Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Claire thinks she's sure to get published, if she writes a good book, goes to conferences and persistently tries to interest a publisher.
2. Claire was born with everything -- looks, brains, a mansion in Bevery Hills, a complete set of Spode china. Pursued hotly by both a handsome prince and a business tycoon worth billions, she is a recipient of a MacArthur grant, a Tony and the Nobel Prize for Physics. So why does she live in an Airstream and eat off Chinet?
3. I know there's a market for first-person fiction dictated to me by my vagina, and this book proves it.
4. Claire and her boyfriend, Blaine, are happy. Or so she thinks. When Claire discovers she's got the clap, she's forced to wonder: is it too much to ask for a girl to have a happy relationship with a nymphomaniac?
5. Patrick is horrified when his wife, Claire, announces that her mind is now occupied by both her own consciousness and that of another woman named Joy . . . until he realizes that he actually likes Joy better than Claire.
6. Claire just wasn't herself today. She looked in the mirror and saw Eleanor Roosevelt. She looked in her bed and saw Bill Clinton. Then she figured it out: she was in Hell.
Dear Agent or Editor,
Patrick Becker returns to university life for his second doctorate to apply his electrical engineering expertise to the study of consciousness with his doctoral advisor, Dr. Dylan Freedman, a renowned Philosopher of mind. [Wake me up when this one's over and we'll move on.] While Patrick's wife Claire serves as a “reference brain” to test his specialized EEG equipment, she decides to experiment on her own, in a way for which it was not intended. After awaking several times from periods of unconsciousness in which she hears voices, [It's the voices of her doctors and nurses arguing over who's to blame.] Claire decides that she is now plural...Claire and Joy. [I don't see this as a decision. If she's not plural, or it's unknown, she "claims" or "declares" that she's plural. If Claire is plural, she--or rather they--"realize" that they're plural.]
Patrick is devastated. [Devastated? How many married guys get a shot at a threesome without all the baggage?] He and Dr. Freedman study Claire's condition feverishly and postulate that the normal left/right brain communication has been interfered with (much like a clinical condition associated with an exotic surgery used for severe epilepsy patients), [Thanks, I was wondering what the medical explanation was for this interference.] stranding Claire in the right brain and an “over-achieving” remnant of Claire, Joy, in the left brain. [Doctor House would test the theory by removing the left side of the brain; fortunately he's on his summer hiatus.] Claire's family and friends are skeptical of Claire's claims, especially when an MRI reveals a tiny brain lesion in an area of the brain frequently associated with the aphasic speech pattern that Claire presented for a while. Medical gravity leans towards the lesion despite its size. [The MRI found the lesion that was created by the EEG. Now they need to do a CT scan to find out what the MRI did to her. No wonder no one ever leaves a hospital alive.] Claire insists that Joy has grown, mentally, from a child to a fully functioning adult and she does not want to give up Joy. Claire's sister Abby, a nurse, presses hard for a surgical solution. [Not surprisingly, Joy is firmly on Claire's side in this argument.]
Based on separate interviews, both the neurologist and Dr. Freedman are impressed by the completeness of Joy's personality. Dr. Freedman, an expert theoretician on consciousness, decides Joy is not a personality, but is a person, equal to Claire [, a decision Patrick is forced to accept when he notices that Claire and Joy are conjoined twins]. Abby wants to use a court hearing to force her sister into surgery. [I don't have a sister, but those of you who do can tell me how you would react if your sister dropped by to tell you she and her lawyer had arranged with the courts for you to undergo brain surgery.] Patrick has no interest in forcing Claire into surgery, but sees the hearing as a sort of Socratic moot court to hear the ethical and scientific arguments of the future that will attend artificial life. [I think it's Patrick who needs brain surgery. His brain seems to be stuck up his ass.]
Patrick shivers at the thought of Joy's presence in the “marital theater” of Claire's mind, but he can no longer force himself to hate Joy as a policy...she is a fetching and charming person who grows on him. [Interestingly, where Claire enjoys a minuet, the ballet Russes and crepe suzette, Joy loves to rock and roll, a hot dog makes her lose control — What a wild duet!] (And why not? She is a remnant of Claire.) How will Patrick and Claire (and Joy) resolve Patrick's love of the formerly singular Claire and Claire's love of her newfound 'sister'? [Not to mention Patrick's love of his newfound mistress.]
Claire's Delusion (alt. Mindbender) is a hard SF novel, with medical thriller aspects, of about 100,000 words. I think readers of The Time Traveler's Wife will enjoy this novel. Thank you for your time spent and I hope you will want to see the manuscript.
When you're a Philosopher of mind, and someone asks what you do for a living, do you say, "I'm a Philosopher of mind"? Because if someone said that to me, I would assume he was putting me on.
It's too long, and easily shortened by getting rid of the technical stuff. Also by limiting yourself to a maximum of ten three-syllable words.
Save the science for the book and focus on the people. It's the people who make the story, and it's the story that you're selling.