Thursday, November 08, 2007

Face-Lift 449

Guess the Plot

Dead Line

1. When Harold Waterman finds three corpses in his garden, it's only the beginning. Before the day is over he'll have crossed the line from living to dead and into a demon-inhabited world whose fate hinges on the actions of a taxi driver.

2. Before it's In this sequel to the enduring Flatland, the gentleman square tries his hand at amateur detecting when a line segment is found dead on the plane. A cast of one- and two-dimensional characters "round out" this terrifying tale of the geometric killer. Also, a rhombus.

3. Trudy was on track for a promotion to full-time lineman with Campbell Power and Light, until she crossed the black and the red and shorted out half of Tuscaloosa. Handsome George has offered to take the blame for the Dead Line, but is there a catch? Can Trudy save her job and learn to trust a guy who's a few watts short of an ampere?

4. On a dare, Ted crossed the line, but now he's dead and an army of zombies is determined to make him their newest recruit. Can Bella LaBod rescue her lover from a fate worse than death? And will she be able to come back to the land of the living after she's ventured beyond the . . . Dead Line?

5. Three dead bodies, all found along a single line of longitude was weird enough. Eight is a pattern. Detective Shorty Reynolds needs to find The Meridian Killer before the line of the dead stretches from one end of the globe to the other.

6. A rare X Class solar flare wipes out the communications satellite that Eliza us using to plan her coming out party. With her cell phone dead and no text messaging, will her guests be left with pot luck meatloaf and garlicky spinach dip from the supermarket for snacks? The fate of the known world is at stake.

Original Version

Dear Mr Evil

When Harold Waterman found three corpses in his garden he didn’t think his day could get any worse, that was until he was assassinated in his pyjamas and learned there are more terrifying places to go than Heaven and Hell. [Heaven isn't all that terrifying, except for the part where if you fall off a cloud you plummet into hell.] It’s lucky for him that his best friend is a demon who can pull some strings, if he can only stop being so sarcastic to God.

[God: I banish you to the fiery depths of hell.

Sarcastic demon: Ooo, I'm soooo scared. I really deserve it, I'm the worst demon ever. At least you didn't banish me to the place more terrifying than heaven or hell.]

Dead Line, complete at 120,000 words is an urban fantasy set in the moden day [modern-day] fictional town of Laverstone. In a lighthearted style, it explores a tale of murder, betrayal and redemption where demons are bad only during works time [Not clear.] and tha fate of the world can hinge on tha [One misspelling of "the" is a typo; twice in nine words is a pattern, and I begin to wonder what tha hell's going on.] actions of a taxi driver.

Several of my stories have been published, most notably "The Werewolves of Westminster" [Never heard of it. Oh, wait, you mean "Tha Werewolves of Westminster," right?] by Torquere Press last year. My first novel "An Ungodly Child" won the regional heat of "Undiscovered Authors" and is due to be published in April 2008. The opening chapter of this can be read through a link on my website, below.

Thank you for taking the time to consider my submission.


The part where you tell us what happens in your book is two sentences. And I'm not sure the corpses in the garden have much to do with your story. Guy dies, goes somewhere more terrifying than heaven, and might get out with help from his demonic friend. We need more information. Who is Harold Waterman? Who are the corpses? Is the demon his best friend before he dies, or does he meet the demon in the place more terrifying than hell?

Corpses, assassination, hell, demons, murder, betrayal and redemption . . . told in a lighthearted style? I usually think of urban fantasy as more edgy than lighthearted, and I'm not sure why this one should be lighthearted. Maybe when you expand the query you should focus on the lighter aspects of the plot.

A comma isn't right in the first sentence. A possible fix would be to make the comma a dash and delete "that was." Or make it two sentences.


Nancy Beck said...

This sounds like it could it really good, but you'll have to clear up a few things (and I don't mean Werewolf Snotlards ;-)).

that was until he was assassinated in his pyjamas

How does Harold know he was assassinated? Is he some high-falutin' government figure or something?

In a lighthearted style, it explores a tale of murder, betrayal and redemption where demons are bad only during works time

Huh? What's "works time"?

The last para is fine, although I think I'd ditch the sentence about reading it on your website. Either attach the first 5 or so pages of the first chapter or just say that you can provide the chapter or the first 3 chapters, blah blah blah.

Good luck!

writtenwyrdd said...

OMG EE, you are on a roll today! Author, I agree that this query doesn't give us a story, just the set up. (This seems to be a recurring problem with queries.) Sounds like it could be a good story, and I'd like to know what it is.

Anonymous said...

What pattern was on his pyjamas when he was killed?

It's quite a run to imagine demons, murder and betrayal being presented in a lighthearted manner. Do the demons, killers and bad-mannered betrayers tell jokes while they are doing there works?

- JustABand

Anonymous said...

humor, like the recently dead in Betelgeuse, the movie

Stacia said...

Why do I think I just saw this one elsewhere recently?

I love the set-up (although the line "If he can only stop being so sarcastic to God" bugged me. Maybe "if only he'd stop mouthing off to God" or "if only he could make God like him" or something? I'm not sure why but the phrase you used feels clunky to me. JMO.) but agree we need more story.

What is the place more terrifying than Heaven or Hell? Is it a funny place, like being force to spend eternity working at WalMart? Why would Harold go there anyway, was he really awful in life? Is God really so petty that one sarcastic demon is going to make Him send an innocent man there (oh, wait, scratch that. According to the Old Testament, yeah He is.)

Also, what is the contest? There's lots of Unpublished contests out there; you want to specify which one it is. You may have just left it out for us, but since you mention your book and its title I don't know why. So just saying, because if you want to use the contest as a credit we need to know it's a reputable one that means something (I'm not doubting you, just saying you should clarify.)

Robin S. said...

"[One misspelling of "the" is a typo; twice in nine words is a pattern, and I begin to wonder what tha hell's going on.]"

Good one.

Love Harold's name - and I like the idea of this being done humorously.

Anonymous said...

"Good Omens" managed to pull off demons, Armageddon, etc. humorously. I didn't have a problem with tha lighthearted bit. And a sarcastic demon sounds like fun.

But I agree with the other comments: there's no plot here, just a couple of sketchy characters and an afterlife of some kind.

I'm guessing that "works time" should be "office hours" or some such phrase, yes? Either that or you're getting into works theology. Which, given the setting, is not out of the realm of possibility.

Anonymous said...

I played around with my favorite search engine (GoodSearch - you name the charity) and found a bit of this book on an interesting publisher's website.

This part:
When the fate of the world rests on one mostly-innocent man and the elves are out to kill him, sometimes you wish you could kill him first. Then you're working to a Dead Line.

is really good (with a bit more explanation of why you'd want to kill him first). I think it's the start of the book. It's a bit hard to tell on this website I found.

That would be a nice start to a query IMO.

There's not enough here otherwise for me to say yes or no to the book.

If Snowbooks is the publisher of the first book, they don't seem to be a vanity press. They have an editorial process. They're just small. Why not name them?


none said...

But then Good Omens doesn't start with corpses. The only deaths I remember are those of the Bikers of the Apocalypse, although it's years since I read the book.

However, I believe it is possible to pull something like this off as a comedy. What it takes, I think, is to make the reader laugh so hard they don't stop to think. Probably requires a fast pace.