Friday, May 26, 2006

Face-Lift 36

Guess the Plot

The Space Between

1. An Oakland detective and her estranged husband, a state Fish and Game biologist, team up to prevent the poisoning of the San Francisco reservoirs.

2. The first manned expedition to Alpha Centauri knew they would face unimaginable challenges when they landed in another galaxy. What they weren't prepared for was the perils that they had to overcome in the space between.

3. This user-friendly introduction to sketching explains the principle of negative space: drawing what isn't there, rather than what is.

4. Simon struggles to overcome the chilling effect of his unemotional upbringing, and learn to bridge the space between himself and others with the help of his high-school drama teacher and classmates.

5. Stranded on a desert island with two men, Margaret must choose between them; the bad news: one is an actor and the other is a car salesman.

6. Emily thought it was bad when she lived in Florida and Chuck lived in California; now Chuck's on the first manned flight to Mars.


Original Version

Dear Ms. Agent,

There is no hard and fast rule dictating that one must know everything about relationships by the age of fifty. We all learn, change and grow until the day we die. Sometimes we get a second chance to find happiness. Sometimes we feel that it’s wrong to accept such a gift. [Sometimes we can be such morons.]

Margaret and Jeff mark their twenty-fifth anniversary with a once in a lifetime trip to New Zealand. Their marriage had become overshadowed by jealousy and mistrust, and Margaret hopes that this journey will revive their sinking marriage. [Jeff, on the other hand, is hoping for the opportunity to push Margaret into the fires of Mount Doom.] Her hopes come to a crashing halt when the aircraft encounters a violent storm and is wrecked in the South Pacific. [Sinking marriage? Crashing halt? Let Evil Editor do the jokes, please.] [Okay, it's either Lost, Cast Away, Survivor, or Gilligan's Island.]

Margaret’s husband Jeff perishes beneath the waves with the other passengers. [It's Cast Away.] She is left alone with [two volleyballs that she fantasizes are] David, a mature actor, and Mitch, a car salesman who attempts to seduce her. [On a floating piece of aircraft wreckage.] [Your jet crashes into the ocean, and immediately you start putting the moves on the only female survivor? Unbelieva-- Oh he's a car salesman. Never mind.] She resists Mitch’s violent advances, and David is forced to defend her, resulting in Mitch’s disappearance. [Sharks got him. If only they'd crashed somewhere near an island.] [Evil editor would buy the book, just to see a car salesman get eaten by sharks.]

Margaret’s world with Jeff had faded to black and white, but the first blush of colour returns as she and David meet the challenges of survival. [The first of which is to find an island before they drown.] Their new world is brutal, but they have opportunities to discover its beauty as well. [For instance, they see some very colorful tropical fish every time they go under.]

Their experience naturally pulls them together, but they resist. David is convinced that he is competing with Jeff’s ghost. He also feels the guilt of being attracted to another woman, imagining that his young second wife is frantic with worry in Los Angeles and ignoring the fact that she had been slipping away from him for some time. [Worst of all, his arms are getting really tired from treading water.] Margaret, while still emerging from her unhappy marriage, rediscovers her own dormant sensuality but refuses to be a catalyst to end another relationship, flawed or not.

They are rescued [by Captain Nemo,] [by Little Nemo,] [by Jeff Probst,] [by three dolphins and a sea tortoise under the control of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner,] and return to their respective homes, feeling the shadow of their own failed relationships. They attempt to resume their former lives, but they discover that their shared experience has changed them both. [They're both now madly in love. With Jeff Probst.]

It takes an island to begin their journey, [What?! There was an island?] but it takes the efforts of loving friends and family at home to finish it. [Finish it how? Do they get together?]

The Space Between, my first novel of approximately 53,000 words, is a contemporary romance, and may suit Mills & Boone's revamped Harlequin Romance line, but it is up to you to determine its suitability. Upon further inspection you may find that it is not only a romance. It touches on subjects like self esteem, body image, the approach of middle age, independence and spousal issues.

I hope that this brief [Brief?!!] description of my work will encourage you to request a further sample of my writing. I thank you for your time, and look forward to hearing from you. This is a multiple submission.


Revised Version

Dear Ms. Agent,

Sometimes we get a second chance to find happiness. And sometimes we foolishly pass up this gift.

Margaret and Jeff mark their twenty-fifth anniversary with a trip to New Zealand. Margaret hopes that this journey will revive their marriage, burdened of late by jealousy and mistrust. Her hopes come to a crashing halt when the aircraft encounters a violent storm and is wrecked near a South Pacific island.

Margaret’s husband Jeff perishes beneath the waves with most of the other passengers. She is left alone with David, another survivor. As she and David meet the challenges of survival, their experience naturally pulls them together, but David feels guilt, imagining that his wife, who had been slipping away from him, is frantic with worry. Margaret rediscovers her own dormant sensuality but refuses to be a catalyst to end another relationship, flawed or not.

Eventually they are rescued and return to their homes, feeling the shadow of their own failed relationships. As they resume their former lives, they discover that their shared experience has changed them both. So David dumps his wife and takes Margaret to New Zealand where they live happily ever after.

The Space Between is a 53,000-word contemporary romance that touches on issues of self-esteem, body image, independence, and the approach of middle age. I hope that this brief description of my work will encourage you to request a further sample of my writing. Thank you.


Notes

As the car salesman disappears anyway, Evil Editor removed him from the query. His seduction attempt was a bit jarring, considering the circumstances.

Does anything happen between them on the island? Does anything happen between them after they get back? Is there any romance in this romance? It wasn't clear.

18 comments:

Beth said...

Will I be the only one who ponders the liklihood of there being anysurvivors when that plane plows into the South Pacific waves at several hundred miles an hour? Like hitting concrete.

December Quinn said...

Wow, Margaret was really confident they would be rescued, wasn't she, to be refusing to "end" David's relationship? That's the kind of person I'd want with me on a desert island!

Luna said...

"They are rescued [by Captain Nemo,] [by Little Nemo,] [by Jeff Probst,] [by three dolphins and a sea tortoise under the control of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner,]"

Before, I just really, really liked Evil Editor. Now I think I love him.

CaitKitt said...

They are rescued [by Captain Nemo,] [by Little Nemo,] [by Jeff Probst,] [by three dolphins and a sea tortoise under the control of Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner,]

Before, I merely really, really liked Evil Editor. Now I think I love him.

Bernita said...

Danger does remarkable things to the human libido.
Probably the car salesman didn't try to seduce her but rape her, EE.

Rei said...

"Eventually they are rescued and return to their homes"

Passive voice, Evil Editor?

Evil Editor said...

Yes, unless you can fill me in on who rescued them

Kara Lennox said...

This book would not suit the new Harlequin romance line, as one of the characters is married to someone else and that is pretty much taboo in a traditional romance.

However, if the author could manage to fill the book out to make it a longer length, it might be suitable for Harlequin's "Next" line, which deals with more mature heroines entering a new phase of life (and this certainly qualifies as a new phase!) This line is not a "romance" line per se, but it deals with some edgier subject matter, of which romance can certainly be a part.

Rei said...

Jeff Probst saved them, of course.

I think I've figured out this whole island thing. They crash in the middle of the ocean... but it's a *very* shallow place in the middle of the ocean, so they're able to stand on Jeff and Mitch.

Mazement said...

It all makes perfect sense to me. The plane touched down a mile from an island. Most of the passengers panicked and ran off the plane into the water, but Margaret, David, and Mitch remembered that bit from the safety briefing, "In the likely event of a water landing your seat cushion may be used as a flotation device."

Margaret tried to remind Jeff, but he was too overcome by jealousy and mistrust to listen to her.

Having Mitch "disappear" strikes me as too sanitized, though. Can't David chop off his head and put it on a stake?

Anne said...

AKA "Blue Lagoon: The Golden Years"

From the beginning lines, I thought Margaret and Jeff would rediscover thier love for each other as they struggle to survive, finding that society's expectations and demands were part of what was driving them apart. Then, they would have to hold on to this newfound love when they are rescued and returned to civilization.

BuffySquirrel said...

I started a post about the chances of only three people surviving a plane crash / ditch (and in such good shape) but then remembered in time that not everybody likes reading about that stuff. Google KAL007 and ET961 if you're interested.

In short: if the crash is bad enough for only three people to survive, they would probably have injuries that would preclude seductions, or even taking much of an interest in tropical fish. If the crash is survivable, more people should survive. Maybe the three characters could get separated from other survivors? (They're the ones with the inflatable boat; everyone else has only their seat cushions...and Mitch runs off with the homing beacon, which explains why rescue takes so long)

mazement, "touched down"?...more like hit, bounced, and broke...no, no, no, people REALLY don't want to read about this stuff, sqrl.

Chumplet said...

Oh, my God! Okay, okay, so it was a bad query. I've learned my lesson since then.
I hope it's not bad form to satisfy your curiosity. Just a bit. You see, the plane clips a hilltop at one end of the island and the tail section breaks off and slides down the hill. The three of them were the only ones in the tail section. The rest of the plane skips like a rock and lands in the water. Glug. Glug.
If you (and I) are lucky, the rest will be revealed in about five years or never.

Anonymous said...

The ones that survived, did so, by climbing atop of the used car salesman's inflatable car. Which was used, of course.

BuffySquirrel said...

I would like to help more with the details of how this involuntary conversion could be made survivable but it's a topic to which many are sensitive. Suffice it to say that you need to consider the forces transmitted to the human body when an aircraft travelling at c. 500mph comes abruptly to a halt.

(that's for the author only; the rest of you minions please don't, unless you are truly evil that is)

McKoala said...

Maybe the plane is in trouble, maybe looking for a landing spot, hence low and slow?

I laughed muchly at EE's take on love literally amid the waves.

Rapunzel247 said...

I've finally caught up on the back log! But now that means I have to wait to read more.

I've successfully got one annoyed comment from my siblings and a number of strange looks from my mum since I started reading. Ah well... the sacrifices one must make.

R.

sylvia said...

I'm wondering if it would be possible to see the query that resulted in this book being published?