Tuesday, October 09, 2018

Face-Lift 1384

Guess the Plot

The Tragedy of Us

1. He's a millennial wine snob who wears deck shoes with no socks and keeps a vinyl record collection of bands before they "sold out." I'm a neo-hippie life coach and chakra counselor who shames mothers for using disposable diapers. How did we get this way? He blames Mom. I blame society. 

2. She's a political 
activist, carb lover, and future Pulitzer Prize winner. He's a star athlete who needs a tutor if he's ever gonna get that diploma. The question is, which one will drag the other down to rock bottom?

3. Throughout history, our souls have been reborn and found one another, but never quite connected. In 500 BC, I heard your song calling me, but I didn't hear the rampaging elephant herd. In 1903, you ran to me with arms outstretched, but got pulled under the wheels of the first car either of us had ever seen. That time you were a beekeeper and I ran a peanut farm, and both of us were ready to learn about love, but learned about anaphylaxis instead. Can we ever fulfill our destinies, and somehow avoid another bad ending?

4. A Marin County couple share the methods by which they've managed to overcome such lifestyle-threatening adversities as: How to live with only ten streaming services; My smart toilet stopped talking to me; Amazon delivered the skin exfoliator to my wrong Tesla. 

5.  Andrew and Jonathan, a Manhattan power couple, try to come to grips with where they failed after their adopted child Carl's resume is rejected from the Chelsea Kids Preschool.

6. She put a promising career on hold to raise their children. He became a Supreme Court Justice despite committing perjury and attempted rape. It doesn't look good for this baby-boomer couple.

Original Version

Dear Agent,

Charlie is young enough to think she knows it all until life sends her [a] curve ball forcing her to reevaluate everything, even herself. 

The Tragedy of US [Us] is a young Adult [adult] contemporary novel, which is complete at 85k [words]. I believe this book will appeal to Simone’s [Simone] Elkeles and Kasie West fans. 

Sixteen-year-old Charlotte ‘Charlie’ Miller—activist, smartass and carb lover—is sure she has it all figured out. She has a plan: finish high school with her best friend, then go to college to become a Pulitzer prize winning [Pulitzer Prize-winning] journalist - clear and simple, right?

Things change when she finds herself doing something she never thought she would do – tutoring, against her will, one of the school’s star athletes. [What "things change"? Her plans to finish high school, go to college and become a journalist?] She realizes there might be something more than what meets the eye. [Something more to what than what meets the eye? To life?] As she finds herself involved in a situation which is more than she bargains [bargained] for – she understands that even our own selves can cheat us, let us down and somehow surprise us. [What situation is she in that's more than she bargained for?] When the time comes to make hard choices she had [has] to decide if she steps up, runs away or hides to [from] everyone even herself? [That was a question?] [What happens that forces her to choose whether to step up, run away or hide?] [This paragraph is totally vague. We need specific information about what happens in your book.]

I am a 36 years old Corporate Lawyer, but writing has always been my passion which I tried to satisfy by publishing many fanfictions and being a co-owner of a facebook blog called ‘xxxxx’ which has now close to 10,000 followers. However, I have decided it is not enough and have taken the leap and wrote [written] my first novel. [This paragraph is a waste of space, better used telling us about the plot.]

For your convenience, I’ve attached the three first chapters [Presumably you mean the first three chapters. Although a book with three first chapters would be good for readers who quit reading after one chapter. Now, if you don't like the first chapter, instead of giving up on the book you can try one of the other two first chapters.] [Once you have a first chapter you like, you then get three second chapters to choose from. Etc. I see this as the future of reading.] of The Tragedy of Us. I would love to send you the complete manuscript if you’re interested.


Your first sentence is a log line, the type of opening you might use if trying to sell a movie script. Your second paragraph should come before you start telling us about the plot or after you finish telling us about the plot. Preferably the latter, as it lacks attention-grabbing information. Your plot summary is vague. All I know is a high school student who aspires to be a journalist is ordered to tutor an athlete. 

There are way too many minor errors. This leads me to assume the book has minor errors on every page, and I don't want to have to deal with that. As a corporate lawyer, you know the importance of getting all the details just right. Start over.


St0n3henge said...

I have to agree. We need more of the story. And be careful about those small errors. They do count.

Unknown said...

Right now it sounds like you've got a girl who must tutor a guy she comes to like/love. So what's the big surprise/crisis? She moves away? He's an atheist, and she's a Mormon? He gets a full-ride baseball scholarship somewhere major, while she can barely afford the local CC?

You given us nothing to tell what, where, when or how this is going. Yeah, you want to keep some secrets, but you need to give a few more clues. Otherwise, an agent will simply delete this.

Mister Furkles said...

As a lawyer, you know that vague statements do not persuade a jury. The same is true of an agent or editor reading you query. Specificity is your friend.

Things change when ... WHAT THINGS
against her will ... WHO IS GOING TO KILL HER IF SHE DOESN'T
there might be...more than what meets the eye ... MORE OF WHAT ... WHAT MEETS THE EYE
involved in a situation ... WHAT SITUATION
more than she bargained for ... WHAT DID SHE BARGAIN FOR ... HOW SO MORE
even our own selves can cheat us ... WTF
let us down and somehow surprise us ... DOES THIS MEAN ANYTHING
time comes to make hard choices ... WHAT TIME ... WHAT CHOICES
decide if she steps up, runs away or hides ... STEPS UP TO WHAT ... RUNS FROM WHAT ... HIDES FROM WHAT AND HIDES WHERE

This vagueness could be almost any book. All the agent know is the main character is a high school girl and she is to tutor somebody.

Paul Penna said...

BTW, all the comments for the previous three posts have been deleted and replaced with "This comment has been removed by a blog administrator."

St0n3henge said...

Wow, you're right. Comments gone.

J.M. said...

The Evil One is right about the dispensability of the bio paragraph. If you want to proclaim your creds, perhaps "I'm a corporate lawyer with a creative bent" or "I'm a corporate lawyer with a passion for writing."

Evil Editor said...

Oops. I thought I deleted only the fake plot comments, so they wouldn't be visible before reading the posts. Somehow other comments were lost. I was able to retrieve the two comments on #1382 and three of the comments on #1383.

khazarkhum said...

I see we have names: the girl, Charlie, and the Pulitzer, but not the name of her student. Why? Is she the tutor for the whole team? Or is this 'masculine erasure'? The poor guy needs a name.

Anonymous said...

There are as many theories as there are people out there espousing them. Few aspects of the publishing industry qualify as right or wrong. Such a perspective requires research. Opening with a logline is the advice of many industry professionals and should not be so disregarded. Granted, there are issues here, but if the line is so black and white, why are there still so many different ways to write a query?

I can’t imagine why anyone would come here for assistance. To be berated is not what I see as value in the industry and then the scraps left to hungry coyotes who probably wouldn’t cut the mustard (or the cheese) in a short story contest for twelve year olds is beyond disturbing.

St0n3henge said...

Coyotes cut neither mustard nor cheese.
This is a humor blog. I think you took a wrong turn at Albuquerque.