Monday, May 10, 2010

Face-Lift 767

Guess the Plot

The Drifter

1. You know the story about the lonely drifter, who travels the world helping people before wandering off again and how he's always an angel in disguise? Well, this book isn't about that guy.

2. He rides into town on his Harley, looking for a cold beer and a heart to break. Jennifer Lee knows he's the wrong kind of man for her, but she has to have him, mostly because her father would hate him. He is . . . The Drifter.

3. After Romeo hits Pip with his motorcycle, they fall in love. But when Romeo's father finds out Pip is a drifter, the lovers are forced to run away together. What will happen when Pip, who has been cursed with the ability of knowing when people are going to die, realizes that Romeo has one hour to live?

4. A Mediterranean cruise sounded like a romantic anniversary gift. The first few days were fun--until John Madison made the mistake of agreeing that his wife's ass looked fat in that new blue dress. At least she put a life vest on him before throwing him overboard.

5. When a wave washes drifter Brandon Roy onto a remote stretch of shore, he finds he has trespassed upon a secret kingdom of beings who will let him live only if he can prove his love for earth, wind, and sea. And telling them he saw Avatar twice isn't gonna cut it.

6. The renowned bounty hunter, Lagoon, apprehends escaped mutants on the planet Noose while searching for his father's killer, a being known only as . . . The Drifter.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

For sixteen-year-old Pip, knowing everyone’s time of death is growing tiresome. Especially when she can’t stop it. [Can't stop knowing or can't stop the dying?] [Does she know how the people die, or just the date and time?] However When a boy named Romeo hits her with his motorcycle she suddenly loses her curse. [Problem solved. That was easy.]

Her past a blur [Why?] and her curse gone, Pip finally sees how it is to be normal and to fall in love. But when Romeo’s father discovers she is a drifter, she is forced to run, Romeo by her side after his father’s last warning. [I don't see why someone would be forced to run just because someone found out she was a drifter. Is there a law against drifting?] [Also, why would Dad feel the need to drive a drifter away? Drifters, by definition, can be counted on to drift away.] Yet Pip’s recurring hallucinations of the dead keep coming [Keep coming? I thought they stopped.] and she is desperate to tell Romeo of her lost curse. [So Pip's hallucinations of the dead are a separate curse from her ability to know the time of people's death? Does she just see dead people, or does she see how they die? If you know how and when someone's gonna die, you ought to be able to prevent some of the deaths.] Except he would never believe her. Until the night they plan their escape, [I thought they escaped a few sentences ago.] her curse returns...and Romeo has only one hour left to live. [At least he'll finally believe her--in about an hour.]

I’m seeking representation for THE DRIFTER, a 55,000-word paranormal romance novel for young adults. Thank you for your time and consideration.



If it's a take on Romeo and Juliet, what's with the name Pip?

I want a clearer description of Pip's curse and what she hallucinates. In fact, the whole plot description needs more clarity. Almost every sentence prompts a question that doesn't get answered.

Wouldn't it be better if Pip had the curse the whole time instead of conveniently losing it to advance the plot and regaining it as soon as the plot requires her to have it? When she loses her curse she still has hallucinations of the dead, which I imagine would be even more disconcerting than just knowing when people are gonna die.

She knows "everyone's" time of death? Everyone in the world? Like, if she sees some guy, does she know he's going to die April 7th, 2056? Does she have to see the person, or does she know when people in Mongolia are gonna die?

Evil Editor: When's that guy gonna die?
Pip: July 9th, 2062, 9 PM.
Evil Editor (shooting the guy in the head): Wrong again. What about that guy?


_*rachel*_ said...

Would you really do that, EE? I do wonder....

Author, next time it would behoove you to do a little more proofreading. Things like "However When" and "But when Romeo’s father discovers she is a drifter, she is forced to run, Romeo by her side after his father’s last warning" could use a little work. We can deal with some typos here, but things like that'll probably get you a rejection when it's real.

Then tell us more. Boy meets girl, boy runs off with girl, girl knows boy's going to die. I know you've got more plot than that.

Sorry if I haven't been around much lately, everyone; my computer's down and I'm still trying to save stuff.

Joe G said...

Random criticism, but why is she called a "drifter"? The title doesn't really evoke what she is... feels random. I say this because I once wrote a story called "Hobos" that wasn't about hobos, and everyone who read it couldn't get past the lack of promised hobos.

Are the last 60 pages of the book in real time? Like a page a minute?

writtenwyrdd said...

ditto everything EE said. I am very confused as to what occurs in your story. We need to have you relay the basics that we must know, and we need them given to us before you refer to them in an Oh-b-the-way manner as you did in teh query.

This sounds like there could be an interesting story here, but you don't show us enough. The query is mostly set up and you end with the hook: her boyfriend will die if she can't stop it.

Stephen Prosapio said...

Wow. A run on "teens being able to see death" novels. Interesting.

Because this query seems so similar to the one immediately preceeding it, I'd encourage the author to compare and contrast. I'm sure the stories are different enough, but look at how the previous one was explained.

Heather Munn said...

The drifter thing really needs to be better spelled out, especially since it's your title. By drifter do you mean what the rest of us would mean--someone who drifts from town to town semi-randomly (and have you ever noticed that female drifters are not common?)--or does it have a technical fantasy/paranormal meaning you're not telling us. (My first instinct was actually, "'Drifter' is actually the technical name attached to her character's gift, and she's not telling us." It doesn't make sense, but neither does the idea that she must flee because she's a hobo.) Tell us.

And, yeah, everything EE said. I wonder if you're holding back on us because you're trying to limit the length of your query. Often it's better if you write a longer query first, with all the info you need in it, and then work on reducing the length. It helps you get clear on what the agent needs to know and then have ideas about how to make shorter sentences without losing info.

And do not avoid spoilers. Ever. Spoilers are the heart and soul of a query.

M. G. E. said...

õ_Ô I'm not sure there was enough plot in there to fill up a 22 minute sitcom. And clearly it's not a literary novel.

I'd change all the names. If this is supposed to be a romance / love-story then "Romeo"'s cliche and "Pip" just isn't very memorable. In fact, it calls up memory of "Great Expectations."

Is the word count expectations lower for a YA novel? I suppose so.

Bernita said...

Your basic premise has a couple of fatal (intended) flaws. I hope you recognized where EE pointed them out.

jmkmcmullen said...

No wonder Romeo's father runs the poor girl out of town. It sounds to me like Romeo has a problem - running over drifters and bringing them home to fall in love with him. This isn't the first time his father has warned him, after all. (That's what you get for naming your son Romeo.)