Sunday, October 15, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. When Allison is released from Rivercrest Mental Institution, she decides to piece the puzzle that is her life back together one memory at a time. But when she remembers that her husband left her for her sister, Allison decides it’s her turn to steal a few pieces.
2. Two friends die and go to heaven. St. Peter gives Chris a pass to come in, but tells Mike he must go to hell. Mike steals some pieces of Chris's pass and uses them to demonstrate his skills with origami. Unfortunately, St. Peter is unimpressed.
3. They don't call him Casanova Krebs for nothing! In this tale of high adventure, follow our hero as he impersonates the paying customers at an expensive brothel.
4. Suspicion naturally falls on a community of tree-dwellers when there is a break-in at the Reeses factory.
5. It had taken Diana a year and a half to finish the 5000-piece puzzle of one of Jackson Pollack's paintings. Finished, that is, except for the three pieces her obnoxious neighbor walked off with yesterday, and Diana is determined to get them back, no matter what the cost.
6. In the fast-paced world of extreme chess, almost anything goes. Lucas Boesky claws his way to Grand Masterhood, but is it through his skill or his telekinetic powers?
Dear Agent’s First and Last name,
Do you ever wonder why people act like your friend to your face when in fact they are your worst enemy? [I can think of worse things for my worst enemy to do than treat me like I'm his best friend. Torture me, for instance.] Mike and Chris are what appears to be the best of friends throughout their lives. Mike and Chris pass away and meet St. Peter at the pearly gates to see where they will spend all of eternity. St. Peter informs Chris that he was a good person throughout his entire life, then is granted a pass into heaven. On the other hand, St. Peter tells Mike that he was a mean person who abused his friendship with Chris. Mike is then banished to hell for all eternity. [This is sounding like a standard Pearly Gates joke.
A couple are killed in a car crash on the way to their wedding. At the Pearly Gates they ask St. Peter if they can get married in Heaven. St. Peter says, "I don't know. I'll find out," and leaves. Months pass. While waiting, they wonder, What if it doesn't work out? Eventually, St. Peter returns.
St. Peter: Yes, you can get married in Heaven.
Man: Great! But if things don't work out, can we also get a divorce?
(St. Peter slams his clipboard down.)
Woman: What's wrong?
St. Peter: It took me three months to find a priest up here! Do you have any idea how long it'll take to find a lawyer?]
Feeling bad for Mike, Chris gives him a piece of the pass to heaven. [It's a little souvenir Mike can take with him to hell, to remind him, as he's burning in the fire lake, how easy Chris has it.] While Chris isn’t looking, Mike steals another piece by cutting the pass. [With the scissors he happens to have with him.] Now, Mike has more of the pass than Chris. [Uh oh. I wonder if St. Peter is gonna fall for this.] St. Peter asks to see the pieces[, having apparently already forgotten which guy he gave the pass to]. First, St. Peter opens Chris’s pass. Chris’s piece opens into a cross. St. Peter tells Chris that he still gets to go to heaven. [Whereas, if the pass had opened into a triangle, Chris would have been sent to hell. Interesting that the criteria for entrance to Heaven are so arbitrary.] Next, St. Peter opens Mike’s pieces. Mike’s pieces are slowly opened and spell out the word “hell”. Mike’s evil, deceitful behavior lead to his own demise.
This isn’t your classical “good” verus “evil” picture book story. Stolen Pieces is an interactive picture book for children [Unless you're sending this to an agent who handles nothing but children's picture books, you might mention this up front. Otherwise it might be rejected before they get to the part about it being for kids.] and is appropriate for ages three to eight. [Three? Who would tell a three-year-old that there's a chance she'll spend eternity in a pit of fire? She'll have nightmares for a decade and then spend her adult life in therapy.] Children enjoy stories that invite them to participate. By carefully folding a piece of paper, children can actually cut the pieces of the pass as the story unravels. [Does this mean we have to trust a three-year-old with scissors?] Chris’s piece of the pass opens into a cross. Mike’s pieces of the pass spells out the word “hell”. [We know, we know.] [Can't you make the paper unfold into a pitchfork or something? Do you want to be reading to your three-year-old, and you unfold the pass and magically it says "HELL!" and bursts into flames? Sure, it's not as bad as unfolding the paper to find the "F" word, but when the kid starts running around yelling the "H" word and telling her friends they're going to burn for eternity if they abuse her friendship, she may lose a few friends.] [If Mike had made one more cut, his pieces would have spelled "hello," Chris's would have read 666, and the outcome would have been vastly different.] A sequel is in the making. [In the sequel, an army private gets orders to spend two years in Germany, but in a drunken celebratory stupor he folds his orders in quarters and makes three cuts with a pair of scissors. When the paper is opened up, it spells "Afghanistan."]
I am a fan of the work you have represented. I hope to work with you in the future. I have enclosed the manuscript of STOLEN PIECES for which I am seeking representation, a demonstrational cut out of the pass that accompanies the story, [which is legitimate and redeemable for entrance to Heaven at the actual Pearly Gates,] and several summaries of picture book texts that are available upon request. [Several summaries of picture book texts? What picture books?] I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. [Four of the five sentences in this paragraph are blah spacewasters. Get rid of at least two of them.]
Stolen Pieces is an interactive Christian picture book for children. Mike and Chris have been friends throughout their lives. They pass away and meet St. Peter at the Pearly Gates to learn where they will spend eternity. St. Peter praises Chris for being a good person, and gives him a pass into Heaven. St. Peter tells Mike that he was a mean person who secretly abused his friendship with Chris. Mike is banished to hell for all eternity.
Feeling bad for Mike, Chris gives him a piece of the pass to Heaven. While Chris isn’t looking, Mike steals another piece by cutting the pass. Now, Mike has more of the pass than Chris. St. Peter asks to see the pieces. First, St. Peter opens Chris’s pass. Chris’s piece opens into a cross. Next, St. Peter opens Mike’s pieces. Mike’s pieces are slowly opened and spell out the word “hell." Mike’s deceitful behavior has foretold his own demise.
This isn’t your classic “good” versus “evil” picture book story. It comes with the pass into Heaven, and a pair of safety scissors. Children can cut the pieces of the pass as the story unravels, obtaining the same results Chris and Mike do in the story.
I have enclosed the manuscript of Stolen Pieces for which I am seeking representation, and a demonstrational cut out of the pass that accompanies the story. Thank you in advance for your time and consideration.
How old are Mike and Chris? 10? 90? I can see kids being less interested in old men, but I can also see kids not wanting to read about kids who died.
The cutout is, no doubt, ingenious, but I worry about attempts to scare people into being good. Then again, I suppose it could be argued that that's the whole idea behind most religions.