Thursday, December 17, 2009

Face-Lift 710

Guess the Plot

Spider Slayer

1. Everyone thought the wall-climbing axeman of Dublin, 'Spider' Murphy, was the toughest individual ever to elude capture -- until he met his match. Now the whole island is abuzz -- who can the Spider slayer be? And where is he? Only a trio of schoolgirls meeting in the Starbucks on Buchanan Street to select their next victim know for sure.

2. It's Arachnophobia meets Crocodile Hunter in Spider Slayer, the latest nature TV hit. But the ratings start dropping--until star Serrin Cutch rescues a woman from a giant spider web in prime time. Now if Cutch can just keep the world from finding out he drugged the woman and threw her into the web . . .

3. Steve "Spider" Slayer is the best flyweight boxer that down-on-his-luck ex-Olympic coach Charlie Branden has ever seen, bar none. Is it the keen eyesight, the lightning reflexes, or the six arms that make him so special?

4. Bugsy Mahone guzzled from a bottle labeled "Drink Me" while hiding out from the mob he double-crossed. Smaller than a bullet now, he no longer worries about guns. Then again, the spiders have their own racket going.

5. Spider Slayer is sick of crap entertainment at the Home for Pointless Superheroes. Together with roomies Klutz Kicker Kid and Never Remember Anythingman, SS leads a liberation campaign on Marvel Mansions, an elite retirement facility. Hilarity ensues when instead of Wii, they find Elektra, She-Hulk, and Black Widow.

6. When Bob started Spider Slayer, his mobile spider killing business, it was just to get women. Turned out there were a lot more people afraid of spiders than he thought. Now he has branches in every major city and next week he takes the company public with an IPO of six million shares.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I seek representation for my 83,000 word novel, Spider Slayer.

Spider Slayer's ratings started falling back in November; [Audiences are fickle; once they've watched a guy stomp on spiders for a few months they move on.] while The Crocodile Hunter meets Arachnophobia was a fresh concept back before the gasoline crisis, the shortage has reminded the mostly-human US citizenry that they were competing for resources with, let's face it, inferior beings. [Spiders may be inferior beings, but they don't use that much gasoline. Even if they drove cars, they'd be tiny cars that get great mileage.]

Then Serrin Cutch, the Spider Slayer, found a human reporter caught in a web and saved her life on prime-time TV. To many, this proved that the Choloki were not sub-human. It proved that there could be peace between the US and the scattered tribes. [Are we at war with them?] [I'm inferring that the Spider Slayer is Choloki; I'd rather have that spelled out for me.]

This was all before a pair of local sleuths found out that he drugged the reporter and threw her into the spider's web himself. [Thus proving that the Choloki are even more like humans than anyone thought.]

Thank you,


If the Choloki consist of scattered tribes, it's hard to believe they use enough gasoline to affect the humans' supply.

Lemme see if I've got this straight. There are tribes of Choloki scattered throughout the US, and humans consider them inferior beings, and now that we're running low on gas, we're gonna kill the Chiloki off because they use gas. Then a Chiloki saves a woman from a giant spider so we decide we'll let them live and we'll just deny them gas. Then we find out the rescue was staged, so we kill them off after all.

There needs to be a better connection of the ideas. You need to mention the Choloki earlier. What's the connection between the gas shortage and the falling ratings? Is Serrin Cutch the main character? Reorganize this so it sounds like a cohesive plot instead of something just thrown together.


150 said...

I thought that Serrin, the Spider Slayer, was slaying spiders and that Choloki was what you're calling Choloki here, so he was probably human; so when the human saved a human from a spider web it didn't make the Choloki seem any more human.

I'd probably read it if I had the first idea what was going on. Rewrite and repost!

Anonymous said...

I didn't get it.

Steve Wright said...

Right. My first reaction is "where's the rest of this query?"

Who or what is/are the Choloki? What's this reality-TV spider hunting show, and what does it have to do with, well, anything? Scattered tribes of what? (Choices seem to be: Choloki, spiders, or TV presenters.) What does the plight of the reporter have to do with the story? Is there a story?

See? I have so many questions - I hope the author has some answers.

Anonymous said...

When you mention Crocodile Hunter I immediately assume this takes place in modern day earth. Hearing about Cholokis and giant spiders makes me think it's a fantasy world. The gas crisis reminds me of Mad Max.

In a word: setting.

Dave Fragments said...

I remember that final scene in the original "THE FLY" where David Heddison, his head and arm on a fly's body is caught in a spider web and we hear his tiny voice begging "help me. Help me, help me..." And the Inspector crushes both spider and fly with a rock.

Is this even set on Earth? IF so, when did spiders get big enough to trap people in their webs? Is there an alien race of spiders and another alien race of spider slayers? Like Sissy, the Spider Slayer of Sunny Suds High School in Paducah?

BTW - I have a few lady friends who will not enter a room if they know a spider is in it at the same time. They are true arachnophobic maniacs and won't touch even the dead, crunchy spiders let alone hairy tree spiders that get to be a couple inches out here in the woods. They flee. They flee.

vkw said...

I didn't get it and I am not sure I want to.

We need something to go on. Maybe a synopsis?

batgirl said...

Is the plot presented in reverse chronological order? Or reverse logical order? Given that you're tossing us in to the world without any setup (which can be the best way to do it, not wasting time) you should perhaps be gentler with explaining the plot.
Also, what's at stake for Serrin, whom I take to be our hero? Is it the ratings, or the survival of his people?

_*rachel*_ said...

I have no clue what Chokloi are or what the tribes are. Start over, giving us just enough world-building to understand, and elaborate on the plot.

Why is there a gas crisis? Futuristic fiction, I'd guess we're past peak oil, the Middle East or the Stans have gone up in flames, etc. Here, though, it sounds like the tribes/Chokloi/??? are competing with the humans for its use. What do they want it for? Do they eat it?

Marie Simas said...

I can't tell what's going on. Obviously the author has this entire story playing out like a movie in his head, but we don't have any tickets to the show.

Please give us more info.

Adam Heine said...

Also, the spiders: are they giant spiders? I wasn't sure until the reporter was caught in a web (and even then...). Seems like that should be mentioned up-front as well.

And who's the protagonist? Serrin? If so, the last sentence doesn't make him seem very likable. I admit I don't really care if he gets caught or not. Basically, I don't know who I'm supposed to care about or why.

Start with the protagonist. Tell us his goal/problem (the conflict), why it's important (the stakes), and what he does to solve it (the plot). Being very careful to explain anything that's not obvious to someone who has never read the book and drop anything that would be too hard to explain in this short space. I know that's easier said than done, but it's part of the job.

Hanne said...

I think this has voice in spades, which is always supposed to be a good thing. Connect the plot dots, and you're there. I wanted more - also a good thing.

The first sentence goes straight from Crocodile Hunter to mostly-human, so I guessed alternate near-future right away. What I don't get is whether Choloki means spiders?

Katherine Hazen said...

When reading this I got the impression that the Chokloi were giant spider...people (using that term broadly) and the author had just done a poor job presenting that. Either way, this query is not clear. That's a problem.

Bartholomew said...

Wonderful post! Very helpful.

The comments have been helpful, too. I love this blog.

(I wrote the query above, if there's any doubt.)