Thursday, July 09, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. Burned out after twenty years of white collar work, a yuppie quits his job and moves to a farm in Wales, where he finds peace and takes up a new hobby: torturing and slaughtering people in his . . . Chicken Shed.
2. Jenny and Mike decide to quit the corporate jungle and go completely off-grid in suburban California. Everything seems to be going along smoothly--until the baby chicks they bought to give them eggs turn out to all be roosters. Now no one in the neighborhood dares turn on the light to use the bathroom.
3. Three brothers end up behind enemy lines in France. Beautiful Marie LaFarge tells them the only way they can survive is to hide in her chicken shed until the war ends, but things go from strange to surreal as they slowly lose their minds and grow wings and feathers.
4. As WWIII grinds on and a syndicate of diabolical robots rule the world, five resistance members inhabit a maze of caves in Missouri, code-named Chicken Shed. They create an idyllic tribal culture complete with music, dance, moonshine, and one mad dream for which they will soon risk everything.
5. Uncle Frank's place is cool - wicked cool -- and 8-year-old Winston thinks the noises and lights he sees late at night coming from the chicken shed are the coolest thing of all . . . until one night, he sneaks out and discovers Uncle Frank's latest invention.
6. The chickens in the shed have always been violent and clever. Paula would have gotten rid of them long ago if she didn't need their eggs. But now her two-year-old son has wandered into the shed. Can Paula outwit these monstrous birds to save him?
Dear Evil Editor,
CHICKEN SHED is a completed 100,000 word novel about a nameless ex-hedge fund manager who, thanks to the credit-crunch, has found himself at a loose end after working brutally long hours for twenty years amassing tremendous quantities of money in the City of London. [Even us Americans know London's a city.] To pass the time in his now empty life, he changes his identity, [He was already nameless; why does he have to change?] moves to a farm in [Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch,] Wales and takes to kidnapping, torturing and finally slaughtering the men who, as teenagers at the school that he attended in the 1970s, tormented and humiliated him. [He does this "to pass the time"? Are his victims in Wales or is he going elsewhere to get them? Did he grow up in Wales? This guy sounds familiar. Except for the slaughtering part. I think.]
Realising that the police never look too hard when a middle aged man disappears – especially if money is occasionally withdrawn from his bank account and there’s a sighting or two of someone who looks a bit like him somewhere in the country –
[Cop: Seen this guy? He's been missing a week.
Man: I saw someone who looked a bit like him in Penbontrhydyfothau a few days ago.
Cop: Okay, guess we can stop looking.]
he is able to ply his gory new trade undisturbed against the backdrop of the beautiful Welsh countryside for several years. [Never underestimate the value of an alluring landscape when you're engaged in slaughtering people.] His victims are captured, and then dispatched, [Gotta admire the British talent for tactful understatement. A crass American author would have said massacred or butchered or mutilated.] with the style, single-minded dedication and lavish supply of surgical equipment only someone with his experience, wealth and mental health issues can muster.
His run of luck is finally disturbed when his latest victim turns out to be a drug dealer actively being investigated by the police. [They really should consider putting your case in the inactive investigations pile once you've been slaughtered.] Although the North Yorkshire force, from under whose nose the man is captured, fail to follow the clues, a sharp eyed and persistent Welsh detective named [Gwarthegydd] Jones picks up the case and [Spoiler alert.] eventually gets his man. In a final plot twist, Jones also uncovers a deeper motive to the gruesome crime he has just solved.
The darkest scenes, as well as the climax, take place in the Chicken Shed of the title - a battery [-operated] chicken farm shed converted from the mass production of low quality meat to bespoke tailoring of high quality pain and suffering. [Remove "and suffering" if you're going for two phrases with similar cadence. A less-unwieldy way would be: from fowl butchery to foul butchery."] [Also, you might change "bespoke" to "custom" if you send this query to the uncivilized world.] Written mostly in the first person present tense, the protagonist gives his thoughts on everything from the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright [A genius that Frank Lloyd Wrrright guy may have been, but I'd like to see him design a better chicken shed than my own.] to be [the] best way to prepare deep fried tarantula. [Drop tarantula into deep fryer. Fry until it stops screaming. Mwynhewch eich bwyd!]
[Other Useful Welsh Phrases:
I don't understand.................. Dw i ddim yn deall
Speak more slowly.................. Siardwch yn arafach
Say that again......................... Dywedwch hynny unwaith eto
Write it down.......................... Wnewch chi ysgrifennu hynna
My hovercraft is full of eels.... Mae fy hofrenfad yn llawn o lyswennod.]
Thank you for considering my query.
This was an episode of Criminal Minds, except your serial killer isn't a quadriplegic.
This is like Dexter, except your serial killer is the bad guy.
Better title: The Silence of the Hens
Well-written, and you can't go wrong with a creative serial killer. It's a little long. You can afford to lose the first sentence of paragraph 2, tacking the second onto paragraph one. And you can afford to lose "To pass the time in his now empty life," as he is doing this for revenge and for the unrevealed deeper motive, not just to kill time.