Guess the Plot
1. Lucas's dad promised him they'd be out of debt soon, but then dad got killed. Now the family's only chance is the dog. But Lucas knows nothing about training dogs. Can he convince the woman who trains chickens for the carnival to show him the ropes?
2. When his girlfriend tells him he’s getting fat, Gilly Winston vows to lay off fast food and take up meditation. But can Gilly find enlightenment in soy crisps and low-trans granola, or will he blow off everything for the winking girl behind the counter at Donut World?
3. Reilly was a surgeon. Denise was a debt collection specialist. They promised one another "till death do us part," but when Reilly finds out the patient with the emergency double-knee replacement surgery was in debt to Denise, and that he's not the first gambler she's visited in a ski mask with a crowbar, Reilly isn't sure he can keep . . . The Promise.
4. When Judy was 14, Jesus promised her she'd marry Elvis and ride in a pink car driven by a sexy chauffeur, plus have a career in pictures. Now 57, she's having a crisis of faith. Sure, her husband looks like Elvis in his heavyset years, her Geo Metro is pink, and her son Todd drives her to church on Sundays. But since when does selling popcorn at the 4-plex count as a career in pictures?
5. Sally only engaged in scandalous behavior with Tiffany after getting a sworn promise NO ONE would ever know. And what happened? Thanks to a hidden camera, they're on You-Tube -- two chocolate-smeared fat girls with bad hair trying to break the world's 120 second speed record for eating a gigantic banana split. She's going to call an attorney tomorrow and get her million dollar revenge.
6. George has broken so many promises the Guinness Book of World Records is tracking his progress and London bookies are taking bets on what broken promise will finally break the record. Heaviest betting is on "I'll respect you in the morning," and "I'll keep this presentation brief."
Ten-year-old Lucas Gibson knows there's not enough money for his mom's textbooks, a new alternator for the truck, or even a Mega Mini Scooter, but he's not worried. His dad has been hired to train an imported curly coated retriever for a field trial, and he promises that when they win, their family problems will be over. The promise seems for naught when his father is killed in an accident that injures Lucas and the dog and leaves their family deep in debt.
But Lucas can't forget. Despite his mother's objections, the disabled boy takes on the challenge of rehabbing the dog. Joined by his alcoholic uncle and a woman who trains chickens for carnivals, Lucas sets out to save his crumbling family only to find that field trials don't have a cash prize, the bank is going to foreclose on their farm regardless, [So if dad trained the dog to victory their troubles were over, but if Lucas trains the dog to victory, they lose everything?] [So dad's a farmer? Why did the dog's owner hire this down-on-his-luck farmer instead of a professional dog trainer?] and if he succeeds, the dog's original owner will reclaim him. His dad's promise sure isn't turning out like Lucas imagined.
[Lucas: Hey Mister, my dad was supposed to train your dog, but he's dead.
Owner: My dog's dead?!
Lucas: No, my dad's dead.
Owner: Oh, whew. Well, I guess if I want to win, now I'll have to hire a professional trainer.
Lucas: No, me and my drunk uncle and this woman I know who trains chickens will do it.
Owner: Okay. And if you win, I'll pay off the mortgage on your farm.
Lucas: Not so fast. I also get to keep the dog.]
THE PROMISE is a middle grade novel about faith and family. I have included the first five pages for your review. I hope you enjoy it, and I look forward to hearing from you.
Lemme get this straight. The kid's father's dead, the kid's injured, the family's bankrupt, and winning the field trial won't help any of this. And middle-graders will want to read this because . . . they'll see that there's always someone worse off than they are?
Two or three more sentences would help. Instead of implying that all is hopeless, maybe you should hint at what might happen to save the family from complete destitution. Or add another paragraph in which you spill the ending, how Lucas wins and the dog owner marries the chicken lady and finances a dog-training franchise for Lucas, who becomes rich rich rich.