Friday, January 26, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. When llamas and zombie cows begin acting strangely, cultists, roaming ostriches, and rival biker gangs are suspected, until one woman exposes the true culprits: parasitic brain-worms from outer space!
2. Deep sea diver Phil Walters is on a mission to discover new forms of sea life. To this end he dives deeper than anyone before. Is the giant grinning worm a result of his low blood oxygen? Or is it . . . a fluke??
3. Bob Johnson's mom blabs the truth about his birth -- he exists because of a defective contraceptive -- and sends him into an episode of depression. Bob breaks up with his girlfriend, starts smoking weed, and changes his college major to philosophy, then art history, then microbiology. Can he find the meaning of life in a petri dish, thanks to . . . the fluke???
4. RIL had a pretty good run of winning continuations at EVIL EDITOR, but grizzled continuator Kate Thornton thinks it was a fluke. When she releases her latest editions she knows no work of RIL's will ever see the light of day again.
5. Aided by a homicidal jellyfish, Skipper the Dolphin plans to kidnap the high-flying goody-goody who hijacked his starring role in a new yet-to-be-named TV show about a crime fighting porpoise, forcing the producers to rehire him. Sure, flippers are cute, but if you want to be a star in this town, you gotta kick some fluke.
6. After Captain Ahab's death, what became of his son Fluke? The boy with flipper-like feet is determined to find the great white whale, to avenge his father's death, but Fluke also wants to win the gold in swimming at the upcoming Olympics. Will he find his way through the uncharted waters of his emotions?? And what of the man they call Ishmael???
Dear Dream Agent,
Laura is used to picking up after the people in her life. When her charming, feckless husband dies, leaving her with a failing sheep farm and a 14-year old nephew, she sets out to sell the farm and get back to the familiar city. She expected rural life to be hard and boring. She didn't expect weird.
First, an unknown, addictive fruit appears in local orchards and her sheep develop a magnetic pull toward a nearby mountain. Her neighbours bring in ostriches, llamas and alpacas, who share the sheep's fascination with Mount Donald. [Actually, it's not Mount Donald the llamas are fascinated with, it's the sheep.] A farm patriarch finds a prophetic tablet and starts a millennial cult. Her nephew can't decide whether to join the cult (the patriarch's grand-daughter is pretty hot) or stay out all night with the astronomy club, looking for strange lights in the sky. An outbreak of cattle mutilations [I suspect the ostriches.] raises fears [Especially among the cattle.] and brings media attention. UFO-watching tourists wander into fields where the unofficial cash crop grows, annoying the local biker gang. [This list is way too long. You need to connect some ideas. Plus, when you throw it all into one paragraph it makes the book sound ridiculous rather than comical.]
With every turn, Laura finds herself more enmeshed in the small-town life she meant to escape. Her veterinarian friend Jan and distractingly-rugged biologist Mike involve her in uncovering the source of the uproar. Cultists? Bored teenagers? UFO aliens? Rival biker gangs? Roaming ostriches? Or parasitical brain-worms from outer space? [Let's limit our lists to three items.] Laura thinks she's found the answer (or gone crazy), but now the sheep and llamas have broken down the fences, and reanimated cattle stagger out of their bulldozed grave. They're heading for Mount Donald, [New title suggestion: Close Encounters of the Herd Kind] along with the cult members, the astronomy club, the tourists, the bikers and the lights in the sky. Laura must race her old pickup truck against a spaceship to reach Colin and her friends [Colin and her friends? Who's Colin?] before they hitch a ride with strange aliens.
Fluke is a 60,000 word comic sf novel. I have attended (genre writing workshop), was a finalist in (gimmicky writing contest) and have a story in (new e-zine). Thank you for your time and consideration.
[EE--the title 'Fluke' refers to the alien brain-worms, who are, yes, what's behind it all. The ostriches have their own agenda.]
Dear Dream Agent,
Sheep farmer Laura Davis expected rural life to be hard and boring; she didn't expect it to be bizarre. So when all the animals in the area develop a magnetic pull toward Mount Donald, and Laura's nephew, Colin, considers joining a new cult, and an outbreak of cattle mutilations brings the media to town, Laura decides it's time to sell the farm and move back to Liverpool.
But soon Laura finds herself more enmeshed than ever in the small-town life she wants to escape. Her veterinarian friend Jan and distractingly-rugged biologist Mike involve her in uncovering the source of the weirdness. Is it the cultists? Bored teenagers? Roaming ostriches?
Everyone's a suspect, until Laura uncovers the true culprits:
Parasitic Brain-Worms from Outer Space!
But it may be too late! The sheep and llamas have broken down the fences, and reanimated cattle have staggered out of their bulldozed grave. They're all heading for Mount Donald, along with the cult members, the astronomy club, and local biker gangs. Can Laura's old pickup truck reach Colin before he hitches a ride with space aliens?
Fluke is a 60,000-word comic sf novel that may sound like Close Encounters, but did Close Encounters have zombie cows? Did it have llamas? Did it have . . .
Parasitic Brain-Worms from Outer Space?
No. So there.
I have attended (genre writing workshop), was a finalist in (gimmicky writing contest) and have a story in (new e-zine). Thank you for your time and consideration.
Even if you leave out the lights in the sky and everyone being drawn to the mountain, and the pick-up truck/spaceship scene, they're in the book, and some will say it's derivative of . . . that movie. Unless it's intended to be a satire of the movie, perhaps there should be a different strange occurrence, something totally un-derivative, like all the animals have developed an insatiable appetite for human brains.
Not sure why it begins: Laura is used to picking up after the people in her life. It may be true, but the query doesn't make it clear what that means. Also, it sounds like the opening line of a query for a more serious book.
Parasitic Brain-Worms from Outer Space is a much better title than Fluke.