Sunday, April 30, 2006

Face-Lift 5

Guess the Plot

The Pele Project

1. A makeover surgeon faces his most challenging task: making young Ermalinda Pele into her idol, Mrs. Emma Peel. At least she's got the legs.

2. When a beautiful Hawaiian geologist working on a secret project witnesses a murder, she wonders if she's the next target.

3. When a Hawaiian lava goddess finds a South American soccer star has taken her name, she turns all of Brazil into a sea of lava.

4. When seven people pick up some unusual rocks from a park in Hawaii, they think they're just taking souvenirs. They have no idea that the stones are critical possessions of the volcano goddess--who will stop at nothing to get them back.

5. Becoming a fire goddess should have been easy. The people were primitive, her red-gold lamé dress perfect . . . it's just that Agnes never expected the hunky natives to insist on a virgin sacrifice.

6. Take one star soccer player, one volcano, and one religious cult of disillusioned sports fans. Combine, and sparks fly faster than a pyroclastic flow!


Original Version

I discovered your listing in Romance Diva's Comprehensive Listing of Evil Editors, and I understand you are looking for someone to snicker at. [Snicker with, not at. We're all in this together.] My book, The Pele Project, is a 100k word romantic suspense with all the nail-biting angst of a piece of pineapple cobbler. [No, no, for nail-biting angst, nothing beats blowfish.] It's spicy and exotic, easy to eat, and goes down fast.

Tension explodes [Tension never explodes; almost invariably, it mounts.] when Hawaiian geologist, Jen Stalling, witnesses the murder of a fellow scientist. Project officials don't want the negative publicity of a murder investigation. "An accident", they say. Jen knows better. So does her father, billionaire Art Stalling. [How? Is he in on the murder?] Having pushed Jen away, he can't reveal his interest in her [What is "his interest in her?"] without opening her up to potential kidnappers. [They would kidnap her because she witnessed the murder? Or because she's the billionaire's daughter?] He sends in DalCon, a Seattle-based security group. [To protect her? To solve the murder? To cater the company Luau?] [Aren't there any security groups in Honolulu?]

Keegan Dalfrey has his own problems. Two days ago, his brother was taken by Samoy extremists. [What is Samoy? A Siberian restaurant?] They want two million in ten days. Keegan liquidates everything he can, but he's still short.

Nine days. Neutralize the threat or get Jen to safety. [Get Jen to safety? Who, Keegan? You've made no connection between Keegan and Jen. Who is Keegan? Her man? Her co-worker? A DalCon man? Her surfing instructor? Does he even know her? Does he know she's in danger? Why can't he get her to safety today, and neutralize the threat in the following eight days? And who names their kid Keegan?] Your call. [My call? Wait, I get it, it's like "The Lady or the Tiger." I have to guess whether Keegan scrounged up the two million and saved his brother, but then had to live as a pauper without Jen, or whether he decided to keep the two million and move to the south of France to live happily ever after with Jen. Hmm. When you come right down to it, you can't trust Samoy extremists to return the brother anyway.]

He never expected to fall in love.

If you would like to read more about Jen and Keegan, I would be happy to send you a partial and synopsis. I appreciate the time you've taken to read my query and I look forward to hearing from you.

Revised Version

I discovered your listing in Romance Diva's Comprehensive Listing of Evil Editors, and I understand you are seeking romantic suspense novels that have all the nail-biting angst of a plate full of fugu. My 100k-word book, The Pele Project, may fit the bill. It's spicy and exotic, easy to digest, and goes down fast.

Tension is stretched to its limit when Jen Stalling, chief geologist on the Pele Project (its objective: to stop up the mouth of Mount Kilauea with an immense soccer ball), witnesses the murder of a fellow scientist. Project officials don't want the negative publicity of a murder investigation. "An accident," they say. Jen knows better. So does her father, billionaire Art Stalling, who is funding the project. But having pushed Jen away long ago, he can't now reveal his relationship to her without exposing her to danger. He sends in DalCon, a Seattle-based security group to watch over her.

Keegan Dalfrey has his own problems. Two days ago, his brother was taken by Samoy extremists. They want two million in ten days. Keegan liquidates everything he can, but he's still short. If only his geologist, Jen, were the daughter of a billionaire. But what are the odds of that? Still, it couldn't hurt to ask her.

Nine days. Neutralize the threat or get Jen to safety? His brother or his geologist?

He never expected to fall in love.

Eight days. Check in to your seaside bungalow in Saint-Tropez. With Jen.


If you would like to read more about Jen and Keegan, I would be happy to send you a partial and synopsis. I appreciate the time you've taken to read my query. A stamped envelope is enclosed for your reply.


Notes

This oddball query might lead the right editor to hope that the book will be more remarkable than most. That said, there's no substitiute for information. What's the Pele Project? Does Art Stalling have anything to do with it? How are Jen and Keegan involved (with each other)? And most of all, is Keegan a virtual Adonis?

There could be a danger that an editor will request the book expecting an amusing satire. And maybe that's what this is. But a humorous tone may not be the best way to sell an editor on a tearjerker set in the Holocaust. Or even on a suspense novel.

12 comments:

j henley said...

Oh...my you are evil. But then after suggesting you take your daily venom shots and getting a case of the warm fuzzies from you, it must have been building up. So...can I rip off your revised version? :) (it's very nice...well, except for the beach ball)

Evil Editor said...

All of Evil Editor's revised versions are there for the taking. Naturally you should either replace any specifics I've added with specifics that actually apply to your books, or, better yet, keep the queries as they are, and rewrite the books to match them.

j henley said...

hey, Evil? Y'know, I was thinking hard about what you said...other than the query itself, and I would like to sincerely thank you (and I don't mean that in a shitty kind of way, but a sincere, like from the bottom of my heart, kind of way) because you hit a plot point and gave me a solution all in one. I like it that now Jen's dad is part of the Project. You really are a sweetie.

uh? rewrite to match...well, I gotta think about that one. (nope. :) (didn't take long)

Faith said...

I think writing a synopsis or query are two of the toughest things to write. I know Ihate writing them.

More often than not, the ones that arrive in my submissions box are poorly written.

Dayna_Hart said...

I think you now have a full time job, EE. When are you going to be able to blog again?
I suppose this could count as community service for some future evilness...

Evil Editor said...

Evil Editor would rather write his BLOG than open all the manila envelopes piling up in his in-box. He will post at least daily, as long as there's anyone out there reading it.

Patrice Michelle said...

What a great service you're providing on the query letters. I enjoyed the amusing editorial comments. And now we REALLY know what's going on in editor's heads when they read query letters. Bwahhahaha!

Kudos to you, EE. I'm sure the authors appreciate your comments and edits.

Patrice Michelle said...

Evil Editor would rather write his BLOG than open all the manila envelopes piling up in his in-box. He will post at least daily, as long as there's anyone out there reading it.

Be careful what you wish for! LOL! It won't take people long to find your blog and then you'll have your very own dedicated Evilites.

j henley said...

lol, I think I'm addicted. C'mon...evillites? Let's brainstorm here. Uh...army of evil? Evil Dead (no, that one's already taken) evil groupies? Ok, all out here...somebody throw me a line...

JENNA said...

Where should the title of the book be?

There are those queries that start with...I'm submitting my 26785K fiction novel, DULL AND SNORING.

But then there is the 'open with a hook' school of thought. Are we to be happy hookers, business in the front and party in the back, or is there a secret to combining the two?

KV said...

Hardly an evil editor to give up precious weekend time for these critiques.

archer said...

Tension may not explode, but then again, things are always reaching a crescendo.