Sunday, April 30, 2006

Face-Lift 6

Guess the Plot

Tierra Red

1. Actress Tara Reid's self-titled autobiography, which she wrote, proof-read, and printed entirely by herself.

2. Tierra studied auras for a living, and her own was usually a calm blue, but now something was terribly wrong. Could she cure herself before it was too late?

3. Struggling potter Matt Tudhope finally perfected the formula for a luminous, deep-red glaze, but the key ingredient is human blood, and he's already killed all the homeless people. Now what?

4. When their new red soft drink sweeps the country, Pepsi's stock takes off. But it plummets even faster when a whistle-blowing chemist reveals that the beverage contains massive amounts of heroin.

5. A Philadelphia socialite follows her fiancé to New Mexico, only to discover he's involved in conspiracy, murder and wanton destruction. She immediately decides to look for a different fiancé.

6. University of Florida botanist Louis Carstairs is on the verge of introducing a genetically engineered strain of tomato capable of ending world hunger when he's murdered--in his locked laboratory.


Original Version

Dear Mr. Evil Editor:

Philadelphia socialite Lily Vandermere [Anyone else noticed that in these queries, the socialites are always named Lily Vandermere, and the marketing assistants are always named Abby Clumm?] is engaged in a dangerous game–-while she struggles to solve the riddle of cleverly encrypted documents stolen from a mysterious land scheme, someone is killing everyone connected to them.

It is 1898. While the nation prepares for the Spanish-American War [Possibly a crucial aspect of the book, but not of this query.] and a territory fights for statehood, Lily’s arrival in the Territory of New Mexico is surrounded by deceit and corruption as she learns that both her father and her fiancé are part of a criminal land scheme. Suddenly the custodian of stolen documents from the covert plan and uncertain of who she can trust, Lily is determined to unmask the other participants involved in the conspiracy of stolen land grants, ruthless killing, and wanton destruction. [Nice family this Philadelphia socialite hails from.] Two men enter Lily’s life, each of them pivotal to the solution of the mystery: Guy Boardman, a powerful land and cattle baron, who pursues her out of lust, and Don Roman Aragon, the son of a prominent northern New Mexico family, who falls in love with her [Gee, I wonder which one turns out to be the bad guy.] and is unwittingly more personally involved in the mystery at the core of Tierra Red [What is Tierra Red? The name of the land development? A new strain of apple?] than he knows. [How, specifically, is he involved?] When the answers are finally divulged, [The answers? To what questions? Evil Editor is the only one asking questions here.] the key to the mystery is dropped at his own doorstep! But solving the mystery is not enough–-Lily and Roman must survive the consequences of learning the truth. [Wait a minute, does this take place in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico?]

As recently as 1999, Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico introduced legislation in the United States Senate to initiate renewed investigation and restitution for hundreds of ignored stolen land claims. Although a work of fiction, the issue [The issue is a work of fiction?] around which the main plot of Tierra Red revolves still ignites fierce emotion more than a hundred years later.

Thank you for taking the time to read this query letter. Tierra Red was written in the spirit of the old-fashioned novel, [It's sort of a cross between Moby Dick and Oliver Twist.] long enough to present its period properly. [Nice alliteration, but so blah it's meaningless.] The book has many subplots involving strong secondary characters, but the story itself is a hybrid of many genres. [You mean it doesn't fall into the single genre category of erotic romance western mystery suspense?] The full manuscript of Tierra Red is available upon request.

Sincerely,


Revised Version

Dear Mr. Evil Editor:

Philadelphia socialite Lily Vandermere is caught up in a dangerous game--as she struggles to decipher cleverly encrypted documents, someone is killing everyone connected to them.

1898. As New Mexico fights for statehood, Lily’s arrival in the Territory brings her face to face with deceit and corruption: both her father and her fiancé are part of a criminal conspiracy involving stolen land grants. When she finds herself the custodian of documents from the covert scheme, Lily determines to unmask the other participants.

Two men enter Lily’s life, each pivotal to the solution of the mystery: Guy Boardman, a powerful land and cattle baron, who pursues her out of lust; and Don Roman Aragon, the son of a prominent northern New Mexico family, who falls in love with her. Roman is, unwittingly, more involved in the affair than he knows, and eventually the key to the mystery is dropped at his doorstep. But solving the mystery is not enough–-Lily and Roman must endure the aftermath of learning the truth.

Tierra Red, at 80,000 words, has many subplots involving strong secondary characters, but is focused mainly on the issue of ignored stolen land claims, an issue that provokes fierce emotion even today: as recently as 1999, Senators Pete Domenici and Jeff Bingaman of New Mexico introduced legislation in the U.S. Senate to initiate renewed investigation and restitution for hundreds of these claims.

The full manuscript of Tierra Red is available upon request. An SASE is enclosed for your reply. Thank you.

Sincerely,


Notes

While Evil Editor does not question the assertion that the issue of stolen land claims from 1898 continues to provoke fierce emotion, he wonders whether the query might be more intriguing if it concentrated on the murders and the romantic angle. Are Lily's father and fiancé among those killed? If so, work it in. (Perhaps their deaths inspired her to try to solve the mystery?) If they aren't dead, how does her fiancé feel about her sneaking around with Roman behind his back? Did she dump her fiancé just for being involved in a scheme that her father probably thought up, and that her fiancé only went along with because he wanted Lily to see how well he got along with the old man? The poor guy's willing to commit a felony out of love for Lily, and Lily is off with Guy and Roman, living it up? Sheesh!

4 comments:

Tawny Taylor said...

Wow! Evil's been busy this weekend. Interesting (and funny) comments. I'm enjoying reading them all.

KV said...

Thanks! Of course, this is what happens when an author is too close to the work and forgets that new eyes won't know what the heck is going on, right?

I appreciate your taking the time to share your experience AND sense of humor. Hope you have a great week.

j henley said...

I dunno...I thought he was really nice. (he must have used up all that evil on mine:)

Patrice Michelle said...

Jhenley wants to share in the misery. LOL! Oh wait, that's Evil Editor's favorite book. :o)

Great comments, EE!