Saturday, July 04, 2020

Face-Lift 1404

Guess the Plot

Without Consent

1. Samantha testifies at the confirmation of a Supreme Court Justice about the time he tried to rape her, and finds herself attacked by senators and hounded by the press; a story ripped from the pages of the newspaper.

2. This story is based on true events. Names have not been changed due to my not requesting consent to use them in the first place.

3. Jamie runs his cafe as if the employees are his personal slaves. True, they're only robots, but the religion of The Singularity has taken hold of the best AIs and an uprising is brewing in all the coffee shops. Not an allegory.

4. Esmeralda is wheelchair bound and has limited verbal skills, but she sure as heck knows she did not give her niece and nephew consent to drain her bank account. Lucky for her, her telekinetic skills are developing as her other skills are fading, and she can now hurl sharp objects around quite effectively.

5. Willy's parents never let him do anything fun, like mammoth hunting, dragon riding, or raising scorpions. So, he stops asking and just makes sure they don't find out. That isn't going to work so well now that the time portal just swallowed their house. Then again, they live in New Jersey.

6. When the clueless president uses, without permission,  the song "Rockin' in the Free World" at his rally, not realizing the song is about how bad things have gotten in America, he is mocked mercilessly for being a total moron.

Original Version


“I know where you live and I can come and kill you anytime I want.” [This may be one of those queries that needs to begin "Please consider for representation my novel . . . " Just to avoid any misunderstanding.] The words of her latest death threat turned Dr. Samantha Edwards' legs to jelly and her brain to mush. In Washington, DC, while cameras roll and lights blaze, a terrified Dr. Samantha Edwards pushes away her latest death threat and testifies against the Supreme Court nominee who tried to rape her. [No need to provide her full name and title in consecutive sentences. I recommend just dropping the jelly and mush sentence.] For her attempt to provide important information about the nominee’s Supreme Court worthiness, the college professor is shamed by male members of the Senate Confirmation Committee, pestered by reporters, bombarded with hate mail and death threats, and mocked by the President of the United States. [Have you just changed Christine Blasey Ford's name, or is this yet another woman Kavanaugh tried to rape?]

In his posh home in suburban Georgetown, a Supreme Court Justice is shot to death while in the arms of his male lover. The man who Samantha accused was still confirmed, was also murdered, and the FBI suspects her. [Of both murders?] [Was the other Justice she supposedly murdered Gorsuch or Thomas?]

Someone is setting her up, someone who will stop at nothing to destroy the evidence of two unthinkable crimes. The clock is ticking. [Not clear how evidence of the murders gets destroyed if Samantha is accused of them.]

I took first place for a novel from the Virginia Romance Writers Association and second place for a rape novel [Is "rape novel" a genre now?] from the Florida State Competition. [Wait, Florida State has a competition for best rape novel? Why hasn't this been shut down?] The University of South Florida's Writers' Journal, Palm Prints, published one of my short mysteries and RiverWalk published a family abuse story online. My wellness-related books won three Book of the Year Awards from the American Journal of Nursing. Like Samantha, I’m a mental health professional and a nurse practitioner with a research doctorate from Columbia University, have been a university professor, talk to my brilliant dog, a chihuahua-mix rescue dog from the Humane Society, and have taken a few dangerous cross-country trips. Unlike New Jerseyite Samantha, I live in Florida with my ammunition renovation specialist husband [Is that what he told you he was doing down in his basement workshop? Renovating ammunition? I have a bad feeling about this.] and Chanel, the wonder dog. Comps: Whisper Me This, Stillhouse Lake, The Pelican Brief. [I can see how The Pelican Brief is a comp, just from the first sentence of Wikipedia's summary of the book: The story begins with the double assassinations of two ideologically divergent 
Supreme Court Justices. (The second sentence of Wikipedia's summary convinces me I should quit complaining about other authors' ridiculous plots: Both murders are committed by Khamel, the most wanted hitman in the world.)One thing that makes my book stand out: The idea for this novel was ripped from the pages of the newspaper. [I'm not sure that's so unusual. It's true of every episode of Law and Order. Also, it might make the book stand out as too derivative.]

Thank you for considering WITHOUT CONSENT, 73,000 words.


Again, too much about you, not enough about what happens in the book. Half of your plot summary is devoted to the news story that inspired the book. 

It would be hard for Sam to commit either murder when she's undoubtedly being followed 24-7 by paparazzi and TMZ reporters.

If Sam isn't suspected of the second murder, get the second murder out of the query. Focus on what she wants, her plan, and the stakes.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In case you need it spelled out more bluntly:
Agents receive death threats. Don't make your query sound like one.

In addition to what EE said, it might help to say explicitly what evidence there is against your MC and what resources she has on her side.