Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. A minister, a priest and a rabbi walk into a bar. Hilarity ensues.
2. Geraldo Rivera refuses to give up his obsessive quest to expose The Pope and Osama Bin Laden as Friday night drinking buddies.
3. In the year 2017, amid an ongoing world war between Christians, Jews, and Muslims, Athiests unite in a fourth political bloc which is quickly labeled as "godless" by the other three.
4. Nik has a highly enhanced sense of smell, but will that help him when the Archpriest of the Church of Vordis contracts to have him killed?
5. Father Michael O'Malley learns what defrocking is all about with Sister Perpetua out behind the sacristy.
6. Portia Peebles' 1984 Renault Alliance, 'Chuck', is possessed by the Devil. Will a conjugal visit with Stephen King's 'Christine' put him back on the road?
Dear Evil Editor:
Seventeen-year-old Nik is a thief blessed with an almost magical sense of smell. Abandoned by his mother as an infant, he is raised by a society of thieves, the only family he's ever known. After a theft gone wrong, Nik is barred from his home, desperately trying to steal enough to re-enter the society’s good graces. [I see where this is going already: he gives up his life of lawlessness and becomes a superhero, sniffing out criminals as . . . The Proboscis! Muzzle Man? Schnozzola? Captain Olfactory? Wait, I've got it: Odor Eater!] But his crèche brothers, jealous of his abilities, do everything they can to prevent his return. [Jealous of his abilities? Why, his abilities are a curse! Who wants to live in a community house with a bunch of smelly thieves when you have a nose like an anteater's? The guy on the other side of the room farts, and it's like the wind just shifted your way from the hog farm next door.]
As the days go by with little success, Nik takes a gamble. Ignoring the warning of his senses, he steals a large sack of gold from a temple guard. The guard, disguised as a courier, is delivering the payment for a political assassination ordered by the Archpriest of the Church of Vordis, the most powerful man in Arosa. A damning note enclosed with the gold causes the Archpriest to put a price on Nik's head and suddenly the family he trusted is now trying to kill him. [Fortunately, he can smell them coming from a mile away, for he is . . . The Snout. What kind of costume would The Snout wear? Would he look like a giant nose with legs? A normal guy with a huge beak? Maybe he'd have several elephant trunks emanating from his head in all directions, not real elephant trunks, but scientifically designed trunks that enhance his ability to smell anything in a three mile radius.]
In an effort to unravel the note's meaning and discover why he's been forced into hiding, he enlists the help of Beth, a fifteen-year-old prostitute. [Not the person I would enlist in such a quest, but perhaps he feels she'll be good to have along now and then. Hey, it's not easy finding a girlfriend when you've got a half-dozen elephant trunks sticking out of your head.] Together, they unwittingly become involved in an 'Unholy Alliance' between the Archpriest and the leader of an opposing nation intent on invading not only his home city of Lanberg, but the entire country of Arosa. [I highly suggest you change the name from Lanberg, Arosa to Limburger, Aroma.] [I'm not sure their involvement should be called unwitting, when they were specifically trying to find out what was going on.] The more Nik tries to extricate himself from danger, the more he becomes involved, pulled in by the lure of discovering his parent’s identity and the reason he was abandoned. [What makes him think his parents' identity has anything to do with the current situation?] Soon it seems the fate of the entire country rests upon the shoulders of a thief who’s little more than a boy. [Shoulders? You've totally lost track of your theme. The country's fate rests in Nik's nostrils.]
My 100,000 word fantasy novel, Unholy Alliance, is the first in a trilogy titled, Covenant of Lies. [In book 2, we meet a hero whose sense of taste is so highly developed, he has taste buds on all of his skin. Known as The Tongue, he's quite popular with the ladies.] [Book 3 features Touchy-Feelie, the superhero whose sense of touch is so powerful she screams out in pain whenever dust particles land on her skin. She's no good at fighting crime, but she adds comic relief when she teams up with The Snout and The Tongue.]
I have stories appearing in the anthologies, The Stygian Soul, Chimeraworld #2 and F/SF, as well as the upcoming anthology, A Firestorm of Dragons. I’m also a contributing author for The Complete Guide to Writing Fantasy, and the upcoming, The Complete Guide to Writing Science Fiction, due to be released early 2007, features Piers Anthony and Orson Scott Card among others. Both are Dragon Moon Press publications. [Dragon Moon Press? Again? What, does Dragon Moon Press require its authors to query EE for the free publicity?]
The complete manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Outside of a couple minor points (misplaced apostrophe in "parent's," no need for both "suddenly" and "now" in last sentence of paragraph 2), it reads well. More about the Archpriest's plot and Nik's parents' involvement could replace the prostitute, who doesn't do much of anything in the query. Also, I'm sure it comes into play in the book, but I think I'd leave the super sniffer out of the query. It sounds a bit silly.
You might want to stick in something about when and where this takes place fairly early so the reader knows what kind of book he's dealing with.