Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Guess the Plot
On the Way to Santa Fe
1. Benny's boss asks him to send a shipment of "product" to Santa Fe, NM. Unfortunately, the dyslexic Benny sends it to Santa Fe, MN. Now Benny's on the run from the feds, rival mobs, and his own crew. Will he make it to Minnesota, or will he perish...On the Way to Santa Fe?
2. Free-wheelin', beer-lovin', good-lookin' Joe Ditman makes ends meet with odd jobs in Milwaukee. When he inherits the multi-million dollar estate of his long-lost uncle, he heads south to collect. But On the Way to Santa Fe, he meets a sexy angel who changes his heart.
3. Lights in the New Mexico sky can only mean one thing... Sadly, nothing to do with hallucinogens this time. On the way to the state's capital, Cory and Rob are captured by aliens who promptly return them after appropriating all their recreational substances. But time dilation means 1969 is long gone and our boys are out of date. And worse still, their supplier is nowhere to be found.
4. When blood is found in Daniel Bristol's trailer outside Denver he becomes a suspect in the disappearance of a local girl. To stay one step ahead of the law he heads for Santa Fe, New Mexico, 400 miles away. Kind of a road trip designed to make him look guilty as hell. Also, a wily coyote.
5. A scrappy group of Dionne Warwick impersonators prepare for the biggest talent showcase of the year. Hilarity ensues when they entrust their travel arrangements to dim-witted Candida Splendida, and their simple trip becomes a wild adventure of hitching rides with drunk clowns and tap-dancing nuns.
6. Mallory's dog ran away, her fiancé left her for her younger sister, and she just lost her job. Trading her last $78 for a one way bus ticket, Mal finds the last thing she was looking for...On the Way to Santa Fe.
Dear Evil Editor,
Two quarreling brothers, one missing girl, [one missing verb,] and a family secret that could kill all three. I believe my psychological suspense manuscript ON THE WAY TO SANTA FE (72,000 words) will interest you [Maybe, but I'm not going to Santa Fe to read it.] as it balances the fast-paced plotting of a thriller with the introspection of a literary mystery. [Is a literary mystery something like Who really wrote Shakespeare's plays? Or is it a murder mystery by someone who writes better than all those hack mystery writers who somehow keep getting published?] [I realize thrillers, mysteries, and psychological suspense will probably all be shelved in the same section, but I prefer that you name one genre (say, thriller) and then show that there's psychological suspense and a mystery in your plot description.] [Also, the fact that your title rhymes has started that San Jose song running through my head, which is not something you want to be responsible for. What's wrong with Albuquerque?]
Daniel Bristol is twenty-two, shy, and likes nothing better than sketching the mountains behind his trailer in Golden, Colorado. [That's because mountains are among the easiest things to sketch:]
He dislikes nothing more than his antagonizing brother. To say Dolan makes life difficult for Daniel is as much an understatement as saying a jackrabbit is prey to a coyote. [Calling "a jackrabbit is prey to a coyote" an understatement is an overstatement. I'd call it a fact.] [On the other hand, thinking, Evil Editor will be miffed by my use of an animal analogy to help him understand what I mean by the word 'understatement'" is an understatement.] [Also, the analogy should be roadrunner is prey to a coyote.]
When Dolan claims responsibility for the disappearance of a local girl, Daniel assumes it's another cruel prank, but changes his opinion after finding blood in the trailer and a detective at his doorstep. Daniel wants to cooperate with the police, but he can't. He knows his brother. [That statement does not clear up what you meant by he can't cooperate with the police.] The only way out [Out of what? Is Daniel a suspect? If Dolan claimed responsibility, why isn't Dolan the one being grilled?] is to stay one step ahead of the Law, unravel Dolan's motive, and find the young woman before it's too late.
Unbeknownst to him, Dolan harbors a dark secret that will drag them deep into the mountains of New Mexico. [Are they on foot? Golden is hundreds of miles from Santa Fe.] Facing the unspoken truth will require an unending reservoir of courage - something Daniel lacks. [Either it doesn't require unending courage, or Daniel doesn't lack unending courage, or someone else (someone with unending courage) should be the main character.] Failure will damn the girl's fate and leave him broken . . . wondering what happened ON THE WAY TO SANTA FE.
I appreciate your consideration and look forward to being ridiculed in public.
This becomes progressively more vague. Phrases like "harbors a dark secret," "the unspoken truth," and "damn the girl's fate" may sound good on the back cover when you're trying to entice someone to buy the book, but agents and editors aren't going to read your manuscript to find out what you're talking about. They want to know who's the main character and what's his situation. Then what's his goal and how does he plan to achieve it? Then what goes wrong, and what will happen if he can't overcome it? Be specific. Make it sound thrilling and suspenseful, but don't let on that there's anything literary about it.