Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Face-Lift 149


Guess the Plot


Don't Drop Me Now—I Can't Die With Split Ends

1. Prudence has the lead role in the school play, but faulty flight rigging threatens to send her crashing to her death. Plus she's having a bad hair day, as usual.

2. Alsareim was born into life as one of the levitating protectors of the land of Urd, but he really wants to be a hairstylist. His compatriots mock his dreams, until a princess of the bird demons shows up with a follicular disaster that only he can repair.

3. First book of my Chick lit trilogy, to be followed by If I'm on Life Support, Don't Unplug Me 'Til I'm A Size Six, and Never Say, "She Looks So Natural."

4. Trapped in a broken cable car with an evil-tempered poodle called "Split Ends" for company, Katy prays for rescue while plotting ways to kill the pooch.

5. Carried in the arms of a dozen Hollywood monsters, B Movie actress Griselda Charm tells her story of vampires, mayhem and shampoo commercials.

6. Just when Veronica Wadsworth was about to get her life together she learned the secret identity of her new superhero boyfriend: he's her hairdresser.


Original Version

Dear Mr. E. Editor,

Burdened with a personality as quaint as her awful name, Prudence Phillips started her senior year somewhat imprudently: She accidentally flashed the O'Neill County Scholarly Miss pageant judges in the middle of her monologue. [I assume she went on to win.] [This seems hard to do by accident. What was exposed, and how did it happen? And if it was an accident, in what way was it imprudent? Maybe it should be "Morticia Phillips started her senior year somewhat mortified."] [The sentence makes it sound like it was her quaint personality that caused her to accidentally flash the judges. Was it?] Now Prudence – usually a very quiet, mild theatre geek – just wants to escape high school with a vestige of her self-esteem intact. [Now I can't get the song "Dear Prudence" out of my head, and I don't even like it.]

When Genzy [Genzy? And Prudence is complaining about her name?] Ledbetter moves to town with her take-no-prisoners attitude and ideas, Prudence begins taking risks [Why? Peer pressure? Jealousy? Coincidence? Do Genzy and Prudence know each other?] – not just with her hair, but also with her heart. Even gorgeous Max Nast, the object of her most secret crush, seems to be noticing. [Noticing her hair? Finally noticing that she exists?] Then Pru wins the lead in the spring musical, a role that Genzy covets. Can Prudence earn her new friend's forgiveness? [Yes.] Will she ever summon the courage to look directly into Max's eyes? [Yes.] Is she destined to death by faulty flight rigging in the middle of the play? [No.] And how will she ever get her hair under control, anyway? [Haircut.]

Don't Drop Me Now—I Can't Die With Split Ends is my 76,000-word contemporary novel, best described as Young Adult/Chick Lit. I found your listing [on Agent Query, or wherever], and a review of your website led me to hope that my work would interest you.

I have had a number of articles and essays published in such magazines as Better Homes & Gardens and VOGUE Knitting. Before freelancing, I was an award-winning ad copywriter.

If you would like to read a full, partial, or synopsis, please just let me know. I've enclosed the requisite SASE along with the first few pages of the manuscript (feel free to recycle), and I thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, et cetera


Revised Version

Dear Mr. E. Editor,

Prudence Phillips starts her senior year somewhat imprudently: she accidentally flashes the O'Neill County Scholarly Miss Pageant judges during her monologue. Now this mild-mannered theatre geek just wants to escape high school with a vestige of her self-esteem intact.

When Genzy Ledbetter moves to town with her take-no-prisoners attitude, she gets Prudence to start taking risks – with her hair, and with her heart. It seems to be working; gorgeous Max Nast, the object of Pru's most secret crush, is noticing her at last. Then Pru wins the lead in the spring musical, a role Genzy covets. Will success cost Prudence her new friendship? Will she summon the courage to actually talk to Max? And how will she ever get her hair under control, anyway?

Don't Drop Me Now—I Can't Die With Split Ends is my 76,000-word contemporary novel, best described as Young Adult/Chick Lit. I found your listing [on Agent Query, or wherever], and a review of your website leads me to hope that the book will interest you.

I have had a number of articles and essays published in such magazines as Better Homes & Gardens and VOGUE Knitting. Before freelancing, I was an award-winning ad copywriter.

If you would like to read a full, partial, or synopsis, please just let me know. I've enclosed the requisite SASE along with the first few pages of the manuscript (feel free to recycle), and I thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely, et cetera


Notes

Just some minor adjustments based on Evil Editor's take, which isn't always accurate.

YA/Chick lit? It seems like most YA books for girls would be chick lit in a watered-down way, which might mean there's no reason to call them chick lit at all. I'd probably just call it YA, but others may correct me if I'm wrong.

11 comments:

illiterate said...

Yep, EE, sounds like YA. Unless the Prudence becomes and adult early on in the book.

Nut said...

The tittle sounds comical. If there's any sence of humour in the book, why not show it in the query? Maybe more info on that 'mooning accident', I dunno.

Of course, I know zilch about chick lit, so maybe a funny tittle with a not-funny book is customery. Is it? Not trying to upset anyone, just asking.

illiterate said...

Whoops, I wrote 'the Prudence'. Illiteracy. There's just no cure for me, I fear.

Anonymous said...

What's the Spring musical? If it's "Jesus Christ Superstar" you're in there! -JTC

Elvira Pepperdine said...

There is definitely a chick lit subgenre in YA. You can tell them by their long titles, their brightly colored covers, their sassy voices. What's the matter with kids today?!

I like that these books are readily identifiable. I'd hate to end up reading one by accident.

Anonymous said...

I say please mention it's YA chic lit or romance--contrary to EE's statement, there are many YA novels for girls that are not chic lit.

Zombie Deathfish said...

I want to know why a character described as quaint, quiet, mild and geeky would enter a pageant? Isn't that normally the domain of confident, brassy, perky cheerleader types?

Of course my knowledge of pageantry is rather limited, so I could be horribly wrong.

bonniers said...

Yes, YA chick lit is a genre. But it's supposed to have the same humorous irreverent tone as adult chick lit, and I don't get any feel for that from the query.

I also didn't get the feel for any reason I should care about this person. Okay, she had an embarrassing accidcent early on and that's something a lot of high schoolers can identify with, but then she gets a popular new friend, a new haircut, the attention of the guy she wants, and the lead in the school musical. Even losing a friend doesn't seem like it's going to be such a big deal, since she seems to just be using Genzy to get what she wants.

December Quinn said...

When I was a teenager I probably would have snapped this up. It sounds fun.

easywriter said...

i think there can be YA in the CL style, but the content is a little toned-down. the only CL book i've ever picked up had some pretty graphic naughty scenes that i don't think are quite appropriate for YA.

bottom line: if it goes past second base, i don't think it's YA. forgive me if i sound like a total prude.

Eileen said...

I regret to tell you easy writer, that not only are todays YA books passing second, they are rounding home and then coming back for another victory lap. YA Chick lit is a subgenre (think Sloppy Seconds) Chick lit doesn't have to be graphic and I'm not saying YA books should be shelved under porn- just noting it's out there.