Friday, September 08, 2006

Face-Lift 181


Guess the Plot


The Gods of Lesser Things

1. Smerach, God of Paintchips, has lost the Holy Flame, and unless he gets it back by nightfall he will be stripped of his powers. Helping him are Ula, Goddess of The Random Bits of Plastic You Find in the Junk Drawer, and Farelious, God of Smut.

2. The old gods are no longer hot, so they try to hasten the end of the world. But they didn't count on Bruce, who has the ability to rewind time.

3. The gods of carpet stains, broken chalk, and hangnails have tormented mankind long enough. Bob resolves to destroy them all, before the Earth implodes.

4. Diarrhea and Eczema watched as Aphrodite floated down for another hot encounter with a mortal. Eczema was itching to get her hands on a mortal for some fun and games. "Gotta run," 'Rhea said.

5. Whhir, the god of eggbeaters, is trying to organize his fellow deities into the Amalgamated Brotherhood of the Gods of Lesser Things and strike for better burnt offerings and a new temple. But will Whhir's ex, the goddess of mostly healed wounds, allow it?

6. Moistmorn, god of dew, agrees to take Saturday off so Bob's new golf shoes won't get wet. In return, Bob agrees to spend eternity in Hades.


Original Version

Dear AGENT NAME:

I am seeking representation for The Gods of Lesser Things, a completed modern fantasy novel of about 100,000 words, told in the close-third point of view.

Bruce--a software engineer and general slacker--leads an ordinary life in a small southern city. He stops by the coffee shop on the way to work, he waits for Friday and dreams of unattainable women. He's like you and me, [No, he's like you. Me, I stop by the chiropractor on the way to work, I hate Fridays because that's the day the carpenter comes by to sand off my foot calluses, and let's face it, when you're Evil Editor, is any woman unattainable?] only with one difference - Bruce has the ability to rewind time. [Most interesting. Do people walk backward during this? How does he use this power? I feel certain you're going to tell me all about this remarkable ability.]

The old gods continue to vie with one another through their distant mortal children. [Not clear what that means; drop it.] Some seek to hasten the coming end of the world, some to delay it. Led by Bernard, a mysterious and powerful figure, Bruce, Michael (a schizophrenic time-traveler), and his compatriots [Should that be "their" compatriots? Or are they just Michael's compatriots?] fight the small battles that will help save the world from Ragnarok, the end of days.

Struggling against the dark and enigmatic Loge, [god of balcony seating, and] leader of a group known only as the Others, Bruce learns that god (and godhood) is in the details, [What does that mean?] discovers a new meaning of friendship, [What does that mean?] and summons up a courage he didn't know he had to face his greatest fears.

INSERT REASON FOR CHOOSING AGENT.

[Choose from among:

1. I found you on a list of 300 agents and decided to query all of you.
2. You handle Stephen King and John Grisham, so I figure you can make me millions.
3. You take email queries, and I'm so out of shape from sitting in front of the computer all day, I'd probably have a heart attack if I had to walk to the mailbox.
4. You handle regency romance, epic fantasy, and cookbooks, and my book combines all three.
5. I saw your photo on your website, and I'm into sexy redheads.]


Fans of Neil Gaiman, Kage Baker, and Charles de Lint might enjoy my mix of modern life and mythology. [Especially the hilarious scene where Bruce brings Thor to the synagogue, only to discover that that's not Thor, but Hogg, god of pork loins.]

I'm a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop with stories published by Deep Magic and The Sword Review. I’ve been a technical writer and editor professionally for seventeen years.

If you are interested, I will gladly send you either the first three chapters of this story, or the complete manuscript. Thank you in advance for your kind consideration of this proposal. I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,


Notes

I think it would be more effective to stick with Bruce and his time control and describe the small battles he fights. We don't need the names of all these characters or the cliché lessons learned.

16 comments:

Dave said...

Which of the old gods are we speaking about?

Cthulu?
Ysgadrill?
Norse?
Roman?
Valhalla?
Hindu?
Egyptian?

all of the above?
none of the above?

HawkOwl said...

Ha. I'm putting all the fake plots and the word "Cthulu" in my Idea pile.

As for the query, naturally, I stopped caring as soon as point of view was mentioned, but I do like surreal things about gods, so if I saw it on the shelf rather than in query form, I'd probably give it a try.

braun said...

I have to say, I like the premise, quite intriguing. This was a rare instance of a Guess the Plot where I thought "Man I hope it's #2" - and it was.

That being said, it's confusingly laid out in the query letter. I'm not sure who the players are in this drama. You refer to some gods as trying to bring about the end of the world but don't say which ones. Similarly, 'small battles'? How do you battle gods? And where? And again, which gods?

Finally, casually mentioning that someone can 'rewind time' and then not telling us how he got that ability or how he uses it is particularly hard on your audience.

I dig the basic concept here, but am totally confused as to whether this is something I would actually want to read.

December Quinn said...

let's face it, when you're Evil Editor, is any woman unattainable?

No.


I like the concept a lot, but I'm also unsure about how Bruce can rewind time. The query in general is pretty pithy, though, and I like pithy.

Bernita said...

Yes. Basic good idea, but...
(1) which set of gods.
Please. There are many pantheons and we need to know to both be comfortable and to connect.
Ragnarok is a more generic term than you may realize.
(2)We need to know how he has this skill and what he does with it.
He's a genetic descendant?

And if he re-winds time, the gods were stronger then?

acd said...

I don't know, it just seems like mentioning Neil Gaiman is a straight-up admission that you ripped off American Gods. Others might disagree.

Catja (green_knight) said...

Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and Tom Holt have written novels about this.

Do we need another one? Let alone one that offers little originality?

Jenna Black said...

I want to thank the authors of the Guess the Plots for this one--you made me laugh and groan in equal measures. Great fun!

Dave said...

Catja, add Mike Mignola and Hellboy to the list of "gods" which I think includes devils and demons, too.


And just in case you think the plots are outrageous, read this:
"Langdon Caul's transformation into Abe occurred after he retrieved a strange jellyfish-like deity from an underwater structure. At a clandestine meeting, witnessed by Abe in spirit form, Caul and other gentlemen perform an arcane ritual that ends with the creature's release. Abe's spirit merges with his former self and the two become the modern Abe Sapien. His associates place him into the water casket, where he rests for decades."

It's from the Wikipedia entry on Abe Sapien.

pacatrue said...

I like the idea of the book as well but got lost in the query. Bruce is our main character, right? So when introducing everyone else, I'd want to hear about them in relation to Bruce.

I too was thinking of Adams' Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul when reading this query. I have a feeling this is different, so the author needs to make it more clear how. Good luck. I hope you do a great job, because this sort of thing is right up my alley.

yinsampg said...

Whhir, the god of eggbeaters

Oh, yes, plot #5 gets my vote. The name alone, plus the idea of disgruntled nobody gods unionizing, should be written by the author who came up with the entry.

Zombie Deathfish said...

I liked all the fake plots and thought the real one sounded intolerably dull. Sorry. The query letter didn't intrigue me, and whilst I'm usually all about gods battling and poor mortals being stuck in the middle, I just think this has been done elsewhere.

I also can't think of a convincing reason why a god would want the world to end. Who would worship them then?

whitemouse said...

There is already a book - a very, very excellent book - called The God of Small Things. The subject matter is completely different from this, mind you.

I also thought this premise sounded like a bit of a rip-off of American Gods. I thought that even before I saw the reference to Neil Gaiman in the query letter.

Also, according to Wikipedia, Richard Wagner invented the Germanisised name Loge for the trickster-god Loki. The author should probably use the correct spelling, especially since s/he also mentions Ragnarok, which is certainly part of the original Norse myth.

Anonymous said...

Loge, god of balcony seating--EE, I love you. Of course no woman is unattainable to you! Cyrano in disguise.

Anonymous said...

Fans of Neil Gaiman, Kage Baker, and Charles de Lint might enjoy my mix of modern life and mythology.

The association you've made among these three authors is very tenuous. They have completely different styles and approaches. You might be better off naming three authors who write urban fantasy whose styles yours more closely resembles than just grabbing three of the biggest names in that category.

Poohba said...

Your book may be nothing like either of these movies, but when I saw the name "Bruce" in connection with this plot, I immediately thought of that Jim Carrey movie, Bruce Almighty - and then of that Adam Sandler movie where he can rewind time with a magical remote control.

Those may not be the connotations you were going for with this MS.