Friday, October 05, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Better than the visage of Jesus in the grilled cheese sandwich. More powerful than the specter of Mary on the garage door. It is the miracle of the tears that aren't there. Come feel them for yourself in Cranston, RI.
2. Two phantoms work with their hosts to prevent an approaching cataclysm that threatens to destroy the world's peace. Also, the Devil reveals his favorite food.
3. Famed tenor Mario Belcanto, out of work now that the "Phantom of the Opera" franchise has run its course, decides to end it all if he doesn't land a role in "Il Pagliacci." Can soprano Gertrude Hugenbuttem convince the director that Mario was born to play Beppe, and dry Mario's Phantom tears? Can she get him to quit wearing that stupid mask?
4. Jane Merriwether needs just one more ingredient for a love spell to attract handsome Lord Romley -- the tears of a phantom. But the phantom cries only at the death of a child. Will Jane commit cruel murder to win her love?
5. When four year-old Gabe Wilson can't produce the necessary tears to get his daily ice cream fix, he learns phantom tears work almost as well with the new babysitter. Except the new babysitter is a crack dealer. Will Gabe's tears get him his dessert, or will his babysitter string him out on something worse than sugar?
6. Living next to a graveyard scares Misty Fedine. But late one night she hears a hauntingly beautiful tune floating over the graves and follows the sound until she encounters the ghost of a young man. Can she help him find his lost love?
Dear Ms/Mr Agent
I understand you have much interest and experience in the genre of Science fiction, Fantasy and Young Adult, therefore I would like you to consider my speculative fiction novel, Phantom Tears, complete at 255,000 words. [I guess if you write in three genres at once, it makes sense to write enough for three books.]
'The Devil's favourite dinner is sin forged in the noblest heart.' - Anon, 7012, new calender [In the year 7012, much has changed; for instance, "calendar" is spelled differently. Or . . . was that colander? "The Devil's favourite dinner is angel hair strained through the noblest colander."] [Opening a novel with a quotation isn't unusual. It usually mean either that the author finished the book, looked through some quotations, found one that sounded cool and slapped it on the first page hoping people would think he found the quotation first and based the book on it, or that the author just likes the quotation and figures that because she's had a book published, people will assume it must be a really profound quote, no matter how meaningless and irrelevant it is, and will admire the author for her sagacity in choosing this other person's words.
Opening a query letter with a quotation--a query letter that will be read by one unpaid intern slush reader--is almost as annoying.]
When ideologies are seperated by miles of magic ravage wasteland [And people ask me where I get off rejecting their life's work after reading less than one sentence.] its easy to believe everything you hear, but when Layne and Tania are drawn into a web of lies and deception it forces them to realise everything is not black and white, about both their enemies and their own City, Trachedae. [Hey, the good news is, from here, there's nowhere to go but up. I hope.]
As military students, advanced engineering tests and combat simulations were Layne and Tania's biggest worries, then two seemingly unconnected acts of opportunist aggression tear Layne's world apart. In the aftermath he uncovers a trail of clues that, amazingly, brings him into suspicion and he is chased from not only the Garrison, but also his home City. Tania is also forced to flee the Garrison, a military training centre dedicated to protecting the City, after finding Layne's incriminating notes and takes refuge within Trachdae itself. [Trachedae.]
With the aid of their intangible symbionts, Shyla and Djan, the pair struggle to survive; [Life is so much easier when you have an intangible symbiont. I wonder if I could get an intangible symbiont to do my blog.] Layne forced to seek redemption within the evil Gang Fortress and Tania seemingly a target for assassination from within the Garrison itself. Working from opposite ends of the same problem, they reveal a plot that threatens not only Trachedae, but could destroy the delicate standoff between the Gangs and the Cities that keeps the whole world in relative peace.
Phantom Tears is a novel that mixes magic and science and explores preconcieved notions of right and wrong amongst the snowballing events of an approaching cataclysm. It would appeal to fans of Michael Marshal Smith, Clive Barker and Iain M Banks, as well as the big kid in all of us.
Enclosed please find a synopsis and a sample of the first 5 pages of my manuscript, I look forward to hearing from you in the future.
[The 'Phantom' in question is the technical name for Shyla and Djan, the symbionts.] [Saying the technical name for symbiont is phantom is like saying the technical name for homo sapiens is dude.]
There are enough spelling, grammar, and sentence structure errors here to bury you. Plus, the first clause of the first sentence of the plot makes no sense.
I also have no sense of what happens. Here's what we know: Two unspecified acts of aggression by unspecified aggressors tear Layne's world apart. He uncovers clues of something unspecified and comes under suspicion of something unspecified. Tania finds his incriminating (to him or her?) notes about something unspecified. Oh, and by the way, Tania and Layne have intangible symbionts.
It's all too vague.
Start over. The gangs and the cities are at peace. Someone is plotting to disrupt the peace. Layne and Tania are the good guys. Who are the bad guys, and what are they up to, and what do the good guys plan to do to stop them? Be specific. And stop capitalizing "city."
There's no need to mention the symbionts in the query if you aren't going to make it clear what role they play.