Thursday, August 09, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Hard-driven lawyer, Jake, is defending two small businessmen against a corrupt, Enron-like, corporation. Researching the case, he finds himself spellbound by Libby, an attractive law librarian. As the case heads to trial, he questions whether she's assisting him or his opponent.
2. Librarian Madeline Pierce has it all . . . except a man. But when she starts feeling that she's being watched, even stalked, she puts romance on hold. Also, a 90-pound baby.
3. Detective Roscoe Butt follows the clues in a string of grisly murders. The list of suspects is virtually endless until Butt notices the overdue fines lodged in the victims' throats. Can he close the book on this one before The Librarian strikes again?
4. By day she is timid and bespectacled, shelving books and picking up after the hordes of messy kids in the Children's Room. But after dark . . . shh! Check her out at the Pussycat Strip Club, tossing spectacles and tweeds, bumping and grinding as . . . The Librarian.
5. Ex-Navy Seal, Dave Zepper, has seen things that still keep him up at night. Now, he just wants to live out his golden years, seated behind the front desk of the Library of Congress. But when Saudi terrorists break in to destroy a sacred Shi'a text, Zepper realizes that only one man can check them out . . . The Librarian.
6. Mildred Boggsley shelves books and answers questions in the library of quaint, quiet Eppingham-by-the-Sea. But when a book-banning movement rears its ugly head, and Mildred's boss, old Mr. Loxford, dies a suspicious death, Mildred must take on his secret identity to fight for free speech. She must become . . . The Librarian.
I am writing to request that you consider my 80,000 word manuscript The Librarian for review and representation. I am querying agents who represent both Chick Lit and Contemporary Romance genres, in hopes that I will receive feedback about where this work might most comfortably fit. [You're unlikely to get it. Fortunately Evil Editor is here to help. Answer the following questions:
Is the heroine on a diet?
Does she wear Blahniks?
Does she work in Manhattan?
For a women's magazine?
Is she feisty and sarcastic?
If I'm not describing your book, it must be a romance--assuming the hero and heroine eventually overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and live together happily ever after.]
Confident, quirky, Madeline Pierce believes she has her life under control—she is the youngest Head of Reference in the history of the Richmond County Library, [Man, they keep stats on everything these days.] her 3 bedroom, 2 bath “fixer-upper” with original hardwood floors, located in the heart of the river district, is shaping up nicely, and thanks to her newly discovered dog whispering talents, Baby, her 90 lb lab/boxer mix is much more manageable. [Psst, Baby . . . don't maul the neighborhood kids anymore.] The only piece missing is a partner to share it all with. She’s not looking for perfection in a man, just someone who is motivated, self-aware, has similar interests, and who won’t make fun of her wardrobe. [Her last boyfriend was Mr. Blackwell; it didn't go well.] Jack Bishop, the library’s audio-video specialist/weekend rocker has great potential.
But, after Madeline finds the first in a series of strange, black and white photographs hidden between the pages of a rarely circulated book, peculiar events, that are not part of Madeline’s “big picture” begin to cause her some concern—a missing file, muddy footprints outside her window, and the sense that someone is watching her. As Madeline intercepts the photographs, one by one, the short messages written on the back, oddly loving and threatening at the same time, [I love you . . . to death; I killed them all for you; Your heart will be mine . . . when I rip it out of your chest cavity and eat it.] seem to be directed towards her. She struggles to understand their meaning in relation to the events unfolding around her and the possible connection to a menacing figure from her past, the secret she’s kept hidden from family and friends. [Vague.]
As she battles the sense of paranoia and fear that threatens to shake her carefully constructed foundation, she finds herself attracted to an unlikely candidate for her affections-- Evan Payne, an aimless, aging, mama’s boy, whose most recent accomplishment has been to cut back on his partying. [One doesn't normally think of a mama's boy as a party animal.] Plagued by an unknown stalker [The ghost of Melvil Dewey] as well as her attraction to a man who is definitely not her type, Madeline’s future is put on hold while she comes to terms with her past.
Inspired by my strange, but wonderful, neighbor (a librarian), the plot unfolds within a fictional public library and picks up on issues of library culture. [Should homeless guys be allowed to sleep in the library, and if so, in what sections? Would more people use the library if they got rid of the books and showed first-run movies? Should Evil Editor's books be in every library, or would the incessant laughter be distracting to patrons?] It also touches on themes of harassment, both physical and psychological, but most importantly, it’s a love story. [If it's most of all a love story, that's not coming across. It doesn't sound like Evan is the hero, but Jack is barely mentioned. I'm guessing this is romantic suspense, since there's so much mystery/thriller querritory.]
Although my MFA is in visual arts, I studied creative writing with J(famous author) [Not James Joyce?] at the graduate level. I am a new mother and an Associate Professor of Art. This is my first manuscript, however, I am looking for representation from an individual who will assist me in planning a writing career. Thank you for taking the time to consider this query.
It's longer than necessary. The Evan paragraph can go. Most of the last paragraph can go. And much of the plot is wordy. It would be easy to remove a few words from most of the sentences, leaving a much tighter description.
Are all the photographs hidden in books? There are too many books in a library for her to keep happening upon the few containing photographs.
Perhaps it wouldn't hurt to mention what the secret from Madeline's past is. And something about the romance.