So, JK Rowling, I see you announced the title, release date, and synopsis of your new novel, The Casual Vacancy. Your first foray in to the world of adult fiction, yeah? Big step, Ms. Rowling. Big step.
Now, JK – can I call you Janet? No? The “J” isn’t for Janet? Oh. You sure? Consider it. Anyways, Ms. Rowling, I know you had a smattering of success with that charming kids’ book of yours, Harry Potter And The Case of the Stony Philosopher, or whatever it was, but this is the big leagues. And I don’t want to toot my own horn here, but I have over 800 subscribers. That’s right, 800. So, I think I know a little something about how to touch hearts and to appeal to the general public. Therefore, as long as you’re not one of those writers who’s afraid of success, I’d like to offer some constructive criticism. Let’s first take a look at the synopsis, as released by your publisher, Little, Brown:When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in his early forties, the little town of Pagford is left in shock. Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war. Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils… Pagford is not what it first seems. And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?
Not bad, Ms. Rowling. Not bad. A little dry, a little predictable, a little vanilla, a little light on lightning-bolt scars.
No, no. Don’t worry – I think you’ve got real potential, but, if you don’t mind? Let me sizzle up this steak for you; see if we can’t make this book successful.
When Barry Fairweather dies unexpectedly in [a tornado of fire], the [mystical, floating] town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and [dogs who can talk, dispensing home-spun wisdom; also they wear hats], but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, [gremlins] at war with [aliens], [sister] wives at war with their husbands, teachers [literally] at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems [to the curmudgeonly detective and his sassy, sexy assistant who arrive there to investigate an anonymous tip that Fairweather was murdered by the tornado].
And the empty seat left by Barry on the [Interdimensional Assassins Supreme] council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the [galaxy] has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and [lightning-breathing monsters]?
See? Who wouldn’t want to read that? That’s grown-up literature. That’s a best-seller. You’re welcome. Also? A cameo by Harry Potter. But I suppose that’s just obvious.
And, really, think about the “Janet” thing. Naming yourself after a text-message abbreviation may cut it with the tweener set, but “Janet K. Rowling”? That says ‘big sales.’