9.03.2006

3rd SR Crapometer #32

Dear Miss Snark:

I am seeking representation for my thriller/suspense novel TITLE HERE (107,000 words). I have heard from good sources that you are interested in this genre. (I can't tell you how much I hate this. Either say where/whom, or leave it out. This sounds like you have secret, inside info, and since you don't, we're off to a bad start).

As per your submission guidelines, I have included the first page of the novel.

TITLE HERE is a fast-paced thriller that snatches the reader into the steamy world of Houston and Galveston Island. It is a spinning triangle: The feisty woman who escapes the slaughter of everyone else on the party boat. The madman with a specially-crafted sword in pursuit of the only witness. And the brother of one of the victims, with whom the heroine conspires to escape from the madman’s tightening web. (I'd stop reading here-this is cliched melodrama. Couple with the first paragraph annoyance I wouldn't invest more time-form rejection)

Murder and metallurgy, a wonderful combination. Sun, sand and sword fights. Love under a bridge and on a beach house deck. And lurking in the shadows: the gang behind the madman, endangered by his mistakes and pursuing *him.* (more generic, leaden description)

I did considerable research into metallurgy, sword fighting techniques and reenactment groups. Who knew there was such current demand for swords? (I prefer Renaissance basket hilts to Japanese katanas.) You'd do better to show this sense of humor earlier.. it's definatly more specific, and thus more interesting.

The manuscript is completed and ready to ship, although any suggestions for revision are welcome. (I know you're trying to be amenable to editorial suggestion and open to input but really, just leave this out. Have confidence in your product cause after all it's really good, right?)

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,

==========
TITLE HERE

A heron burst from the swamp reeds with a squawk and a flurry of blurry wings as the Slayer raced naked through the murky forest, leaped dead fallen branches and moldy leaves, slipped through spider webs and clinging vines strung across the faint trail . . . skidded to a prancing pause behind a tree. A long blade twitched in his hand, sliced tiny circles in the humid air.

People cackled and yammered on the boat, a barge on pontoons moored out in the cove water, dim in pink shadows, touched gold by the rising sun as the swelter of the night gave way to a scorching day.

Three men futzed around setting up deck chairs amidships while two women chattered on the bow bench.

“Fuck it,” the Slayer muttered. Supposed to be one woman. McCray couldn’t count worth shit.

Someone bellowed on the boat, the howl of a dog tethered to a post for too long.

The Slayer shrugged. One woman, two women, didn’t matter. Fuck McCray.

***

Donna Harmon perched on the gunnel and glanced around the jungly cove surrounded by trees, laced with trash, well off the main channel, away from the young studs racing their water missiles. The roar and whine of the motors seared the air in an irritating lack of rhythm.

“My brother snagged a fish with three eyes here once,” she said to the young woman on the bow bench, the surprise guest of the trip. Riney Aniya, in a three-dot bikini, vivid blond hair at odds with the slight Asian slant of her startling blue eyes.

Riney lounged back, propped her head with a hand. “For reals?”

Donna smiled. “At least we thought so, we laughed ourselves silly when we discovered the third eye was a mushy dot of duckweed.”

“Jeez.” The girl giggled like a tickled chipmunk. “You juiced about fishing?”

“I used to be.” Donna snuffed out the cigarette, flicked it into the water. “Been a couple years, my husband hates to fish, calls it a lazy sport.”

“You don’t fish by yourself?”

Donna smiled at the girl. “It’s not the same.”

“I don’t fish at all.”

“My brother’s good at it, and we talk.”

“Like to eat fish . . .”

“Now he lives too far away.” Donna grabbed a beer from the cooler, dismayed to see that the ice was already melting. “Damn it, I told Prescot we needed dry ice and the other cooler.”

“Can’t have eyes on it, eww . . .” Riney flapped a hand.

“I sent him out last night to--”

“Why’d he get real ice?”

“I told him to gas the truck and the boat, and to get dry goddamn ice, now I find out he brought water ice.”

“You need dry ice.”

Donna slapped the cooler lid shut. “Probably forgot and grabbed a few bags from the machine at the gas station.”

“Well, that’s easier, he probably figured--”

“This shit’s been sitting in the garage all night, and look at it.” Donna held up the dripping beer bottle.

Riney shook her head. A silk cape of blinding blond hair swirled over her shoulders. “I didn’t think, hell, we could have brought dry ice.”

“Have to go to shore in a couple--”

“Andy’s kind of buca about stuff like that.”

“Sometimes my chubby hubby infuriates me.”


I was right to stop reading at paragraph one. Murky forest? Flurry of blurry? Prancing pause?
Dr. Seuss, while a great and wonderful writer, is not the correct model for trade fiction.

12 comments:

Bernita said...

I didn't mind the first bit of description...it was the mindless dialogue that made me wonder WTF?

Anonymous said...

Um...why is the slayer naked?

December Quinn said...

Lol! Dr. Seuss!


I made it to the cackling, yammering people on the boat. I was tempted to keep going, to see if I could figure out exactly what they were cackling and yammering about because it sounded kind of fun. But then I realized it's only like 4 people and that's not enough, IMO, for a good cackle-and-yammer party.

Elektra said...

"A silk cape of blinding blond hair swirled over her shoulders."

What kind of shampoo does this woman use?

Anonymous said...

Slayer = Buffy

It's in the collective consciousness of Famdon, thanks to Joss Whedon. You need a nother name for him.

Slayer NEKKED and RUNNING?? I have to question whether the writer has actually tried that in any portion of Texas geography?

Is he barefoot, too? Running? Yo, broken beer bottles, rocks, stickers, cactus (I've seen it in swampy areas, yes).

An ordinary backyard in most areas of the Lone Star State will provide fire ants, red ants, famished spiders,chiggers, fleas, ticks, and cranky, poison-packed reptiles. One sweating, nekked looney is a prancing buffet.

Prancing. What a word to inflict on a nekked guy. What's that movement going to make his ding dong do? NOT a pretty picture.

Do a reality check on how a crazy (but SMART) person would go about moving through such a landscape.

Create a viewpoint for your boat crowd, preferably the protag's.

If this has a CODE anywhere near it with secret clues to follow, then put this one in the trunk and start something else. THAT trend is over, it will be dead and rotting with readers dancing on the grave by the time this book sees print.

Saturday Ayres said...

Personally, I'm going to go against the crowd here; I'd read on, based on the writing alone. Based on your query, I wouldn't. The voice is interesting--mind, I don't know if it's saleable, but it's certainly interesting, and you clearly have talent.

Anonymous said...

Naked is the new black.
It's sexy if you are a virgin

golfpoor said...

He/she should submit to the Dark and Stormy Night contests.

Writer of this Crap said...

Wow, thanks for the critiques. Clearly I need more, or quit fooling myself. Really, not being snarky, I appreciate the input. I needed this reality check. My apologies to Miss Snark for wasting her time, but I appreciate the unambivalent comments.

Anonymous said...

Dear writer,

We all start out writing crap, and I didn't think this was crap anyway. Some of it was pretty good. It's just not publishable.

Don't give up hope; just keep working on your writing. The first million words are only for practice anyway.

And really, every crapometer entry is a waste of Miss Snark's time, because she's never going to make any money off us. Don't feel guilty; she's obviously doing this for your benefit, not her own, and this did benefit you, right? It's also benefits other writers who learned from the example.

What a saintly woman is Miss Snark. Despite the fangs and claws. Don't give up hope; just learn and improve and keep trying.

Anonymous said...

Huh? Was there a story here?

lizzie26 said...

To the Writer of the Crap (as he called himself), if your heart is set on writing, don't give up. Read all you can on writing. Write and keep writing. The good thing is that you accept criticism without storming off in a hissy-fit. That's a great start. Focus, and keep you eyes on the goal.