Thursday, February 03, 2011

Face-Lift 866

Guess the Plot

More Beer

1. She may be plain, plump and uninteresting, but Dolores Gray knows just what it takes to get guys to hit on her.

2. Sorry. My fault. Sent you my shopping list instead of your rejection slip. Silly really; they were both on my desk. Uh, you don't happen to have any beer . . . ?

3. More Beer the dragon spends too much time sniffing people's butts. It's up to Daniel to teach him some manners or get rid of him before somebody's nether region gets fried.

4. When writer Steve Farnsworth's marriage collapses the day after his layoff from the New York Times, he decides it's time to go on a soul-searching adventure. Can he get his editor friend to give him an advance big enough that he can experience every bar in Aruba?

5. Roy and his BDDP (Best Damn Drinkin Buddy) Snuffy have to make the Friday night beer run. Who knew the local Kwik-E-Mart was going to be taken over by aliens from the planet Syrah? They've replaced all the beer with fine vintage wines, and Roy and Snuffy have until closing time to find some Pilsner.

6. Joe is nearing middle age. His family no longer seems important to him, and to be truthful, there IS that really hot neighbor next door. But when Tessa, Joe's six year old daughter, goes next door to borrow an egg and finds her father and Ms. Sedalli curled up on the couch, Joe can think of only one way to deal with his falling apart life: More Beer.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor[,]

Daniel is the only one who can see the dragon sniffing around his friend Gibbo’s butt.

Except for two otherworld mages, that is, [Opening with a one-sentence paragraph is daring. It's like saying, I don't need to elaborate; I'm confident I've done enough to hook you already. However, contradicting that first sentence in the next five words is not so daring. It's like saying, You can't trust anything I write.] [ The worst part is, you weren't off by one one-hundredth, as you would have been if you'd said that 100 people could see the dragon, when in fact only 99 could see it. You were off by a multiple of three. It's like if a book about early civilization opened: There were seven wonders of the ancient world. If you don't count the other fourteen. It's like saying, More Beer is 60,000 words . . . except for the other 120,000.] who say the dragon is drawn by power and that it stays around because Daniel is a mage. If that’s so, why does the dragon hang around Gibbo? [Has anyone else noticed that about 95% of all two-syllable words ending in the letter "o" start with the letter "g"? You've got gumbo, gecko, gusto, Gabbo (famous name in ventriloquism), Gobbo (Italian hunchback), Gazoo (Flintstones character), Gonzo, Gringo, go-go, Jello, Groucho (Marx), Gummo (Marx), ginkgo, igloo, and Gordo (what Ted often called Gordie on The Mary Tyler Moore Show).]

When Daniel realises the dragon spits acid and fire, it’s up to him to teach it some manners—or get rid of it—before Gibbo’s nether regions are eaten away or fried to a crisp. [Speaking from experience, it doesn't take a dragon to make your nether regions feel fried to a crisp.]

The otherworld mages aren’t much help. They’re too busy hunting a rogue mage who wants to destroy their otherworld government. And Gibbo, when he finally meets the dragon, [Meets the dragon? The dragon's been hanging around him and they haven't met?] treats it like a pet and doesn’t think it’s dangerous at all.

And what does the dragon have to do with the rogue mage? [Ah, finally we get to the crucial point that brings it all together and makes us want to read the book.] Daniel and Gibbo are about to find out. [We, on the other hand, have to guess. Okay, the obvious guess is that the dragon is the rogue mage. That part was easy; the mystery is how two mages who are hunting the rogue mage follow him to our world and to the exact spot where the dragon is, and don't realize that the dragon is the rogue mage, even though in our world there's no such thing as dragons.] [The other mystery is, Why is the rogue mage/dragon obsessed with Gibbo's butt?]

More Beer is 60,000 words. It is based mostly on Earth, with some forays into the otherworld.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

[Note for EE: The title More Beer comes from the name Daniel and Gibbo give the dragon, who turns out to like a tipple and gets drunk on a single can.]


This is mainly a list of characters. All we know is that there are characters named Gibbo and Daniel, and a dragon and some mages. We don't know anything that happens.

Where is this otherworld place? Why is Daniel making forays there? What does he want, and what's preventing him from getting it? What's his plan? We need the plot.

Are Daniel and Gibbo children? Is this book for children? If so, are parents gonna buy their children a book titled More Beer?


Anonymous said...

What EE said. You left too much out. Doesn't sound like a novel. Maybe a short story. Needs more plot and clarity as to who your audience would be. Current mix of adult and childish doesn't seem to work.

Dave Fragments said...

I started writing this comment four times and stopped because of the butt-sniffing. It is a distraction.

If this is a variation on "how to train your dragon" or ERAGON or something else, the agent won't know it because the dragon sniffs butts and swills beer.

This reminds me of the old joke that hides in "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" where one character says something like: "You want to know what burns my butt?" and the answer is "A flame about two feet high?" That line didn't come into the advertising of the play or the movie because they already had our attention at "whorehouse" and "Texas."

You have our attention at "dragon"...

Is Daniel a mage? If so, why is he in our world where magic doesn't seem to exist? Why are Daniel and Gibbo friends? What does Gibbo get out of the friendship other than being told his butt is fragrant and thus attractive to a dragon? Does Daniel end up ruling the otherworld with magic that he didn't know he had in him? What is the fate of these two, can I say, bosom buddies?
At the end of the story, do Daniel and Gibbo fly away victorious into the sunset on the back of the dragon?

vkw said...

butt-sniffing dragon? OK I get it's a joke and you're trying to get hooky with it but it's not funny enough to make up for a plot.

Who is the MC?
What does he want?
Who is stopping him from getting it?
Why should I care?


Khazar-khum said...

Who, or what, is Gibbo?

Joe G said...

Am I the only one who kept wondering who the eff Gibbo was? I kept picturing the stupid furry thing from the Prydain books. Fargle? Gurgle? Gurgi, was it?

I think if I were an agent and I received a query for a book called "More Beer" that had the contents of that first choice in it, I'd probably request pages.

I don't have much to add to what other people have said, but I am going to make fun of something I see a lot. Author wrote:

"When Daniel realises the dragon spits acid and fire, it’s up to him to teach it some manners—or get rid of it—before Gibbo’s nether regions are eaten away or fried to a crisp."

Query writers often seem to have their characters realizing evidence they directly witness. I would just like to point out that Daniel was probably not sitting in his rocking chair on his porch contemplating the blueness of the sky and the butt sniffing tendencies of his dragon until it occurred to him (i.e. he realized) that naturally, after consideration of all the facts, the dragon must spit acid and fire!

No, he probably SAW this happen in a highly exciting scene where cute baby dragon sneezes and sets a tree (or perhaps an unsuspecting ewe) on fire. Maybe he even noticed it surreptitiously one day while spying on Gibbo's sexual perversions. But realized? Let's rewrite.

"When Daniel witnesses the dragon spitting acid and fire, it’s up to him to realize a plan to teach it some manners-—or just get rid of it-—before Gibbo’s nether regions are fried to a crisp."

I got rid of "eaten away" since it wasn't part of the conflict introduced earlier in the sentence. You're giving us a confusing depiction of the dragon's personality.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I couldn't get past the butt-sniffing dragon either. The thing about butt-sniffing is, there's a certain segment of the population almost guaranteed to find it amusing. Alas, that demographic shares neither age nor gender with the people most likely to read your query letter.

Anonymous said...

I think it's an interesting concept but completely agree that there's not nearly enough plot information here. It sounds like something I'd write for a story idea I have.

Whatever you do, don't query with the cliffhanger at the end. From what I've heard, agents HATE that.

Marissa Doyle said...

I was wondering about the target audience too...this is sounding like it wants to be boy MG, but I suspect the title will be problematic if that's the case.

Adam Heine said...

Hehe. He said, "Butt."

Anonymous said...

We have to get pretty far into this query before we get anything like stakes -- only to find out they consist of Gibbo's butt (fried or eaten away). Too bad I don't know who or what Gibbo is and this butt-sniffing utterly puts me off. I'd much prefer to hear about the mages.

Anonymous said...

EE - love the cartoon.

batgirl said...

The butt-sniffing dragon and the wordcount suggest middle-grade. You might want to clarify that as well as the plot.
I do think a boy (assuming Gibbo and Daniel are boys) finding out that he's a wizard and having to cope with a butt-sniffing dragon could make for a great boy-appeal story in the Captain Underpants vein. But you need to assure us that something happens in the story. Maybe make the dragon the major problem and add the mages as a complication?

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your excellent comments people. One thing that has become clear to me is how close I am to the story. So much of what I thought was obvious isn't, and there are some truly obvious omissions there. Like the fact that I omitted 'young adult' from the query.

Back to the drawing board, taking this feedback into consideration on the way.

The author.

Beth said...

When I read this--

who say the dragon is drawn by power

after reading this--

the dragon sniffing around his friend Gibbo’s butt

--I'm afraid I was too overcome with immature giggles to read any further, at least for awhile.

EE: In your list of two-syllable words ending with O, don't forget Bilbo and Frodo!

Not to mention the word verification: wingo