Dec 2, 2009

Query - Everything is Fine, Nothing is Ruined

A revision of this query has been posted. Click here to read it.

Seven, a detective with an inadvisable haircut, and his pal Tori -- a philosopher with a strange hat indeed -- are down on luck, money and protein. Luckily, a briefcase full of counterfeit money and a mishmash of dead bodies embroil them like a chef embroils a petulant duck. Now thoroughly marinated in circumstance, the pair unexpectedly find themselves in possession of the briefcase. Sensing no plausible alternative, they are chased through a variety of locales, from a haunted mansion all the way to a jewelry store -- robbery in progress.

Everything is Fine, Nothing is Ruined is a humorous paranormal mystery about a detective completely uninterested in self-discovery. Can he keep himself busy long enough to avoid the painful mysteries of self? An FBI agent sorely in need of vacation time, an environmentalist organization of ninjas, and the notorious gang of boss Eggbert "Eggy" Thornton seem determined to ensure Seven won't survive long enough to answer these pesky questions anyway. The absurd, almost ridiculous realities encountered by the ensemble cast ensure that the world they inhabit is never dull -- even the minifridge holds disturbing secrets.


Lori Folkman said...

There's a lot to like about this. It has humor. It has voice.'s kinda confusing!

I got a lost with the cooking metaphors. I was thinking that this must be one of those books that adds recipes and cooking advice with fiction. Also, having the name Seven--while interesting--was a tad distracting right off the bat. I had to read that first sentence a few times to understand it was name.

I think you could offer a bit more details, but maybe leave out some of the wakcyness. Right now, your query reminds me of a ten ring circus. Way too much going on to focus on any one thing.

Love that last line though! Good luck.

gj said...

The query does a good job of promising a wonderfully weird view of the absurdities in life, but it fails to establish that there's actually a story to hang that worldview on.

Look at the first sentence as if you hadn't actually written the book, and consider what it means:

"Seven, a detective with an inadvisable haircut"

That sounds fun, except it doesn't present the reader with any image to really latch onto. Is it inadvisable because it's too long and he wants to be a military type, too short and he wants to be a hippy, too ugly and he wants to be handsome, or perhapas a swastika is cut into it, and he's Jewish? Rather than TELLING that it's inadvisable, SHOW us how it's inadvisable with the relevant detail that will allow the reader to make the connection. Or, if it's really not important to the story (how does his haircut affect the plot of the story?), then skip it for the query.

"his pal Tori -- a philosopher with a strange hat indeed"

Again -- "strange hat" is so vague as to be meaningless. Is it a bowler, a beret, a live platypus? Is it hand-knit from some exotic fiber in shocking colors? I'm not getting an image from it.

"[they're] down on luck, money and protein."

Still no image. They're broke and skinny? Or, like some crazy investor, they have lots of assets, but they're tied up, so there's no cash flow, and they've been eating too many cheap carbs instead of lean proteins, so they're fat? I don't have any idea.

I don't have an image of who the protagonist is, I don't have any idea of what he wants, and I don't have any concrete idea of what his problem is -- does he want luck, money and protein? And what would that mean, anway? Winning a turkey and a million bucks in a lottery?

Keep the absurdity, but don't forget the absolute basics of storytelling: an interesting protagonist with an interesting problem, doing something about the problem, but being opposed by a worthy antagonist.

Byron said...

many thanks for the comments. I am so happy this website exists -- as a writer I could tell that the query needed some serious work but sometimes you get too close to something and you forget even the basics.

I'm gonna hammer this thing out a bit tomorrow morning when I'm fresh. Should I then re-offer it as a post, or post the revised version as a comment in this thread (said the newbie, apologetically)?

Joe said...

Keep offering it. Do it four times, five times, however many it takes!

I like this one a lot. My gut tells me that the thing you hang the story on is that "the deep, dark plot" is painfully obvious to the reader while the characters remain clueless by choice ... if that's the case, then I'd keep the sentence about the mini-fridge and concentrate on changing the beginning of the query over the end. Hope this helps; I certainly do!