Guess the Plot
Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy?
1. Rodeo Bob has been trampled, kicked, and thrown. He's got metal knees and hips and a hook hand. His hair fell out and the suture lines from his brain surgeries criss-cross like a freeway interchange. He keeps his moustache and eyebrows waxed and twisted. He's worn real man boots, dungarees and snap shirts his whole life. The snuff rotted his teeth out. At age 30, he's ready to settle down. But where's the gal?
2. A down-on-his-luck reality TV game show producer tries to cash in on the popularity of Brokeback Mountain--but runs into unexpected difficulty when he finds he can only film the series in Massachusetts.
3. Bored with the company of sheep and cattle, Joe-Bob Lloyd moves to Boston to seek a two-legged companion. But he's turned down by members of all genders because he talks like a hick and smells like a horse. Will a new reality show give him a chance at finding someone... anyone? Anyone at all?
4. The Bachelor meets Rawhide, as 20 women converge on cowboy Riley's ranch, each hoping he'll choose her as his wife in his own personal reality show.
5. Frank is humiliated when his fiancee tells her friends that it really is just a ten-gallon hat in his lap -- and there's not much underneath it. Desperate, he answers an email with the heading "Soopers1ze Yr Ween1e." Now, thanks to his fiancee's gossip, he's in demand all over town.
6. After the Civil War, the widows of Littleton and their younger sisters send a desperate message to Tombstone, Arizona. Two hundred eager ranch hands quickly arrive and their bad manners inspire the ladies to ask -- who wants to marry a cowboy? But is there a better alternative?
Dear agent-type person:
I have completed a contemporary romance novel, currently titled Who Wants to Marry a Cowboy? The novel is approximately 89,000 words long. I read your web site information and feel that your company would be the best to represent me.
What would you do if your life started to resemble a reality TV show? Ainsley Fairfax is finding out. She’s one of many women invited to spend time at the Crescent Ridge Ranch in Little Falls, Wyoming, to meet cowboy Riley Pommer. She doesn’t want to leave her life in Charleston, South Carolina - she has her floral shop to run - but she is being blackmailed by her mother. Sophia Fairfax wants Ainsley to marry hand-picked Edward Anders, an overbearing but thoughtful in his own thoughtless way accountant. According to Sophia, if Ainsley doesn’t go and see what dregs of society will be left for her if she doesn’t marry Edward, Ainsley’s beloved Gramps will be sent to a home for the elderly against his will. [This is sounding like Theater of the Absurd. When I'm having trouble making sense of something, I like to convert it into dialogue. Sometimes it adds clarity. Does this conversation sum up what we've learned so far?
Sophia: Ainsley, I want you to travel from South Carolina to Wyoming to meet cowboy Riley Pommer, a member of the dregs of society who's looking for a wife.
Ainsley: What? Where? Who? Why?
Sophia: He's choosing his wife from a bunch of women. Like on The Bachelor.
Ainsley: You want me to marry a cowboy?
Sophia: I want you to marry Edward. I figure once you've seen this idiot, even Edward will look good to you.
Ainsley: I don't need to go to Wyoming to meet an undesirable man. South Carolina's full of them.
Sophia: Either you go to Wyoming, or I put your grandfather in a home.]
Riley Pommer is finding out, too. [I have to go back to the beginning of the last paragraph to find out what you're talking about. That's too far.] His family thinks he needs a wife, and he’s had time to see the women who live near him. So, they branch out and bring to their ranch 20 women from around the country. [20 random women? How many women did they have to invite to get 20 to show up for this?] The Pommers have had a bad couple of years emotionally. Divorce, infidelity, and alcoholism have defined them, and Riley hopes that his agreeing to the wife gathering quest will change the mood around on the Cresent Ridge Ranch. [Nothing reverses a dysfunctional family's descent into despair like the arrival of 20 hard-up women fighting for one guy. I call the women hard-up because they apparently found the following invitation intriguing:
You are cordially invited to attend a gathering of women from among whom cowboy Riley Pommer will choose his wife. Be at the Crescent Ridge Ranch in Little Falls, Wyoming, Tuesday, March 12th. Ranch casual. Good luck! BYOB.]
Ainsley and Riley meet over fruit salad [No Wyoming cowboy eats fruit salad. Well, except the kind who would have invited 20 men to this party.] and discuss the habits of women trying to impress a man. Their affection grows over a lost calf, minced onions, [He falls in love with her because he thinks she's crying over a lost calf. Turns out she was mincing onions, and didn't even know the calf was missing.] and a mechanical bull. [Nothing kindles romance in the heart of a genteel Charleston lady like a session on a mechanical bull.] But when the other would-be wives realize something might be going on between the florist and the cowboy, [Where were they during the calf, onions and bull episodes? How did Ainsley get so much time alone with Riley?] they become cruel and organized. [A deadly combination. The Marquis de Sade was a pussycat until he developed his keen organizational skills.] The Bitch Crew wins, sending Ainsley back to Charleston [She doesn't even survive the first rose ceremony?] and Riley asking another woman to stay on the ranch. [Just to be sure I've got this straight, being asked to stay on the ranch is "winning"?]
When they meet again at a wedding a few weeks later, [The South Carolina florist is a friend of the bride and the Wyoming cowboy is a friend of the groom. What a coincidence.] Riley realizes the mistakes he made and sets out to win Ainsley back. He goes to her room hoping to make up, and though she at first is joyful that they can start over again, she soon realizes it took the words of other people for Riley to trust her again. [What other people? You said he realized his mistake when he met her at the wedding.] This is unacceptable to her, and she throws Riley out of her room.
Undeterred, Riley follows her back to Charleston where he enlists the helps of Gramps and her employee in proving his love. His persistence makes her realize that [he's an insane stalker, and she'll never get rid of him unless she tells her mother she's gonna marry him, and her mother freaks out and kills him.] it didn’t matter how he came to the conclusion that she was exactly who she said she was, [Pretty vague. Who did he think she was?] as long as he got there. He invites her back to Little Falls, and she demurs, worrying about Gramps and her shop.
One night alone after Riley leaves is enough to convince her she wants to be with him. Gramps gives her the encouragement she needs to settle her shop and head back to Wyoming. Once back at the ranch, she tries finding Riley, but first manages to get hot, dusty, dirty knees, [I'm thinking we don't need to know that her knees are hot, dusty and dirty in the query, even if it's a crucial plot point in the book.] and fly[a]way hair. Riley finds her that way, and doesn’t care what she looks like. He just cares that she’s there. [It would be funnier if he went through all this and then dumped her because her knees were dusty.]
If there is any more information you require, I will be happy to provide it.
I work as a technical writer and spend my evenings writing for my pleasure. I have a monthly article appearing in Gainesville Parenting magazine and will soon appear in the Gainesville Writers’ Group anthology, Killing Mr. Smith. I am also a member of the Florida Writers’ Association and I am looking into membership of the Romance Writers of America. [I recommend joining. It'll sound more impressive than saying you're looking into it.]
Thank you for your time and attention. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
It's too long. Your plot is the classic Cowboy meets girl, cowboy loses girl, cowboy gets girl. We don't need to know everything else--except possibly what girl sees in cowboy.
We do need to know how Ainsley happened to be one of the women invited. Also, I'd be more willing to buy her wanting to go to Wyoming to get away from her mother and Edward, than going because of this nonsensical blackmail scheme by her mother. It sounds like you couldn't think of any possible reason Ainsley would go, so you went with a totally lame one.
Plenty of romances have preposterous plots and still work, but 20 women agreeing to go to Wyoming for any reason is beyond belief. That they would all come in hopes of marrying one guy they've never met is insanity. I mean, if Evil Editor invited all of his hundreds of minions to his home for a Bachelor-type production, do you honestly think a single one of them would show?