Friday, July 28, 2006
Guess the Plot
The Bridge Beckons
1. When Mark messes up his solo in the Christmas musical, his dad is so upset with him he crashes the family car into a gasoline tanker truck on a foggy bridge while driving home.
2. 10-year-old Thomas hates traveling over the village bridge, where the King has his enemies' heads on display. But when young Tom realizes the bridge is a portal to a world populated with the souls of the damned, he must decide whether to cross the bridge . . . and become the ruler of all of Hell.
3. Stan, a 29-year-old sock model needs help getting his love life in order. His dentist comes to the rescue with a novelty bridge that emits a hypnotic tone when Stan runs his tongue over it. Will it work on Shogun Sheila?
4. Agnes remembers the torment of "Take the key and lock her up," from kindergarten. Now 40, she vows to blow up London Bridge and put an end to her nightmares.
5. A wannabe novelist pursues his dream, but ten years, three bankruptcies and two divorces later, only PublishAmerica are interested. Will he accept the bridge's offer instead?
6. Randy Markinson lives in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge and waits in the lonely shadow of depression. All he needs is four more jumpers before he can be number 1,000.
Seventeen year old Mark Wilkerson screwed up. He knows it. His dad is disappointed in him; his whole family knows he blew his solo in their Christmas musical at the retirement home. [Even the old ladies in their wheelchairs were booing and throwing rotten tomatoes at him.] So, later, when a car passes them through the dense fog on the Carquinez Bridge, and clips the family car, Mark knows if his dad hadn’t been so upset with him, he might have avoided the tangle with a gasoline truck. Mark and one kid sister are the only survivors of the fiery crash. Now, Mark’s guilt is tearing him apart. [If only I'd been on key with that b flat, they'd be alive today.]
Mark and his sister move in with their grandmother in a new town where the Carquinez Bridge dominates the town’s skyline and constantly reminds him of his tragedy. He suffers from nightmares, paralyzing memories and fears resulting from the accident. A girl he meets, Genie Lombardi, who promises [Suddenly you're talking like Yoda.] to help him overcome his phobia. But her ex-boyfriend, Jeff Marino, harbors a terrible secret that will affect Mark’s conscience forever. [He put a gerbil in Mark's tuba before the Christmas musical, causing . . . everything.] Jeff also wants Genie [Even the genie on TV didn't spell her name "Genie," and she was a genie.] back and will do anything to get her, including killing Mark - or even Genie if he must. [Now that's what I call true love.] [If he tells her he wants her back, I advise her against using the phrase, "Over my dead body."] [If you're willing to murder two people to get your girlfriend back, isn't it kind of stupid if one of them . . . Oh, never mind.]
Knowing of Mark’s phobia, Jeff kidnaps Genie to get to Mark. [One wonders what Genie saw in this guy in the first place.] Now, Mark must overcome his fear of the bridge to rescue the girl he loves. [It's the big climax. Jeff is dangling Genie off the bridge. "I'm losing my grip," he says. "You'd better come and save your girlfriend, tuba boy. Oh, wait, I forgot, you're afraid of bridges. Guess she's gonna die, and it'll be your fault, bridge chicken." Mark struggles closer, like Jimmy Stewart climbing the stairs at the end of Vertigo. It's a big four-lane bridge, but to Mark it looks like a shaky rope bridge over a gorge. Will he overcome his fear and save Genie?] At the last moment everything goes wrong. Now, Mark has two tragedies on the bridge to live with. [What?! She falls to her death? Another tanker truck explodes? The bridge wins?] But, ultimately, it's the second tragedy that forces him to face the bridge that beckons to him. [He's going back for a third try? Who gets killed this time, his sister? His grandmother?]
The Bridge Beckons is a 73,000-word romantic/suspense novel written primarily for young adults. It is a story where high school friends and enemies clash in a 1960s tale of teenage deceit and intrigue, some of whom will survive and some will not.
Set in the small Northern California town where I grew up, the Carquinez bridge, is known for dense fog, multi-car pile-ups, and even suicides which inspired many of the elements of this story. [Multi-car pile-ups, suicide, death, murder, kidnaping, guilt. Not what we read as teens in my time. I'm getting old.] [Did you mean that the story is set in your hometown? Because you said the bridge was set there.]
I just can't buy into the kid's musical gaffe setting off a chain of events that culminates in a collision with a tanker truck. Or into the kid's believing it did. Can't you come up with something else, a big fight in the car, the father gets a drink spilled on him, turns around . . . crash.
Also, Jeff seems too criminal for a small town high school kid in the sixties. Kidnaping and murdering? Over a girl named Genie?
Plus, Mark finally confronts his fear of the bridge and it ends in another tragedy on the bridge? And this spurs him to confront it yet again?