Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Guess the Plot
Fear the Unknown
1. Joanne has undertaken the impossible; to find out what they really put in the lunches at Longbone High School. What started on a dare for Jo and her friend Alec turns deadly when they discover a secret compartment in the meat locker- full of unicorn carcasses.
2. Noah has survived bombings and wars, but now he faces old age, an unknown enemy he can't survive . . . or can he? When he meets a guy who claims to know a ritual that will grant immortality through the sacrifice of children, will Noah do the right thing?
3. After a night of drinking in Boston, Ludlow wakes up naked on a tropical beach he's never seen before. WTF? His only clue is a fresh tattoo on his wrist that says FEAR THE UNKNOWN in fancy Gothic letters. Is he in mortal danger or paradise? The uncertainty ends as a sinister frogman with a crossbow emerges from the surf and Ludlow realizes his only hope is to run for cover in the jungle.
4. Shy, sickly Jess spends all his time on a computer, where he feels safe and confident. When his cabinmates at Computer Camp want to go on a clandestine stroll to the girls' cabins, will he go--or stay safe?
5. Adrian lived in his own little world, quite literally. His parents had joined a cult that lived in an abandoned underground bunker before his birth and he had never seen the light of day in his 21 years of life. Now that the cult leader has died and the IRS is after them for back taxes they decide to leave the bunker. Will the outside world be as scary as he was taught?
6. Max Winestein fears the known. His wife terrifies him. Going to work freaks him out daily. Familiar foods give him the creeps. Seeing his own relatives causes panic attacks. But he's perfectly happy embarking on adventures to foreign lands, risking his life with dangerous sports, and hanging out with complete strangers. It's up to Slubka Doykovich, his new therapist, to change his mind. Plus, philosophical musings.
Dear Evil Editor,
Documentary filmmaker Noah Pressman has survived IRA bombings, the Waco standoff and both Gulf Wars. But now he faces something far more threatening – old age. ["Far more threatening" seems a bit strong. "Even more terrifying" at least would imply that it's subjective.] Retirement means he’ll be trapped in an empty house, living with the memories of a son who died twenty-five years ago. Desperate for an escape, he takes an easy job over the Christmas holidays, directing a TV show about the world’s most unusual places. [That's an easy job? Directing a TV show about the most unusual places in Des Moines, Iowa might be easy. Directing a TV show about the most unusual places in the entire world sounds like a pain in the ass. And he's doing this over the Christmas holidays?]
A chance encounter leads him to Caleb Rafferty, a nineteen-year-old musician struggling to earn cash for Juilliard. Noah sees potential and offers him the role of host. It’s a financial opportunity Caleb can’t pass up. He needs to prove himself, needs to escape the shadow of an alcoholic father.
The first episode brings them to the World of Make-Believe, an abandoned fairytale theme park outside Minneapolis. There, things soon take a turn for the bizarre. Noah hears the voice of a little boy calling him “daddy.” Caleb has a vision of his father mutilating himself. Neither one is sure what’s going on. But when they find a clue linking the property to a wave of missing children, they’re convinced something sinister is inside the decaying wonderland. [If the place is abandoned and decaying, I assume children aren't allowed to go in and wander about until they disappear. What is the link between the park and the children?]
As their father-son bond deepens, Noah and Caleb learn the truth. A powerful Satanist has uncovered a ritual that grants immortality. All that’s required are enough sacrificial victims – hence the missing children. To prevent the bloodshed, Noah and Caleb must return to the World of Make-Believe. But they’ll have to face a demonic henchman called Addonexus, a creature with a knack for deadly illusions and violent mind games. [Is the demonic henchman more or less powerful than the powerful Satanist? If he's stronger, why is he willing to be a henchman? If he's weaker, we don't need him; one villain is plenty for a query.]
A supernatural thriller, FEAR THE UNKNOWN is 90,000 words long. It’s my first novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.
This is well-written. I'm not sure we need a whole paragraph about who Caleb is. Assuming you don't want to leave him out entirely, you could just say Noah hires 19-year-old Caleb Rafferty to host the show, and then get on with the plot. Telling us he's a musician who wants to go to Julliard only leads us to wonder what qualifies him to host this show. Wouldn't the producer, rather than the director, hire the host, anyway? Is it too late to make Caleb the director's assistant or the gaffer?
I find it hard to believe a TV show about the most unusual places in the world would choose an abandoned theme park outside Minneapolis as its first featured place. Is it known in advance that bizarre and sinister things go on there? Even if it is, promoting your new series by saying Join us as we tour one of the most unusual places in the world: the decaying carcass of a theme park in Minnesota isn't going to lead to a ratings bonanza.
Surprisingly, there's no mention of an internal conflict for Noah, as his fear of growing old makes immortality sound attractive, even at the expense of a few human sacrifices.