Friday, September 25, 2009
Guess the Plot
Lily of the Lamplight
1. Lily the Moth's affection for Rupert, the lightbulb who hangs out over the porch, is red hot, but it quickly flames out.
2. Everyone in town knows that the ghost of Lily Lawrence lurks by the streetlight near Shady Acres Cemetery. Jaden and Mike have rounded up cameras and recorders. They're going to prove Lily is real . . . or die trying.
3. Oliver uses his sexy neighbor Lily as the model for a character in the video game he's designing. When Lily disappears, Oliver is suspected of murdering her. If only he'd used his other neighbor, Zelda.
4. When 17-year-old Steve gets into botany and turns the basement into an ultraviolet growing chamber, his mother has mixed feelings. It's great that he's taken an interest in science, but this obsession with horticulture? Won't his classmates tease him? Yet suddenly he's Mr. Popular.
5. Lily Maury spends her retirement collecting antique lamps and reflecting on the past that wasn't, while her family plots to get rid of the junk and dump her in an elderly care facility.
6. Growing up over her parent's pub might look like fun to the other kids, but Lily's room is right over the loo and she's sick of listening to people puke. She embarks on a campaign to turn the Lamplight into the first alcohol-free pub in Britain.
Dear Evil Editor,
I would love for you to consider my 60,000 word YA suspense novel, Lily of the Lamplight.
Oliver believes he’s about to have the best summer of his life. He’s graduated from high school, working as a video game tester, and living in downtown Seattle with his best friend, Max. [Not to nitpick, but "He's" is short for "He has" in this sentence. If you change "graduated from" to "finished with," it would be "He is," which works with "working" and "living." Or you can keep "He's graduated from" but change the rest to "gotten a job testing video games and moved to downtown," so everything works with "He has." Or do nothing and assume no one cares.] He and Max are designing a video game that must be finished by the end of the summer in order to gain acceptance to an elite gaming academy [The last thing you want is to settle for a lower-class gaming academy where they teach you to program Pong.] in Seattle, and thus, live the dream of spending their entire lives with an XBOX control in their hands. [Good plan. I remember when I was living the dream of spending my entire life with an Atari control in my hands. How'd that work out?]
But, Oliver makes the dual mistake of using his beautiful neighbor as model for his kick-ass cyber heroine and falling in love with her. After she goes missing, he discovers real women are far more dangerous than virtual ones when he finds himself the number one suspect in her death. [How long has she been missing? How do they know she's dead? And who are these real women who are dangerous?]
I worked in video games both as a freelance writer for Nintendo Power Magazine [I've never forgiven Nintendo Power for not rating The Lost Vikings as the best game ever.] and as a video game tester. This is my first novel.
You might want to mention that the neighbor's name is Lily (if it is).
This is all set-up. Here's my character, here's his situation. But what actually happens? Do they find a body? What evidence do they have against Oliver? Are there other suspects? Has Lily magically disappeared into the video game? What's Oliver doing to clear his name? Is there a bad guy? Is Oliver in danger? Where's the suspense?
The good news is it doesn't seem to be based on a video game or on your most recent game of Dungeons and Dragons.