Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Face-Lift 1405

Guess the Plot

The Colors of a Nation

1. An encyclopedic examination of the meanings of the colors of national flags. Includes fascinating stories about how each flag's colors were chosen to represent the nation's history and people and how those choices often led to riots and mass murder.

2. Edith has been drawing maps since she was old enough to hold a crayon. Unknown to her, this has been redefining geography and political boundaries in the world of Arycol. When she's magically transported there, she must decide: should she fix the mess she's made . . . or take over?

3. A political map of the world shows each country in a different color from those of the countries it borders. But who decides what color each country gets? Nathaniel Barkley does. This is his story. Includes trivia such as which color has never been used on a map.

4. An in-depth history of flags through the centuries. Not only includes anecdotes, legends, and lists of heraldry but also materials, patterns, shapes, and of course the importance of dyes and which country uses human blood to dye its flags. Also, flags' strange relationship to underwear.

5. A century from now, white supremacists will control the US government, enslaving people of color with mind-controlling chips and the threat of lynching. Think Trump lite. Can one 20-year-old girl bring equality to the nation . . . while also finding true love?

6. It took decades and the strong leadership of calm, intelligent Presidents to erase the craziness of the '16 to '20 era, but now the country is greater than ever. Racism, sexism, homophobia and other ills are all but solved, and neighbors interact with peace and love. That is, until one jackass decides to paint his house bright orange. Thank God we all still have our guns.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

I am seeking representation for THE COLORS OF A NATION, a New Adult Science Fiction novel complete at 92,000 words.

Six months ago, 20-year-old Meia Gwen was proud to be a slave. But that was before the mind-controlling chip in her brain stopped working.

In the year 2123, the U.S. government uses chips to promote slavery and their white supremist [supremacist] agenda, their biggest threat being people like Meia (Insubordinates, they call them). [What is it that distinguishes "people like Meia"? Are they all people whose chips have stopped working? Are they all people of color?] But unlike other Insubordinates, Meia doesn’t want to hide out to avoid getting lynched—she wants, no needs to fight back. So for months she has searched for the Party, an insurgent group trying to take down the chip system once and for all. [You claim that the government's biggest threat is Insubordinates, but then you suggest that most Insubordinates are hiding out. It sounds like the Party, which is actively doing something, is their biggest threat.]  Too bad she still can’t find them. 

Then they find her.

When three white men try to sexually assault Meia, the Party saves her by doing the unthinkable—killing “precious” white men in America. Enraged by the deaths, the brainwashed country goes on a retribution killing spree against minorites [minorities] while the government vows to find, torture, and kill Meia and the Party. [Government forces hunting down US citizens? You expect anyone to believe this could happen in America?]

To survive, Meia seeks refuge with the Party and finds herself falling for Maq, though biracial relationships are 100% illegal. [So they're different races. Do we care which two races?] But just when the Party takes down the chips, the government infiltrates [raids] their hideout and captures a majority of the members, including Maq. [Not clear what you mean by "the Party takes down the chips."]

With the chips deactivated, [So that's what you meant. Deactivates. Is this deactivation of all chips what caused Meia's chip to stop working? Or did hers just die like the batteries in my mouse and my keyboard do every week?] an explosive civil war erupts throughout the country. And while Meia fights to bring equality to the nation, she struggles to save Maq and the rest of the Party. Soon she’s faced with a haunting realization—the only way to win the war is by losing everyone she loves. [Tough decision. Save Maq, my current crush, or save my entire race from chiptatorship. Maybe I should flip a coin.]

I graduated from the University of Missouri with a journalism degree, and I currently work as a copywriter, living the not-so-exciting corporate life from 9 to 5.

Thank you for your consideration,

[Author's note: The title comes from the idea that we try to categorize people by race, sexual orientation, gender, etc. to make everything black and white and easy to decipher, but there's more to us than black and white.]


Why does the govt. lynch people when they could chip them?

It's hard to pull off something like this without sounding like you're preaching an agenda. Which you are, but you have to do it subtly so the ideas are absorbed by osmosis rather than drummed into the reader. You probably started writing this ten years ago, thinking it was going to be the next 1984, and not realizing that by the time you finished, most of the insanity you'd concocted would have come to pass. By the time you find an agent and then a publisher and the book makes it into print, even the mind-controlling chips will probably be a reality. You might have to change the setting to the Gohr prison planet, Lycus IV.

Getting a mind-controlling chip into someone's brain can't be easy. Have they managed to do this to everyone who's not white? And these chips are not independent, but controlled from one central power source that the Party was able to shut down?

I hated the title. Then I read the explanation of how you came up with it. Now I hate it even more.


Anonymous said...

Oh. I hope this is not as on-the-nose preachy as it seems. Come on.

Anonymous said...

The first question on the mind of most agents is going to be "Is the writer a POC because I'd hate to try to sell this in the current pubishing climate if they aren't?"

You should perhaps answer that question in your query.