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Customer Discussions > Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award forum

Brilliant idea for 2014 ABNA submission

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Showing 1-17 of 17 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Feb 19, 2013, 1:03:20 PM PST
Diana Wilder says:
In scanning these boards on a break I just had the lightning-bolt flash of inspiration for next year's ABNA submission. It would be in the 'horror' genre and it's timely and poignant and really funny.

The MC, whether male or female (I'll say 'him' for now) has somehow, through some karmic disaster succeeded in really ticking off the fates/the gods/the Powers That Be and they have cursed him with a mighty curse. He discovers, to his horror - the scene is going to be really, really horrific - that every single stupid thing he posted on an internet message board, all his posturing, whining and snarking, is played back whenever his is trying to (choose one):
Interview for a job
Proposition someone
Make love (different from above)
Dine at a nice restaurant
Attend weddings
Submit a manuscript

The words are spoken in whiney, snarky or posturing fashions, and when he REALLY ticks off the folks listed above, they start playing across his forehead like a marquee. The typos in his post will flash different colors. Canned laughter will play in the background.

It will drive him mad. He will end up living on top of a mesa, abandoned by all but horned toads and Gila monsters, none of which can read, and all of which are deaf.

Posted on Feb 19, 2013, 1:28:18 PM PST
Title suggestiion:

"Playback is Hell"

Posted on Feb 19, 2013, 1:37:02 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2013, 2:33:06 PM PST
Lark Spring says:
On the other hand he might be very pleased to be the center of such attention. People might start quoting his words as if they were gospel and following in his footsteps and the gods may be driven mad from having no one pray to them any more. Just my idea of a twist in the tale. Now where did I put that smiley?

Edit: Hope I didn't spoil your thread by jumping in, Diana. For some reason I'm a real thread-killer.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013, 3:28:35 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 19, 2013, 3:32:40 PM PST
Diana Wilder says:
@lark spring -
I think I may have you beat on the thread-killing thing, myself.

I probably should have posted this on the 'Submisions' thread, which is what inspired it.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013, 4:05:29 PM PST
Donald Shinn says:
I was just stunned to read that gila monsters and horned toads were deaf. We should start a campaign to teach them sign language.

Posted on Feb 19, 2013, 4:21:54 PM PST
Diana Wilder says:
Good idea, Donald. It could be his way to earn redemption...

And maybe they could teach spelling.

(What was that old cigarette slogan? - 'Pall Mall Can't Spall')

Posted on Feb 19, 2013, 4:21:59 PM PST
Lark Spring says:
No, I think it's great here, Diana. It's a bit edgier on the 'Submisions' thread, it seems to me. Of course, maybe it has people thinking too carefully about their posts, just in case.

Posted on Feb 19, 2013, 4:42:01 PM PST
Gary Clark says:
@ Donald - Love the premise - Sequel!!! A horned toad and a gila monster, commonly thought of as stupid animals, are taught sign language. Each returns to its 'people' and teach them all sign language. Then, the horned toads and gila monsters, with their new-found intelligence, go to war for a hundred years, each trying to control the desert land. Finally, after years of senseless war/death/distruction in both societies, the two species form a secret society and plot the overthrow of the rattlesnakes and then when all the rattlesnakes are dead, the schrew population grows exponentially over six months and then they attack .....................

Oh, wait - Sorry - my new blood pressure medication kicked in there and I was actually getting some blood flow to my brain. Now I'm thinking that Diana has the better idea.

Never mind ;)

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013, 4:49:27 PM PST
Elisa says:
lol! Perfect title.

Posted on Feb 19, 2013, 5:30:38 PM PST
Sarah Remy says:
I think it's clear you must also somehow include tortoises.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013, 6:05:55 PM PST
Mathew Paust says:
Laffing so hard I can barely type. You won't hafta have canned laffter. The live audience will give you plenty.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013, 6:08:02 PM PST
Mathew Paust says:
Wanna have another laff, click on his name and read one or two of his "reviews". This guy's a real piece of work.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 19, 2013, 6:12:15 PM PST
Mathew Paust says:
Gary, I just squirted Wild Blue blueberry lager thru my nose,thanks to you.

Posted on Feb 20, 2013, 1:51:56 AM PST
Rachel says:
Another great submission would be a classic work of literature with the title changed and the back cover blurb used as the pitch. Be interesting to see how far it would get.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013, 4:50:28 AM PST
Mathew Paust says:
That's what somebody did as an experiment in 1975 with Jerzy Kosinski's "Steps", which had won the National Book Award in 1969 and had sold 400,000 copies by '75. The hoaxster, a cable TV salesman named Chuck Ross, typed up 21 pages of the book and sent it to four publishers, including Random House, its original publisher. All four rejected it. His big mistake, said George Plimpton after reading Ross's account of the hoax in Harper's, was that he'd started his query letter with "Hello". Kosinski said Ross should have sent the entire manuscript because "It [Steps] depends very much on cumulative effect. I can see myself rejecting it... It would have been much more interesting if he had submitted the whole work... I've never submitted a fragment of my work to anyone."

So Ross repeated the experiment four years later, sending the entire book to the original four plus a bunch of other legacy publishers. Same result. He then sent it to a couple dozen literary agents. Here's the whole account:

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013, 5:41:00 AM PST
Lark Spring says:
My only reservation about the "Steps" experiment is that it's just possible that some of those rejecting it secretly did it because they recognized the work, as with the person who suggested a similarity with Kosinski. For some reason they may not have wanted to categorically claim that this was an already published work.

I think Doris Lessing's experiment was more telling - she actually submitted two of her own new novels to her own publisher under a pseudonym:

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 20, 2013, 5:44:57 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 20, 2013, 5:56:09 AM PST
Mathew Paust says:
I think those experiments are good. Maybe help keep the big guys honest - not that they probly give a damn. It's all a bottom-line thing now with the legacy houses, I'm afraid.

Just read the Lessing piece. Fascinating.
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