Saturday, January 14, 2012
EVIL EDITOR CLASSICS
Guess the Plot
1. A snatched-from-the-headlines tale that examines the reasons Bob, like all Microsoft technicians, remains unmarried and a virgin at the age of 35.
2. Shy sociologist John Blake is hired by Stanford University to tutor two sexy unfrozen cave women on the modern world. Hilarity ensues.
3. Brad and Lori have been training to be surgeons but Brad sucks at it, so he wants to quit and be a chef. Also, they're virgins, not that it's any of your business.
4. The girls at Miss Fipps's School for Young Ladies are forming their own corporation. The boys at Wooster Academy can't wait for the IPO.
5. Vestal Electronics has posted record lows this quarter. Can a new battery-powered device bring prosperity to the company?
6. Marcy had never even seen a capacitor before the earthquake. Now she and her sister Emmaline must fix the communications systems of Little Pooble on Hemp before another temblor sends the village hurtling into a newly-formed volcano.
Dear Evil Editor,
I am seeking representation for my completed 90,000-word romance novel, Technical Virgins.
[He: Are you a virgin?
She: Well, not technically.
She: Are you a virgin?
He: Technically? Yes.]
Similar in style and humor to the work of Sandra Hill or Jennifer Crusie, [Is that according to you, or according to Sandra Hill and Jennifer Crusie?] Technical Virgins concerns two surgeons-in-training who have been too busy/distracted/emotionally whacked to have a normal romantic life – but that is about to change.
Brad Berkowitz may be an artist in the kitchen, but his work as a surgical intern is less than stellar. [Owing to his insistence on using a meat cleaver when a scalpel is called for.] [If Brad is the guy who's gonna do my appendectomy, are they required to warn me that his work up to now has been less-than-stellar?] Lori Ketchum, a year ahead of Brad in the program, knows Brad won’t be allowed to pass to the next phase of residency if he doesn’t shape up fast. [Brad, you'll never become chief surgeon at the Mayo Clinic if you don't stop killing your patients.] She wants to help Brad improve his surgical skills [No, no, hold the scalpel by the dull end.] in time to save his career, but it isn’t easy with eighty-hour work-weeks and the well-intentioned meddling of family and friends. [His or hers?] [I was going to make a crack about the idiocy of working 80 hours a week, until I realized I work on this blog 90 hours a week.] That Brad seems to care far more about cooking her the perfect meal than succeeding as a doctor doesn’t help either, [And his patients aren't exactly crazy about it.] nor does the fact that when they are together, career is the last thing on their minds.
I am uniquely qualified to write this story, as I
--am a surgeon who trained at a busy community hospital, just like my protagonists, [Has anyone else noticed that people who are trained as surgeons try their hand at writing far more often than people trained as writers try their hands at surgery? Why is that?]
--share many of my hero’s obsessions and interests, kinky and otherwise, [Brad? This inept loser is your hero?]
--was a virgin for longer than I care to admit. [Silly. Admitting you're a virgin is a good thing. It's almost certain to deflect Evil Editor's mockery from your query to your love life.]
[Oh, and those weren't the qualifications of a novelist; they were the qualifications of a doctor who's a serial killer.]
This is my first novel, but I have several e-zine and print-zine publications to my credit. [First came magazines. Then came e-zines, which were magazines, but digital. Now, apparently, we have print-zines, which are e-zines, but on paper.] I would be delighted to [Has anyone come out with an e-print-zine yet?] forward sample chapters or a synopsis, at your request.
Brad should be drummed out of med school now, before he kills anyone else. Lori should dump him and marry a writer and support his artistic endeavors. She'll never be happy with this underachieving loser, I don't care if he can make a decent soufflé. Now there's a novel people would read.
I would drop the Crusie/Hill bit and the last two "qualifications," and use the space to explain why Lori wants to help Brad (besides his hunky bod), and maybe what the meddling friends and relatives are doing.
xiqay said...Now there's a novel people would read. I second this opinion, EE. Author, I didn't like your plot as described in your query. I didn't like Brad. A man in med school who is more interested in his kitchen than his surgery is not sympathetic or likeable. He's detestable. And never tell anyone you're just like your protagonist--then it's not fiction but a poorly disguised "memoir."
Basically, you've told us that Brad is a lousy med student and Lori likes him, for unknown reasons. A meddling family (I'm on their side if they're trying to tell Lori to ditch this loser) doesn't tell much. A little romance doesn't pull me in when I do not feel the love (to quote Emeril, in homage to your culinary side).
The whole thing sounds yucky.
Bernita said..."Technical Virgins? And here I thought it was a story of a post-Luddite's first encounter with HTML code.
Feemus said...I like the idea of someone who has spent a lot of time pursuing one course in life having second thoughts. That seems like something that would resonate with a lot of folks. But...and this is just me...I'm not letting a sexually confused social misfit named BERKOWITZ anywhere near me with a scalpel.
Rei said...If you don't have writing creds, don't feel the need to focus on them -- or even list them at all. If you have nothing, you have nothing. Save the space, don't bore the agent/editor.
Radicalfeministpoet said...What's wrong with you people? First of all, this guy's not in med school, he's already started his internship. Can't you read? Even EE messed that up...obviously it's not safe to spend 80 hours on a blog. Maybe they should limit blog-hours, the way they've limited residency hours.
I have to comment on some of the comments...
A man in med school who is more interested in his kitchen than his surgery is not sympathetic or likeable. He's detestable.
Well, all surgeons are detestable. The question is, were they born that way, or do they become like that after 4 years of infantilization in med school and another 5+ years of "training" at the hands of sadistic colleagues? Having done my share of both surgery and cooking, I can tell you the latter's a lot more fun. Here's just a few reasons: (1) You don't have to get up at 5 am to cook (unless you're making croissants for breakfast). (2) You don't have to wash your hands for 15 minutes before cooking. You don't really have to wash your hands at all. (3) Most food doesn't bleed. (4) Food doesn't sue you when you remove the wrong organ. (5) Food doesn't phone you up at 3 in the mornign and tell you it can't pee. (6) Once you eat, you're done--you don't have to keep visiting the ICU and writing notes about it. Unless you give yourself dysentery, of course. (7) The cooking profession isn't controlled by a nefarious esoteric world-wide Masonic paramilitary organisation that practices human sacrifice at the summer solistice.
I'm guessing you're a smart guy (because you did succeed at med school).
Talk about non sequiturs. Since when were doctors smart? You don't have to be smart to be a doctor, you just have to be anally retentive. (Being a brown-noser and back-stabber helps too.) And when it comes to smarts, surgeons are the dumbest, dumber even than shrinks. Surgery is just monkey-work; it involves very little brains, it's all technique. If you can hem a skirt, you can remove a gall-bladder.
Incidentally, it's not unheard of for doctors to become chefs...I know of one cardiac surgeon who did exactly that.
It would be interesting for the public to read about the seedy underside of medicine instead of swallowing all this Marcus Welby-type rubbish they see on TV. Until I finish my manuscript, though, they'll have to wait.
Bottom line: Doctors are scum. I should know.
Chef Ramsay said...Just to set the record straight, Rad, Cooks get up at five, cooks have to wash their hands, cooks bleed (You think scalpels are sharp? Try the Wüsthof Le Cordon Bleu Cook's Knife), diners sue cooks when they get salmonella or botulism, humans want more food every few hours, much more often than they want more surgery, and bow down before the sanitation inspectors, who'll shut you down in a heartbeat if they catch the cooks not washing.
Surgery may be misery, but cooking for the masses is no picnic. If jobs didn't suck they wouldn't have to pay you to do them.
Anonymous said...Oh, RadicalFeminist, you made me laugh this am! It is true, the US has some kind of worship/obsession with docs. I know a few who truly are heroes, but the "MD" does not allow people to walk on water.
That being said....the fact that the US has this worship/obsession is what will allow this book to fly off the shelves, just as people swoon over ER and Gray's Anatomy.
The majority of people are not aware of the med school/internship/residency/ fellowship step-ladder, so don't be too hard on EE and his minions.
As for whether I would read this book...I spend enough time with docs who don't really want to be there, who would rather be somewhere else (yes, cooking), but they are still very competent...I think the bottom line is that Brad is not a very sympathetic character. Does he ditch residency to follow his dream of being a chef? Does Lori help him take that step? Those plot points would redeem Brad in my mind.
Good luck with this and be careful with the sutures.
Evil Editor said...No need to defend EE, anonymous. Radfem obviously assumed the story takes place in the USA, where internship follows med school (though one could argue you're still in school until you're allowed to practice medicine) while EE assumed the story takes place in Nepal, one of several countries where internship is part of med school, and required to get one's degree. Of course, EE had the advantage of receiving the query in email from an address with the .np country code suffix, so Radfem may be forgiven her error.
beth said...First of all, this guy's not in med school, he's already started his internship.
Ummm...then that makes his attitude all the much worse, IMO. I think we're better off believing our doctors and surgeons are all like Marcus Welby or Hawk-eye Pierce. LOL.
Anonymous said...Perhaps Rad's aversion to surgeons is the reason why she has that ENORMOUS chip bobbling along on her shoulder? Really, dear; you should get that looked at.
Anonymous said...I think the chef/surgeon dilemma is potentially interesting, but it needs just a little more to make it work. For instance, I knew a man with just such a dilemma, and he became a doctor due to extreme family pressure. Maybe Brad has a similar problem and becoming a chef is the road to freedom for him. So, I guess I'm saying, just tell us WHY he's torn between these two fields, and then maybe you've got something.
BuffySquirrel said...I'm with EE--the query doesn't tell me why Lori wants to help Brad. Nor does it explain why they're still virgins. Saying that their careers aren't on their minds when they're together suggests sex is; saying they're virgins suggests it isn't. What is on their minds, then, if it isn't sex OR surgery...balloon animals?
K.Erevas said...I very much resent the implication that a "normal romantic life" involves sex. Some people still save sex for after they're married. I think. I hope. That said, I agree with a recent anonymous who said that we need to know a bit more about why Brad is in the medical field at all. If he cares more about cooking and isn't doing well as a surgeon, then how come he's still in med school? Money? Family pressure? Lost a bet? Do tell!
Posted by Evil Editor at 9:26 AM