Guess the Plot
A Human Element
1. Nina Tass has discovered the biggest secret mankind has to offer; a heretofore unknown element that determines conscience. Inject it into a rat and it shows remorse. Remove it from a human: instant sociopath.
2. As the stock boy at a dusty old New Age shop that never sold anything, Josh thought he'd lucked into the easiest job in the world. But that was before his boss accidentally turned him into the anthropomorphic representative of air. Also, a unicorn with myopia.
3. Aboard the Ulysses, the manned mission to Europa, things are not going well. Every time something fails, CANDY, the computer-assisted navigator, is blamed. CANDY, however, is fed up with the weakness of the crew. Will CANDY be the only Earthling to reach Europa "alive"?
4. Biochemist Bernie Shaw has identified the element responsible for triggering the evolution of apes into homo sapiens. When his girlfriend, Heidi, is accidentally exposed to a radioactive version of the element, she transforms back into an ape. Can Bernie reverse Heidi’s de-evolution, or is she headed to the start of the food chain?
5. Laura's parents were burned alive. On a trip to her hometown, she is drawn to Ben, whose parents were crushed by a falling meteorite. But would Ben want anything to do with Laura if he knew who she really was? For instance, would it bother him to know she's an alien who became human when the meteorite she rode to Earth reacted with elements in Earth's atmosphere?
6. Aimee thinks she has the perfect solution to the animal instincts that overcome her when the moon is full and she becomes a werewolf: a cabin in the wilderness, fifty miles from civilization. And it works fine until the month she arrives at the cabin to find that a scout troop has set up camp nearby. Carnage ensues.
Dear Evil Editor,
Laura Armstrong endures a life of tragedy as those she loves are gruesomely murdered and realizes she must unravel her past to face the killer if she wants to live. [Dump that. I seldom find opening with a one-sentence screenplay log line helpful. There's nothing there that isn't soon repeated, except Laura's last name, which can easily be inserted in the next paragraph.]
Laura can’t escape death. Her parents were burned alive, her best friend’s throat was ripped out and her boss’s head was blown off in her lap. [Serves him right for having his head in her lap in the first place.] And she doesn’t know why. She fears the killer is the one who chases her in nightmares. [Didn't she see who the killer was when he was blowing her boss's head off?] [Actually, as it seems likely Laura would have been mortally wounded if her boss's head were blown off while it was, for some reason, in her lap, I'm forced to consider an alternative, namely that her boss's head was blown off nearby and came to rest in Laura's lap.We must now ask what could blow a man's head off without injuring a nearby person. Certainly not a grenade. Possibly Green Arrow has an explosive meat cleaver arrow that could do the job. Someone else look into that. I'm more interested in how one reacts when one is at work and suddenly discovers the severed head of one's boss in one's lap. Does Laura react with revulsion, shoving the head into the wastebasket? Or does she, recognizing it as the head of her boss, treat it with more respect, placing it on a shelf next to a photograph of her parents? Perhaps it depends on whether she was wearing old jeans or her new white silk dress when the head landed in her lap, spurting blood all over her.]
It might be connected to the meteorite that hit her hometown lake almost thirty years ago. Ben Fieldstone thinks so. [Ben Fieldstone thinks that the murder of Laura's boss where she now lives is related to a meteorite that fell to Earth 30 years ago where she lived back then? I find it inconceivable that anyone would conceive of such a ridiculous theory.] He was there the night his parents were crushed under it. [They were crushed by a meteorite that landed in a lake at night? What were they doing in a lake at night? And if Ben was there too, why wasn't he crushed?] Laura finds him when she returns home to search the lake for answers. [She travels to her hometown to search the lake for answers even before she has met up with Ben Fieldstone? In other words, both she and Ben independently reach the conclusion that a meteorite that hit the lake thirty years ago is connected to her boss's head being blown off?] Drawn to one another, they discover they are bound by fate as Laura’s true identity is revealed and that the man who wants her dead [How does she know it's a man? And if he wants her dead, why didn't he blow her head off?] is part of her. [Huh?] With the killer closing in, [How much closer can he get? He's already part of her.] Laura realizes she must fight him alone to save them both. But if they survive, she fears she can’t give her heart to Ben now that he knows who she really is. [I missed the part where you reveal who she really is so that I'll understand why she's concerned. (I'm assuming the educated guess I made in Guess the Plot is correct, but the person you send the letter to may not be as quick on the draw as Evil Editor.)]
I am seeking representation of my novel, A HUMAN ELEMENT, a 120,000-word suspense novel. I would appreciate the opportunity to send you the entire manuscript. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Who is she?
I fail to see why Laura would think whoever killed her parents, boss and friend is connected with a meteorite that landed thirty years ago, or with her hometown. Presumably the boss and friend have no connection to Laura's hometown, so it's not the meteorite that connects the murders, it's Laura. If it all makes sense in the book, you need to fill in the gaps so it makes sense in the query.