Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Face-Lift 529

Guess the Plot

Angel's Art

1. Turned down by the Met, The Frick, the Carnegie . . . even the Corcoran, for crying out loud . . . desperate artist Angel does what she must to survive and joins the slave army in the Thomas Kinkaid dungeon.

2. Angel's brain is half computer thanks to an operation that saved her life. Now she feels no emotions--until one day in art class her emotions return. Also, a half-cheetah.

3. All she is supposed to do is paint by numbers in the lines. But Lurael, the newest angel on world-creating duty, wants to do more. When she flexes her creative wings, will she get an okay from the Big Guy, or be clipped forever?

4. 45 years ago, Michael Angelo O'Reilly's mother gave birth to her darling son in front of Michaelangelo's Pieta at the New York Worlds Fair. Today, Mikey's unique shotgun/paintball splatter designs command the highest price, but his reputation will never rival that of Michaelangelo. He is so depressed.

5. All of the students at Little Angels Art School are just that . . . little well-behaved, good-hearted angels. Only little Johnny knows it's because Miss Gabrielle puts Valium in their Kool-Aid. When the Color-Inside-The-Lines art competition is announced, little Johnny knows he has to get rid of Miss Gabrielle. On the other hand, being on Valium feels pretty damn good.

6. John Tigotheles inherits the "paintbrushes" used by his famous artist great-grandfather, each a single feather of intense softness and unidentifiable species. When John tries to paint with the feathers, he produces masterpieces in the same heaven-themed style as his famous ancestor, but he suffers terrible nightmares about tormented children who say only John can save them.

Original Version

Dear Editor:

Science fiction draws in readers with worlds that are fantastic and yet plausible. Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game still remains a popular read more than twenty years after its creation. [If, as I suspect, you're sending this to editors who handle science fiction, you're not telling them anything they don't know.] My 60,000 word young adult novel, Angel's Art, takes the science fiction element into a familiar realm for young readers, the classroom.

Angel Morgan is a genius thanks to her half-computerized brain. But the novel operation that saved her life has also deprived her of emotions. That is, until she starts attending pubic school for the first time. [Pubic school? Did you do that on purpose just to make Evil Editor happy? Here we go.] [Pubic school: All Sex education all the time.] [Pubic school: it's where you go when you can't afford privates school.] [Mom: What are you studying in pubic school? Jane: The Vagina Monologues.] [I Googled pubic school. You wouldn't believe how many hits, and most of them accidents.] [On a whim I tried using Google to see if any universities had schools of pubic health. The Yale University School of Public Health website has a page devoted to alumni awards. Two excerpts: "Established by the AYAPH Board of Directors in 2006, this award honors an individual in public health practice or academic pubic health . . ." and "Determination of the final nominee is based on EMAC’s evaluation of candidates on the following criteria: 1. Leadership in the field of health disparities, cultural competency or diversity in pubic health.] [Googling pubic library gets a few hits and led me to this article. Note that this list of New Jersey libraries involved with the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian program includes the Carteret Pubic Library. (Of course, you'd expect a library program named after Bush to be a pubic library. Da dum ching.)] [How does stuff like this stay online? Doesn't anyone ever visit these sites?] Between human-animal chimeras and English-impeded robots, Angel is almost overwhelmed with discovery. Imagine the worlds of J.K. Rowling and Isaac Asimov molded into one. [It's amazing how many Asimov titles sound intriguing when attached to Rowling's stock opening: Harry Potter and the Sensuous Dirty Old Man, Harry Potter and Still More Lecherous Limericks, Harry Potter and Space Garbage.]

Just as Angel is beginning to make friends and possibly feel her emotions again, her parents start talking about moving her to a private cyborg school. [As opposed to a pubic cyborg school. Ba dum ching.] At first, Angel wants no part of it, but soon she begins to develop suspicions that one of the students is somehow being controlled through illegal experimentation. [That word "but" suggests that you're about to say she eventually warms to the idea. Instead you follow it with something that has no obvious connection to the clause preceding the "but."] With her best friends, a human and a half-cheetah, at her side, [Is the other half of the half-cheetah human? Is it a human head on a cheetah body, or a cheetah head on a human body? I would rather have a cheetah body than a cheetah head. But that's me.] Angel is determined to discover what is going on, even if it puts her at risk of being deprogrammed.

I graduated from North Valley University in 2006 with a minor in creative writing. My debut story, Innocent Secrets, recently appeared in True Confessions magazine. I have enclosed a SASE, along with a synopsis and the first two chapters. I look forward to hearing from you.


[The title comes from the fact that Angel's emotions return to her during an art class.]


Let's hope this hasn't already gone out with the spelling error.

It's mostly the situation. It seems to me that the actual plot is dealing with the illegal experimentation. Yet that is given just a brief mention at the very end. Who's experimenting on whom and why does Angel suspect? If you get rid of the first two sentences and the one about Rowling/Asimov, you'll have plenty of room to tell us what happens in your book.


Anonymous said...

"With her best friends, a human and a half-cheetah, at her side,"

Am I the only one wondering if someone's pulling our appendage?

Whirlochre said...

I agree with EE that the initial lecture and the Rowling refs have to go.

It all sounds interesting, but to be fully persuaded I need to know more about your take on the cyborg/emotion issue. As it's written, I'm not getting beyond the cliches.

I'm always game for half-cheetae, but it would help to know who Angel's other best friend is. 'Human' is too vague. Ditto the 'somehow'of the illegal experimentation control. I really want you to tell me about that.

Kiersten White said...

I'd imagine there's a very wide range of pubic health diversity.

But pubic libraries creep me out.

Thanks, author, you brightened all of our mornings ; )

I felt like this query had too many random elements. Half-cheetah friend? Where did that come from? You say public (well, okay, you *didn't* say public, but we're all hoping that's what you meant) school and I think bad lunches, recess, etc. So when you start listing off chimeras and English-impeded (what does that even mean?) robots, you lose me. Focus on background and development, and leave out details that are distracting.

Also, never, ever, EVER compare yourself to Rowling. Just don't.

But don't be too sad. I see a lot of potential in this--sci fi for younger readers isn't that common, and it sounds like it could be fun.

Anonymous said...

I don't mean this in a derogatory way but it doesn't sound like science fiction to me. It sounds like YA/Middle grade where the main character happens to have a half-computer brain. [kind of like calling Stars Science fiction just because it has space ships]. The tone of the story as described just doesn't fit what I recognize as Science Fiction.

I think this is good news. Instead of limiting the querying to SF agents, I'd go more mainstream.

Just my dumb old two cents.

..dave conifer

Wes said...

Actually a pubic library is not far-fetched. A few years ago, the Boulder, Colorado public library hung a collection of 24 dildos in various colors with knitted cozies around the scrotums from the ceiling of the main entrance. I can't recall the purpose, but it had somethiing to do with the rainbow of diversity.

The library also refused to filter porn from the computers in the children's section.

Oh, well. Maybe it's just me. I've always been known as a fuddy-duddy. Fiddle-faddle.

Dave Fragments said...

This is cyberpunk (or has a huge chunk of cyberpunk elements) -- the mating of man and computer and the consequences to society. And it's considered sci-fi. consider Morgan's Takeshi Kovacs character who has an implant that allows his mind to be store and transmitted electronically and then restored into a new body.

Akira, Strange Days, The Matrix, A Scanner Darkly, Minority Report, those all have cyberpunk elements.

I can't add anything more to the comments about the query.

However as for the GTP's...
#1 - I always thought there was a Kincaid dungeon.
#5 - is the last name "Tigotheles" real in any way?

Anonymous said...

Hey, I was re-reading. The author never called it Sci-Fi, but they did call it YA. So everything I said was nonsense (but y'all already expect that from me)...


fairyhedgehog said...

You can learn so much in here. I never knew that dildos had scrotums or that they needed cosies to keep them warm.

Dave Fragments said...

There's a delightfully funny video on the web of Gary Kasparov (the former chess player and not politician) speaking and someone unleashes one of those toy helicopters with a dildo attached.

It's so hysterical to watch. And it's a BIG dildo.

writtenwyrdd said...

Evil are you on a roll today!

I read the half-cheetah and thought it was, like, a body chopped in half, bleeding out all over the floor...

Ditto what everyone else says here. This is setup with seriously unfortunate typos, poor grammar and zero plot. Perhaps you might read a few of the query shred fests that have come before yours, then reread the responses here before you revise, Author. Then tell us what your story is about. Sounds like it could be a decent YA read.

none said...

Any SF editor worth their salt will know this painting, too.

none said...

Oh, and hilarious jokes EE. Truly top notch.

pacatrue said...

The situation sounds very cool. Girl, friend, half-cheetah; Cyborgs, mind control, a mystery; all for the YA market which is still hot. But the query doesn't yet show enough about the story or that you can tell a great tale. (My query was worse, so I know whereof I speak.)

I'd also drop the bit about Great Valley State or North Valley University (as it apparently is), because it doesn't add anything to your resume unless you're marketing to the alumni association of NVU. Just say you have a B.A. in creative writing, etc.

EB said...

If you're going to bring up Asimov and JK Rowling (a practice I'm not all that keen on for the reasons EE has expounded upon numerous times), you might as well throw in Wells...since all the half-human/half-cheetah made me think of was "The Island of Dr. Moreau."

I expect shop class in the pubic school would be the House of Pain.

Anonymous said...

Confusing. Her parents start talking about sending her to Cyborg school. Angel wants no part of it, but then all of a sudden before the end of that sentence she's not only in Cyborg school, but already suspects that something shady is going on there?

A lot happened in that sentence. Probably too much.

Anonymous said...

I've always maintained that there's a reason only a single "L" separates 'pubic' & 'public'.

And I dare anyone who deals with the great unwashed to differ.

Dave Fragments said...

I'm stealing a political joke from Olberman while y'all are watching American IDOL.

Japan has named HELLO KITTY, the animated children's character as its tourism envoy to China and other parts of Asia. Stunned by the "tourism envoy gap," President Bush announced that Foghorn Leghorm will be the USA's envoy to Canada.

And yes, Pepe Le Pew will be envoy to France.

talpianna said...

Our local electric company had a huge illuminated sign atop one of its power plants:ARIZONA PUB IC SERVICE.

Bonnie said...

I always wondered what they did with all those kids caught cheeting on their exams...