Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Face-Lift 1354

Guess the Plot

The Trouble with Larry

1. Larry is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent. What's not to like?

2. There's always trouble. Some of it happens with Larry. Some of it happens without Larry. This is the trouble that happens with Larry. And sharks.

3. When Doug the Unyielding lets Larry move into his castle, he has no idea Larry plans to give the place a complete makeover. Absurdity ensues. Also, a chess-playing dragon.

4. Larry Sommers, a sixty-one-year-old paunchy, married, disgruntled chemistry professor can't figure out why twenty-year-old Ellie has fallen in love with him. Maybe his wife can tell him as she's signing their divorce papers. 

5. Larry inherited a very hairy problem. The very merry fairy from the prairie cursed him with a problem most glaring. He may tarry, for being quite wary, but until he locates his uncle most visionary, Larry will stay most scary.

6. An update of the classic 1955 Alfred Hitchcock film, with a corpse named Larry instead of Harry and taking place in Connecticut instead of Vermont, and one of the couples is homosexual, and the other is a vampire and a werewolf, and of course the year is 2017.

7. He hates going to the barber and only bathes once a week. It wouldn’t be a problem except Larry is worth north of a hundred million. His potential heirs decide there is only one thing to do: kill him. The trouble is that Larry is also a werewolf.


Original Version

'My name is Laranius, son of Lavernius' said the lich in the slightly-faded green robe. 'But everyone calls me Larry.' And with that, Larry moves into the domicile of Doug the Unyielding. [Usually you have to do more than tell him your name if you want Doug the Unyielding to surrender his guest room.]

Larry has a secret weapon of sorts: a magic bag that has [contains] everything he needs [to . . . give the castle a complete makeover? Or whatever his goal is]. Hairpins? Of course. Ballistae? Right here. Cow skull--bucrania, says Larry, [ ("bucrania," Larry calls it) ] for decorating the outer walls of the castle? Absolutely.

Larry also has many skills, such as defeating--well, not exactly defeating, but at least outplaying-- the local dragon in a game of [at] chess, redecorating the castle grounds, and dating [--according to] the halfling cook, who informs Doug that Larry knows [--doing] 'what ladies like'. [Best of all, Larry can use his magic to . . . ?]

But one question remains: what happens if Larry's bag happens to spill open? [If you leave that question to the average unimaginative literary agent, they'll probably guess that the cow skull and ballistae will get hung up on each other and won't fall out, but there'll be a few hairpins on the floor. Better to just reveal some of the chaos that results.]

The Trouble with Larry is a fantasy romp that will appeal to lovers of the absurd and bizarre. May I send Larry to you? 

Thank you[.]


You've given this the right tone, but you can do so while also summarizing the plot. Is Larry there to perform a service for Doug or for his own motives? Either way, fill us in. Is there a "trouble with Larry" up until the time his bag spills open? Can you take the story up to the point where something's at stake, and tell us what that is?

This doesn't sound like an homage to The Trouble with Harry, which may not matter, though it's somewhat like choosing a title such as What About Rob? or Life of Ryan or Larry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.


InevitablePlotTwist said...

I would read this. I'm getting a Pratchett-esque vibe from the query, and you have a strong voice.
That being said, EE is right - this query feels scattered. Focus on the basics: who the main character is, what he wants, what obstacles he faces, and what he has to do to overcome them.

Anonymous said...

Absurd and bizarre is fine, but you need a plot, which I'm not sure this has. (Don't get me wrong, I hope it has a plot because I like silliness in certain types of fantasy novels.)

Is this a story about Larry's goal to redecorate the domicile/castle? Is this a story about Doug, who wanted the redecoration but is having second thoughts and developing an inferiority complex? A story about something else entirely?

Also, unless you've given me an example of something living and dangerous in the bag or something like a primed and deadly weapon/spell that might go off or pollute the area or something I'm going to assume that if the bag spills, you end up with a large pile of junk and I'm not sure why I should be interested.

khazar-khum said...

Author here.

I LOVE the GTPs!

The general tone of the story is absurd. The plot involves Larry trying to find a permanent home for himself and his collection because Larry, as you may have guessed, is a hoarder. Doug is our flustered, confused and sometimes exasperated narrator.

My other possible title was 'My Lich is a Goddamned Hoarder', but I would rather swear in person than in the title.