Friday, August 18, 2006
Guess the Plot
The Life of Nicolas Parlier
1. Nick has terminal cancer and an insurance policy with an air-tight exclusion clause. Determined to provide for his family, he volunteers his services as a scout for a hunting party of drunks.
2. Nick massages the deal points and gets a very nice contract for his author, Santo Mas. But when Mas takes his next offering, a sure blockbuster, to a different agent, Nick talks less and gets his gun ready.
3. Nicolas Parlier is dead. But how? The circus performers who raised him gather under the Big Top the night of his murder. Together they laugh, cry, tumble and toast, and attempt to unravel the monkey-riddled mystery...of the Life of Nicolas Parlier.
4. From the grimy back alleys of Paris to the mysterious open-air markets of Istanbul, we follow Nicolas Parlier as he navigates around the world with his family and his monstrous dog.
5. From the grimy back alleys of Paris to the mangrove swamps of Burma, we follow Nicolas Parlier in his poignant efforts to find the mother who abandoned him, the Mademoiselle from Armentiers.
6. From the grimy back alleys of Paris to the Palace of Fontainebleau, we follow Nicolas Parlier as he survives the French Revolution by first pretending to be poor, then pretending to be rich, and finally pretending to be interesting.
RE: Adventure by Adventure; The Life of Nicolas Parlier (Query)
Dear Ms. ___________,
Joshua Mowll's Operation Red Jericho caught my eye with its clever use of graphics that succeed in drawing the reader into Rebecca and Doug's universe. I have written a story (the first in a series) in the same genre as Mr. Mowll's and hope that you will consider representing my work. [Is the genre the only similarity? Does your book also cleverly use graphics to draw the reader in? If not, I wouldn't bring up that point.]
With an atmospheric physicist, obsessed with sailing, for a husband and my own work as an anthropologist and teacher I have run into my fair share of characters with true histories of survival and daring; most recently in Istanbul, Dakar, Sao Paulo.... These elements plus a dose of charm and just plain fun make up the personalities and stories of the Adventure by Adventure series. [That sounds good, but I can't say I know what is meant by the phrase "Adventure by Adventure."]
Nicolas is a twelve year old from Paris with a dry sense of humor and a flair for seeing the logic of science in everything. As he navigates around the world with his parents, quirky kid sister and monstrous dog his reputation as an adventurer grows with each scrape and escapade. In less than 60,000 words the first story, La Cachette*, shows how even an ordinary boy can start on the road to becoming a legend—with a little nudge from one mean teacher, two class bullies, a devious politician and a missing treasure. [I was under the impression The Life of Nicolas Parlier was the first book in the Adventure by Adventure series. Is La Cachette the first book? In the Adventure by Adventure: The Life of Nicolas Parlier series? That would be an unwieldy title for a series. Is this a novel, or a collection of stories about Nicolas? Will Nicolas be the star of the future books? Whatever the title, you've provided only three sentences about the book you're offering. It's fine to tell the agent why you chose her and something about yourself, but not at the expense of describing the book.] [This is like going into a furniture store to buy a mattress, and it goes:
Salesman: Looking for a mattress?
You: Yes, I--
Salesman: I knew you were. I chose to approach you because you remind me of the people I sold a mattress to last week. The Sinclairs. Know them?
Salesman: I've been sleeping on mattresses for decades, and so has my wife, who's narcoleptic, so trust me, I know what you're looking for.
You: Can I try--
Salesman: You want to try one out? You're not allowed to sleep in the store, but . . . I'll let you touch one for a few seconds.]
Is this the type of series that would interest you? If so, could you send me your submission guidelines. Sorry for the bother but e-mail is the best way to reach me as I will be sailing and without a fixed postal address for the next few weeks. [A few weeks? I'd say there's an excellent chance your travels will be long finished before your SASE makes its way to your mailing address.] [What are you expecting, an email to a sailboat, from which you will dispatch your complete manuscript if requested? The submission process is a slow one; I recommend waiting until you live somewhere before submitting.]
I look forward to hearing from you.
* Translates from French to The Hiding Place
I'd like to hear about a couple of these scrapes and escapades that enhance Nic's reputation as an adventurer. Or about the devious politician and bullies. You can talk about the rest of the series after you sell me on this book.