Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Face-Lift 389

Guess the Plot

Zombie Stakeout

1. Dana's aunt mail-ordered a husband, but the man seems to be a zombie, and he's not the only one in town. The living dead are growing in numbers, and the only way Dana can uncover the mastermind is to make a deal . . . with the vampires.

2. When Benny Johnson and his partner stop for dinner before the biggest stakeout of their lives, Benny orders eggs, and his partner orders . . . brains. Soon Benny finds out why. Jeez, ya think ya know someone.

3. Boggy John didn't spell real good, but he had a knack for grilling steaks. Once people found out Zombie Stakeout was a restaurant, Boggy had more business than he could handle. But would they keep coming if they found out where he got his meat?

4. Petra is determined to catch the killer who has been decimating the population of Shady Oaks Retirement Village. And this time, she has the right bait: Fresh brains! If she doesn't catch the real killer soon, however, she's going to prison for a long, long time.

5. Mossy Dan and the risen dead have tired of pizza. Now they're headed for the local Sizzler. But will they indeed consume the succulent beef they set out for? Or will they settle for the meal they grew tired of before they grew tired of pizza . . . human brains? The impromptu health inspection they stage at the restaurant will give them the answer.

6. Plucky teenager Zenobia Schwartz battles the zombies who have invaded her Connecticut prep school. Inspired by historic tales, she places the heads of decapitated zombies on her school fence to deter others. But she has a better idea when she spots an ant hill out front.

Original Version

CIA agents. Vampires. Zombies. Mail order spouses. Welcome to [Evil Editor's blog.] Lowersex…

Mediating between her psycho dad and suspected vampire teens, Dana Spark is offered a job with a paranormal investigation agency. But her youth is exploited, ordered to infiltrate the emo subculture—not her idea of a good time. And there's the risk of becoming a donor for bloodsuckers, with no guarantee of compensation. [We're moving too fast here. What exactly is she mediating? She's offered a job while mediating?

Okay, Dad, you sit on this side of the table. Vampires, that side. With fangs retracted, please. Thank you. Now, before we--

Ms. Spark? Sorry to interrupt--

Who are you?

I'm with Monster.com. It's about the résumé you posted last week?

Did she accept the job offer despite the extreme drawbacks, and if so, why? Fill in the cracks.]

Meanwhile, the man that Dana's aunt mail-ordered seems to be a zombie, and he's not the only one in Lowersex. The living dead are growing in numbers, [Finally a true zombie book, instead of one of those cheap imitations with one bit part for a zombie.]

[This being a short query, we have room for . . . Quotes from the movie My Boyfriend's Back:

Mrs. Dingle: Dr. Bronson, the reason I called is that our son Johnny... died the other day, and I was wondering if you could take a look at him... Would you like to talk to him? Sure. Johnny?

Dr. Bronson: Okay, well, you're dead. Which is unusual, because we don't normally see this much activity in a dead person.

Missy: Johnny, hi! Uh, listen, I think it's really great that you're back from the dead and all, but I've got gym.

Dr. Bronson: I'm afraid I have some bad news. Your boy is very sick. He's lost a massive amount of blood, and his pulse and retinal response are poor, and as you can see there's an axe sticking out of his head.

Johnny: It's because I'm dead, isn't it. That's why you won't go out with me.
Missy: Don't insult me.
Johnny: You're afraid of what people might say, aren't you. Behind your back, everybody whispering, 'there goes Missy and the dead kid'!

Buck Van Patten: You think you can hang out with us decent living folks like you're still alive or something?
Johnny: Why is everyone making such a big deal about this? I've only been dead ONE DAY.

Johnny: What?
Eddie: What do you mean, what? You just tried to take a bite out of my arm!

Big Chuck: Is there anyone in my family you DON'T plan to eat?

Reporter Brenda: We just received word that some sort of tragedy has happened in the high school today.
Sheriff McCloud: No, nothing unusual.
Reporter Brenda: I was referring to the slaughter.
Sheriff McCloud: Right, well, there was that.]

and the mastermind is likely a bloodsucker. But to uncover the true culprit, Dana must make a deal with the vampires' emperor that will cost more than just her blood—it could screw up the rest of her life. As if her paranoid CIA parents weren't trouble enough…


This is just the plot part of the query, as the credits are the same as the author's previous queries (426, 427, 428).

As with the others, it's not telling us the story, just touching on highlights. Sort of like listing quotes from a movie.


jjdebenedictis said...

Mediating between her psycho dad and suspected vampire teens, Dana Spark is offered a job with a paranormal investigation agency. But her youth is exploited, ordered to infiltrate the emo subculture—not her idea of a good time.

Both of these sentences made me go "huh?" and suspect grammatical problems.

e.g. Her youth gets ordered to infiltrate a subculture?

As EE notes, the query is vague about the book's central conflict. Why does Dana need to find out where the zombies are coming from? Why would she consider screwing up her life to fix the problem? We need to know her motivation.

We also need to understand the source of the tension. What gets in the way of Dana finding the culprit? Why is it a bad thing to do a deal with the vampires' emperor? (By the way, I kinda snickered when I read the phrase "vampires' emperor". That just doesn't seem to fit with the urban fantasy tone the rest of the query has.)

And why should we care about her parents? How is that relevant?

This might be a great book, but we need more information.

Nancy Beck said...

Ah, zombies! :-)

Seriously, though, this is like a Greatest Hits list or something; you don't give us any meat to sink our teeth into. :-)

I think I understand the "her youth is exploited" - that the agency is selfishly taking advantage of her young age for its own selfish ends. So how is the agency exploiting her youth by having her infiltrate the emo subculture? Are they secretly marketing people who want to corner the market on some product developed for that subculture?

Or is it something more akin to learning what that particular subculture's weaknesses are exterminating them so the agency can exterminate as many of its members as possible?

And why isn't it the MC's idea of a good time to go into that subculture?

I hope you get my drift, author, in that there are a lot of questions here but not enough concrete answers. I think that once you can provide some more details, your story will be more understandable.

As it stands, just count me confused.


Dave Fragments said...

What does "emo subculture" have to do with vampires and zombies? Isn't this like Metrosexual Men doing the zombie thing? At worst, aren't they just well dressed teens trying to pretend they are scary? They aren't slackers, they aren't grunge, they aren't hippies, they aren't anything more than (As Wikipedia puts it) "melodramatic, self-pitying teenagers who pour their efforts into writing depressing poetry."

That lost me completely.

Anonymous said...

Writing the query in the voice/pov of one of the characters is a well known device and ofen works wellto convey the tone of the book.

Personally, though, I wouldn't have picked one of the zombies for that.

Anonymous said...

This makes no sense as it's written:

But her youth is exploited, ordered to infiltrate the emo subculture—not her idea of a good time.

It could be easily fixed:

But her youth is exploited and she's ordered to infiltrate blah blah blah...

Or something to that effect. You need to take out the comma and put in a an object for the verb.

Anonymous said...

It's "Internature exploits her youthfullness for their own ends and sends her undercover"

Anonymous said...

The title is great, though. Who wouldn't want to read a book called Zombie Stakeout?

Chris Eldin said...

All of the blue stuff was really, really funny!!
I don't know, but I think this could be a fun book. The query needs the work EE suggested.

writtenwyrdd said...

Confusing. It felt like you were tossing in all the key words for paranormal books (vampires, zombies, etc.) and hoping something would stick to the wall. If you do not understand the problem with the youth that is exploited, why "Mediating between her psycho dad and suspected vampire teens" makes no sense attached to that sentence, pick up a copy of Strunk & Whites.