Monday, July 09, 2007
Guess the Plot
That's Dog with a Capital D
1. e.e. cummings' best friend breaks his silence in this startling tell-all that explains why he finally snapped and tore the annoying poet's throat out.
2. In this howling memoir, the pool hall pooch from "The Music Man" spills all. Get the real dirt on Marian, the Professor and what really went on in River City's notorious library.
3. Nilla with a capital N wants a dog with a capital D. Nilla's wimpy Pop, with a capital P, reneges on his promise to get her one, because her mom (with a small m) is worried Nilla's brother Arnie (capital A) will eat it.
4. Kermit tried telling his producers that three-year-olds were too stupid to understand the alphabet. But did he listen? Nooo. All he cared about was keeping Big Bird's feathers clean, and Grouch's trash can full. If they make me do one more letter, Kermit thought, I'm gonna kick some preschool ass.
5. It's not easy being the first Golden Retriever to attend Harvard Law School, but Scrappy McButtons is determined to make it work. But when a jealous human classmate shows up at a torts exam in a suit made of roast beef, can Scrappy overcome his primal urges long enough to gain the respect he deserves?
6. Dog Smith hates his name - especially when a mix-up at the Department of Motor Vehicles gets him sent to the pound. But when he gets adopted by a world-famous supermodel, he realizes: a dog's life isn't so bad after all.
The summer Nilla Jeffers moves to Washington, D.C., she’s convinced that eleven years of wishing on birthday candles, dandelion seeds, and the first star in the night sky have paid off: she is finally getting a dog. [Nilla, Nilla, be careful what you wish for. Here's verse 2 from my poem, "I Hate My Pets:"
He sheds on the carpet;
He sheds on my clothing;
The whole house is knee-deep in hair.
He barks at the neighbors;
He bites the repairman;
And chases the cat everywhere.
He chews up my shoes;
He humps my guests' legs;
He nips at my heels when I jog.
So many animals get hit by cars;
Why doesn't . . . my friggin' dog?]
After all, her Pop promised. But even before all the boxes are unpacked, Mom makes it clear that Nilla’s dream won’t be coming true any time soon. [Ah, we have our hated villain.]
Life in the Jeffers family revolves around Nilla’s fifteen year-old handicapped brother, Arnie. Years of trying to deal with Arnie’s undiagnosed issues – an uncontrolled appetite, tantrums, learning disabilities – have left Mom emotionally unstable and the family fabric strained. Nonetheless, Nilla is hopeful. [At last a compromise is reached, as Nilla is given a birthday gift of a Chia pet.]
Undaunted by Mom’s refusal to get her a dog, Nilla persists in plotting and planning ways of trying to change her mom’s mind: She befriends the kind next door neighbor, Rosemary, and “practices” with her dog, Roger; she enlists the support of her Uncle Joe; [she puts arsenic in her mom's gin and has her brother hospitalized;] and she quotes from her favorite book, Caring for Your Dog.
Eventually, driven by frustration and desperation, Nilla lashes out, bungling, she thinks, any chance of getting a dog. Ultimately, though, a heroic act on her part helps Nilla realize her dream, but in a way she never would have expected. [She rescues a stray, and when she brings it to the pound, they give her a job there, as a dog euthanizer.]
That’s Dog with a capital D is the story of relationships in a family with a handicapped child, told from the perspective of a sibling who desperately wants to be normal.
The full 30,000-word Middle Grade manuscript is available on request. I have enclosed a SASE for your reply.
Thank you for your consideration.
I would just refer to dealing with Arnie's learning disabilities and tantrums. Leave out the uncontrolled appetite; it makes Arnie sound like Evil Editor.
It sounds a bit dull, and while the book could easily appeal to dog loving kids without much excitement, you might want to see how the query reads with more about Nilla's lashing out and her heroic act and the surprise ending.
Someone was bound to ask, so here's verse 1:
She pukes on my carpet,
She pukes on my sofa,
She pukes onto my TV set.
She coughs up huge hairballs
And her vet bills have left me
Ten thousand dollars in debt.
She claws all my chairs and my
Curtains, and each day
She brings in a dead mouse or rat.
Hey, the only dead animal I want to see
Inside my house . . . is my own friggin' cat.