Sunday, March 04, 2007
Guess the Plot
What's for Dinner?
1. Tossed salad with thousand island dressing, baked chicken, rice, and Brussels sprouts. And for dessert, tapioca pudding. Wait, forget all that. Lasagna.
2. The "prize" for winning the school bubble blowing contest is that your mother has to cook dinner for the principal. Carlita wins the contest, but a last minute grocery mix-up leaves her wondering . . . What's for dinner?
3. When the guests at Mary Whitaker's potluck club won't stop asking, "What's for Dinner?" she finally answers: "You are." She pulls the "idiot lever," and the floor falls away, dropping her guests into a giant vat of boiling broth.
4. A band of Neanderthals debates whether the time has come to take a break from sex and stalk a mastodon. They decide it hasn't.
5. From unidentifiable leftovers out of the microwave to ramen over the kitchen sink, America gives up its culinary secrets in this companion volume to What's for Lunch? and the acclaimed What's for Breakfast?
6. Even as Alexander the Great's half-dead army crawls across the scorching desert, they're still complaining. Chef Golgi has provided a lovely selection of thinly sliced camel guts on a bed of fur, but that's not good enough? Let them eat cake, then. He's going to hike back to India -- where his talent was appreciated.
I am seeking representation for my 5,400 word chapter book manuscript, [You forgot sentence and paragraph. 5400 word sentence paragraph chapter book manuscript.] What’s for Dinner? [5400 words about what's for dinner? Is this a manuscript or the Cheesecake Factory menu?]
Everyone knows ten year-old Carlita Fernandez blows the biggest bubbles in school. So why won't she enter the bubble gum blowing contest? Because she doesn't want to win. Carlita thinks having the school principal over for dinner is more of a punishment than a prize. [She's right. It's like winning Wimbledon, and then finding out that the prize isn't a million dollars, it's that you have to cook dinner for Queen Elizabeth.] [Does the principal eat at the home of every student who accomplishes anything? Or does it take a really important accomplishment, like blowing a bubble or walking upright?]
But Carlita’s mother disagrees. Mami jumps at the possibility of hosting Ms. Bader for a traditional Dominican meal. Despite her aversion to bubble gum, Mami presses Carlita to enter. Carlita’s reluctance continues until, goaded by the obnoxious [vice principal,] David Erby, she enters the contest – and wins. [She didn't consider purposely losing?] As dinner with Ms. Bader looms, Carlita argues for serving hamburgers and dressing [Hamburgers and dressing? I prefer them with catsup.] in jeans. She does not want Mami to make her a dress, to use Spanish words or to serve Dominican food, [which consists largely of various tubers more likely to be found in the New York Times crossword puzzle than in a dictionary]. Carlita worries she and Ms. Bader will have nothing to talk about.
When a last minute grocery mix-up threatens the event, [The grocery delivers yautia, mapuye and auyama instead of hamburger buns and ground beef; Mami can't understand how they could screw up so totally.] Carlita has to make a tough choice. The result is a change in plan for dinner, and a change of heart for Carlita.
I think the inter-generational conflicts, ethnic recipes, and light humor in this book will appeal to kids. [What kid wouldn't want to read a sancocho recipe?] I hope you agree. The full manuscript is available on request.
I have enclosed a SASE for your reply. Thank you for your time.
The book is the length of a short story. I'm assuming it's not for the age levels reading Dr. Suess-length books (which, come to think of it, includes Evil Editor), as inter-generational conflicts and ethnic recipes would not be so appealing to them. Thus even with large type and lots of pictures, you'll probably get 100 words on a page, which comes out to 54 pages, or 27 thicknesses of paper. That's more like a stapled booklet than a bound book. Have you considered writing five or six stories, each featuring Dominican food, and putting the recipes in the back?
One would think Mami's aversion to bubble gum would have been a major obstacle in Carlita's quest to become the best bubble blower in the school. Apparently Carlita isn't the most obedient child.
"Idiot lever" from Guess the Plot #3? Anagram for Evil Editor.