Saturday, October 15, 2011

EVIL EDITOR CLASSICS


Guess the Plot

The Wayfarer

1. Stranded in the desert with nothing but a scrapbook and her wits, Lisa’s chances for survival increase when she finds a broken pair of sunglasses.

2. Sailor John Davis swaggered into prostitute Melinda Walker's life three weeks ago. Can their impassioned romance survive his past . . . and her pimp?

3. Christine meets The Old Man And The Sea when a weekend sailor's dinghy is possessed by a demon.

4. When Mallory becomes The Wayfarer, he sets out to destroy the most evil one of them all. Also his minions.

5. When nine year old Seymour Mertens discovers the Ancient Sunglasses of Power in a hidden cave, he becomes the only force capable of stopping the Invaders from the Dark Dimension. He becomes . . . The Wayfarer.

6. When a strange red-haired man shows up on Kaera Emblem's doorstep, she does not suspect that he is the mythical Wayfarer - until she falls in love with him.


Original Version

Dear Cruel Lord of Print:

Your profile at Agent Query indicated you had an interest in urban fantasy. Please consider representing my contribution to the genre, The Wayfarer, an adventure novel told in 100,000 words.

Mallory used to be a vampire. Then his brother, Veratrum, a stronger vampire (perhaps the strongest vampire) [Dracula is the strongest vampire. Don't you know anything?] killed him. However, Mallory rose again, [Making him a zombie vampire. Or is it a vampire zombie?] [Was he killed with a stake through his heart? Because if vampires can return after that, there's no hope for humanity.] this time as a wayfarer, one who stalks the physical and astral planes. Possessed of humanity, he condemns the sins of his former life and swears vengeance on Veratrum [Who would name their kid Veratrum? I Googled it, it's a plant. Also a homeopathic remedy for dozens of things, and that's just under the heading of "Stool." For instance, you supposedly should take Veratrum if your stool is any of the following:

Strong and sharp (acrid), corrosive, wearing away skin; bilious; black; brown; copious; flaky; forcible, sudden, gushing; frequent; green; hard; involuntary; involuntary during flatulence; large; mucous, slimy; odourless; thin, liquid; watery; like rice water.

Veratrum is also recommended for the following symptoms (among hundreds):

Feeling excessively religious; vomiting during diarrhea; face that appears dead; craving refreshing things; imperceptible pulse; collapse after diarrhea; shrunken hands; shrieking.]

and all who serve him. Over a century of failures has stretched Mallory’s patience and forced him to compromise more and more of his ideals in service of his oath. [A century? If you've been seeking revenge on someone for over a century and consistently failing, you have to be the most incompetent wayfarer of them all.] [A zombiefied vampire stalking the astral plane in search of vengeance needs a scarier name than The Wayfarer. He'd have killed Veratrum long ago, but he walks in and it goes:

Mallory: Prepare to die, Veratrum.
Veratrum: Who's gonna kill me?
Mallory: It is I . . . The Wayfarer!
Veratrum (laughing): Hey minions, check it out. The Wayfarer. Run for your lives!
Minions (laughing hysterically as they pummel Mallory): Ooh, The Wayfarer. Save us Master.]

The final assault begins with the rescue of Aethe, a woman Veratrum wants as more than just prey. What exactly he wants with her, Mallory does not know, and when she refuses to tell, Mallory keeps her with him under the guise of protection. The same for Claud, a bystander Mallory carjacks in his flight with Aethe, who manages to get bit by one of Veratrum’s minions. The bite, of course, infects Claude with the Nosferatu. [Quick, give him two tablespoons of Veratrum.] In order to keep the man pacified, Mallory claims there is a cure, but really he wants to use the disease in Claud’s veins to track Veratrum. [The closer they get to Veratrum, the brighter Claud glows.] [Make up your mind how Claud(e) spells his name.]

They take shelter with Mallory’s friends, who are happy to help until they discover where they rank in relation to Mallory’s fevered thirst for revenge. Unable to hear their words over the roar of his obsession, rationalizing his every betrayal, Mallory makes a bargain with another vampire: Aethe for Veratrum. [How can this other vampire deliver Veratrum? Veratrum is stronger. Is it just because it's two against one? In an entire century of trying to kill Veratrum, this is the first time Mallory's thought of enlisting help? What about Veratrum's minions? They're not going to stand by while Mallory and Claud kill Veratrum.] Can he go through with it? At what price vengeance?

I am as yet unpublished. The first five pages are enclosed, as well as an SASE for your response. Thank you for your time,


Notes

Even if Veratrum is killed, who's to say he won't rise again, as a stronger wayfarer (perhaps the strongest wayfarer)?




Selected Comments

Jessica said...Help! My hands are shrinking! Dear God, save me. I'll do anything. I'll become a nun and serve you with all my heart! Oh no! Now I'm excessively religious! Isn't there anything that can help me?


kis said...I thought excessive religiosity and diarrhea were the same thing. Tell me if I'm wrong.


December Quinn said...I don't get this. Why does Aethe want Mallory's protection or allow him to pretend to protect her, if she apparently thinks whatever Veratrum wants with her is okay-at least, she's refusing to tell Mallory why Veratrum wants her, which to me reads like she's on his side. So why is she going with Mallory at all?

How is Mallory "possessed of humanity"? Which oath is he compromising his ideals in service of--the one to repent for his sinful past or the one to kill his brother? How do they use Claud's disease to track Veratrum? And what, Mallory's friends are happy to help him get his revenge until they figure out that he really, really wants it, then they freak out and say no?

"Mallory" threw me. Not only will it always be a girl's name to me (Mallory Keaton, yanno[tm/pp]) but the thought of parents thinking the names Mallory and Veratrum go together...makes Mallory even more of a girl's name and makes me think perhaps Mallory resents his brother for more than that whole pesky killing thing. He was always Mom's favorite, too, I suspect.

It doesn't sound like a bad story, just the query leaves some unanswered questions.


Anonymous said...What I don't get is how all of this could possibly fit on one page. Most of the queries, even dear EE's versions, seem much too long to fit, after including the return address, the agent or editor's name and address, a date line and salutation. Someone help me out here. What am I missing?


Bernita said...Have wondered too, Anon. Also found the query confusing. "Get bit?" Please.


Evil Editor said...It's easy to get away with a couple extra sentences if you submit by email. And then there's the trick of gradually reducing the font size.


Nancy said...I read thru this with EE's hilarious asides and then again sans asides.
I'm still not sure I understand what's going on here. Why isn't Aethe telling Mallory what's up with her and Veratrum? I'm wondering if this might be an important point to get across to whomever's reading the query. The rest of my questions are encompassed in the 2nd paragraph of december quinn's comment.

Plus, the name Mallory. Like dq, my first thought was that Mallory was a woman (same thing, Mallory Keaton). Great, weird minds think alike, I guess ;-). Anyway, I wonder if there will be others who will read this and think the same thing.

One other thing: it took Mallory a century to figure out this was what he wanted to do? I know the whole "vampires 'live' a long time" bit, but a century? Maybe this should be condensed, to, say, 20 years? (Just my 2 cents, FWIW.)

I feel the story has potential, but I think the writer needs to give us more details to answer the questions raised (putting aside the century thing, which is just a personal preference on my part).


Michele Lee said...I'm pretty sure someone's already done this story, sans the love interest ie the only female really. It was the Legacy of Kain/Soul Reaver series in which (amoung other plot points) a vampire, slayed by his creator for evolving a new power before him comes back to slay all the vampires and restore balance to the force . . . er, earth.

1 comment:

150 said...

Oh, this is one of my favorites. :)