Saturday, February 16, 2008

Fake Query 6 (Eleasa's Trap)

Can a pregnant fishwife find happiness with the earl who knocked her up one drunken evening? Cara decides to toss the Goddess of Fate, Eleasa, for her unborn child's future, and wins the chance to make her dreams come true. Or does she? There's always a catch when you gamble against Eleasa.

Dear Evil Editor,

If you help me get my 69,000 word Romance, Eleasa’s Trap, published, I will cut you a sweet deal on the royalties. Cara Lee is a fishwife in the southern seaside town of Eleasa. By day she sells cockles and mussels while dreaming of sailing a small yacht around the world. By night she is a stripper in a dockside bar. When Cara discovers she is pregnant, she thinks the father may be the mayor’s son, Earl, who is desperate to produce an heir to keep his trust fund. Cara decides to sign-up with a deep-sea fishing vessel to avoid telling Earl what he already suspects.

Cara spends the first weeks alternating between violent bouts of nausea over the side rails and getting to know the crew. She falls in love with the first mate (Alexander) when they seek shelter in the galley during a violent storm. She fills him in on the details of her past life, Earl, and her present condition. He comforts her and admits his own deep feelings for her.

Unfortunately, the ship is attacked by pirates and Alexander is taken captive along with many of the crew. Cara finds a way to pursue the pirate ship and rescue Alex. Together they manage to make off with the pirates’ treasure and boat. Alex is unable to make port before Cara goes into labor. Complications arise, but with Alex’s help Cara gives birth to a healthy boy they name Alexa.

During a brief return to Eleasa, Alexa is kidnapped by Earl who has (forged) paternity papers drawn up. Cara and Alexander engage the services of a high-powered lawyer and eventually win custody of Alexa. At story’s end, Cara, Alex and Alexa sail off into the sunset in a yacht more beautiful than Cara could ever have imagined.

Eagerly awaiting your response,



Dave Fragments said...

All the loving aspects of unplanned pregnancy and divorce custody battles with pirates.
Paging Johnny Depp, Paging Johnny Depp...

Sarah Laurenson said...

What an adventure, complete with emotional roller coaster. Loved it!

ril said...

This could so easily be a real book. All you have to do is write it, now. Well done!

Robin S. said...

Wow, me - talk about a flesh-out plot! Have at it - write the book!

Whirlochre said...

Nice to see you've not gone for a parody with this and I concur with Ril. It sounds like something that people might actually want to read.

Brenda said...

Yup, I agree. Write it!

Anonymous said...

OK. Should I send the query out anyway, while I'm working on the story? I respond to positive reinforcement.

This is the 2nd query that I've written before actually writing the book and suddenly, I am thought-stricken with an idea. Instead of submitting a query to an agent requesting representation for a particular work (WIP or complete) would it be way out there to query for representation of myself, as a writer, and offer to write-on-demand whatever the agent thinks will sell? Wouldn't that simplify the whole process? jus askin.


Sarah Laurenson said...

If you want to write for hire, then I believe you go that route.

Sorry, that's not an original idea.

PJD said...

But why doesn't she just tell Earl the truth up front?

Having just heard over a dozen agents give presentations at the SF Writers Conference, I can state with confidence that if you sent a letter saying "I'm a great writer and I'll write whatever you want," your letter will hit the trash can faster than you can say "Hi, I--"

That said, however, ghostwriting and writing for hire can be lucrative ways to make a living.

Anonymous said...

Due to constraints on the length of words allowed, I omitted the descriptor "gay" as regards Earl. And he's a creep. PS plus there's a twist at the end, remember:

"she thinks the father may be"

Pjd & Sarah: I get what you mean, but maybe I wasn't clear. It just seems like the whole process of agents going through queries (often about books/plots which they do not want to represent) is backwards to me. If they have a particular type of plot they want to market why don't they just say so? (via Publisher's Weekly, etc) or would that lead to other publishers stealing the idea or something? For instance: nobody wanted Harry Potter at first, but once it was a hit, there was a glut of Boy Wizard-type books on sale by other pubs within 6 mos. Do you think that was the result of enterprising authors writing quickly and submitting, or did the agents "request" boy wizard books to be written, or was it just coincidence that agents went back to their slush piles and found that many books about boy wizards and such? I'm sure I must be missing something here. Sometimes I can be pretty dense.

I am not talking about writing-for-hire or ghostwriting. Is this why "researching/stalking an agent is mentioned so often, because it is up to the author to "pick" the right agent? Well, I don't expect you to have all the answers, but I appreciate your comments.


PJD said...

First, let's establish one fact: I'm no expert in this field. There, that said, I'm going to act as if I am expert. OK?

What agents sell has a lot to do with what editors say is hot. If agents are out talking with editors, and editors say that space westerns involving talking lemmings are the Next Big Thing, then agents will have their eyes open for those types of things. Or, if agents already represent established authors who might write something like that, they might suggest it to those authors.

Fundamentally, though, agents are primarily looking for good stories written well that have commercial appeal. Agents don't appear to sit around saying to themselves, "Boy, I really need a good space western involving talking lemmings." They sit around saying, "Boy, I wish a really great writer would bring me a fresh, new voice and a terrific story to sell."

I think this is due to several reasons. First, I think people who want a factory type of job get one. People who become literary agents (the good ones) tend to be intelligent, articulate, creative people who are interested in ideas and new things. (EE may disagree. He may think they are like a vicious pack of meerkats.) I think also it is due to the long lead time of publishing. I've been told many times that 18 months from contract to publication is not uncommon. So an agent who looks for what's selling hot today is likely to be pushing yesterday's news by the time the books are ready for publication.

Finally, one dirty little secret of publishing today is how little publicity work a publisher does for a book once it's out. They'll do some, sure, but unless you get a HUGE advance you're pretty much on your own for publicity and promotion. You might think a boy-wizard urban fantasy could ride on Harry Potter's coattails, but readers are more discriminating... we can smell a "me too" knock-off a mile away. So investing in something where you've been beaten to market isn't usually a good strategy.

So your best bet as an author is to come up with a new idea and write a great story.