Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Face-Lift 299



Guess the Plot

Andromeda's Tear

1. Mild-mannered astronomer Evelyn Winningham, investigating the disappearances of several other female astronomers, meets the hunky Duke of Winterset. Together they uncover a plot to snatch the fabulous diamond known as Andromeda's Tear.

2. When seamstress Sondra Blair is summoned to NASA, she is assigned the most important mission in the history of the universe. Can she stitch up the rip in the neighbouring galaxy in time to save ours?

3. Andromeda liked her clothes tight. Too tight. The morning of her first day as a White House page, she realizes she's in trouble as she hears the rip and feels the draft on her rear.

4. Okay, so her real name's Mary, she's Irish-Italian, not Greek, she was a drama major, and her crystal ball is cracked, but still -- if Andromeda bursts into tears while reading your tea leaves -- you're in trouble.

5. It's Risky Business meets The Thomas Crown Affair when a Dale, a New York aristobrat, has an unauthorized party in his father's penthouse apartment. The strippers, stiffed at the end of the party, make off with Dale's dad's original Rembrandt painting of Andromeda chained to the rock. Dale gets the painting back, but . . . was that tiny tear in the canvas there before?

6. The vanguard from the Andromeda galaxy has come to Earth, demanding the return of the sacred stone, Andromeda's Tear, and they're not leaving without it. Even if it means destroying the planet.


Original Version

Dear ________,

The obsession of one man and the protection of another--she’ll need all her strength to survive them both…

There is a legend surrounding the Greek myth of Perseus and Andromeda that tells of a rare comet whose charted path is the key to discovering a priceless diamond. [The diamond is buried directly beneath the comet's path.] [Whenever there's a legend surrounding a myth, you can bet there's also a fable based on a folk tale encompassing the legend surrounding the myth.] 1845 marks the return of that comet--and the sudden disappearance of several members of the Ladies’ Astronomical Society.

Mild-mannered astronomer Evelyn Winningham is determined to investigate the disappearances of her colleagues. When an intruder forces her to flee the safety of her home, she runs headlong into the arms of Alistair Bainbridge, the infamous Duke of Winterset. [Not clear what that sentence has to do with the previous one. Was she investigating the disappearances in the safety of her home?] More worrisome than her unruly attraction to the rakish Duke, however, is his ability to draw out a stubbornness she never knew she possessed.

Alistair’s aunt has enlisted his assistance in finding her missing daughter. [Is her daughter one of the missing astronomers?] Thus far, his inquiries have met with dead ends, until a bundle of silk hurdles out of the darkness and into his arms. [How does a bundle of silk change things?]Evelyn's ability to penetrate his cool exterior is making him damned uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. However, they'll need to learn to work together if there’s any hope of survival, let alone a happily ever after. [I had no idea they were in danger of not surviving. Who's the villain? What's going on?]

Andromeda’s Tear is a completed 90k word historical romance. I've been writing for ten years, and am a member of Romance Writers of America, Capital Region-RWA, and several on-line writers’ groups. I am also a reviewer for TCM Reviews, focusing on romance and erotica, and I maintain an active author web site, ________________ which currently draws more than 6,000 unique visits per month. My current work-in-progress is a dark paranormal.

The completed manuscript for Andromeda’s Tear is available upon your request. Thank your for your time and consideration, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Regards,


Revised Version

Legend tells of a comet whose charted path is the key to discovering a priceless diamond known as Andromeda's Tear. 1845 marks the return of that comet--and the sudden disappearance of several members of the Ladies’ Astronomical Society.

Mild-mannered astronomer Evelyn Winningham is determined to investigate the disappearances of her colleagues. But when she gets too close to the truth, she is forced to flee the safety of her home--and runs headlong into the arms of Alistair Bainbridge, the infamous Duke of Winterset. Alistair’s aunt has enlisted his assistance in finding her daughter, one of the missing astronomers.

Evelyn develops an attraction for the Duke that is matched only by the stubbornness he brings out in her. Meanwhile, her ability to wheedle beneath his cool exterior is making Alistair damned uncomfortable, both physically and emotionally. Working together, they discover the astronomers are being used by the criminal mastermind known as The Silkworm to chart the comet's approach. But can they find The Silkworm before he finds . . . Andromeda's Tear?

Andromeda’s Tear is a completed 90k word historical romance. I am a member of Romance Writers of America, Capital Region-RWA, and several on-line writers’ groups. I am also a reviewer for TCM Reviews, focusing on romance and erotica, and I maintain an active author web site, ________________ which currently draws more than 6,000 unique visits per month.

Thank your for your time and consideration.


Notes

If you start by saying "The obsession of one man and the protection of another--she’ll need all her strength to survive them both..." you might want to mention both men in the query. I can't tell if Alistair's the Obsessor or the Protector. Likewise, if you mention the bundle of silk, you might explain its significance.

The sentences in the original didn't seem to build on each other strongly enough. There needs to be a logical progression of ideas. The revised version may not have all the facts right, but that should be easily remedied.

How many female astronomers are there in 1845 Winterset? This reminds me of the plot we had in which all the female porno film directors in Tennessee were being killed.

19 comments:

Sandra Barkevich said...

EE,

The Silkworm...ROFLMAO!

You have hit the nail on the head with all of your comments. I knew there was something about this query. I just couldn't put my finger on it. I actually love the revised version. THANK YOU, EE!!!! I bow to your expertise.

In answer to a couple of your questions, the "bundle of silk" is Evelyn running from her would-be abductor. She collides with Alistair--Um, she's wearing a silk gown...I'm dropping that line. LOL.

There were a few female astronomers in London and surrounding areas back then. However, I don't know that they had a society. I created it for the purposes of this story and all of the females involved are not your typical Victorian Lady.

I'm very excited to rework this query and see what response I get. Thank you again!

Sandy :-)

blogless_troll said...

It's a mystery wrapped in a puzzle inside an enigma. I don't get it. I would focus on the MC and lay out the plot from her POV. Forget how uncomfortable the dude is and what the underlying myth is. If an agent can't figure out what the story is, the rest won't matter.

Anonymous said...

Nice fix, EE. Very instructive.

The word "wheedle" is incorrect here, or at least awkward.

American Heritage Dictionary (4th ed.) gives as a third meaning, "to use flattery or cajolery to achieve one's ends." It's used with an object as its, um, object, as in, "a swindler who wheedled my life savings out of me."

So perhaps this isn't strictly wrong, but it reads wrong.

Words are important.

I like the astronomical theme a lot.

Evil Editor said...

Perhaps "penetrate" his whatever?

Sandra Barkevich said...

I forgot to mention my favorite GTP. They were all good, but my favorite was GTP#6. It sounds like something right up my alley.

Sandy :-)

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have a lot of interesting things in the book and the query was hard to focus because you wanted to talk about all the subplots.

pjd said...

Once again a superb rewrite, EE, though I wish you had retained the phrase "unruly attraction." For some reason, that caught me as a real character-illustrating phrase in contrast to the mild mannered astronomer we started with. (Googling the phrase "unruly attraction" comes up with only four hits, and the first is Sandy's page. Why anyone would Google "unruly attraction," however, escapes me.)

pacatrue said...

I agree, Sandra, about GTP #6. In fact when reading the real query, I kept trying to match up the comet and the diamond with the invading force from Andromeda. How were the Duke and the Astronomer going to save the Earth!?

I also know now why I am not a hero in a romance novel - despite my rugged yet almost angelic good looks, brooding manner, and small duchy in western Scotland. As I remember, when my wife and I met, we were actually exceedingly nice to each other. Almost kinder and more forgiving of each other than to other people. Where's the romance in that? We needed to be yelling, fighting, and unable to comprehend what the other was thinking. Now, that's love.

Ouch, my tongue was so firmly in cheek that I just punched a hole. Where's that seamstress from GTP #2?

BTW, I think the plot sounds great.

acd said...

You had me at "1845"--I'm writing in 1843 America. Any references you care to share? ...Please?

Anonymous said...

#6 is basically the movie MEN IN BLACK.

BuffySquirrel said...

Well, I guessed that the bundle of silk was Evelyn, but it is a tad obscure :).

Sandra Barkevich said...

"How were the Duke and the Astronomer going to save the Earth!?"

OHHHHH!!!! I wrote the wrong book! How cool would that be? You don't see a historical romance plot like that anywhere. I'm going to have to use it in a future WIP, I think. *rubbing hands together with glee* Nothing like linking my two favorite genres together...Historical Romance meets Sci-Fi. I love it!

Sandy :-)

Dave said...

BTW
Guess the Plot # 6 is titled "Men in Black"

It's like the Romeo and Juliet plot.

December Quinn said...

I agree the query needed a bit of work, but this sounds like a lot of fun to me. I'd buy this, absolutely.

CM said...

As to how many female astronomers there were in 1845--astronomy hadn't yet become as "hard" a science as it is now. It was actually pretty easy for women to get involved because you didn't need much education, as compared to say engineering.

There are a number of relatively famous female astronomers, and a much larger number of amateur astronomers. It was something to do. I mean, they're just identifying planets and the like. All you need is a couple of books and money to buy a telescope.

Just as in the days pre-Darwin there were a number of female naturalists. They weren't "recognized" but amateur societies of women interested in the natural sciences were not uncommon.

stick and move said...

Now that's what I call a facelift.

Robin S. said...

This looks like it would be fun to read.

I like the rewrites starting up again, EE. This may come in handy.

Brenda Bradshaw said...

I love the first line. I also knew what bundle of silks meant. I think answering the questions and rewriting it tighter will have it ready to go. Post it afterward as a comment on here so we can see, if you don't mind.

I like the concept of this. Definitely something I'd pick up.

GutterBall said...

Keep in mind that this comment is coming from the person who was pegged in the dialogue challenge from a single sentence: "So where'd you pick up your love of football?" or some such.

I would SO read this. In a heartbeat. Yes, Mr. Evil does a bang-up job of tidying the plot, but I would have read it even after the first version. The only romance novels I ever read are Regencies, but I absolutely adore them. I have a ton of them, though most are inordinately bad.

If you ever need a quick read-thru, ship it my way, kiddo!

Now, I'm gonna go watch football and professional wrestling and knock back a few beers to get back my reputation.