Tuesday, June 27, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. A serial killer threads fishing line through the limbs of his victims and makes them "dance." They call him . . . "The Puppeteer."
2. Cyrano meets Mr. Magoo when Maggie Jane misreads Arthur's love letter as saying, "Take me to the dunce." Hilarity ensues.
3. The wine, the song, the bread, the man, the woman. The divorce, the alimony, the custody battle over the Jack Russell terrier.
4. In the mists of time, dark druids worked foul magic. Their most diabolical spell: the "Dance." Can Guthric rescue his wife before the music starts?
5. As a rite of passage, Briana knows she must dance naked around the bonfire on the solstice. But if Alric sees her birthmark, he may guess the dark secrets of her past.
6. It's two weeks before the winter formal and Eleanor is determined that, for once in her life, she is going to have a date. And if that date turns out to be a demon who makes her classmates dance themselves to madness, well, at least he looks good in a tux.
Dear Mr. Editor,
What happens when the voices in your head are real? [1. Turn off the ipod. 2. If voices are still there, turn the ipod back on, quick.] Find out in my 82,000 word Dark Fantasy Thriller, The Dance.
Jerry and Nina make a formidable team. He is serial killer with a flair for the sadistic [And she sells power tools at the local hardware store?] and she is a figment of his imagination or so he thinks. In reality, she is an ancient demon, using him to give her strength.
Tom Wiley is the lead detective on the case. He has no idea what he’s up against as he follows the trail of bodies to a standoff that will nearly cost him his sanity.
They collide in a dark and twisted tale that will keep the pages turning. [The voices inside Evil Editor's head, which were just saying, This could be interesting, are now saying, Uh oh.] Take a journey into the mind of a serial killer as you watch Jerry transform from a murderer, wrestling with his demons into a supernatural predator who embraces them. Enter a world of death, insanity, loss, magic, love and the eternal struggle where the lines between good and evil are hard to discern. Enter the world of…The Dance. [Are you writing a query letter or doing the voice-over for a '50's B-movie trailer?] [The voices inside Evil Editor's head are screaming, Next query letter!]
My name is _______. I have [List of credits].
Never one for idle hands, I have completed an outline and commenced work on a sequel to The Dance, entitled Hell A. [It will be followed by Hell B, Hell C, etc. Stupid names, but it saves me the trouble of coming up with something decent. Of course, if I make it to Hell O, I may have to rethink the idea.] [Brilliant. It's like those Sue Grafton mysteries, A is for Alibi, B is for Burglar, except you don't even have to think of a different word every time. It's always "Hell."] [If Ms. Grafton had thought of that, she could have saved a lot of work: A is for Alibi, B is for Alibi, C is for Alibi . . . ] I am also in the beginning stages of an, as of yet, untitled collaborative short story with author, David Niall Wilson. [Collaborative in that I write the story, and then he removes all my commas.]
If you are interested in reading The Dance, please use any of the following information to contact me: ________________
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Synopsis [Synopsis? Are you trying to take advantage of Evil editor?]
Jerry was insane long before he met Nina. He calls the deeds he does The Dance because he makes his victims perform to music as he has his way with them by threading fishing line through their limbs. The unusual condition his victims are found in causes the media to dub him The Puppeteer. Nina sees his actions as a means to make her whole. She incorporates a spell into Jerry’s music to turn The Dance into a ritual that gives them strength.
Detective Tom Wiley will stop at nothing to put an end to the reign of terror. He pursued the mad man nearly a decade ago, but the murders suddenly stopped. He renews the game of cat and mouse only to have his partner die in a tragic accident while investigating the case. He returns to the bottle that cost him his marriage and nearly his children. [You just said he would stop at nothing; two sentences later he's drinking himself into an early grave.]
Nina uses her power to manipulate evidence in an effort to throw the detectives off the scent. She implicates Jerry’s shrink, Brian Pearlman. As the statewide manhunt ensues, no one knows Dr. Pearlman fell victim to Jerry’s perversions soon after he slipped back into his old habits. Jerry preserves his body and keeps him in his basement. Because he recognizes he is ill and the good doctor had once helped him to overcome his urges. He hopes Dr. Pearlman can one day help him regain his sanity.
Tom’s new partner, Anna Perez, helps Tom turn his life around by pushing him to be a better person and a better cop. They continue to follow the trail of crumbs strewn out by Nina, but each failure still manages to bring them closer to the truth.
Eramael [Who?!] shares his origin with Nina. He realizes her intentions and is doing everything in his power to prevent her plans from seeing fruition. After several attempts, he realizes he can’t defeat the duo alone. The Dance has given Jerry powers that nearly rival his own. He uses his influence to guide Tom on the right trail.
Convinced Tom is getting too close, Nina and Jerry kill Tom’s ex-wife, making him a single parent over night. To push their point home, Jerry threatens Tom’s kids if he doesn’t give up the pursuit. The threat only strengthens Tom’s resolve.
Nina is nearly at the peak of her power. She requires one final ritual to make her fully flesh and blood. Jerry cast the spell and as she begins the transformation, Tom interrupts the proceedings. With Eramael’s help it looks like Tom will be able to save the day. As the fight ensues, Jerry manages to disarm the detective. The duke it out until Jerry gains the upper hand. As Jerry chokes Tom into unconsciousness, a third eye materializes in his forehead. [Whoa, Tom has three eyes? Is he an alien?] [If an alien race has third eyes, wouldn't it be more useful to evolve the third eye on the back of your head, instead of the front? It should be on the back of the neck, actually. Women would have to have short hair or pigtails. Or they could hide the eye.] [Imagine a guy following a woman up the sidewalk, planning to start a conversation with her, and suddenly a gust of wind blows her hair aside, and there's an eye looking at him. It would be one of the great movie scenes ever.] [It was a tough call whether to use the puppeteer line or the third eye in "Guess the Plot."] Anna arrives late, but just in time to save her partner. Eramael takes Nina back to the darkness that spawned them.
The experience brings the two detectives closer together. A relationship is sure to follow.
Fill in the first three paragraphs with some information from the synopsis. Dump the synopsis, which isn't helping you. It somehow makes a plot about a serial killer, demons, cops, and the eternal struggle between good and evil sound boring. It reads like a newspaper report, mostly short declarative sentences. You don't want an editor to think your book sounds like that. It doesn't, right?