Guess the Plot
1. When teen Mandy Flimm finds a magic potion in a strange silver bottle, she is convinced it will solve her all her problems. She lets her mom take a whiff . . . and it does!
2. Jay Smith is worried. An Oracle has prophesied that within a week he will be dead at the hands of a notorious psychopath. Can alliances with unsavory beings stave off the inevitable, or will Smith's molecules be scattered to the . . . Ether?
3. Esther Orr has given up on finding true love, and instead has devoted her life to raising Springer Spaniels. But will the handsome dog whisperer she meets at the vet's change her heart? Or will his lisp drive her crazy?
4. Her brothers called her Ether because she was so boring, but Esther Boondockle has matured into a curvaceous surgical nurse with a chip on her shoulder. Can psychiatrist Trent Trott help her overcome her deep aversion to anesthesiologists and an urge to murder anyone who asks for . . . Ether?
5. Freddie the Frog is both an atheist and the unwitting heir to the Frog Throne. His fellow frogs swear Ether, the God of Death, is real. When Freddie finds himself in a biology class, he is forced to admit it's true. Now Freddie must prove worthy of the throne and save his fellow froggies from being dissected. Can he do it? Or will he succumb to the . . . Ether?
6. An alchemist attempts to turn ordinary objects into gas, mostly by burning them. Dying of cancer, he figures if his wealth rises into the air with his spirit, he really can take it with him . . . into the ether. Unfortunately St. Peter takes rather a different view.
I am seeking representation for my urban fantasy thriller, Ether, complete at 98,000 words.
The Oracle has just told Jay Smith that he has less than one week left to live.
To save himself, he questions the vagrants, demons and creatures that infest Albuquerque's underworld and unravels a crucial piece information. An internationally notorious psychopath named Cromwell, [Sounds more like a butler:
There's a dead body in the library sir.
Thank you Cromwell. Notify the inspector . . . But first, another plate of crumpets if you would.]
and his hordes of monsters, are hunting him down. [It doesn't take an Oracle to predict you'll be dead in a week if there are hordes of monsters hunting you down.] Chased inside a building by the marauding undead, Jay uses his telekinetic abilities to save his life. [He keeps using his telekinetic power to move tables and chairs in front of the monsters trying to get to him, until they finally give up in frustration.] [Let's hope that earlier in the book he used his telekinetic powers to pass the salt shaker or to get a beer. Otherwise it's going to seem awfully convenient that just as the undead (we call them zombies here) are upon him, he suddenly has telekinetic powers.] Cromwell appears and placidly explains that he has spoken to the Oracle and is prophesized to kill Jay. He declares that he cannot do it now simply because the Oracle has told him it is 'not yet time.'
Enraged, Jay seeks out the Oracle and demands to know [Who is Jay Smith to be making demands of the Oracle? Everyone knows you take what the Oracle gives you.] why he was not told of Cromwell's involvement. [Hey Oracle, WTF? You tell me I'll be dead in a week, but you don't even mention that it's Cromwell who'll be killing me? I paid you for a full forecast!] She mirthfully hints that his death is fated and it doesn’t matter whom he kills or where he runs; he will perish. [Maybe so, but at least now he can kill all Cromwell's loved ones. It's called prevenge.] She exclaims his death will be lucrative but refuses to explain to who. [Whom. And mainly to the funeral home.] Jay is now forced to seek alliances and council with unsavory beings to stave off his ‘inevitable’ death. [In a query that has already mentioned vagrants, demons, creatures, marauding undead, and monsters, it's hard to be fazed by unsavory beings.] [Have you ever noticed that characters are never described in query letters as "savory beings"?]
As the clock runs down Jay finds himself losing a duel with Cromwell—and beneath them a soul devouring demon waits to consume the loser. [Apparently the clock was running down on this query and you decided to wrap it up quick.]
Thank you for you consideration.
Wouldn't it be better for the soul-devouring demon to devour the winner? There's no guarantee the loser's soul hasn't already headed for the . . . Ether.
Apparently Jay has reason to believe he can save himself. Has the Oracle ever been wrong? Maybe that's the wrong question; has the Oracle ever been right?
So, is that the whole plot? Oracle predicts death, Jay tries to survive? There must be more. Who is Jay Smith? Did he go to the Oracle or did she come to him? Surely Cromwell isn't planning to kill Jay simply because the Oracle predicted it. Why does an internationally notorious psychopath want some guy from Albuquerque dead? Randomly? How is it that Cromwell has contact with the Oracle? I'd replace some of the less important stuff (like the death will be lucrative) with some of these answers. We're not going to care about Jay if we know nothing about him except that he's being hunted.