] thematically representing a variety of professions and centering around pivotal individuals who have capacity and power to inspire people of all generations and nations. [about other cool people.] [It's not that it's difficult to understand the big words, but you don't want to give the impression the book has stilted, pretentious language throughout.]

The SASE is enclosed as per requested along with a few pages taken from the piece. Please find my contact information below.

Many Thanks,

Revised Version

Dear _____,

Wonderful Pleasure of Seeing chronicles an encounter and dialogue between the eccentric world-renowned painter Jesús Carles de Villalonga and a young woman who has traveled to Barcelona to stay at his art studio. These two strangers, a generation and a world apart, offer a unique perspective into the artist's life, a controversial viewpoint of the current Art World, and a whimsical portrait of a painter's struggle to carve his name into the pantheon of Modern Art. The events described took place from January to February of 2006 in Barcelona, and have been documented in a weblog, __________.

The completed text of 35,000 words would be classified as ethnographic-biography. My intention is to develop a series, representing a variety of professions and featuring individuals who have the capacity to inspire people of all generations and nations.

An SASE is enclosed as requested, along with the first few pages from the piece. Please find my contact information below.

Many thanks,


If 35,000-word books were priced half as much as 70,000-word books, people might buy them. But most of the costs of a book's production are in the cover, which needs a designer and an artist and colored ink and thicker paper and glossyiness, no matter how short the book. So the price is almost as high as a thick book, and people feel they aren't getting their money's worth.


nessie said...

Thanks Evil Editor.

Originally, I had written 55,000 words and cut cut cut to my hearts delight. After sending you the query, I added somemore elements and its just under 40,000.

To add more would be - I think - too much. Really everything that needs to be said is there.

Another question (last I promise). I had ALOT of difficulty chosing the 'type' of book because it is non-fiction (i.e. 65% is exerpts of our recorded dialogue and research done). But he had, to say the least, a crazy life and certain elements I wrote in narrative form. My big worry is sending this in and the agents think am lying just for an easier chance of being chosen. On a final note, it does READ like a novel (vocab, metaphors, etc.) It resembles Everything is Illuminated in how it changes voice all the time.

Thanks for all the great help. Will keep you posted.

Poohba said...

If 40,000 words is "just right" for this story, perhaps it needs to be paired with another one or two to make it book-length.

Stephen said...

Is this not "memoir"?

These days the term seems to cover a multitude of sins, and writing what actually happened in a novelistic style would be far from the worst thing that a memoirist has done recently.

Anonymous said...

"Running With Scissors" comes to mind. But, don't ask why.

Beth said...

Did the writer mean to say "narrative _non_ fiction"?

nessie said...

yes narrative non-fiction... is there a list somewhere that ya'll know about that I can refer to?

Originally, I had labeled this as 'poetic-ethnography'. Try finding an agent who wants to represent that.

I looked through my library this afternoon and did find a couple of bestselling volumes that werent so thick and had mega huge print. I don't know about this... maybe its more a miss snark questions...

Thanks for all the comments though guys.

Anonymous said...

Have you thought about trying to get this serialized in a magazine instead?

nessie said...

Hmmm no never. But would an agent still take on the work? I look forward to working with someone on improving - possibly lengthing - the text and having them take on the publishing logistics while I get back to the writing board. My fingers are itching!!

Anonymous said...

Not only did I guess the wrong fake plot, but I'm lost. Sorry Nessie.

How does a stranger go to a foreign country to stay with somebody? Don't you have to at least know through correspondence the person you'll be staying with? (Please excuse the grammar there.)

And if it's already been blogged, why would a buyer shell out bucks to get the book?

Just wondering.

P.S. It does sound like magazine fare-interview with famous artist, inside scoop on his views and struggles and wierd/unique life, and larger picture of modern art world for perspective.

Evil Editor said...

And if it's already been blogged, why would a buyer shell out bucks to get the book?

Are you saying I should squelch my plans for The Best of Evil Editor?

nessie said...


The blog was about my trip - little on JCV. I had all expences paid thus got to see operas, guitar concerts, everything gaudi and even the zoo where Dali's elephant is. Anything I wrote about on JCV there I did not include in the book. It was really for family and friends to follow along so I dont have to write all the crazy emails.

Yes we were complete strangers. Our common connections is really really wierd and amazing. Its apart of the book - how we met ( a mystery the reader discovers at the end) but Ill sum it up here. One of JCV's collectors made the connection between myself and the artist. He was kind enough to sponsor the entire trip as well as ask the painter to meet with me. I just had to go and have fun! And work of course

It was amazing - I am 23 and JCV is 79! But he is unusual so don't think his age means anything.

You can check it out at

Anonymous said...

Oh, Evil Editor,

You can publish a book about the Best of your Blog and we'll buy it, especially if it has a glossy photo of you on the cover--front or back. Cover that is (or you!).

It would be worth seeing what you think is your "best" and with a book, we could thumb through it when the power goes out, or we're at the beach without a laptop, etc.

So I guess blogging doesn't preclude publishing. Interesting.