Saturday, October 21, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. Ernie Friks is a champion swordsman. Now if he could just learn enough French to sound good during a match.
2. Men and women try to touch and be touched by each other through the sparks of connection all humans long for. Also, a birdman.
3. In 2012, wearable computers communicate by passing pulses across the skin's ambient electronic field. When Tiffany and LaTis'ua bump in the crowded train, they accidentally switch identities
4. As the Martin family continues their cross country trip, the dreaded cry sounds out from the back seat for the fiftieth time that day: "Mom, Billy's touching me!"
5. Homicide investigator Jill Akron has a secret: she can sense an item's history just by touching it, a skill she has always found useful. Until, that is, she borrows her boss's pen and uncovers a conspiracy that could endanger everyone she loves.
6. A collection of essays about babies and their effect on their single parents. Also, a panda.
I am seeking representation for my ten thematically linked collection of short stories, TOUCH. [If you're going to get rejected after only one sentence, you want it to be because of the phrase "collection of short stories," and not because the sentence makes no sense. Move "collection of" in front of "ten."]
Most of the offbeat stories are set in California and feature men and women struggling to find a sense of place and belonging: fitting in, finding roles, and connecting with others and the natural world. [In other words, there is no common theme, but I think the book will sell better if I declare one, so I'll make one up that's so general it could apply to just about any story ever written.] In “Animal Rescue,” a young man examines his commitment to his aging gay parents who are showing signs of mental illness. [Eventually he calls in the animal rescue squad, claims there are two lemurs in his basement, and has them transported to the zoo.] In “Birdman,” a woman struggles with the choice of raising her autistic son alone or remaining in a dysfunctional relationship [with her husband, a salmon-crested cockatoo]. In the title story, a woman receives the remains of her MIA husband and tries to connect to her daughter. It is a collection of experiences, roads not taken, and the intense and unforeseen sparks of connection we all hope for.
I also have a novel nearly completed. [I call it Smell. It's about people struggling to find a sense of place and belonging: fitting in, finding roles, and connecting with others and the natural world. But instead of touching each other, they smell each other.]
Most of the stories have previously appeared in literary journals including: “Lynx Eye,” “Del Sol Review,” “Prism,” “South Dakota Review,” “North Atlantic Review,” and “Isotope Literary Journal of Nature and Science Writing,” among others. [Good strategy, mentioning only the big guns, and not the obscure ones.] In addition, I have attended the Santa Barbara Writer’s Conference, and participated in classes offered by Gotham Writers Workshops.
[Cost to attend Santa Barbara Conference, including lodging: $2000
Cost for a Gotham Writers Workshop: $400
Income for selling stories to literary journals: $200
Potential income for selling this collection of stories: $100
No wonder everyone wants to be a writer.]
If you're going to provide one sentence per story, you have room to describe more than three stories. If you're going to describe only three stories, you have room to go into more depth with each of them. As it is, we don't know enough about what's in the book.