Thursday, January 31, 2008
Guess the Plot
The Lost Girls
1. When Tammy and June walked into the mall they expected to spend an hour showing off their ipods and braces before meeting Aunt Agatha for lunch. But soon they realized Chucky Cheese was nowhere to be found and a sinister 8th grade boy with pimples was watching their every move.
2. Fourteen-year-old Barbara feels and almost looks like an old woman. She's lived outdoors for months at a time, borne a child, and fasted excessively in search of religious affirmation. Her friend Angela is the same. Eventually they realize that the community in which they've grown up is an extremist cult. Can they recover their girlhood and keep their faith?
3. Lap band surgery and dieting have trimmed Bertha down, but her life hasn't improved like she expected. Even a new wardrobe can't take her mind off her old body. Can she come to grips with the changes of massive weight loss, or will she forever look down at her chest and mourn . . . The Lost Girls?
4. A woman who lives next door to five-year-old Maribeth and eight-year-old Lana loves the girls because they remind her of her own child who was kidnaped in a grocery store. She is so grief-stricken when they move away, she leaves her husband, and sets out to find the girls . . . and keep them. Also, a corrupt clergyman named Bob.
5. When three underfunded soon-to-be-Hollywood-starlets get kicked off the bus in Iowa, they think they might as well be stuck on the moon. Luckily they heroically save blind old Mrs. Abernathy from getting hit by a truck, and she gives them her pink Cadillac, plus gas money. But can they find LA?
6. When on a field trip to a museum, a group of girls make a break for the mega mall across the street while their teacher, Ms. Beaker, is flirting with a hunky security guard. Hilarity follows as Ms. Beaker, with the help of the guard, try to locate the lost girls in a mall full of sale-crazed shoppers while keeping the rest of the kids in tow.
Three months after their mother leaves, their father, compelled by the voice of God, moves Maribeth (5) and Lana (8) Ostrov to Vermillion, South Dakota. [When God tells me to move to South Dakota, I start looking for a new religion.] When they get to Vermillion, the girls are taken care of by Mrs. Blumke an alcoholic, mother of five, whose refusal to accept reality puts Maribeth in danger. [Elaborate, please. In what way does Mrs. Blumke refuse to accept reality, and in what way is Maribeth in danger?]
Deepti Bannerjee lives next door to Maribeth and Lana. She loves the girls because they remind her of her own child who was kidnapped in a grocery store years ago. When the girls move, Deepti is grief-stricken. [They move? They just got there. Did their father move to Vermillion with them, or did he just drop them off at Mrs. Blumke's?] Feeling as though she lost her child all over again, she leaves her husband to find and keep them.
Pastor Bob opens the door to find Ted Ostrov standing on his steps with his two daughters. He concocts a plan to exploit Ted's blind faith and defraud his church of money, [and then he invites them into the house.] which is going perfectly until the flood comes.
The Lost Girls is a 40,000 word literary novel that tells the story of Maribeth and Lana Ostrov and their struggle to be found. [To be literally found by their father after Deepti takes them or by their mother after she realizes she should never have left them with her whacko husband? Or to be figuratively found in the nebulous fog of their batty father's delirium?]
Raised Baptist in a homeschooling family, I am the second oldest of eight children. I am currently pursuing my MFA at_______ in fiction. [Interesting. And what are you currently doing in reality?] The Lost Girls is my first novel.
Just when I was thinking this was the story of Deepti's search for and possible kidnaping of the girls, up pops Pastor Bob, and a new plot, which immediately fades into the floodwaters. If everything in this query is vital to the main story, you need better connections. If some of it is irrelevant to the main story, get it out of the query.
We don't need to know your religion or the size of your family.
What kind of woman leaves her children in the care of their father when he's clearly not all there?
I don't think of kids, especially a five-year-old, struggling to be found. I'm not sure Maribeth would be aware she was lost. Looking for a normal home and family sounds more like it than struggling to be found.
It's going to be extremely difficult to find a publisher for a novel this short nowadays. Any chance you could squeeze in another eight or ten chapters?