Sunday, September 24, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. In this wrenching high school memoir, Tondelayo Tudd describes the rest of her day.
2. After a plague wipes out most of the world's population, a fascist theocrat rises to power by executing all those who refuse to follow him. Can 13-year-old Cara stop him?
3. Katie wasn't exactly honest when she swore to her mom she wouldn't use nuclear fission as her science fair project. But what's done is done, and now she's got a mess to clean up.
4. Five survivors of a plane crash think their ordeal is over when they are rescued by a cruise ship. But with a vampire captain, a crew of ghosts, mummified passengers and a cook from the 18th century, their problems are just beginning.
5. Well, it was a fun spree for Victor Pockle and the clerks at Veronica's Secret. But now the fun's over and someone has to put away all the plus-sized bras.
6. Opal thought fooling around with her math teacher was a sure fire way to get good grades and a fantastic recommendation letter for college. But the week before she starts college she discovers she's pregnant.
Dear Evil Editor,
I am seeking representation for my 90,000-word young adult speculative fiction novel, Aftermath, set in post-apocalyptic Norman, Oklahoma.
Aftermath tells the story of 13-year-old Cara, who survives the viral apocalypse that kills her family and most of the population of Earth. While Cara learns to live on her own, a young man whose life she saved during the plague is rising to power as the leader of a fascist theocracy. This mysterious Prophet hopes to sway Cara to his side, [Why would this power-hungry guy care about getting one 8th grade girl into his camp?] but after she and her friends begin publishing an underground newspaper with the help of two surviving journalists, [twenty additional surviving journalists, a surviving printer, surviving financial backers, surviving advertisers, surviving editors, and lots of newsprint and ink,] he takes action to quell their rebellion. The Prophet tries to have Cara killed, but she escapes to tell the truth about his mass executions of unbelievers. [Viral apocalypse, fascist theocracy, mass executions? Is this what thirteen-year-olds want to read about these days?]
[Parent: Glad to see you finally quit playing those violent video games. Whatcha reading?
Parent: Duh. What's it about?
Child: A plague wipes out most of the population, and this fascist theocrat wants to take over so he starts committing mass executions of anyone who doesn't follow him. He even tries to kill this 13-year-old girl who saved his--
Parent: That Resident Evil IV looked pretty good. Wanna show me how to play?]
I am a native of Norman and a newspaper copy editor. I have used my background to create an authentic portrayal of this lively college town and how its people and landscape would be transformed in a post-apocalyptic world. [I don't know about the landscape, but the people would be transformed to dead.]
The second novel in the Aftermath trilogy, in which the Prophet's Army lays siege to the rebel forces gathered in ruined Chicago, is near completion.
Thank you for your time in considering this submission.
The query is okay, but brief. The paragraph describing your plot is only four sentences. I suggest doubling that. Things I wouldn't mind knowing:
How old is the Prophet? Adult? Teen?
How many people didn't die? Thousands? A billion?
What is Cara to the Prophet?
How does Cara know about the mass executions?
Does the prophet really care what's written in a newspaper published by thirteen-year-old kids?
What is it about the novel, besides the age of Cara, that makes it YA?
I'm guessing you could answer some or all of these questions and still fit it all on one page.