Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Face-Lift 1362

Guess the Plot

The Least of Us

1. We are the ones who care about no one except ourselves. The ones who would sell our souls to the devil for a few dollars or for the opportunity to watch innocents being tortured. The ones with no compassion for the downtrodden. We are the members of the Republican party.

2. A corn grower must decide whether life is really worth living if he must sell his family farm. Yeah, that's it.

3. Decades ago, American leaders built walls separating the wealthy coastal states from the loser interior states. But soon the coastal states will be underwater, so the haves want to tear down the walls and move inland. Will the have-nots forgive and forget?

4. The Zombie--sorry, Living-Impaired--Civil Rights movement has been gaining ground over the past year. Yet Zed and Tibbs have strong objections, even if their current state of life would say otherwise. Plus the usual brains, moaning, and rotting flesh.

5. Samantha, a divorced poet, lives on the picturesque New England shore where she rents her home from Carl, a widowed veterinarian. Just as they begin to forge a relationship, she discovers she has cancer and you've already stopped reading this because it's boring and overdone.

6. When Adilade receives a free curse that will make her obnoxious, over-achieving older brother shrink to the size of a mouse, she implements it without reading the warning label. Now she must work together with her worst enemy (her brother's best friend) to get her brother back to normal before the plague he's now spreading gives everyone in town his worst traits.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

In 2060, Jessie lives in [a] world that was long ago divided. The Others – the leaders of the old world – took over all the coastal states and built two Walls to keep the undesirables [deplorables] out, convinced that they would eventually kill each other due to their violent nature. [Not sure whether that means the undesirables will eventually kill each other or the undesirables and the Others will eventually kill each other.] [Also, did the Others make the undesirables pay for the Walls?] Jessie is the third generation living on this side of the Wall, [Which side? Of which wall?] she knows no other way. [Replace comma with period or semicolon. Better yet, delete "she knows no other way." It's vague.] Jessie's smart, but naive. Though she knows that the Others aren't bogeymen, the Others are just stories to her.

In 2016, Matt is a teenager living his life. His [whose] main worry is doing well on the SATs. But, something is changing. The government announces that it’s going to build Walls to separate the coastal states from the rest of the country. Matt writes in his journal, documenting what his life is like, and writing about all the scary changes that are affecting him, his friends, and his family. [Is Matt in a coastal state or an inland state?] [The only specific scary change you mention is the Wall, which you already told us about in the previous paragraph. I'd dump this whole paragraph. You can tell us who Matt is when his journal is found in paragraph 4.]

One day, Jessie and Lucy make a trip to the Wall. [Who's Lucy?] While there, they hear voices. They overhear two men speaking of their plans to tear down the Walls so that the Others can move inland. [Can't they move inland by flying to inland airports? Or building bridges that go over the walls? Or blasting holes in the wall at ground level?] They have to, the coastal states will be under water in a year. Jessie and Lucy are terrified. They have only ever heard the worst of these people. It wasn't so long ago that the Others stole their homes and abandoned them to die. [If you steal my home and abandon me, I'm not gonna just keel over and die. Is there something about the world you haven't told us?] 

Jessie must learn all she can about the Others, as soon as she can. A journal that she finds will tell her a very personal version of the history of how things devolved in the first place, how her group survived it, and where Jessie fits in all of it. [Not clear how a 45-year-old journal written by a teenager can tell Jessie where she fits in "all of it." Possibly because I'm not sure what you mean by "where she fits in all of it."]

Inspired by current events, The Least of Us is a young adult novel, which is complete at 96,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration.


Do the undesirables have any interest in getting to the Others' side of the Walls? If so, they might wish to consider these possible methods:

Click strip to enlarge.

Also, grappling hooks, jetpacks, bulldozers and parachuting from hot air balloons.

It's not clear what made the undesirables undesirable. It's not like they were homeless. Not only did they have homes, but they had homes the Others considered worth stealing. Was it their beliefs? Looks? 

We need to know a little more about the world. How is life different on both sides of the Walls than it was before the Walls? More specificity would give us a clearer picture.

When you say the Others abandoned the undesirables to die, did they abandon them on the coasts? If so, how did the undesirables get to the other side of the Walls? Or did the Others transport the undesirables to the interior before closing up the Walls? If so, I wouldn't say they were abandoned to die. Many food crops are grown mainly in the interior states. Also, why do we keep capitalizing "wall"?

Identifying and transporting all the undesirables on the coasts to the interior seems too daunting a task. Plus, with all the undesirables gone, who does all the menial jobs? 

What if you lived in New York but most of your family lived in Chicago? Were they all lost to you? Were the people who lived in the interior but weren't undesirables, like Warren Buffet and LeBron James and John Cusack, forcibly transported to the coasts when the Walls were built? Or were they just abandoned to die?

No way would Californians tolerate being walled out of Las Vegas. 

Saturday, August 12, 2017

New Beginning 1071

Natalie soared downwards, wind rushing past her face, hair streaming behind her as she reached the lowest point of the arc. Then pushing her legs out in front of her she willed the swing up higher and higher. The swing reached its highest point. For a split second, she was no longer moving upwards, but not falling either. For a pinprick of time, she was suspended, the miracle of gravity paused.

And she let go. Her hands continued to clutch the rope, but she let go of the swing, of the park, of the world, of this universe.

She let go and she was ‘There’.

Natalie had no idea where ‘There’ was, even though getting ‘There’ was both easy and impossible. Her heart raced as it always did when she jumped into this world, but it soon slowed back to its regular pace.

She scanned the landscape, the familiar-but-strange grey earth and reddish light. To her left, a rusty toaster protruded from the ground. A toaster the size of a garage, its slots gaping skywards as if awaiting mattress-sized bread slices to fall into them. It hadn’t been there last time.

The dream ended suddenly as she hit the cold water. Gasping for air and kicking frantically while swallowing salt water, she thrashed to the surface. Her black hair covered her eyes and while swiping at it, she went under again. 

It was dark, well after midnight, without a moon. Her cries for help could not be heard over the shore party noise. She tried to grab the dinghy but it pulled free of its cleat and drifted away. She banged on the yacht with her petite fists until fatigue set in and poor Natalie Wood slipped down for the final time.

Opening: Anonymous.....Continuation: Mister Furkles

Monday, August 07, 2017

Success Story

Khazar-khum reports that "a short version of The Trouble with Larry (Face-Lift 1354) has been published in the Fark 2017 Writer's Anthology. Proceeds go to benefit St Jude's Children's Hospital. You can get it and the 2016 Anthology at Amazon. 

I did try to get minions involved, so if anyone else submitted and were accepted, I think we'd all like to know."

Q & A 192

Whatever happened to the strange angelic man?

This question comes up because the strange angelic man was named Erick and a character in the query that inspired the question was also named Erick. As I have nothing better to do, I present an incomplete retrospective of Erick the Strange Angelic Man's appearances on the blog.

First appearance of Erick, the Strange Angelic Man

Casting of the Evil Editor movie

The Decline of the Blog

So, it's been a week since our last Face-Lift, and there are no queries in the queue. Except for a few NaNoWriMo openings, we haven't posted a New Beginning since October, and there are no openings in the queue. [Update! Crisis temporarily averted. We now have openings needing continuations and queries needing fake plots. And more to come, I hope.] Comment trails are shorter all the time; writing exercises were discontinued due to lack of participation; rarely do more than five people show up for a Book Chat.

The handwriting is on the wall. If it's longer than 140 characters, it's too long. Maybe that's what's killing the publishing industry. They demand books of 80,000 words, when readers want books of 140 characters. Preferably fewer; those who use the full 140 characters need to be more concise if they want to make it as writers today.

The only way to survive as a blogger is to adapt to the changing world.

What does this mean for this blog? Basically, two things:

1. Instead of editing openings and queries, Evil Editor will edit tweets. Minions submit tweets they are planning to publish, and Evil Editor fixes them so that the tweeter doesn't sound like an illiterate twit. Or, say your tweet is longer than 140 characters; EE makes the cuts that make it legal.

2. Currently, EE's blog is a place you can read Mrs. Varmighan's tweets if you don't care to officially follow Mrs. Varmighan. This could be expanded so that each day the tweets of Mrs. Varmighan, Evil Editor, Evil Psychiatrist,


Unethical Attorney (in which a defense lawyer ignores privilege and tweets his thoughts during a murdertrial),

Erick the Strange Angelic Man, 

literary agent Hannah Rogers,
Public Confessor 
(in which a priest takes confessions in tweet form), and

Kind Serial Killer are posted. First you'll have to vote on which of these twitter accounts you would follow. Only those with the most votes will come to fruition.

To ease the transition, we'll still be accepting queries and openings, at least until we hit #1000.

From the 3rd annual Evie Awards:

Best Supporting Actress: Carlotta the Snazzily Dressed Lit Agent for Erick the Strange Angelic Man


                                    Cartoon 1000