Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Face-Lift 400

Guess the Plot


1. John and Barbara Fisher are roused from deep sleep by an unearthly howl. It sounds like it's coming from the next room. A strange being has invaded their house, and they're about to find out it's looking for food. And--can it be? Does it need a diaper change AGAIN?

2. During the long flight to Demeter 5, astronaut Dave Gavin becomes a born-again Christian. Can he preach the Gospels to the inhabitants of Demeter 5, or will they kill him--just as they did Jesus?

3. 4000 years after God turns him into the world's first vampire, an archangel gets bonked on the head and suffers amnesia. A thousand years later, he comes to, and encounters . . . Vlad, his old rival from the vampire wars. Talk about rude reawakenings.

4. When lawyer Gustav Klimptikov opens the will of an elderly, wealthy client, he uncovers a web of mayhem and murder that will shake the very pillars of the highest levels of government. Armed with a two thousand-year-old drop of blood, he joins forces with a gorgeous geneticist, risking everything to resurrect the one woman who can save the world . . . Mary Magdalene.

5. In the deep silence of space the passengers aboard the colony starship "Vegan" awake from their cryogenic sleep. "It's only 23,000,000 light years, for Chrissakes! Go back to sleep!" "Where's the bathroom?" "Are we there yet?" "I want a drink of water!" HAL knew they were going to reassign him after that Discovery incident. But this?

6. It's bad enough to awaken the dead, but Dr. Frankenstein just couldn't leave bad enough alone, and reawakened his monster. But this time, he knew, would be different. No way would the Windmill Preservation League allow a mob with torches to destroy the monster again.

Original Version

Dear Mr. Editor:

For a human, ancient times are a buried puzzle. For an ancient vampire, those times have faded into history like their youth. For me, they are a recent memory. I am Vincent, a former archangel, and I watched as the heavens and the earth formed. When man ate of the tree of knowledge, God appointed me the Angel of Death. [May I send you my 300,000-word manuscript, If I Did It?]

No mortal should have been capable of seeing me unless I chose it, but Anastasia did. [I never did find out where she got the night-vision goggles.] Intrigued, I visited her frequently and we eventually become lovers. The deeper I fell for her, the harder it became to leave and I began ignoring my duty. When God [, outraged that I wasn't killing enough people,] ordered my return, I refused. Infuriated, God punished me for choosing a woman above Him.

[God: You dare choose a woman over Me?

Vincent: Not just any woman. Anastasia. Have you seen her?

God: I'll take a look, but . . . Holy Maloly! Are those real?]

Since I wanted to stay, stay I would – cursed as the original vampire.

Four millennia later, I found one vampire killed by another. My search for answers led to a war against others of my kind and reunited me with the reincarnation of my beloved Anastasia. [Amazing to be this far in, and still not know whether you're writing to me or to your psychiatrist.] Just as the war should have ended with my army the victor, I suffered a near fatal blow. When I awoke one thousand years later, I had no memory of my past. [And yet I've somehow just managed to tell you all about it.] Vladimir, the leader of the opposing faction in the vampire wars, discovered me alive. [Discovered you in what condition? Why didn't he put a stake through your heart?] Revenge foremost in mind, he fostered Anastasia’s reincarnation [What does that mean? How long had she been dead?] and plotted to use her against me. He believed my love for Anastasia bound my soul to this world and her hate for me in this reincarnation could surely break that bond, sending me to hell and out of his way. He assumed incorrectly. Her love for me only tied her to this world. Still, his theory held merit. With Anastasia unable to return, [from where?] I would curse God and accept my place among the fallen angels – right after sending Vladimir to meet my old friend Lucifer. I, however, plan to win and to do so ancient battles must be refought and ancient passions reawakened. [I feel like you're trying to explain a bunch of complicated stuff when you should just be telling us what happens.]

My dark fantasy novel, Reawakening, is complete at approximately 92,000 words and ready for your review. I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your consideration.



The two set-up paragraphs are clear enough, but I find the long paragraph confusing. If the majority of the book is set after Vince awakens, I'd concentrate on that and reduce the set-up. Though it's the clearest part, I'm not sure we need the set-up at all. If you start it something like:

For a human, ancient times are a buried puzzle. For me, those times have faded into history. I am Vincent, cursed by God as the original vampire . . .

omitting the Angel of Death, and forbidden fruit stuff, there'll be more room to provide a clear picture of the Vincent/Anastasia/Vladimir story, which I assume is your main plot thread.

There are but three queries left awaiting critique. Now's the time to get 'em in. If nothing else, you get to see what the Guess the Plot authors come up with for your title.


Blogless Troll said...

Always suspected God was a boob man.

pacatrue said...

I almost did the chili spew on that line from EE as well, blogless.

Author, I too got lost almost completely in the long paragraph. The only thing really concrete I took away was that Vincent and ummm the other vampire are going to go at it. And Anastasia is around somehow and important.

Are the first two paragraphs all set up?

Dave Fragments said...

Shame on you, EE, shame.
There were two blue collar types installing my new washing machine when I read this line: [May I send you my 300,000-word manuscript, If I Did It?] ...
Do you know how embarrassing it is to get the giggles with deliverymen staring at you?

Now about the plot: how does the Angel of Death get knocked out for 4000 years and people still continue to die?

Bonnie said...

Plot #5 is funny. Plot #4 sounds like a future bestseller. This one...doesn't grab me. It sounds like testimony from my neighbor's divorce. The only question left is who's going to get custody of the kids?

Anonymous said...

Clearly, everything can't be explained in a query, but there are a couple of questions that it may do well to address:

As the original vampire, does he sire the race of vampires? Or does God create more vampires from disobedient angels and they sire other vampires and that's why war breaks out?

What keeps him from transforming Anastasia into a vampire to share eternity with him? Doesn't she love him enough to want to be turned? There certainly must be something else special about her if she can see him when she shouldn't.

How does a search for answers lead to war? A search for weapons of mass destruction, yes. But answers to a vampire murder? I'd be surprised it took so long for a murder to happen.

I don't understand the Anastasia theory thing at all. Sorry. Is Annie reincarnated twice? The first time after the war breaks out and the second time after Vince wakes up 1000 years later? Or just once, and Vlad, thinking Vince might wake up again, turns Annie's first reincarnation and makes her a vampire -- is that what you mean by "foster?"

And your last sentence - I'm absolutely clueless what that means.

Five millenia pass during the course of the story. It may help to mention when and where Vince meets Annie. Crete or Syria or Egypt around 3000 BC?

I've heard over and over from agents and editors in their blogs and other advice sites to not write queries or synopses from a character's POV. The general consensus seems to be that it's gimmicky and frowned upon and the sure sign of a novice who hasn't done enough industry research. If there's a secret handshake that sets you apart as an amateur, this is it. While it seems novel to you because you hardly ever see it attempted, there's a reason it's hardly ever attempted - and it isn't pretty.

If I Did It - killer!

Chris Eldin said...

I can't read EE that much anymore during the day. My kids see the clipart and it's like, "Mom, what's he doing with his eyes?" or "Is that blood squirting out of his eyes?"

Good to be back.

Agree that GTP 4 sounds like a bestseller.

I tried my hand at writing a query in first person. I was advised against it, and I believe rightly so.

I wanted to know why Anastasi could see him. Not merely that she could and then all of a sudden they're having a love affair.

I couldn't take seriously the line about God's anger about him choosing a woman--also thought the boobs were funny!


Anonymous said...

I've said it before, but I could live a happy life if I never saw another vampire named Vincent. Or Vladimir, for that matter, but he's practically Canon.

Otherwise, this sounded pretentious and intentionally obtuse, which is the opposite of what you want. You're erring on the side of motivations, when you might do better with events.

writtenwyrdd said...

This premise reminded me somewhat of Storm Constantine's Grigori series, in feel if not in details. I actually think this could make a workable vampire paranormal romance series, but the query letter doesn't give the details of the book's plot.

The issue of the vampire war-- why it started, etc.-- would probably be best left out of the query. The background info isn't bad to have in this case, IMO, but there is way too much of it. Perhaps just tell us the vampire war is on and that Anastasia is his reincarnated lover and how she fits in. to me, the implication is that this is going to be a paranormal romance because it sounds like the many of them I've read in recent years. So that leads me to expect to hear what Anastasia and Vlad are going to be doing, and also to hear something about Anastasia's pov as well.

Robin S. said...

Any chance this is the Vincent from New Beginning 338?

If so, the 'straight, yellow' vs. 'straight but yellow' teeth question may working its way toward a conclusion.