Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Ava Grandler is a troubleshooter: when good contracts go bad, she's the one to call. But when handsome Gray Bradshaw's company begins to flounder, will she be accused of cooking the books?
2. He was brought in to stop the bleeding when Hemodynamics Industries was going down the drain. Now the top executives are turning up dead, drained of blood. Is there a connection between the string of grisly murders and . . . The Consultant?
3. Derek Wilberforce believes he is existent in a highly synergistic lifestyle until an impactful life event incents him to realign his priorities and rediscover his under-utilized assets in a paradigm-shifting circumstance. Also, a hyperinfrastructure.
4. He had a promising consulting career going until he woke up in the psych ward with his memories gone, accused of murder. Can an aging hypnotherapist help recapture the troubled past of . . . The Consultant? Also, ghost hitchhikers.
5. Immortal Loman Morgano was a consultant, offering affordable advice where he could. He was marriage consultant to Henry the Eighth. He advised Russia to sell Alaska to the US. Now, droolingly, he anticipates his most rewarding consultation: advising the American electorate on the 2008 political season.
6. A book of advice written by teenagers, during the years when they know everything, this pithy handbook will act as a personal consultant to clueless parents and guide them along a path carefully calculated to avoid humiliating their teenagers or sullying their reputation beyond repair.
Dear Mr. Evil:
I’m seeking representation for my new suspense novel, THE CONSULTANT. Set in New England, it's the story of a troubled young MBA on the run, a trio of unearthly hitchhikers, and the incredible road trip they take to save each others’ souls.
Despite the schizophrenia in his bloodline, Thomas Chace has it all: an Ivy League degree, a fast-track consulting career and a terrific woman who loves him. When he finds himself in a psych hospital beaten up, indicted for murder, and with zero recollection why, he must trust an aging hypnotherapist [I once trusted an aging hypnotherapist. Big mistake. I ended up braying like a mule as my brother kissed the bride at his wedding. My sister-in-law didn't find it nearly as amusing as the aging hypnotherapist did.] to help restore his memory. What she finds buried in his mind is beyond what either of them imagined.
The hypnosis takes Thomas back to the day he learns [I'd go with past tense here.] his employer, business icon Philip Kingstone, is involved in a criminal venture capital scheme. When Thomas steals evidence that will expose him, Kingstone comes after him with a vengeance.
Thomas’s escape takes him to a breathtaking Vermont canyon where tourists go to take pictures and desperate souls go to take their own lives.
While there, he loses his precious evidence against Kingstone. As hope vaporizes, he realizes he has company; sitting in his back seat [He's in his car? How did he lose the evidence? It blew out the sunroof and into the gorge?] are three shadows, two men and a woman who perished in the gorge. His strange passengers make him an offer: if he helps them resolve their unfinished business in this world so they can move on to the next, they will help him try to survive his own dire predicament.
With nothing to lose, he teams up with his late hitchhikers and the foursome embarks on a quest that is daring, humorous and romantic, but always on edge. And before it's over, Thomas encounters something even more threatening than Philip Kingstone: the truth about himself. [He died in the gorge three years ago, and it's the hitchhikers who are alive.]
At 95,000 words, THE CONSULTANT blends suspense/thriller with paranormal spine-tingler, a combination I hope will appeal to a large commercial audience. For a taste of my work, please see the enclosed, which need not be returned. The full mss is available; I’ve enclosed an SASE for your response.
With sincere thanks for your consideration,
I can't tell if the part about stealing evidence, going to Vermont, and encountering the hitchhikers is what the aging hypnotherapist unearths or if it happens after Chace visits the aging hypnotherapist. If you put what the aging hypnotherapist discovers in past tense, we'll know when you've switched back to post-hypnosis events.
I assume you do switch back somewhere in there. Usually you want the most interesting part of the story to be told to the readers, not to an aging hypnotherapist.
This is well-written, but isn't the plot the story of how the three lost souls help him, and he helps them? It's buried at he bottom of paragraph four. I think we can lose the hospital and the aging hypnotherapist and get the ghosts as close to the top as possible, not only because they're your plot, but because it feels like you're introducing aliens in chapter 14.
Actually, it's not clear why the aging hypnotherapist is even needed in the book. Man discovers boss is criminal, boss goes after him, ghosts appear in back seat as he tries to make escape. Man helps ghosts, ghosts help man. What is gained by man gets amnesia, aging hypnotherapist cures amnesia? If you get to the ghosts early, you might have room to tell us about their unfinished business.
What she finds buried in his mind is beyond what either of them imagined leads me to believe the aging hypnotherapist finds the ghosts. If she just finds the venture capital scheme, I wouldn't build it up so much. Does she discover who beat Chace up, who he supposedly killed, why he's in the psych ward? I'd rather hear about that than the boss's scheme.
As the book has paranormal aspects anyway, I think the hypnotherapist should be getting younger instead of aging.