3rd SR Crapometer #85

Dear Ms. Snark: (snarl)

I have a completed manuscript for your consideration.

"Multi-Purpose Wipes" is a dark-humored story about the end of the United States as we currently know it. A plot to overthrow the government takes on a life of its own and has the key players scrambling to figure out who is really pulling the strings. Conspiracies exist, they just never go as planned.

I have lived across the U.S. and in Central America. My most recent job was as a firefighter in Alaska. All of these experiences lend themselves to the story.

Look forward to hearing from you,

M. Shields

word count?
this one has my finger twitching at the SASE cause there's so little substance to the letter.
Like the name of the protaganist.

"Multi-Purpose Wipes" 1st page:


Print The Legend

It started on a beach in Western Mexico when a young United States citizen was confronted by a World Police Officer. Some history books say that World War One was initiated by an assassin’s bullet. A single man committing a simple act, a world at war. America’s second civil war, Operation Fuck You, as some called it, was said to have been started by a confrontation between two United States citizens. One was Carl Sayer, a World Police Officer (WPO) assigned to monitoring U.S. citizens in Mexico; the other, a 29-year-old man with a couple of beers under his belt and a Cat Stevens song playing on his boom box. His name was George Lather.

Operation Fuck You (OFY) was what the “Leave Its” called the war. Actually, the “Leave Its” were what the “Love Its” called the rebellious fighters who had risen up against America’s government. The Love Its called themselves the Love Its, or, the Real Americans. What made it even more confusing is that the Leave Its (who never referred to themselves as that) called themselves The Americans. So there were the Real Americans fighting The Americans, or, the Love Its fighting the Leave Its. As the rest of the world became interested, in one way or the other, they began to refer to the war in the United States as America’s Second Civil War and the dueling sides as the Love Its and Leave Its, which over time became the Luvetts and Leevitts. The Real Americans always referred to the war as the War of Christian Endurance, or WOCE.

Humor is hard to write.
Sarcasm is harder.
Sardonic dark conspiracy theories that are funny are hardest.

This is all tell, no show.
I'm conspiring with KY to give you a complex by rejecting this with a rubber stamp that says "Love it or leave it; just do it"


McKoala said...

Got lost in this and abandoned reading, sorry.

Word ver: fufbuk. What a great word. Must try and slide it into everything - it could mean anything!

'Frankly, you are a fufbuk.'

'The fufbuk padded through the woods on velvety paws.'

'Under the sofa cushions she found three coins, a button and endless fufbuk.'

Anonymous said...


No. None today.

The writer is directed to read everything by Leonard Wibberley.

Following that, as a just for grins writing exercise, the writer is urged to put ten noun-verb-object sentences without using acronyms or the word f**k or any of its variations.

(I've nothing against that word, use it all the time, but after a bit it gets effin' borin' to read.)

overdog said...

Now I know what WTF means.

"What the fufbuk?"

FYI: myyatiqo.

sherry decker said...

It reads more like an essay, unfortunately. How about some dialogue and action?

Virginia Miss said...

Miss Snark, You mentioned that you like the protag's name in the query. I was glad to see this because on another agent's website (I believe it was Noah Lukeman's), he advises submitters to use no names (and to distill the plot paragraph into 3 sentences).

I'm learning so much from this crapometer. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!

xiqay said...

Love it or leave it. Cat Stevens. When did you write this? Not current.

Hated the title.

I liked Carl Sayer and George Lather for names (although Carl Sayer sounds a lot like Carl Sagan). I like the War for Christian Endurance, too. (This sounds more present-day.)

I might like this, but I don't yet.

Anonymous said...

Lose the first three sentences. "America’s second civil war, Operation Fuck You" is your hook. That's where you want to start.

Random association department: "Leevitts" brought to mind The Leewit from The Witches of Karres. This may be sufficiently idiosyncratic to be ignored.

Schaz said...

Tip: drop the first sentence. Instantly improves the flow of the first paragraph.

(If it matters at all that they're on a beach in western Mexico, you can establish that when you describe the confrontation in detail, as I think you're about to do...)

Rei said...

Interesting beginning, but poorly implemented. Cut everything but the best parts, and you might have a good opening. Work things that you don't want to cut into the text later.

salty said...

thank you all so much for commenting, no-one crapped on it like i've seen before, so i'm happy

anon 1 - thanks for the advice, but no thanks

over - world trade fence?

sherry - lots of dialogue and action, just not in the oh-so-important first two paragraphs, sorry it lost you

xiqay: very recent (finished 1st draft last march) cat stevens is a purposefully chosen reference, and the title isn't the real one (see my blog for real one), as i was posting it to snarks i happened to clean off my computer with multi-purpose wipes and thought "what the hell"

2nd anon - funny thing, i was actually directed away from what you suggest during a reading last month, the "three" people present (no, not family) seemed to like my new start.... personally i hate the first page of most books i read, including mine, so i understand where you come from...

snarks: thanks for taking the time! after reading your comments on everyone, i thought "does she/he have a life outside of her/his office?" although your comments on mine were tepid, were you feeling good today? i expected much worse. i continue to enjoy and learn from your blog

salty said...

schaz and rei - your comments weren't up yet whenh i responded earlier...

schaz - yeah, confrontation, in all it's gory, is next... thanks for tip, i mentioemnd earlier i tried it and... oh, i don't know anymore...

rei - hey! someone who is interested

spy scribbler said...

Sounds interesting! I just wanted to mention that the title "Multi-Purpose Wipes" makes me think of baby wipes. You know the kind you use to clean up a baby's poo? Doesn't quite jive with the thriller(?) you're writing.

Titles are easy to change, though! Good luck! OFY just cracked me up--that's great!

salty said...

spy - thanks for reading through it - yes, that is one use for wipes :)

Scott MacHaffie said...

I like the concept from the query letter, but I agree with A. Non. above that said start with "America's second civil war, Operation Fuck You".

Other than that, there are two many names in the opening--it's distracting and the names can be introduced one or two at a time as the story progresses.