Sunday, June 24, 2007
Guess the Plot
If Only for a Season
1. Jeremiah Clark rises from penniless plowhand to millionaire Gold Club Member, almost overnight. He's at the peak of high society. Then, just as fast, he loses everything. Oh well, it was nice being on top of the world . . . if only for a season.
2. For Master Chef Burl Evers, a final exam turns into tragedy when several of his students are murdered. Beautiful detective Lucy Burns must sift through the clues to discover which student used arsenic to season the duck.
3. Bob thought he was going to get a prize buck this year, but when he gets to the woods, they’re empty. Turns out - for one season only - the deer have licenses to hunt us.
4. It's summer break and Manly tells Chastity his girl is gone until fall. Chastity planned on saving herself for Mr. Right, but when she sees Manly's rippling abs and cherry red convertible, she decides she'll give up her virginity . . . if only for a season.
5. Coach Mike Flannagan thinks he can handle any player, no matter how wild or tough. But when former cheerleader Chrissy Watkins beats the boys at tryouts, he knows he's in for a rough badminton season.
6. Tiffy and Biff go gaga the first day of summer school and it looks like they'll be blissed forever, but alas --their Chemistry professor is an imposter: notorious criminal Octopus McGee. Will Mae Wong and her acrobatic sidekicks arrive in time? Or will McGee's explosive laboratory homework blow the Alpha Beta Beta house clear to the moon?
Based on a true story, Jeremiah Clark turns from $2 a week sharecropper to Victorian millionaire practically overnight. But his wealth and position are disrupted by Molly Maguire-style violence in a contest for control of the booming gold camp.
In 1895, Clark flees the poverty-stricken South for the gold fields of Cripple Creek, landing in camp with a grubstake of $128. [I don't know what a grubstake is, but I once had a grubsteak. I didn't actually know it was a grubsteak until I turned it over and found a bunch of pulsating beetle larvae. That's the last time I eat at the Coleoptera Sizzler.] Will it last six months, time enough to get established? Not likely. But with determination and a series of lucky gold strikes, [especially the series of lucky gold strikes,] he rises from plowhand to Gold Coin Club member. [Which means he can pick up his rental covered wagons directly from the lot. No paperwork.] He is among powerful friends at the top of high-society. But success is short-lived, when union bosses engage in political insurrection and violence, touching off a labor war involving the Colorado militia and citizen mobs. [Damn. I can't get the song "Up On Cripple Creek" out of my head now.] Men are beaten and killed, malefactors detained and deported, and the chaos is edging Clark’s operation close to financial instability. In an attempt to control the violence, he engages the political backing of the state of Colorado, including the state militia. But the ugly results of anarchy and military despotism bring the once-rich region into deep depression. Within eighteen months of his millionaire status, Clark can no longer maintain profitable production levels and descends into insolvency. [I feel like I'm back in Econ 101. I couldn't stay awake there, either.] Three steamer trunks hold his last remaining possessions, [a pair of socks, a wooden nickel, a harmonica and 3700 pounds of gold.] and he takes the only work available, a slag worker in the mine he built with his own hands. It was true greatness, if only for a season. [I'm no economist, but let's say my blog is a gold mine that has made me millions of dollars, and then people stop reading it. I shut down the gold mine, but I still have my millions, which I use to start a carpet shampooing franchise. What happened to Clark's money?]
I am the founder of a Colorado Springs software company, and responsible for all written and verbal marketing communications. [No one else in the department is allowed to speak or write, but they may nod at each other suggestively.] My writing experience has developed from creating marketing materials, web pages, and whitepapers. I have climbed twenty seven Colorado mountains over 14,000’ and personally visited the remains of these gold camps.
It's customary to report the length of a book when trying to sell it. Even more customary is to reveal the book's title. Fortunately I was able to ascertain the apparent title from the attachment,
Why a season? Wouldn't eighteen months be six seasons?
The first paragraph is unnecessary. All it has that isn't in the second paragraph is Clark's first name, which you can put in the second paragraph, and the fact that it's based on a true story, which you can put in your last paragraph (with the word count and title) in place of your marketing credentials. Then divide your big paragraph into three paragraphs with appropriate transitions.
Now you have a well-written standard query. But is it an interesting, well-written standard query? I'd like to hear more about the human effects of the turmoil and Clark's losses than the financial effects. Phrases like "labor war," "political insurrection," "malefactors" "financial instability," "anarchy and military despotism," "maintain profitable production levels," "political backing," and "descends into insolvency" make my eyes glaze over. Does Clark have family and employees counting on him? Does he learn any valuable lessons? Why should we care about Jeremiah Clark? Your story is about the man, not his mine.