Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Search for Mr. Lincoln: and the Encounter with Cornbread and the Three Eyed Man
1. When celebrity chef and Yaqui shaman Don Mescalo visits Illinois, he meets the adolescent Mary Todd. Mary spends hours in the kitchen mastering Mescalo’s culinary techniques and developing a fondness for his little cactus buttons. The rest, as they say, is alternate history.
2. After their teacher Mr. Lincoln disappears, three students set out on a cross-country road trip to find him. But someone is chasing them, too, two ruthless criminals with a total of five eyes. Also, exploding cows.
3. In the run-up to the 1964 World’s Fair, the Disney-created animatronic Abraham Lincoln has gone missing, and it’s up to bumbling security guard Gopher Miles to find him, or else there won’t be any Great Moments come opening day. After a series of bizarre, near fatal encounters, Gopher decides Mr. Lincoln is definitely not in the Monsanto pavilion. (Book 1 of the 12-part Unisphere series
4. When American Idol holds auditions in Lincoln, they get lots of great female voices but can't find "Mr. Lincoln"--the one male voice who could make it to the finals. Instead, Paula generates controversy with a contestant named "Cornbread" while Simon is accosted by the Three Eyed Man.
5. When President Lincoln goes missing the night he's scheduled to attend Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater, he is finally located eating cornbread with a mysterious three-eyed man in the White House kitchen. The three-eyed man begs Abe to stay, but Abe's handlers insist that if he refuses to go out in public, the South has won.
6. Her neighbor, Mr. Lincoln, invited Amy over for cookies. But when she finishes eating, he's nowhere to be seen. As she searches his house, Amy encounters a three-eyed man, a giant duck named Lulabelle, and Cornbread Maxwell. All she really wants is to find some more of those intoxicatingly delicious cookies.
Dear agent-like creature:
I would like to invite you to consider representing my 50,000 word young adult novel, The Search for Mr. Lincoln: and the Encounter with Cornbread and the Three Eyed Man. [If a man has three eyes, and you're talking to him, is it rude to constantly look at the third eye, even if that eye is looking at you?] [No matter how strange the guy looks, the only thing you'd see is his third eye. Sort of like, despite all the weird things in this book title, I can't help looking at that colon, and thinking, What's that doing there?]
Mr. Lincoln is Mae Be’s favorite teacher. Well, he’s not just her favorite teacher; she is actually obsessed with him. He is more intelligent, unique and interesting than any of the students at Paul Rueben High School could ever hope to be. [That's spelled "Reubens" if you were going for the guy known as Pee Wee Herman. And if you weren't, I'd change it.]
So when the normally reliable Mr. Lincoln misses three days of class in a row, Mae Be panics. She enlists the help of her best friends Amber, the pretty and popular pseudo-socialite, and Stuff, the brilliant but mildly schizophrenic loner, [Bad move. Bringing Amber and Stuff together is like mixing matter and anti-matter.] to help her find out what happened.
Eventually, a search of Mr. Lincoln’s house and interrogations of the odd stable of teachers at the school, yield a cryptic note and a lead. The clues direct Mae Be and her friends on a cross country road trip in search of a bar named the Yellow Rose, a criminal rumored to have three eyes, and his lackey Cornbread.
On the way, the friends get distracted by a genetically altered lab mouse, bizarre roadside tourist attractions, exploding cows, a raisin throwing old lady on a Rascal, a sexy hitchhiker, and their own insecurities. [The longer a list goes on, the more boring it becomes. I'd trim the hitchhiker, the insecurities and the roadside attractions. If it's vital to convey that it's more than three, you can say "numerous bizarre characters, including . . . ] When they finally get to the Yellow Rose and uncover the dark secrets within, their road trip becomes a frantic attempt to escape as the three friends are mercilessly stalked by the dangerous, charismatic three eyed man and his dim partner Cornbread. [Charisma is important when you're running for president, but no matter how charismatic he was, I think a three-eyed man would have trouble getting elected.] [Not sure I'd refer to Cornbread as a partner when you've already called him a lackey.] [I'd leave out "dangerous, charismatic" as well; we already know the three-eyed man is a criminal and is mercilessly stalking them.]
I am a recent college graduate with a degree in History Education. The first chapter of my next novel, a dark comedy titled Sunshine Kids Make Money, [Either you stole that title from the guy who wrote the last query we did, or this is one incredible coincidence.] has recently been published in the online journal edifice Wrecked.
Thank you kindly for taking the time to read my letter. If you would you like to read part of my novel(s) please contact me at______________ or _________. Good luck with your current clients and projects.
The names have been changed, but this is the plot of the movie Nurse Betty. Which is a good thing.
This may be as quirky as the Sunshine Kids, but thanks to the plot thread of the search, it sounds like a story, rather than just the (eventually tiresome) ramblings of a character.
Don't let the book lose its focus on the search by including too many side-tracking stops. Dorothy stopped several times on the way to the Emerald City, but she brought the odd characters along with her and they became part of the main storyline. If it feels like the search is being interrupted just to inflate the word count, it might not go over well.
Does the three-eyed man look like this guy, from the pilot episode of The Twilight Zone?
I still say if man had a third eye, it should be on the back of his head. In fact, the strongest piece of evidence creationists have against Darwin's theories is that man didn't evolve an eye on the back of his head.