Guess the Plot
1. Fido had a hobby. It never bothered anyone, until the day he dug up Mr. Kravitz's hobby. Some secrets will not stay dead.
2. Two bands of pirates meet on a small Caribbean island and Viggo the Terrible decides to ravish a few females. Now he's up to his ears in sand, while Big Sal and Elvira sail away with his ship and crew. What will he do when the rest of the Petticoat Posse arrives?
3. Ever since Tessa'a best friend escaped after three years as captive of a psychotic kidnapper, things haven't been the same between them. Can Tessa exhume the friend she once knew, or will she herself be . . . Buried?
4. Jillian has had it. Her boss is on her ass, David is going through a 'phase'--whatever the hell that means--the customers won't stop calling and bitching, and she hasn't had a day off in two years. No one told her that being a literary agent meant her own life would be . . . Buried.
5. Zach liked to boast that his house was built on an old Indian burial ground. But when his friends call him on it, and he digs up his back yard, he finds a whole underground world of super-intelligent mole people.
6. After the earthquake that leveled his apartment; the harrowing escape from a burning building complete with daring rescue of a girl and her puppy; the 3 day drinking binge; the 7 day tryst of passion with Tiffany Lopez; and the weekend of dysentery -- Berkeley graduate student Lambert Swiggney struggles to complete his overdue Chaucer essay in his new office in the back seat of a Honda Civic.
Note: It's bring your kid to work day here at the office, and I decided to let Evil Jr., my six-year-old, make a few of the comments in this critique to demonstrate that this isn't as easy as it looks. The kid's comments are in red.
Dear Evil Editor,
Tessa, a sixteen-year-old perfectionist with obsessive tendencies, [She bites her fingernails, but when she's finished they look exactly like the Virgin Mary's fingernails.] [In researching obsessive tendencies for this critique, I went to Dr. Phil's site, where he explains the degrees of such compulsive behaviors as washing your hands a lot, and says, "An hour or more a day is moderate, 3 to 5 hours is severe, and 8 hours or more is extreme behavior."
Patient: Doc, I spend five hours a day washing my hands.
Dr. Phil: Hey, I wouldn't call that extreme behavior . . . Uh, you missed a spot.]
[I used to spend eight hours a day washing my hands . . . WHEN I WAS A COAL MINER!] [Then my psychiatrist suggested I switch from Ivory soap to Lava. That was the only psychiatric session that ever did me any good--I'm down to five hours a day.]
has isolated herself by hiding behind the lens of a camera [Either she's a midget, or that's one humongous camera!!] as she’s struggled for the past three years to deal with the kidnapping of her best friend, Noelle. When Tessa is accepted as a member of her high school yearbook staff, she is forced to make some changes, as she must learn to interact with and rely on others. Tessa even begins an unlikely friendship with Max, a new student who, upon first impression, strikes her as irritating and slightly dangerous [thanks to his practicing his knife-throwing act during arithmetic class].
When Noelle escapes her abductor and returns home, [I don't think she escaped. I think the kidnapper figured, Hey, I been feedin' this mooch for three years and I ain't seen a dime of ransom; time to cut my losses.] the girls meet again and Tessa is shocked to realize that the friend she’s idealized since her disappearance is not at all who she imagined. [Look, Noelle, I realize you've spent the last three years living in a pit under a psycho's house, but do you think you could lighten up?] In reality, the angry and sullen Noelle is someone Tessa would avoid if not for the past. [Kinda like you and me, Evil Dad!!!] As Tessa becomes intent on finding a way to reconcile the differences that have grown between herself and Noelle, she only hopes that she can unbury the girl she remembers and avoid burying herself in the process.
To complicate matters, the relationship between Tessa and Max moves beyond the boundaries of a simple friendship, [Or, to be more concise, they fuck.] and Tessa must deal with the confusing feelings that arise. At school, Tessa is labeled a "Narc," because several pictures she took for the yearbook inadvertently landed a star football player in serious trouble. [Was it her fault the running back's touchdown celebration consisted of shooting up steroids in the end zone?] When details of Noelle’s escape emerge, it becomes evident that Noelle risked her own life to save Tessa from becoming yet another victim of the man who had held her captive for three years. [Explain.] Through it all, Tessa finally understands that she can’t control every aspect of her life, that hiding doesn’t solve anything, and that change can, in fact, be positive.
Buried is a contemporary young adult novel, complete at 62,000 words.
I am a member of the SCBWI. I would be happy to send you Buried. Thank you for your time and consideration.
So, do they catch the bad guy?
I'd leave out the perfectionist/obsessive part, as it doesn't come up later in the query.
It's very general. Some specific details here and there would make it more interesting. For instance, which is more interesting:
As Tessa becomes intent on finding a way to reconcile the differences that have grown between herself and Noelle, she only hopes that she can unbury the girl she remembers and avoid burying herself in the process.
Determined to rebuild her lost friendship, Tessa gets Noelle high, takes her to a Body Count concert, and lets her spend a night with Max.
Tessa is shocked to realize that the friend she’s idealized since her disappearance is not at all who she imagined.
Tessa is shocked to find that Noelle has morphed into Sylvia Plath.