Wednesday, September 30, 2009

New Beginning 690

Put that down. It won’t help you here.

You all come clutching useless things: coins, talismans, weapons. Before the armed ones finish the crossing they’re usually scared enough to attack someone, and there’s no one here to harm except themselves. The rest of you clench your treasures in your hands and stare at them as if they could save you. Forget that. You’d best keep your hands and eyes wide open.

Yes, you heard me right. No one to hurt except yourself. I’m only a voice. You’ll be rid of me soon enough.

Dreaming? You could call it that. Yes, you’ll wake up in time. But what you’ll wake to.... that depends on what you do now.

Hush now. There were plenty of people to hear you before, and most of what you said to them wasn’t worth saying. There’s no one but me to hear you now. Stop talking. Look ahead.

Yes, it’s a narrow edge, but you can walk it. Go on. Staring longer at the drop on either side won’t make it easier to start.

Steady now. Watch your step. I see the lights over there as well as you do.

Stay between the marked lines at all times. Don't try to reach over them.

In the unlikely event of an emergency, follow the glowing arrows. I'll keep you safe.

Remember, you must be at least as tall as the line on the wall to ride this attraction.

Your adventure is about to begin. Don't forget to stop by the gift shop when you exit.

Opening: Joanna.....Continuation: Steve Wright

Cartoon 482

Caption: Paul Penna

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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Face-Lift 678

Guess the Plot

Dodging Bullets

1. Rock star Spike McGee takes his grandma to the Amazon jungle, only to be kidnapped by "Visionaries" who are high as kites. Meanwhile the authorities seem bewildered so Granny paddles upriver with her Smith & Wesson and Miguel, vowing to find those rat bastards or die trying.

2. Life as a vampire was never easy, but now that his arch-enemy has acquired an ample supply of silver bullets, Hugo Valle never gets a moment of rest. Which makes it ever so difficult to be as seductive and vain as the other vampires on Broadway. Still, he tries.

3. It is a dark day in Black Gulch when rival gangs of outlaws simultaneously hold up the stage coach from Tombstone. But thanks to handsome gambler Sam Birks and his man Jeeves, Miss Kitty and her Can-Can troupe escape the melee by fleeing into the wilderness.

4. Gay Republican Cody Carlisle lands a job--and a secret relationship--with White House adviser Kirk Rayne. Now Cody wants to break off the affair, but rumor has it Kirk murdered the last boyfriend who broke up with him. Can Cody get out without . . . Dodging Bullets?

5. When she married Bud, Maddy had no idea how caffeine affected him. Their safari honeymoon is ruined when she serves him Kenyan roast and he goes on a rampage with the elephant gun. Plus, a handsome rescue helicopter pilot.

6. Sarah Simpson is a plucky seamstress who is succeeding by selling her retro bullet-bras to Hollywood’s pointy-boobed elite. But she constantly unravels in front of Buck McClure, hunky action star. Will their love be a perfect fit? Or will they be seam-ripped apart?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Cody Carlisle is gay, Republican, and addicted to power. [What is it that would appeal to a gay guy about a political party that has gay guy death panels as part of its platform?] His friendship with his old mentor, now the President of the United States, has landed him a position on the staff of top White House adviser, Kirk Rayne.

The perfect job to support his habit, right? Nope. As the new guy, Cody's stuck reporting to Joey Ratansky--a man less ethical and more paranoid than Richard Nixon. [Cody and Joey sound more like the names of the Jonas Brothers than guys working in the White House.] So rather than scoring political victories and shrinking the government, Cody is busy foiling Ratansky's never-ending schemes to get him fired.

Cody has two choices: match Ratansky's deceit or lose his job. [What about telling his friend and mentor the president about Ratansky's dirty tricks?] When a hot tub incident exposes Kirk Rayne's attraction to him, [Another gay Republican? Is this science fiction?] [Where is this hot tub? Were they both in it when the "incident" occurred?]

[Hot Tub Incident:

Kirk: Mind if I join you in the hot tub?

Cody: You're naked.
Kirk: Yes, meet Captain Kirk.]

Cody ignores his inner ethicist and uses a secret affair with Rayne to supplant Ratansky.

[Rayne: Sorry Ratansky, I'm gonna have to let you go.
Ratansky: Why?
Rayne: You're not the type of guy I want handling my staff.]

Although the relationship helps Cody climb into the president's inner circle, [Can't you come up with a better nickname for it than "inner circle"? The Urban Dictionary suggests Rusty Sheriff's Badge.] dating an old man gets ... well, old, and Cody resolves to end it.

As he considers how to break up with Rayne and still maintain his influence, Cody learns that Rayne may have murdered an ex-boyfriend. On the day the ex dumped him. [I'd change the period after "boyfriend" to an ellipsis or dash.] Fearing that ending the affair could make him Rayne's next victim, Cody must solve the murder to escape the relationship.

I conceived of Dodging Bullets: The Perilous Journey of a White House Pol--complete at 70,000 words--while finishing my PhD in political science at Rutgers University. During my graduate studies, I also taught in the Rutgers writing program.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Cody's goal is to dump Kirk but continue working for him? I don't see Kirk going for that, whether he's a murderer or not, so why bother solving the murder?

And you'd better explain how Cody thinks he can solve a murder that no one else was able to solve.

If the main plot is Cody gets involved with his boss in order to advance his career and later wants out but fears for his life, I don't see the need for Ratansky to even be in the query. He's a subplot, and he's delaying your getting to the murder. By the time you get to the murder, I've settled into believing the book is about politics and scandal. Maybe you need to open with a statement like: Cody Carlisle never thought his dream job in the White House would land him in the middle of a murder investigation. A clue about where the story goes. Right now it feels like the murder comes up in the last chapter.

Cartoon 481

Caption: Whirlochre

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Monday, September 28, 2009

New Beginning 689

I hate guns. I went to a party when I was sixteen and my friend's maw pulled a revolver on her ex-husband in the dining room. Me and my friends were sitting around the table drinking cheap beer, and right out of nowhere there was this crazy bitch on the loose. She yelled at him to get the hell out of her house, but his arms went up real slow and his fingers crossed behind his head. He leaned back in the chair like it was a joke. All of us kids got up and ran out of that house like we were stealing candy from the 7-11 and we got caught. I remember turning around to look at the last minute, before I made it outside, and what I noticed was the difference between the two of them. His face looked flat and peach, as if he didn't give a shit at all. She had a red face that shook and twisted--she was a human pit bull ready to attack. Thinking back, I realize crazy doesn't always look like you think it's going to. That man was nuts, and he took two bullets in the chest because of it. Anyway, that's why I hate guns.

However, I sense that you boys don't quite share the same sentiment, and given the late hour and the part of town we're in, I guess on this occasion I would be willing to, ah, part with the Rolex and my money. Just stay calm there, boys, while I reach for my wallet . . .

Opening: Aimee States.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 480

Caption: Anon.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Friday, September 25, 2009

Face-Lift 677

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.

Original Version

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.

Thank you,


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.

Cartoon 479

Caption: Anon.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

New Beginning 688

“Don’t drive out there with all that trouble. Don’t go,” is what people said.

But other people couldn’t help themselves. They had to go.

People called it the hellhole highway, and they weren’t kidding.

Sometimes people called it that because it sounded good when they said it, like they knew what they were talking about, saying it and smiling big and nodding when they said it.

Sometimes they said it because it proved they watched the 11:00 o’clock news and they were informed; and it proved they didn’t live out in the South End with the assembly-line workers and the knifings and the drunks.

But mostly, mixed in with the other reasons, they called it that to warn their good girls about what could happen to them in a wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am kind of way without warning if they found themselves driving out close to that end of the county line, out by the rundown tinderbox houses and the human-built sludge of shopping strips and the tacky string of neon signs fired up at night like a mad carnival place.

Yes, people did like to talk about the hellhole highway. They did talk, and that is what they did.

She ponders this as she applies her bright-red lipstick. Janice Baddington can't say no to the hellhole highway. It attracts her more than she can stand.

Tonight, a full moon; beads of sweat gather on her smooth brow like pearls on a string. Her keys flash in the silvery pale moonlight and she slides into her car, one long leg after the other. She is ready to watch and to wait and to hope . . . for trouble.

The drive is long. Long to the South End, to the hellhole highway. Sometimes people call the drive a writhing snake. Janice Baddington prefers to call it “Justice.”

She turns on the car radio. Madonna belts out “Like a Virgin" as Badd--for that is what she prefers to call herself--drives past the tacky string of all-night porn shops, past the rundown, 24-hour pawn shops with their prison bar windows, past the machine-built sludge of doughnut shops with their cop cars out front like piglets suckling at a sow's teats.

The hellhole highway is the colon of the South End. But how else is Janice Baddington supposed to get to the Wal-Mart?

Opening: Robin S......Continuation: Anon./EE/Stacy

Cartoon 478

Caption: anon.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Leah Libresco sent this link to a page that should help you distill your plot, no matter what it is, into one sentence.

Face-Lift 676

Guess the Plot


1. When the package arrives, Ernestine believes it is her long-overdue oven-mitts, until a vaporous genie wafts out and volunteers to fix her problems with Stan. Unsure about trusting her love-life to a mirage, she suggests they start with a new career in optometry and the genie agrees. Hilarity ensues.

2. When Santa and the reindeer crash on Christmas Eve, all the cavemen are excited about the sudden abundance of free food. Mugoo fires up the barbeque while Santa searches the snow for his broken time turner so he can get back to the right century and save Christmas. Plus, seven angry elves.

3. Laura Lowman is a genius high school student. Bullied mercilessly, she welcomes the chance to join a local community organization for other brilliant but asocial teens. When it turns out the organization is planning a bloody revenge on the dumber students, will Laura join in or help her classmates?

4. "Gifted" Anna Foster has to build Wankel rotary engines in the cellar blindfolded just to get her parents' attention. She's ready to end it all, until science club co-geek Brian Flanders spots her in the drug store and stays her self-destructive hand as it reaches for the blond hair dye.

5. Fresh out of high school, Celeste Hopewell is offered a position leading an organization that serves people with supernatural powers. What the heck, it's gotta be more interesting than going to college.

6. Something sinister is afoot when the insurance office does its Secret Santa drawing and everyone draws Lucretia's name. Lucretia gets 35 gifts -- and a bullet in the head. Only mailroom boy Clark Cooper can both solve the mystery and deal with the Returns office at Macy's.

Original Version

Dear Ms. ___________,

I recently read the write up on the Paranormalcy book deal to HarperTeen in Publishers Weekly. I believe that you will find my book fits in a similar vein commercially.

Celeste Hopewell, a telepathic ‘09 high school graduate, is forced to discern [decide] whether she should act for the greater good or pursue her own dreams when she is recruited as the successor to an ancient and clandestine organization [One person is recruited as the successor to an entire organization?] that protects the secrecy of Gifteds, a race of people who have supernatural powers. [TMI] [Usually when I say TMI it's because people are telling me things about themselves that I really don't want to know. In this case, however, it's because that sentence contains more information than the average agent can process without losing consciousness.] She finds love, both encouraged and forbidden, in two vastly different men and is forced to choose between the two [If you're given two choices, and one of them is forbidden, there's no problem at all:
when the existence of Gifteds and humans is threatened. GIFTED is a 90,000 word young adult adventure novel steeped in romance with a strong female protagonist.

I started my own business at age 22, Puppy Cake, LLC, using my degree in International Business and Marketing from Grove City College (’07). [TMI.] Channeling my vivacious imagination [No no no no no. If you want the agent to know you have a vivacious imagination, demonstrate it by summarizing a vivaciously imaginative plot.] and the flexibility of entrepreneurship allowed me to write my first novel. I currently live with my husband and two [extremely fat] dogs in Pittsburgh, PA.

I greatly appreciate your time and consideration. More information about GIFTED and the first three chapters are available on my website _____________. I am prepared to send the full manuscript upon request. [If there's any information on your website that would make me want to read your book, it should be in the query where there's a chance I'll see it.]



You have three sentences about you, and two about what happens in your book. Admittedly one of the latter is long enough to be a paragraph, but all we know is that Celeste is a high school grad who must decide between the good of the many and the good of the one, and between the sexy bad boy and the nerdish nice guy. And we already know nice guys finish last.

I want to see a mix of eight simple and compound sentences in which you tell me what happens. Here are some things you might bring in: Why is Celeste chosen? What does she use her telepathy for? What are these supernatural powers the Gifteds have? Is one of them Aquaman? Who are these two men vying for Celeste's love? And most importantly, what is it that's threatening the existence of Gifteds and humans?

Protecting the secrecy of the Gifteds' existence doesn't seem so important now that I know everyone's about to die. I thus assume revealing their existence is what puts everyone at risk. If that's the crux of your plot, explain it. What's the danger, who's the bad guy, and what's our plan? We do have a plan, right, a million-to-one shot at survival?

If you're an ancient organization charged with keeping a secret from the world, the last thing you're gonna do is tell a seventeen-year-old kid the secret.

Cartoon 477

Caption: Evil Editor

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

New Beginning 687

Coach Chahuank greeted me. He had an amazing deep red complexion. "You're going to tell me you want to win," he said. He knew my thoughts before I knew them, a man of second-sight, sibylline even. I wanted to be the quintessential older athlete who might never have the full bloom of youth again but could still be a champion. In this, the most important interview of my life, I filled myself with bravado.

"I want to be the best ever," my answer.

"The Olympic team might have accepted you but for that video."

"Supposed to be private. I sued the distributor but the internet protects anonymous real well. I'm not proud of it and I won't apologize."

"It's one thing to wank for the camera. It's another to throw yourself at six men."

"An acting job. It paid four years of my Bachelors degree. One of the stupid old farts governing swimming actually called it the crime that dare not speak its name, like we're living in Victorian England."

"And the dolphin?"

"They told me it was a man in a suit. I didn't realize it was real until it was too late."

Chahuank nodded, slowly. "I guess that's understanda--"

"Their loss, it was. Look at me now. Third interview today, eleventh of the week. My fame precedes me like the feathers of a peacock walking backwards. Discipline, dedication, hard work, it's all very well, but for a shot at that elusive target--fame, fortune and your own reality show--follow Pamela, Paris, all the greats: whore yourself out on Youtube.

Opening: Dave F......Continuation: Khazar-khum/Anon.

Cartoon 476

Caption: Stacy

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Face-Lift 675

Guess the Plot


1. Johnny Wilson tries to improve his love life through chemistry, but now he changes into something different every month. He's been a werewolf, a werellama, a werelion, a werevelociraptor.... Can he cure himself before his new girlfriend finds out?

2. Three baseball players named Who, What, and I Don't Know consult a pair of PR experts to find the perfect name for their team.

3. Jack Hoboken could have put up with everyone in his family turning into wereanimals if it weren't for the gargantuan lobsters. Can he convince them to leave Hobokenstone Manor before he gets pincered? Plus, torch-wielding villagers.

4. Detective Fred "Zombie" Jones must solve the mystery of the WereThing before it devours another tourist, or Miss Nannette will have to sell her chicken ranch to a mob of developers who plan to turn WhoVille into WhatNot.

5. Tina's crush on Todd is going nowhere as sinister forces counter the efforts of this wee lass. Plus, an army of diabolical robots, the WhoDo.

6. After joining the Peace Corps, Tilda struggles to comprehend existential philosophy in Romania. Plus a terrifying WhereWho.

7. O, Dingo, Dingo, Werefore art thou? When 16 year old Juliet Jones introduces her new boyfriend, Dingo Smith, to the wrinklies, they are not amused. When they catch a glimpse of him and Juliet naked under the harvest moon, they get their pitchforks. Hilarity ensues.

8. TimeiscompressedtoaninstantasBertquestionsthe

Original Version

When the Hobokens learn they’ve inherited a mansion from a great aunt they didn’t know existed, 12-year-old Jack Henry thinks it’s just another move to yet another house.

But Hobokenstone Manor isn’t even close to anything he could have imagined. [This makes it sound like he was imagining something mildly fantastic.] It’s not so bad that it’s located by the sea [An awkward way of saying At least it wasn't near the sea.] (even if there are . . . shudder . . . lobsters). He could even learn to live with the fact that the rooms move and that there's no real comics store in town – eventually. Nope, it’s not until his entire family turns into WereAnimals at his belated birthday party that Jack Henry realizes life at the manor is even more complicated than the plot of The Gargoyle Knight vs. the Changeling Monster.

Now Jack Henry must face gargantuan lobsters, [Are they werelobsters, or is this a different problem altogether?] deal with the ghosts of his evil ancestors and convince his parents that turning into WereAnimals isn’t normal if he’s ever going to get his family out of Hobokenstone Manor and find somewhere they can call home. Of course, they have to make it past the pitchfork- and torch-wielding villagers first.

WereWhat?, an mid-grade novel, is complete at 60,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

(Author’s note: WereWhat? comes from the fact that each member of the Hoboken family turns into a different WereAnimal on the full moon and Hobokenstone Manor turns out to be a WereHouse that changes to fit the needs of each individual.)

Revised Version

When the Hobokens learn they’ve inherited a mansion from a great aunt they didn’t know existed, 12-year-old Jack Henry thinks it’s yet another move to yet another town with yet another school.

But Hobokenstone Manor is no ordinary house. For one thing, the rooms move around like puzzle pieces. And the place is haunted by the ghosts of Jack's evil ancestors. And let's not forget the gargantuan . . . shudder . . . lobsters.

He could live with all this, and maybe with the fact that there's no comics store in town. But when his entire family turn into WereAnimals at his birthday party, Jack Henry realizes life at the manor is even more complicated than the plot of his favorite book, The Gargoyle Knight vs. the Changeling Monster.

Now, if he’s ever going to get his family out of Hobokenstone Manor and find somewhere they can truly call home, Jack Henry must convince his parents that turning into WereAnimals isn’t normal. Of course, they'll also have to get past the pitchfork- and torch-wielding villagers.

WereHouse, a mid-grade novel, is complete at 60,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


It sounds like kids would enjoy the book. But the query is disorganized: no need to mention lobsters twice, the paragraph about the house not being normal has too much in it that's not on topic, too listy. It was easier to reorganize it than to pick at it.

It seems like if the family name is Hoboken, the house would be known as Hoboken Manor.

Apparently Jack's parents argue that turning into wereanimals is normal. That's odd, if it never happened until they moved here. Do they realize that they turn into wereanimals? Do they do bad things when they're wereanimals? Does Jack Henry change too?

WereHouse is a better title, unless it's already been used a lot.

It might be amusing to provide examples of the kinds of wereanimals the family change to. Presumably weredingo is one of them. It would be refreshing if none of them was a werewolf.

Cartoon 475

Caption: Anon.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Friday, September 18, 2009

New Beginning 686

IF SHE HAD stopped to think about what she was getting into, Callie would have turned the job down flat.

She looked up at the island while the wallowing ferry that carried her and half-a-dozen other commuters docked at its weathered pier. Short, rough cliffs and jagged rock prevented docking anywhere but under the dead eyes of long-deserted watchtowers.

Both crew and passengers had hoods pulled up close to protect their faces from the lashing rain; Callie suppressed a shiver as she looked at the bent, shuttered figures; they looked more like ushers on the river Styx than human workers on their way to a bedraggled historic landmark.

The sudden burst of bad weather brought dark clouds with it, and they still hovered as the rain sputtered to a stop; it was early spring just off the Pacific coast of the United States, but it felt more like one of December's wrenching storms. Everything - trees, straggling leafless shrubs and dilapidated buildings - looked beaten down and hopeless. Callie wore a rain slicker that had long since given up on keeping out the lashing rain and the salt spray of the roiling ocean. The optimism she had felt about the project in her sunny office overlooking Coos Bay was nowhere to be found at the moment.

They docked, and one of the hardy few already on land, face hidden by the dim light and the hood of his rain slicker, turned and offered her a callused hand as she scrambled up the slick ramp onto the dock.

Callie followed the crowd as far as the courtyard before she paused, surrendering to the lashing rain as it whipped her face and neck—a punishment, she was beginning to realize, she heartily deserved.

It was worse than she thought. A total disaster. She could see that now. Even the smell of hazelnut wafting through the moldy corridors and rusted barbed wire couldn’t console her.

Her company had finally done it, crossed some invisible threshold into the darkest depths of festering soulless depravity. That it had been her idea made it all the more depressing, but, like the relentless lashing rain, she could deny it no more: a Starbucks on Alcatraz was a shitty idea.

Opening: Debhoag.....Continuation: Blogless_Troll

Cartoon 474

Caption: Mother (Re)produces

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Face-Lift 674

Guess the Plot

My People

1. They'll call you -- no matter where you are or what you're doing. You don't need a phone to do business with them. Or sanity. And when they're done, you will be too. Shall we do lunch, or would you like to start running?

2. Lady Chumley attempts to rally her kin to resolve the troubles of the day, namely, the matter of Fred, the price of chicken, and that vampire thing in the basement.

3. 10-year-old Angela doesn't believe college students collect little kids--until she looks in her sister Kimmy's closet.

4. Anna, AKA Torture Lady, tries to impress Ana, AKA The Salvadoran, but Ana doesn't respect her. What's a girl gotta do to make friends at summer camp?

5. Thomas Fredericks wants to save a corrupt world. He decides to start a cult, gain power and influence, and force the world to be more peaceful. Can he lead his people long enough to effect change before it all falls apart in violence, scandal and disgrace?

6. Mark Freeboon hasn't spoken to anyone who isn't a Lego since he was two. They are his people. They love and protect him. And tell him he will go straight to hell if he doesn't do what they say. Like liberate their brethren from FAO Schwartz.

7. The puppet master of Croydon wows audiences in London with the antics of his spry little creations -- until Inspector Birks proves the toys are actually vampires that prey on pigeons and stray dogs at night.

8. My People, Jeanette Morton's memoir of oppression and woe--which reveals all the horrors and foibles of her family's past--hits number one on the bestseller lists, only to be derided and ridiculed by her next-door neighbor, an ignorant witless tart with six trunk novels under the sofa and a brain the size of a pea.

Original Version

Dear Editor,

13-year-old Anna Brooke wants to be brave, to make a difference in the world. Going to the Conservation Leadership Institute’s summer camp is one small part of her plan. So of course when she sees a big kid shaking a little kid she makes him stop. She didn’t mean to get nicknamed Torture Lady. [That's like a cop arresting a shoplifter and they start calling the cop "Serial Killer."] [Even if it made sense for Anna to get the nickname, wouldn't it be Torture Girl?] Or to be introduced by that name to Ana Reyes, the Salvadoran refugee girl who has the poise and courage Anna craves. [Your main characters are named Anna and Ana? Whether you've done this so there can be hilarious incidents of mistaken identity in the book or just to make your proofreader's life miserable, consider that it may be more confusing to readers than it is to the camp counselors.] [Or is it because all your character names are palindromes? That I could live with. Are we about to meet Bob and Hannah? Interesting palindrome thoughts:

1. You can't have palindromes without repeated letters, yet "palindromes" is the longest word in the English language that has no repeated letters.

2. Palindrome? Shouldn't the word be "emordrome"?

3. There should be a superhero named Palindrome who captures criminals and then lets them go.

4. Emit no SOS on time. I just made that one up.

5. I would buy a book that had a one-sentence palindrome hidden in every chapter.]

Anna spends the rest of the week trying to prove herself to Ana, and incidentally to herself. She sticks up for James, who’s accused of being gay; she tells off the kid who grabs her butt; she tried to get her new best friend Allison, who shares her liberal ideas but has considerably more money and tact, to admit that some of the rich kids at camp are bullies. [This place sounds even more miserable than Camp Swampy, where my parents sent me every summer, with its two-hour vesper services and Counselor Bob's nightly nude camper inspections.] Soon many of the campers won’t speak to her--including James and Ana. Naturally, Anna tries harder. The camp petition drive doesn’t go according to plan either, but it does reveal enough of Ana’s past to shake Anna’s assumptions about bravery, and her understanding of what you have to do to make things change. [Not clear what you mean by a petition drive revealing Ana's past. Make it clear or just say, When Anna learns the sordid truth about Ana's past . . . ]

My People is a bittersweet, sometimes funny MG novel about the courage to grow up. I’m submitting it to you because (insert long list of real good reasons.) [A list of reasons for submitting to a specific person should have a range of from zero to one items.] (Pages, synopsis, whatever they say they’ll take) are attached. Thank you for taking time to read and consider this submission.

[--EE, this is a WIP, so there is no word count.]


Does "My People" mean Anna's people? Because no one at this camp seems to be Anna's people.

Shouldn't a middle grade book about summer camp have some monsters or a guy in a hockey mask? Something to make kids want to read it?

The list of things Anna did that supposedly caused everyone to stop talking to her doesn't sound like such bad stuff. Telling off a kid who grabs her butt makes her a pariah? She sticks up for James, and he won't talk to her? It seems to me that a camp that focuses on leadership rather than fun and games would attract a better clientele. Or at least would have counselors preventing stuff like bullying and taunting and turning fellow campers into social outcasts.

The main theme is coming through, but mainly through lists of things that happen. Make it feel more like a story than a series of unfortunate events.

Cartoon 473

Caption: Mother (Re)produces

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

New Beginning 685

November 14, 9a.m.:

Fucking Faeries. They thought I wouldn't notice the hollow bit of dry skin, crinkling like an old plastic carrier bag, where our Monine used to be. They thought I wouldn't notice the soulless wheezing of this creature. They thought I wouldn't know where they'd taken her, know the old stories or their names; but Gran told me everything. They thought--

They thought I wouldn't come after them alone. I'm sure they were watching you, Niesh, waiting till you went away on business. And I can hardly go to the Garda with a faery story, can I? So I load this- this- thing, this changeling into the Baby-Björn like a baby, though it turns my stomach. The creature's all the creepier for it's closeness to humankind, like a half-starved, hollow-eyed infant.

I'm off. I regret for the first time our decision to go carless. The busses all either arrive or depart after dark and the faeries will be watching. The days are so short this time of year. I hope, my love, that you never have to read this, but if I don't make it back with our baby, you should know why. I can't just sit here, thinking of their skeleton fingers digging into her fair skin. I'll get as far north as I can today, and write again.

Niesh finished reading and shook his head. She thought I wouldn't notice she wrote the whole thing out in cocaine? Jesus, didn't one of the neighbors see her dragging the bedroom mirror out onto the front lawn and scraping all that powder around? They coulda called the cops or at least called me. Shit, there goes our nest egg with the next gust of wind.

He pulled out his cell phone and called his friend Rick who worked at the sheriff's office. "Yeah, just like the other week. She won't be hard to spot, carrying an E.T. doll around in a snuggly."

That does it. We're never getting a car OR a kid.

Opening: Mother (Re)produces.....Continuation: John

Cartoon 472

Caption: Whirlochre

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

New Beginning 684

“That’s not fair!”

Even as the words left her mouth, even before Professor Ted’s eyebrows rose, Hope knew she sounded like a child. A particularly bratty one. She took a deep breath and did not look up at the wall over his shoulder, where the clock was ticking down the five minutes before the last bus left campus.

“What I mean,” she said quickly, trying to sound more like the experienced woman of the world she was at 18. “Is this is worth at least a C. C minus.”

Professor Ted cleared his throat and rubbed uncomfortably at his goatee. He was young, baby faced, and Hope was pretty sure he’d grown the facial hair in an attempt to add a few years to his look. It certainly wasn’t because he liked it. He never went more than five minutes without scratching at his chin.

“Maybe from another student,” he said. “But this is not an acceptable level of work from you, Ms. Doe.”

He pushed the previous week’s assignment across the desk. Five pages, three hours, and a small, apologetic “F” written in purple across the top of the paper. Hope sucked in another deep, deep breath through her teeth.

Professor Ted rubbed his chin whiskers again. And yet again, until Hope looked like she was going to scream. She could scream all she wanted, no way would he admit that annoying teeth-sucking thing she did every time she talked was the whole reason he had given her the "F."

Opening: Sarah from Hawthorne.....Continuation: Kate Thornton

Cartoon 471

Caption: Anon.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Guess the Title

Religious Book Edition

The book descriptions below were excerpted from the Barnes and Noble web site. Below each description are six titles, one of which is the book's actual title, and five of which were created by the Evil Minions. Which titles are real?

Answers at bottom of post

1. With the Bible in hand, the author sets off to spend a year attempting to follow the innumerous laws of Scripture in order to achieve the supposed claim of fundamentalists who say the Bible should be taken literally.

The Year of Living Biblically
Are You Sure I'm Not in Hell?
This Damn Well Better Have Been Worth it, God
Year Without Sin: I’ll never frigging do that again!
I’ll Be Damned: Eating shrimp and other crimes of moral turpitude
The Unleavened Bread Wasn't Bad: But I don't recommend living in a whale

2. This book will help readers navigate their way through born-again America, with tips on how to avoid being Left Behind, how to protect oneself against demonic locusts, and how to find a guide to class-action suits and post-Rapture therapy.

Beam Me Up, Jesus
Salvation for Dummies
Faith and Loving in Las Vegas
Winging It: Going undercover in Jesusland
If You Know What's Best for Me, Why Are You So Screwed Up?
My Way or the Furnace: An Evangelical's guide to freedom of worship

3. Sure, the rivers and seas will run with blood, locusts will swarm, mountains will move all over the place, and famine will strike. But for the five billion of us left behind, the post-Rapture world will be a time of opportunity.

Making the Apocalypse Work For You
How to Profit from the Coming Rapture
Can I Have Your Stuff?: A guide to the post-rapture economy
50 Stocks that Will Take Off Once Good People Are Out of the Way
Profits For Non-Prophets: How to build your post-apocalyptic nest egg

4. Like Chaplin taking on the Nazis in The Great Dictator, the author has a field day lampooning the patent absurdities espoused by Muslim extremists.

Radical Eye for the Infidel Guy
Worship Allah . . . Or I'll Kill You
A Child's Guide to Killing Americans
The Great Big Book of "Yo, Mohammad..." jokes
And You Thought Christian Fundamentalists Were Nuts
Is That A Beheaded Infidel In Your Pocket, Or Are You Just Happy To See Me?

5. All about the people known as the Brides of Christ. They wear all-black robes tied with heavy rosary beads and crucifixes that would make any child wince. They cover their heads with vast, winglike hoods. They have no legs but roll along on silent casters. They do not flinch from handing out swift and painful smacks with a switch, cane, or paddle.

Sister Pact
Scary Nuns
And then there was Nun
The Secret Life of Penguins
Get Thee to a Nunnery . . . And Live a Little!
Everything You Ever Thought You Knew About Nuns . . . Is True!

Fake Titles were submitted by

Rick Daley
Evil Editor
Vivian Whetham
Sarah from Hawthorne
Min Yin


0 right: Atheist
1 right: Agnostic
2 right: Holy
3 right: Angelic
4 right: God's Favorite
5 right: Hell-bound Cheater

Actual Book Titles

The Year of Living Biblically
Beam Me Up Jesus

Radical Eye for the Infidel Guy

How to Profit from the Coming Rapture

Scary Nuns

Success Story

Rich Ochoa reports that as a result of advice/shredding he received on Face-Lift 323 he reworked his query, changed his title (to One Way Ticket to Anywhere), and has landed a good agent. No doubt I'll be reporting the book's publication at a future date.

Cartoon 470

Caption: Evil Editor
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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11, 2009

Face-Lift 673

Guess the Plot

The Redeemed and the Destroyed

1. A moving, in-depth look at the life cycle of a grocery store discount coupon.

2. The enthralling true-life story of the travels and ultimate destination of a coupon for a half-price Happy Meal at McDonalds.

3. After discovering that Jell-o Coupon has been sent to that great toilet tissue factory in the sky, Cool Whip Coupon embarks on a desperate race against time to get to Wal-Mart before she, too, expires.

4. Nina Medley, coupon clipper and bargain hunter extraordinaire, cut in line in front of an angel of death. Now she must find a way to redeem the soul of every person in her hometown or the angel will start a plague that will wipe out humanity.

5. Sally, recently laid off from her job as an elementary school teacher, secretly plots to bring down the state economy in order to send a message to the government. She is thwarted, however, in her attempt to flood the market with fake coupons. Unable to be redeemed, she is destroyed.

6. When Charles Emanuel dies, his Coke bottle collection is divvied up by his heirs. These are their stories. Which will be allowed to perform some last service to the world by being redeemed and recycled, and which will be condemned to the purgatory of the trash compactor?

7. Nonnie Bligh, the best Irish hat maker in Southwark, uses personalized spells to bewitch each hat and ensure her customers realizing their most appropriate fate-- good or bad. When the evil Puritan Cromwell comes in for a fitting, she has something very special for him.

8. When a mild mannered Sunday school teacher learns that church funds are going towards gambling and vice (a Tuesday afternoon Bingo Club), she comes up with an arts-and-crafts project for her third graders that's going to separate the sheep from the goats once and for all.

9. For seventeen years Sheila Conners has played Stella Artois Bunker Bennett Consadine Smith on the beloved soap "The Redeemed and the Destroyed". But the brass thinks she's too old, hunky Jonathan Grimes has had one facelift too many, and even the cat that played her pet has died. Is it time to move on?

10. To save his marriage oil tycoon Chet Blumwalt finances his wife's business venture, expecting it to fail. But stick-on glamor eyebrows are a hit! Teens worldwide go wild for 'brow stickers' with bright colors, sequins, flashing lights, and text messages -- until the mind-numbing glue is banned and everyone sues.

11. An obsessed ex-military group led by the smartest man in the world have decided that Edgar, a part-time demon with the ability to redeem or destroy the world, must be killed before he does the latter. But their plan to drop a nuclear bomb on Edgar's head may have unforeseen consequences.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

The fabrics of one very stubborn, Edgar Benard, begin meshing into something else altogether when he goes through a seemingly spontaneous metamorphosis that grants him the ability to become a powerful, black demon complete with two wings, anytime he deems it an approved investment. This form offers him the freedom he has always sought after. [The freedom to fly and to do demonic things?] Could such a lie be true? [It's not clear what lie you're referring to. In fact, so far nothing is clear.]

No, not by any stretch. Rather, it brings the cold shackles of slavery as it exposes him to the Time Weavers, a group of obsessed ex-military loons, who have the technology to see the future before it unfolds. They set out to murder him by whatever means necessary, even if that means dropping a nuclear bomb right onto his head and wiping out an entire city. [It sounds like Edgar is either on the run or in hiding, neither of which I would describe as slavery.] If having the ability to read future events is not enough, they have possibly the smartest man alive in the world today leading them, more into the cause than the rest of them. The Time Weavers want Edgar dead because they read the future from their device, the Threads of Time, seeing very vividly that Edgar is supposed to bring the end of the world. [But the smartest man alive realizes at the last minute that if their attempt to kill Edgar were going to succeed, their device would show it succeeding, so they call the whole thing off and start a bakery.]

Edgar finds himself dwelling in bitter confusion, with no other vital purpose but to flee the people beckoning to skin him at every predicted turn, at least until she comes exploding into his life. Edgar meets his fiery, passionate equal that brings with her so much sexual tension, Edgar fears he might die from desire, if the Time Weavers don’t kill him first. She knows everything about him, especially the purpose of his winged transformation and what he must do with the new power, but more importantly, she knows how to avoid the Time Weavers.

Edgar joins this tempting bombshell, even though he doesn’t really trust a word that comes from her plush mouth, changing the meaning and direction of his life, forever.

THE REDEEMED AND THE DESTROYED sits complete at 90,000 words, ready and available at your request. Thank for your time and consideration.


[Author's note, not part of query: I got the title because in the actual novel itself, Edgar is often told that he has the ability to redeem the world or to destroy it.]


The most glaring problem is the word choice. One can hope this is not a problem in the book, and that you've simply misused a thesaurus in an attempt to impress Evil Editor; otherwise you'll need to put in some time familiarizing yourself with the ridiculous English language. Replacing "approved investment," "beckoning," and "plush" would be a good start, but there are numerous other instances of awkward language. Was this translated from another language?

Does "she" have a name? If not, give her one. If so, use it.

The plot is something like this:

The Time Weavers have discovered that Edgar will bring about the end of the world. They set out to kill him, which may prove difficult now that he has somehow developed the ability to become a powerful demon. But even a demon can't hold out forever against the Weavers' weapons. Enter Delilah, the mystery woman who knows how to avoid the Weavers, and more importantly, where Edgar's destiny truly lies.

Expand on that with some important information. Keep it simple. Also, get someone from around here to take a look at your manuscript.

Cartoon 469

Caption: Anon.

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

New Beginning 683

Emma was uncertain of how much time had passed since he last used her. It didn’t matter. What mattered was The Collector would come searching for her eventually. When he did, his eyes would be brimming with pain, his hands would tremble as he brought her to his lips and…With a shiver she forced herself to stop thinking about the inescapable future.

The door crashed open. Dust drizzled from the doorframe like grey nuclear snow. It settled in The Collector’s hair as he staggered and limped into the room. Dragging his left leg behind him, he painted smears of blood across the floor with his foot.

At the sight of his blood Emma knew she was needed at last.

His face screwed into a grimace as he squeezed his fingers into the pocket of his jeans and, with a flash of triumph, produced his newest prize. The glass bottle he held between thumb and forefinger was unremarkable. It might have been a shot bottle of liquor, but it was hard to tell since the labels had been peeled away and the previous contents drained. He held the prize up to his eyes, his hungry gaze glittering.

“We’ll see what makes you so special in a minute,” he said to the bottle in his upraised hand. He limped forward and winced. “But first I need to see Emma.”


She watched as The Collector pulled open a drawer and tossed aside the sundries it contained, searching for the bag that was hidden there. Soon they would share the magic, he would feel her, cold against his lips, and she would take the pain--

* * *

Marcus Welt looked up from the page and peered at his client. "So let me get this straight," he said. "This is the story of a man's descent into reefer madness, as told by Emma the Sentient Bong? What is it, exactly,
you've been smoking?"

Opening: Beth Light.....Continuation: Anon.

Cartoon 468

Caption: Anon.

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Cartoon 467

Caption: R. Watson

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Face-Lift 672

Guess the Plot

Save Us

1. Heeeeelllpppp! Haha, just kidding. Aahh! Help! Ha, got you again! Owowow, help! No, seriously this time!

2. As Jesus preaches his message of peace, a lowly fisherman leads a rebellion against the devil and his demon army. Can one fisherman save all the tortured souls of hell from damnation? And if he does, will Jesus take all the credit?

3. When a mass wave of solar radiation kills off all superheroes, the only ones who can save the world from the alien invasion are Mr. Paranoid, The Human Pebble, and Schitzy, who've been hiding in concrete bunkers since the Cold War.

4. Five friends go on a road trip from UC Berkeley to Colorado, but the car breaks down in nowhere, Utah, so they enter an abandoned junk yard in the desert to search for car parts in the old wrecks but end up getting haunted by ghosts of the car-crash dead and the mysterious Anasazi god known as Kokopelli.

5. Bob was Jesus's backup apostle, in case one of the twelve died, but his incompetence frustrated Jesus enough to send him into the future to get rid of him. When Bob arrives in rural 21st century America, he's more prone to mix up the holy wafers with garlic bread than to save any souls. Can he overcome his cluelessness and bring salvation to the people of Cheeseville, Wisconsin?

6. When a world-famous hero stops overnight in dull little Midtown, the people see their chance for fame and tourism dollars. They'll do anything to convince Badaz the Fist to make Midtown his home--even if it means faking a few disasters to keep him occupied.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Phoebus has had a busy few months: falling in love, dying, and leading a rebellion—in that order.

Phoebus is a young, orphaned fisherman living in ancient Phoenicia during the time of Christ. When he and his love Ariadna drown in a storm, they find themselves on the outskirts of Hell. Captured, separated, and enslaved, [Are you saying they aren't there because of their sinful ways, that they just happened to be passing the gates of hell on their way to heaven and got captured by Satan's minions?] they sink into despair, until Phoebus inadvertently sparks a rebellion against his demon captors.

He soon meets Durus, a mercenary angel sent to aid him, [If I were an angel, I'd be pretty pissed if a fisherman who couldn't even keep his boat afloat were chosen to lead a rebellion and I was just supposed to aid him. When you're taking on an army of demons, who do you want calling the shots: a mercenary angel or a dead fisherman?] who informs Phoebus that this conflict is meant by God to distract the devil from events on Earth. [Sort of like Dick Cheney starting a war halfway around the world to distract people from how bad things are at home. But hard to believe God would pull the same stunt.] Faced with this new mandate, the desire to find Ariadna, and the threat of a growing demon army, Phoebus becomes the unlikely leader of a desperate people. As Jesus’ path takes him to the cross, Phoebus undertakes a task that transforms him as much as it changes the fate of the slaves in Hell.

SAVE US is 75,000 words, and is my first novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



As "mercenary" means greedy; covetous; working only for monetary gain, I don't see a mercenary angel being trusted on such an important mission.

I was under the impression those in hell were there because they deserved to be there. What's the story on how your slaves in hell got there?

A little more specificity would help. What are the stakes, i.e. what would happen if the devil weren't distracted from events on Earth? What was Phoebus transformed from/to?What does Phoebus bring to the table that convinces slaves who didn't think they had a chance in hell to defeat an army of demons that they can do so with Phoebus at the helm?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

New Beginning 682

Sarah sat at her hand-me-down mahogany desk, the room dim, only a reading lamp casting a circle of light. She wore a simple flowered dress, dowdy by today’s standards, that made her look more of a grandmother than her fifty-eight years would indicate. She copied from one business sized sheet of paper to another a description of all of her personal possessions not listed in her will and who would receive them. Adding one item to the new sheet she wrote: The Chinese puzzle box and all of its contents to my granddaughter Katrina. She signed and dated the paper, sealed it in an envelope, and put it where her daughter knew to look when the time came. The old sheet went through the paper shredder next to her desk.

She smiled warmly thinking of the secret she had never shared with anyone not even her Tom, rest his soul. After years of worrying what would happen after her passing, she had found the answer. Her stomach dropped a bit with adrenalin excitement. Katrina would find all the joy it had given her. Yes, this was the perfect decision.

True, Sarah herself would enjoy the contents of the puzzle box a few years longer, but Katrina was young enough to reap a lifetime of joy. As long as she returned the little Chinese statue faithfully to its secret compartment, the strong, muscular and very male Chan would appear at her side.

Ahh, Chan. She hadn't opened the box in almost two days. Chan needed air. Sarah smiled and reached for the colorful box.

Opening: Joel G......Continuation: Khazar-khum

Cartoon 466

Caption: Anon.

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Monday, September 07, 2009

Face-Lift 671

Guess the Plot

Those Who Favour Fire

1. When dancer Bob Jeffreys meets Babs, he falls madly in love. Literally. So when she decides the musician next door is actually much more suave and debonair, Bob starts burning things, expressing his anguish through performance art. That's how he meets his firebug girlfriend, Persephone. Hilarity ensues.

2. Primitive humans are divided into those who favour fire, and those scared of this powerful, glow-in-the-dark discovery. As Gurk convinces newcomer Brika that fire means warmth, defense, and less vomiting after meals of raw meat, Rrrrts, the jealous head of the rival clan polishes his club...

3. Violet the werewolf is having a bad day. Her brother has taken her best friend hostage, her sister's dead, ghosts are planning to slaughter her pack, and worst of all . . . hell, I don't even wanna talk about the fire.

4. Superhero Iceman single-handedly saves the world from global warming, but in so doing begins a new ice age. Can Pyro undo his mistake without turning the earth into a crispy wasteland?

5. Three charred bodies turn up at the city morgue with stakes through their hearts. But, if the bodies really were vampires spontaneously combusting, there should only be ash remaining. Homicide detective Zack Martinez is on the case . . . as soon as he returns from his second honeymoon in Transylvania.

6. When Urg and Moggo try toasting their wildebeest over flames, the rest of the clan flee in terror, only to be promptly eaten by leopards. And so it goes, time and again: Urg and Moggo survive uncannily while their fire-fearing relatives perish. What can it mean? Erk wonders. Plus, a glacier.

Original Version

The only thing worse than finding a body outside the front door are the people who left it there. [The subject of the sentence is "thing." Singular. The verb is "are." Plural. Not a good way to get things started.] [You're contrasting an action (finding a body) with a thing (people). It's like saying The only thing worse than mowing the lawn is Brussels sprouts. Better to say The only thing worse than mowing the lawn is eating Brussels sprouts. Now you have symmetry, congruity, harmony, Peace on Earth.] [Also, I can think of many other things that are worse than finding a dead body outside the front door. Being a dead body outside the front door, for starters. Or a paper cut.] The warning is clear: the revenants have found Violet’s Pack again. They have to run or be slaughtered. Unlike a decade ago, there will be no survivors. [If the revenants want to slaughter Violet's Pack, leaving no survivors, why provide a warning? Why not swoop in and slaughter them before they have a chance to run?]

Violet’s budding friendship with Ava, the dead man’s sister, is already complicated by Ava’s crush on her. But lying about being a werewolf is nothing compared to lying about burying Ava’s brother in an unmarked grave. [Ah, I see we've learned our symmetry lesson. Lesson 2: when contrasting two actions, try to provide the reader with some idea, however infinitesimal, of what in God's name you're talking about.]

When her father gives himself over to the revenants to buy time, Violet’s ready to do anything to get him back. [Why don't the revenants slaughter him?] Her own bargain with the revenants ends with her sister's death and her brother Nick revealing his true allegiances. [Which are...?] Then Nick presents his own hostage: Ava. [And now, folks, I'd like to present . . . Ava! She's my hostage.] [Make it clear why Nick has a hostage.] Violet refuses to choose between the human who now knows the truth about her and the family she’s sworn to protect. She’s determined to save both--even if it means turning against those closest to her. [Who are those closest to her?]

THOSE WHO FAVOUR FIRE is a 60,000-word young adult urban fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.



If this is YA we need to know Violet's age.

How can Violet bargain with those who would slaughter her Pack, leaving no survivors? Can she trust the revenants to keep their side of the bargain?

In paragraph 1 it says They have to run or be slaughtered. Do they run? If not, do they get slaughtered?

But lying about being a werewolf is nothing compared to lying about burying Ava’s brother in an unmarked grave.
Can you interpret this for us? Ava's brother is the dead guy who was left outside Violet's door. Who lied about burying him in an unmarked grave? Why is this worse than lying about being a werewolf?

This may be clear to you, but it's not clear to us. Pretty much none of it is clear. Start over. Just tell us what happens. Who does what, and why? Why are the revenants out to slaughter the Pack?

Is it even remotely reasonable that a werewolf named Violet would not change her name to Vilayna?

Cartoon 465

Caption: Whirlochre

Your caption on the next cartoon! Link in sidebar.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Friday, September 04, 2009

New Beginning 681


Baba Lasisi’s thunderous voice rang out as clear as the Muslim call to prayer, even though he stood ten houses away. That meant I had violated my curfew again–for the third night in a row.

Baba Lasisi was my next-door neighbor, and a creature of habit. Every evening at seven, he came out of his house, his protruding abdomen girded by only a loincloth, a half-eaten chewing stick in one hand, and a bowl of feces in the other. As he deposited his business into the Lagoon below, he screamed for his wife to put dinner on the table. However disgusting the thought, you could set a clock by Baba Lasisi’s evening routine.

I lived with my parents and four siblings at the far end of the Ijora-Badiya community, in a two bedroom house, suspended above the Lagos Lagoon by wooden stilts. An intricate maze of bamboo walkways served as our connection to the outside world, and also separated us from the filthy water that flowed placidly beneath.

Every day after school, I sold 'pure water' at the bus park for Maami. She expected me to sell all ten dozen sachets of water in two and a half hours, and complete the twenty minute walk home by six p.m. Therein lay the problem.

Since our only source of "pure water" was the Lagoon beneath us, our customer base was being steadily destroyed by cholera, amoebic dysentery and enteric fever.

But what else could I do? I was past my best years for child prostitution, and the street gangs that dealt khat and opium had no use for me. I could work in the sweatshops, but sewing garments sixteen hours a day would obviously keep me out past six.

It all seemed so unfair. All we needed was one person to help us get the millions of dollars out of the secret account, and our troubles would be over. Why would no one help us? We were offering a generous cut of the proceeds; why would no one answer our emails?

Opening: Wande.....Continuation: Steve Wright