Thursday, February 27, 2014

Face-Lift 1188

Guess the Plot

A Song of Steel

1. A stranger has arrived, and no one knows his name or where he's from. He could be a singer or even a steelworker. No one knows. What is known is that if no one stops him, he'll crush the entire country, and if anyone tries to stop him, they'll be crushed. Perhaps we'll call him . . . The Crusher!

2. Tired of constantly being tasked to save the world, superman hangs up his cape and turns to lyrical composition.

3. It was the forbidden song. Throughout the ages its words were sung surreptitiously wherever there was oppression and hearts longed for revolution and freedom. So the wizard overlord cursed the song so that its lyrics now invoke the dreaded steel vampire.

4. In the middle of an international performance, a violinist discovers his bow has turned into an arrow. He promptly changes professions, becoming an assassin who musics people to death.

5. In ancient Japan, a samurai went everywhere with his sword. Of course, only Haribo took it to extremes. This is the untold story of the samurai who forsakes all others for love of his sword.

6. What did Jesus really do? In this memoir based on recently found scrolls, get the true story of Christ's few years of turning water into wine and drinking it, spending too much time "saving" prostitutes, and carving obscene figurines out of olive wood. And steel.

Original Version

Greetings Evil Editor,

Civil war sets Valzyr on the path to destruction. The work of one man brings it crumbling down. No one knows who he is, and for their own good, no one ever should. [I can't tell if Valzyr is a country, a planet, a religion, or a super robot. A couple extra words in the first sentence would clear it up.]

There are those who try to unveil him. Let them, if they can see past the corpses on the battlefield to the true enemy.

There are those who try to stop him. Let them, if they think they can outmatch him in his game of shadows and blood.

Stay silent and watch him crush the Republic; [Him and what army?] interfere, and be crushed as well. [I choose to stay silent.] He will destroy Valzyr and build his kingdom on the ruins. The only unknown is: whom will he kill? [Actually, that's not the only unknown. Other unknowns include: 
  • Who is he? (True, you did warn me that for my own good I shouldn't know that, but it is, technically, unknown.)
  • Will we be better off if the Republic is crushed and this guy builds his kingdom on the ruins? Or worse off? Things aren't exactly going well at the moment, what with the civil war and all.
  • What are this guy's superpowers, and do we have any super-powered guys on our side?
  • Is his "game of shadows and blood" available as an app? It sounds pretty good.]
[My unknowns were better than your unknown. I don't really care who the guy kills, as you haven't mentioned any characters.]

A SONG OF STEEL, 100K words, showcases the tragic fall of the Republic and its heroes in the shadowy politics of Valzyr. It sets the political intrigue and grey morality of Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen in a failing democracy reminiscent of Rome. [Is that the failing democracy of Rome in ancient times or the failing democracy of Rome in 2014?] I am 15 years old [What the-? Okay, unless you can convert this into a book that sets the political intrigue and grey morality of Philippa Gregory’s The White Queen in a middle school, revealing that you're 15 won't work in your favor.] [On the other hand, it's amusing to imagine someone finishing your gut-wrenching, tear-jerking, emotional roller coaster of a book, sighing with satisfaction, and turning to the author bio only to find that you're a 10th grader who enjoys hanging out at the mall, Biebs, and talking on the phone with your BFF.] and this is my debut novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours Sincerely,


After your book gets made into a blockbuster movie this can be the script the voice-over actor reads during the trailer. First things first. You've told us the situation that exists as the story opens. We also want to know what happens.

The only character important enough to be mentioned in the query is a guy whose identity no one knows, and no one ever should know? I assume he isn't referred to in the book as the man whose identity no one knows, and no one ever should know. What's his name?

Is he the main character? If so, why is he out to crush the Republic and how can he manage such a Herculean task? If not, you need to choose a character (who presumably is trying to stop the man whose identity no one knows, and no one ever should know) and tell us his/her story. How does this person plan to stop a guy capable of crushing the Republic? What happens if the Republic is crushed? Readers need a character to get behind and cheer to victory. The query needs to focus on that person, their goal, the obstacles keeping them from succeeding.

Your writing is excellent, but what you've written is vague and doesn't even begin to tell us your story. Start over and take us far enough so that we simply must know what happens to whomever.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

New Beginning 1026

1. Negotiation

‘So, Alice, let me get this straight,’ said the stranger in his deep, captivating voice, ‘you don’t believe in God; am I right?’

Alice nodded enthusiastically, as if the stranger had asked her if she liked double chocolate ice cream topped with roasted hazelnuts. ‘I’m more correctly an agnostic, rather than an atheist, though. I don’t think that a god exists and even if he does, I don’t care. I just ignore him.’

The stranger cocked a dark eyebrow. ‘Do you now? Fascinating!’

Yes! Alice could see that she had impressed the charming stranger. He talked with an accent. A Frenchman, for sure – or maybe a Russian? And how old was he? Twenty…or forty perhaps?

‘And I assume you don’t believe in the Devil either?’

Alice laughed heartily. ‘Of course not! I chose a long time ago not to believe in such fairy tales.’

‘Sweet girl! Thank you, thank you very much! I wish there were more people like you around.’

Alice blushed at the compliment, although its meaning skipped her. ‘What did you say your name was?’

‘I didn’t,’ replied the stranger with a smile.

She glanced again at his dark, somehow threatening eyebrows, his intense, smoldering eyes, his strange haircut. And then she saw them.

The pointed ears.

'Oh my GAAAAAAHHD,' she squealed. 'You're a Vulcan!'

Opening: Barbara Agabiti.....Continuation: Khazar-khum

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Face-Lift 1187

Guess the Plot

Truth and Other Superpowers

1. Charlene slipping her latest herbal remedy into Lydia's tea results in more than her eyes opened. Now Lydia can hear people's thoughts--not good for Lydia's unfaithful boyfriend. Oh, and now Lydia can levitate on command. This may, or may not, be a good thing.

2. Invisible plane, bullet-proof bracelets, and legs that go all the way up. They don’t call her Wonder Woman for nothing. But isn’t the Lasso of Truth really where she gets all her superpowers? Evil Editor will use his minions to find out. Maybe then he can use it on the slush pile.

3. Truth swears she was adopted. Her parents, Capital Vice and Cardinal Sin, think she is going through a phase. A phase!? Just because she can't lie,steal, sleep around, kill, and...and what the hell is wrath? Her seven siblings are supportive, but they have their own issues. Nothing makes sense until Captain Purity arrives to sample her blood.

4. Accidentally inducted into a mysterious cult, Emmett acquires the power to know when people are telling the truth. And other superpowers. Now he must take on a napalm-drooling legion of hell and an army of super-powered soldiers in order to save the world from a guy named Jeremy.

5. Phineas decides to put his gift to public use. As an intern on Capitol Hill, he's going to get the serious dirt on every member of Congress. Until Phineas discovers his truth-seeker power is useless against corrupt narcissistic assholes.

6. A lab explosion leaves Caitlan with a number of strange superpowers. But the scariest is that whoever she touches is incapable lying for the next 30 minutes. Hired by the government to use her power during an international summit, she accidentally touches her own diplomats. Boy, is she going to need those other superpowers now, to outrun a furious government.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

No good deed goes unpunished, so when Emmett Garcia helps Morgan, an unconscious stranger, get home safely, [If you happen upon an unconscious stranger, your top choices, depending on who you are, should be to call 911, perform CPR, steal his wallet, or look the other way and let someone else deal with it. Finding out where he lives and taking him there can only lead to trouble.] he’s barely surprised that he is ushered into the house at gunpoint. [See what I mean?] When he is then accidentally inducted into a cult dedicated to saving the world, [I'm a member of what? I thought this was a Tupperware party!] Emmett begins to worry. [What is the cult trying to save the world from?] And when he starts seeing people’s lies, [What does that mean?] he is forced to ask: how important is Morgan’s life, to be punished this much? [He's forced to ask that? I don't even understand it. If Morgan's life was at stake, why wasn't he taken to a hospital instead of his home? Is seeing lies the only punishment? How do you accidentally get inducted into a cult?] [If I accidentally inducted someone into my cult, I would immediately un-induct him. Even if the induction included a permanent tattoo, you could un-induct him by tattooing on one of those circles with a line through it.] 

Stuck with each other, Emmett and Morgan do their best [Apparently Morgan is now conscious and no longer a stranger.] to survive a napalm-drooling legion of hell, an army of super-powered soldiers, [Where are they now? Are the legion and the army trying to kill them? Do Emmett and Morgan have super powers that can help them survive a legion of hell and an army of super-powered soldiers? I ask because the title includes "Other Superpowers" but I can't tell if these other superpowers belong to Emmett and/or Morgan or to the army of super-powered soldiers. Hard to believe seeing lies, whatever that means, will help defeat an army and a legion.] and most importantly, each other. But when they meet Jeremy – a polite, bow tie-clad psychopath dedicated to spreading lies and death – they realize that merely surviving isn’t enough. [So Jeremy is the main villain? They survive a napalm-drooling legion of hell and an army of super-powered soldiers, only to be confronted by . . . Jeremy?] They need to work together to save the world. [I thought the cult was dedicated to saving the world. How come it's now up to these two guys?]

Should you be interested, the completed 66,000-word manuscript [of my YA fantasy novel Truth and Other Superpowers] is available for your review. I hope to hear from you soon.

Thank you for your time and consideration,


Start over. Just tell us the story. From what I can tell your plot summary should read about like this:

When Emmett Garcia happens upon an unconscious stranger and revives him, the man, whose name is Morgan, insists he doesn't need medical help and requests a ride home. Emmett agrees, but when they arrive at Morgan's home, they discover a cult has occupied the place and is conducting an induction ceremony. Mistaken for prospective cult members, Emmett and Morgan become the newest members of a group dedicated to saving the world from Armageddon.

The cult members divide into two-man teams, each with a mission. Emmett and Morgan, being the newest and least experienced team, are assigned the task of taking down a napalm-drooling legion of hell and an army of super-powered soldiers. They succeed, in no small part thanks to Emmett's newly acquired ability to tell when people are lying to him. But before they can even report their triumph to the other cult members, they encounter . . . Jeremy! Yes, Jeremy, the polite, bow tie-clad psychopath they thought was an urban legend.

The battle between good and evil is coming to a head. Our champions and defenders: two guys named Emmett and Morgan. At stake: only the world.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Face-Lift 1186

Guess the Plot

Skeleton Gorge

1. Three rustlers. One lawman. Five Indians. Two hundred cattle. Just another night at the Skeleton Gorge saloon--or so Sweet Sally thought.

2. When you live in Skeleton Gorge, the biggest worry is landslides. So when a mage named Landslide shows up with an army of zombie skeletons and starts causing landslides, it's up to the Skeleton to protect the gorge.

3. When the body of Olympic figure skater Johnny Watson is found out in Skeleton Gorge, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things. One, there's no way Watson cut out his own liver; and two, his daughter is going to be clamoring to go ice skating this weekend.

4. Unable to fathom how seemingly sane people leap from Deadly Peak, DJ Shazam hits the trail running. First order of business: learn how to rappel; it's the only safe transit into Skeleton Gorge.

5. Ezekial Young forgot to wear his Mormon undergarments, and he's about to drive his family through a gorge in Utah known to claim travelers' lives. Should he have faith they'll make it, or stop and let his wife drive?

6. Archeologist Dr Kramer discovers hundreds.of human skeletons in a gorge in an isolated mountain range. All beautifully preserved, all featuring some rather pointy incisors. All wanting to feast on fresh human blood to reform their flesh...

7. Motorcycle stuntman Mike “Crazy” Trane fails to jump 47 ½ busses in his last Vegas stunt. Newscasters across the globe label him a has-been. Mike declares he’ll make another jump: Skeleton Gorge, the ravine where all the zombies were tossed at the end of World War Z. Does he have what it takes? The living and the undead can’t wait to find out.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

In the past decade, many old mythologies and fantasy tropes have been brought back into modern media and re-imagined – witches and wizards, vampires, demons, and monsters of all sorts are all finding places in books and movies. One creature that has of course transitioned along with its mythical brethren is the [skeleton. Sure, kids dress up as skeletons on Halloween, but are there any books in which the main villains are all skeletons? No. Until now. And my skeletons are even more unique because they're in a gorge.] dragon. From Eragon to the Song of Ice and Fire series, dragons are definitely coming with us into the future. But as a huge fan of these creatures and nonhuman point of view books, I noticed something very odd – there are almost no books that feature dragons as main characters. So, I did what any nerdy book-lover would do; I wrote my own story. [Your credentials as a nerd will be called into  question if you insist on declaring there are almost no books with dragons as main characters. In any case, if you summarize a plot in which the characters are all dragons, the reader will get the idea, so there's no need to devote a lengthy paragraph to the history of fantasy tropes and the reason your book has no characters readers can identify with.]

During the middle ages, dragons were driven out of the human world and into magically-shielded mountain ranges. One band of these dragons settled near Skeleton Gorge, a fantastic and mysterious canyon-land that turned against them when the mage and necromancer known as Landslide was exiled. With the help of a stranger known only as Skeleton, the dragons defeated the mage and his skeletal army, leaving a safe haven for their descendants. [Is Skeleton a dragon?] [What is a skeletal army? An army of skeletons? Skeletons of dragons?]

Fifteen-year-old Bone-Crest, like the rest of his colony, knows nothing about this centuries-old battle, [A fifteen-year-old dragon living in Skeleton Gorge and knowing nothing about that battle is like a fifteen-year-old human living in Sweden and knowing nothing about the Battle of Ueckermünde.] until he is chosen by a black dragon in a bone helmet to become the next Skeleton. A Skeleton, blessed with an inner magic that allows him or her to connect with the gorge in ways other dragons can't, [Such as?] is charged with protecting Skeleton Gorge and the dragons living alongside it from any future danger. Though the Gorge has remained safe for years, Bone-Crest and his mentor are quickly cast into a search for an heir of Landslide as inexplicable rockslides threaten the colony dragons' lives, [Who makes the decision of whether a rock slide is explicable or not?] reanimated dragon skeletons appear in the gorge's shadows, [Now that's inexplicable.] and Bone-Crest's rival Black-Thrash [Rival for what?] becomes the victim of a curse. [Searching for an heir usually doesn't mean so you can kill him. I'd say they must take him down or face him in battle rather than search for him.] Are two guardians of [from] an ancient line of protectors enough to stop Landslide's apprentice, before he and his army of the undead find the vengeance and conquest even his predecessors couldn't achieve? [Probably. I don't see how, but I'm confident they'll pull off this seemingly impossible task.]

Skeleton Gorge is a 128,000-word young-adult fantasy. Thank you for your time; I greatly look forward to hearing from you!


Not clear why you've chosen the word "Skeleton" for the protector when the enemy is a skeletal army.

It's all setup. In a land where dragons exist and humans don't, a dragon named Bone-Crest is chosen as the "Skeleton"--protector of the dragons in Skeleton Gorge. Then a descendant of an ancient necromancer named Landslide starts wreaking havoc on the land with his army of zombie dragon skeletons. That's about it. Dump the rest and tell us what Bone-Crest's plan is, what happens if it fails, what goes wrong, and what he can possibly do about it.

Landslide is a terrible name unless this is for children. Which maybe it should be, though not at this length. I can't see the YA crowd digging this.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

New Beginning 1025

Robyn White turned her head to the front door. Someone was ringing the door bell. Robyn opened the door. Two men in suits stood there, looking at Robyn, a pretty young woman in her early thirties. She had brown hair, striking blue eyes and a crooked smile.

“Good morning, Miss White.”

He said in perfect Castillo Spanish. He was tall, unusual looking and extended a police badge into her face.

“I am Officer Black and this is Officer Hegel. May we come in, Miss?”

Robyn looked at the other man. He was well built, handsome and had a playful twinkle in his eyes.

“What for?”

Hegel and Black exchanged looks.

“We’d rather discuss this inside, in private.”


Robyn’s morning gown looked inappropriate at this time of day. The garden could be seen from the living room. A black horse was grazing in the garden.

“Is that a horse?”


“What’s it doing there?”

Robyn shrugged.

Black and Hegel exchanged looks, and sat down opposite her, looking stern, although Hegel had trouble keeping his serious front.

“Miss White, we have reason to believe that your, erh- boyfriend-“

He looked at her uncomfortably, flinching at the uncertainty of her liaison with Brent Kent. Black continued, studying something behind her.

“Erh, that Mr. Kent is involved in a case of international concern.”

"Blah blah blah," Kyle muttered. He fast-forwarded to the part where Robyn unzips one officer's pants while the other feels her up under her morning gown. Kyle never could understand why porn movies took so long to get to the good stuff.

Opening: Kat.....Continuation: Anonymous

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Beginning 1024

The first time I saw her I was a few thousand feet above the Atlantic, blue sky above and pillows of clouds below. She didn’t have a harp or halo or wings, but she was definitely there. On the other side of the window. Hovering above the mist, yet keeping up with the plane. She looked straight at me, green eyes twinkling, smiling, as if she and I shared a secret joke the rest of the world would be too stupid to understand. Then she turned and was gone as if reality had suddenly noticed a breach of its rules and engulfed her.

The moment had lasted a few heartbeats at most, but I did not doubt what I had seen had been real.

My Dad snored beside me. No use waking and telling him about her. Adults struggled to believe perfectly well-crafted excuses; he’d have no hope with this. So I kept my secret to myself and pressed my face against the window for the rest of the flight, willing her return.

It was to be another ten years before I saw her again. I was in the supermarket, white knuckles gripping the kart, my pulse thundering in my neck, the shelves and their gleaming choices towering above me. I was only able to keep walking because I willed every step.

"Come along, Clive," the fair-haired vision exhorted me, grabbing me roughly under the arm and hefting me along. "People want to get home in time for today's supper, after all." Her green eyes shone with mirth and I saw my own reflection in the shine on her white teeth.

It was then I saw her pointed canines and realized how she flew without wings. Perfect. Wasn't bad enough I was the last non-mutated human male to survive the thermal holocaust. Now I had a guardian vampire.

Opening: Jo Antareau.....Continuation: Veronica Rundell

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

She lifted the chilled glass to her lips, the candlelight dancing along the etched design, her tongue aching for the taste. Her lips parted as her vision finally focused on the table next to her. Instead of tasting the drink, she stifled a gasp.

Rob unfolded his napkin, shook it out and looked at her. “Something wrong?”

“Everything’s perfect,” she lied. “We, um, we need to talk about The List.”

That had Rob's attention. His eyes danced with amusement. “The List.” He laughed. “Perfect Valentine’s Day conversation, babe.” He reached across the table and took her hand. “I hate to break it to you tonight, but Angelina wants me. She dumped Brad last week. I know. I read about it on Perez Hilton, so it must be true.”

She shifted in her chair, not quite sure how to tell him that one of the top five on her list now sat just a few feet from her. And the arrangement, even made in jest, was forgiveness for any and all disgustingly delicious things one could do with List People should the opportunity arise, which neither believed would ever happen. Until tonight.

Rob stood and circled around her, resting his hands on her shoulders. “Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart,” he whispered. “Enjoy your gift.”

Before she could breathe, the man at the next table stood, turned and walked to her table. She saw his face for the first time. “Oh God . . . ”

He sat across from her and smiled. “Not quite, but almost.”

--Brenda Bradshaw

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Face-Lift 1185

Guess the Plot

Evil Vs. Good

1. Good Editor has four brains. He reads through all daily slush in 2 hours, makes notes, and responds to writers in 24 hours. Evil Editor has demanded satisfaction because Good Editor took the last cheese danish. Get ready for the fight of the century.

2. Nothing fun ever happens at St. Hubert's Catholic School for boys--until trash-talking, jerk jock Norman Good comes to fifth grade. Can quiet, brainy Johnny Evil use his wits to handle the nasty newcomer, or will his tae kwan do come into play?

3. Good takes a holiday when her archnemesis/hubby declares war. Evil's been ragging ever since his Low-T medication ran out. And Good's trip flies in the face of his ED. How dare she trifle with his rifle! Now there's only one thing left for the master of evil to do--sell the house and buy a sports car. Hilarity ensues.

4. Demons are supposed to possess humans. It's the natural order. So when a young demon named Shax is possessed by an insufferably good human named Emma, he's pissed. And when he starts doing actual good deeds he wonders: Has the world gone to hell?

5. When rival lawyers Rick Good and Jerry Evil face off in court over a missing poodle, it becomes increasingly difficult for the lovesick judge to tell who is good... and who is evil.

6. One little nudge, and Earth's climate trouble would be a thing of yore. Sam knew he had the stones, but really, how many twelve year old computer hackers take down coal-promoting super villains in real life? Just this one.

7. It's EE's newest experiment, a new blog called Good Editor, where he only makes saccharine-sweet comments about openings and queries. Will it attract more submissions than his evil persona's blog?

Original version

Dear (Agent),

Shax is a young fire demon used to being stabbed by his tutor, hit by fire waves from his father, sprayed with antiseptic sulphur by his mother and bullied by the Renegade angels. [Three items is enough for a list. I'd probably get rid of the mother, as she appears in the next list. Also, do we need to capitalize "renegade"? ] What he is not [he's not] used to is to be [being] possessed by a human.

A moment of distraction, a curse from his mother, a thunderbolt thrown by the archangel Mikael, and Shax’s demonic possession test takes an unexpected turn; Emma, the woman he is [was] possessing, is suddenly inside his [his] body. But luck seems to be finally on Shax’s side when he discovers that Emma is the keeper of an ancient book of shadows. What looks like an [The] old, tattered tome happens to be the most powerful grimoire in Hell. [Is the grimoire in Hell? Or is it in Emma's bookcase? Calling her the keeper of the book suggests that she knows what she has. Has she been entrusted with protecting the book, or does she just happen to own it?] A grimoire that every demon wants.

Great new powers are great, [By definition. Dump the first "great."] but Shax could do without being chased by infernal scientists, who want to experiment on the first human-possessed demon in history, [and] the archdemon Ruax, who want [needs] the grimoire to enslave all demons and become the sole ruler of Hell, and kamikaze dragons, who couldn’t care less about Shax and the grimoire but fall from the sky anyway.

The worst part is that, due to the constant, unavoidable presence of Emma, whose kindness keeps intruding into Shax’s evil thoughts, unwillingly, Shax [he] discovers an almost decent side of him[self]. In no time at all, he [even] catches himself doing good deeds [running a philanthropic organization!] Is he becoming – yuck! – good?

EVIL VS. GOOD, complete at 89.000 words, is a young adult fantasy and my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



The story sounds like fun. The query is listy and mostly setup. Setup: the tables are turned when an evil demon is possessed by Emma, a human who exudes goodness. Perhaps GTP #4 would take care of the setup:

Demons are supposed to possess humans. It's the natural order. So when a young fire demon named Shax is possessed by an insufferably good human named Emma, and starts doing actual good deeds, he's annoyed--until he discovers that Emma possesses a grimoire that can give its owner great powers.

Unfortunately, the archdemon Ruax wants the grimoire, for with it he can enslave all demons and become the sole ruler of Hell!

Now there's plenty of room to tell us what Shax/Emma plans to do, what's stopping him, and what will happen to the world if Ruax rules Hell. This assumes Shax is the main character, which seems odd if Emma possesses Shax. Apparently she doesn't have control, just influence?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Face-Lift 1184

Guess the Plot

Black, White and Violet

1. Officer Black wants to convict Mr. White of a crime he never committed. Mr. White's daughter decides to investigate on her own and learns that Violet, the head of a mob family, may be involved. Also, the professional equestrian circuit.

2. There's a new detective agency in town. Joe Black, a grizzled old-school detective. Mary White, a trash-talking clairvoyant from the wrong side of the tracks. And Violet, a mysterious six-year-old orphan with psychic powers she's just learning to control. Bad guys, watch out!

3. Margot's fancy apartment building always has free cupcakes out for residents, but tonight she's not sure if the cupcakes have been poisoned. An anonymous note had been slid under her door at 3 PM: Which one will kill you Margot? Chocolate, vanilla, or prune?

4. Violet drives a Black and White cab in the capital while studying Middle Eastern languages at Georgetown. She records backseat conversations for her education and uncovers a plot to destroy the city’s monuments. She wants to expose it. But the recordings are illegal. If the police find out, she goes to prison. If the terrorists find out, they’ll kill her.

5. Violet is a mute 6 year-old chess master. But when bad things start happening to people who get her into check-mate, (such as the therapist found in a locked room with the black king piercing her "jung-ular") Violet's mom starts to worry that the win-at-all-costs mentality might not have given her creepy kid the right message.

6. In the latest edition of the board game Clue, Mrs. White is the only character who isn't spending life in prison, but five new characters have arrived, including Doctor Black and Ms. Violet. New weapons include the mace and the poison dart, and there's a secret passage between the racquetball court and the sauna.

Original Version

Greetings Evil Editor,

The ill-fated cover up of a horse theft turns into a mob war. [I usually prefer that you get into the plot rather than open with a vague log-line. Now if it were more specific, something like: In an alternate universe, where mafia families are Wyoming ranchers, Carlo Gambino steals a horse from John Gotti and then tries to cover up the theft by substituting a sheep for the horse. But the coverup fails to fool Gotti, and a range war breaks out . . .]

Robyn lives on a small island in Spain, which is quickly becoming much too small for her. [I suppose I'm nitpicking if I say that if that sentence read Robyn lives in Spain, on a small island which is quickly becoming too small for her, it would be obvious that it's the island and not Spain that is shrinking.] She is tired of having to please her father, and feels pushed into becoming a professional equestrian athlete. [To all you people who lamented being pushed into the family carpeting business, see? Rich people have it rough too.] But secretly she dreams of a different life. Her father buys a new horse, which is supposed to help her win. However, the horse almost kills her, and Robyn refuses to go near another horse ever again. [Is this one of those gag hoax queries?]

Just when she thought [she's thinking] another life was [is] possible, a police investigation stops her. Her father is under suspicion. The horse he bought was stolen under ominous circumstances. When Robyn’s father is also accused of killing her boyfriend and then disappears, Robyn decides to investigate on her own. [Wait, did her boyfriend just get killed? That should be the lead, not the father being accused. Something like: When Robyn’s boyfriend is murdered, her father is at the top of the suspect list--and when he disappears, Robyn decides to investigate on her own.] [People investigating murders on their own seems to happen a lot more in fiction than in real life.] This leads her to Violet, the head of one of the two most powerful mob families in Los Angeles. [Is Robyn still on an island in Spain? We may need another step between that and Los Angeles.] There seems to be no escape between the mob and Officer Black, who wants to convict Robyn's father, Mr. White, for a crime he never even committed. [No escape for whom? Robyn isn't a suspect. Has Mr. White turned up in Los Angeles? Where did the crime take place?]

Robyn White’s adventurous character is designed to draw in female adult readers. [Originally the main character was a guy, but I didn't think female adults would be drawn in because he wasn't hunky enough.] John Grisham’s The Kid Lawyer [The title of that book is Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer.] and Janet Evanovich’s One for the Money are comparable crime mysteries. [If you're looking to draw in female adult readers, why admit that Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer, a middle grade book, is comparable?] Both are also told from the perspectives of unlikely, disinterested heroes.

The 100,000-word mystery novel BLACK, WHITE and VIOLET [You named your characters Black, White and Violet just so that title would make sense? Why is that title so important to you?] describes how one girl finds her path by feeling like a fish out of water and overcoming her biggest fears. [I didn't see anything about the path she found (unless she solves the crime and decides to become a detective) or about overcoming her biggest fears (the only fear mentioned is her fear of horses, and she never goes near one again, so I guess she didn't overcome that fear.]

I am a freelance writer, translator and filmmaker based in Los Angeles. Highlights have included three science-fiction, fantasy novels, articles for online magazines, and my first short film Black, White and Violet. [That's why you wanted your book to have that title? Is the plot of the film the same as the plot of the novel? Or are you now planning to write a song, paint a picture, and open a restaurant all with the name Black, White and Violet?]

Thank you for your consideration.



Most of what's here has nothing to do with the main plot, which I assume centers around the death of Robyn's boyfriend and how she goes about investigating it. That her father is the main suspect is important. That she refuses to ride horses isn't. Why is her father the suspect? What's the connection with LA? Focus on what Robyn does, who tries to stop her from doing it, what will happen if she fails.

The opening sentence suggests a story much different from the one you tell. I don't know after reading the query who stole the horse, who covered up the theft, or why it started a mob war. So there's no point in opening with that line.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Success Stories

Sometimes authors forget to inform EE when their books, which we encountered on the blog, become available, thus costing themselves massive sales in the critical first weeks of publication. The following three were brought to my attention recently:

1. Monster School (City of Monsters), by DC Green, (Face-Lift 842).

3. The Good Daughter (new title) by Amra Pajalik (Face-Lift 58)

2. Kindar's Cure by Michelle Hauck, (Face-Lift 905)

No word on whether the authors acknowledged the role of the Evil Minions in their success.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Success Story

Dave reports that his story "Broken Dreams," whose opening appeared here in New Beginning 1000, is now published at WiFiles.

Thursday, February 06, 2014

New Beginning 1023

Matthew Bilachi was sure that had been the best shuttle ride ever. Sure, it was the only one he’d ever been on, but he bet that nothing could compare to watching the giant ship, the one he was going to be living on, traveling to a whole new world on, grow larger and larger until it filled the viewscreen. Now they were docked in the shuttle bay, but people were taking so long to get out of the way. He fidgeted impatiently, catching his mother’s eye.

“Be calm. It’ll just be a few more minutes.” She smiled at her eleven-year old son, softening her words. Matt knew she was just as excited as he was about this journey, but she didn’t show it as much.

“But why is everyone so slow! I want to get off and go explore, Chad said there’s all kinds of amazing things on a colony ship, the one his aunt went on had a park with real trees and birds and everything!” He wasn’t entirely sure everything chad told him was true, but after all, he was the only one at their school who even knew someone who’d traveled on a colony ship before. He’d even lived on Antares when he was little, and journeyed on one of the passenger liners that regularly moved between earth and it’s largest colonies.

“You’ll have months to explore. And when we get off this shuttle you are to stay by my side, is that understood?" Now the smile was gone, and she was wearing her “this means business” face.

“But mom …”

"Okay, that's it. We're going back to Earth."

"No!!! I'll be good."

At last they stepped off the shuttle and boarded the colony ship. Matthew, of course, ran off by himself to explore. Two hours later the captain came on the ship's intercom to announce that they would would be making a brief unscheduled stop at the Gohr prison planet, Lycus IV, to drop off an unruly passenger. He regretted the inconvenience.

Opening: Lance Awesome.....Continuation: EE

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Fan Art

James submitted this piece of art featuring EE:

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

New Beginning 1022

December 31st.

Lilia Loverly and Cassie Chalaine laughed as they headed through the service pantry toward the kitchen of the Maple Hill Inn, until they ran across Baby New Year holding a bloodied knife over the body of Father Time.

Cassie’s spine-chilling scream punctuated the tray of champagne glasses as it slipped from Lilia’s hands and crashed to the floor. Jay Roddey looked up at the two women. His wide saucer-like eyes glazed with fear, his chest heaved with ragged breaths, and his hand trembled as he held the knife.

“S-somebody killed him!” Jay’s suddenly high-pitched voice cracked.

Cassie screamed again. Lilia tried to stay calm—somebody had to. “Jay, what have you done?” Lilia demanded.

“I didn’t do it. I, I…” He swallowed hard and tried to contain his emotions, as tears cut a path down his blood-spattered face.

“Jay, if you didn’t do this, then who did?” asked Lilia.

“I don’t know. I came out of the kitchen with another cheese and cracker platter and tripped right over him.”

Lilia took in the broken crackers, chunks of cheese, and crystal shards scattered everywhere as a pool of blood slid slowly across the polished hardwood floor.

Lilia grasped Cassie about the midsection and bade her keep still.

"Now dearie, run off and grab Mother Nature for us. She'll get this cleaned up in a jif. There's a good girl."

Once the quivering Cassie had departed, Lilia fixed Jay with a gimlet gaze. Then she removed the leather strap she kept tucked into her apron for times such as these. "Clumsy sod, however will Miss Marple solve this crime with tea biscuits and cheese ground into the evidence?"

Jay knelt, then, and turned his watery eyes to the wall. "Please forgive me, Mistress Lilia."

Oh I will, Lilia thought, just as soon as I warm that juicy bum

Opening: Sherry Clitheroe.....Continuation: Veronica Rundell

Monday, February 03, 2014

Bidding is Now Open

...on having your book edited by Evil Editor, the world's most famous editor. Go to this page to read all about it. Then click on Bid Now.

The opening bids are high, probably because starting at $5.00 with $5.00 increments takes forever. So if you, like most of EE's minions, are barely scraping by, this probably isn't for you. But if you make charitable contributions every year, and get nothing in return other than a tax deduction and the satisfaction of helping some worthy cause, here's your chance to get back all of that plus get your book proofread, edited, and critiqued by EE.

In the Brenda Novak auction, this item has brought an average of about $2400 over the past five years. But not as many people know about this much smaller auction, so you could win me for the minimum bid.

While I make no guarantees, the last person to win one of my full edits has sold her book to Sourcebooks, and will see it in print in April.