Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Lemme tell you mon, deh women be wakkin home let wun eev-nin, wen dat man's ghost joomped rite outta dem bushes en skaret em to death.
2. When mild-mannered Rhashan Turnbull smoken deh Jamaican weed, he behcomen superhero Joombie-mon, scoorge of deh Rastafarian crim'nools.
3. Agent Troy Davis dealen with deh Ebola-like virus, deh nuclear war, 'n' a fanat'cal coolt as he
racen deh clock to learnen the secret of . . . Joombie-mon!
4. When Bob becomen depressed wit his life as an insurance salesman, Marsha inspiren him teh flee his suboorban home 'n' try teh make it in Fairbanks, Alaska, as a Reggae droomer wit dreadlocks down to here 'n' awesome rhythm.
5. Pirates of the Caribbean a la Rastafari grooviness, circa 1974 -- featurin' deh ruthless cold war Russian spies, two oondercover George Booshes, a yoong Dick Cheney in disguise as one of Mick Jagger's groupies, Richard Nixon and a band known as deh "Jamaican Beatles."
6. Pikachu, Charizard, and all deh other Pokemon's bein' driven out of deh hearts of elementary schoolers by the Joombie-mon, who look'n like bad-assed, fire-breathin' Tele-tubbies, only worse. Wit millions in advertising dollars at stake, deh battle is on.
Jumbie-mon is 123,000-word thriller that I thought you might like to review and consider for representation.
First an Ebola-like outbreak occurs on the little Caribbean island of St. John. Then eight thousand miles away, an eerily similar virus casts its deadly spell in Jammu and Muzaffarabad. Then two politicians, moderate and reasonable, are murdered in Srinagar and another disappears. Saber-rattling between India and Pakistan goes past saber-rattling and nuclear war threatens. [Here's the problem so far. You know that these places are in the same part of the world (except St. John), but the reader is thinking:
Why do these people always have to list every random thing that happens in their book? Where the hell is Jammu? Jamaica? Tanzania? Let's see, Muzaffarabad, isn't that what they called that sandwich I had in New Orleans that time? Srinagar? City in Trinidad and Tobago? Vinegar capital of Sri Lanka? Did he make up these names? Does this even take place on Earth?
For the purposes of the query, I say drop St. John and set the disease and murders and kidnaping in Kashmir, which people have heard of. Everything will have a common thread.] The State Department, distrustful of the timing, and armed with intelligence that links the outbreaks to the assignations, [What are the "assignations"?] is caught in the dilemma of all dilemmas: India is an ally, and the U.S. is determined to stand by its long-time friend, but Pakistan is necessary to the Afghan campaign, the war on terror, and the stabilization of yet another nuclear arsenal. [Actually, a nuclear war might solve all the problems at once.] But when Beijing weighs in, everything becomes even more complicated; if a conflict were to take place, China would side with Pakistan. [The Chinese. Those bastards just can't be trusted to always do what's in our best interest.]
With stakes so high that a misstep would likely plunge the region into the unthinkable, and the grim possibility of an internal intelligence leak, the State Department is forced to look to outside resources. Ames Macklin, [Anagram: mailmen sack.] a brash, but competent Undersecretary, handpicks six men and calls an emergency meeting. Their assignment: find an agent without ties to the CIA or traditional intelligence circles. This agent must be highly skilled, [At what? His own occupation, or at being an intelligence agent, even though he's never been one?] motivated to a fault, mobile, and fast thinking. His assignment: find Zulfikar Jinnah, the missing diplomat, and find him fast. [The plan is to send some guy who's never worked as an agent to Kashmir to search for this guy? Our entire military can't find bin Laden, but some guy off the street is gonna find Jinnah?]
The man they select is Troy Davis, a charismatic USAMRIID [(United States' Absurd Missions Resulting In International Disasters)] Doctor, who is already hot on the Caribbean outbreak. Watch as Davis, in a race with the clock, tries to learn who’s behind it all. Is it the Mauryan’s, a fanatical cult who are descendants of a bygone civilization? Or a South African Biotech firm who seems to be at all the right places at all the right times? Or is it Jenneke Quast, a disreputable weapons broker who this time has gone too far . . . Or, even a member of Macklin’s select committee? [Another list.] Throw into the mix a beautiful uber-environmentalist, a former flame with surprising connections, and a self-made millionaire with conflicting motivations. [I think we should all agree to hold our lists to three items, include no more than one list per query, and throw nothing "into the mix."] It all adds up to a series of sleepless nights, as the reader learns who’s really pulling the strings, and what the secret of Jumbie-mon really is. [The secret of what? If you want the reader of the query to be curious about the secret of Jumbie-mon, I strongly suggest you actually mention Jumbie-mon in the query. I Googled "Jumbie-mon" and came up with "a small place next to Donkey Diner in Coral Bay on Saint John. Interesting batik style hand painted clothing."
I Googled "Jumbie" and found these possibilities:
a stiltwalker (actually called moko jumbie)
Jumbie Bay--the only beach on St. John with an African name.
A ghost (Jumbies are said to possess humans during ceremonies called jumbie dances).
"Yo, I saw this beautiful uber-environmentalist and she gave me an instant Jumbie!" (From the Urban Dictionary).
Seems like your Jumbie-mon could be related to any of these, which means even an agent who researches the term won't know what you mean. And most editors won't put forth the effort Evil Editor did. They'll just say, "Jumbie-mon? Where did that come from? Who or what is Jumbie-mon, and why would I want to know its secret when it wasn't even worth mentioning up till now?"]
I’d be happy to send a copy of the manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Focus the Kashmir paragraph on Kashmir so it doesn't sound like a list, drop the least interesting items from your list of suspects, and bring in Jumbie-mon earlier, or not at all. Then your only problem will be convincing us that the government would entrust this mission to Troy.