Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Guess the Plot
All the Way to Amen
1. Katherine is having trouble forgiving the man who killed her only child in a grisly murder--until she realizes through prayer and a spiritual journey that she's made a few mistakes in her life, too.
2. Sunny Pristeen knew she was saved, until the day she let Beauregard Tauchss pull her drawers down in the choir loft. Actually, that would have been OK--Bo was like, really dreamy--except that slimy Luther Lupin saw them and made Sunny pay for his silence in the same coin. He kept his word though, and Sunny thought her prayers had been answered--until the next full moon rose above the horizon.
3. Little Lulu Landry has never managed to keep her eyes closed the entire prayer. Tonight she's determined to make it all the way to amen. But her pesky kitty cat, Lucifer, has other ideas...
4. Tommy and Gina have been dating for two years and they still haven't had sex because Gina was raised a good Catholic girl and she always says her prayers. Tommy doesn't mind Gina living on her prayers but he would like to get into her pants. Now that he's discovered an "Incantation de Concupiscere" can he persuade Gina to go . . . all the way to Amen?
5. Herman's head is bowed, and he's praying -- that he doesn't accidentally emit a snore. If he can just last until the service ends, then he can nap before the game. But it's toasty inside, and his eyelids feel like bowling balls. And now his wife Annie is giving him the Glare Of Hellfire...
6. Spike Thornby must stand in the grass under a full moon and pray aloud in a heartfelt and inspiring manner before his crush, Linda May, will consider his proposal, but -- woe! Interruptions galore! Fierce dogs, howling fathers, wayward robbers, and someone who may or may not be St. Jerome or the hobo from Toledo, disrupt Spike's recitations with such regularity May is doubtful he will make it . . . all the way to Amen.
If someone murdered one of your loved ones—and not just any loved one, but the love of your life, your son—could you forgive the killer? [Yes, just as I feel certain he'll forgive me when I hire a hitman to take him out.] That is the predicament Katherine Wainwright faces in All the Way to Amen.
This story analyzes the concept of forgiveness. [You're losing me. I don't want to read about philosophy; I want to read about grisly murders.] Katherine Wainwright is an affluent woman who loses her son to a grisly murder and ultimately forgives his killer. [That sentence just rehashes the first paragraph.] Her spiritual journey forces Katherine into gut-wrenching self-examination, a process with which I believe many readers will identify. Katherine has done many things throughout her life that garner forgiveness [I don't see "garner" as the right word here. Possibly you're going for "merit" or "warrant" or "deserve," though it's not up to her whether she deserves forgiveness. I'd go with "beg."] including a one-time tryst with her brother-in-law that produced her son, a fact that doesn't surface until many years after the boy's death. This imperfect woman who once lived a life trying to exude perfection must learn how to forgive herself before she can forgive others—especially the man who took her son from her. [Who am I to cast stones at this man who committed a grisly murder when I once had fantastic sex with my sister's husband? (Or was it her husband's brother?)]
Many people gain satisfaction from watching the privileged endure hardship; however, I feel readers will cheer Katherine's return from despair as she becomes a more self-actualized and compassionate human being. The central theme of All the Way to Amen is pertinent in today's society of self-absorption, impulsive litigation and where vengeance, rather than forgiveness, is often considered the next reasonable step. I believe this book will appeal to women ages 30 to 55, especially mothers, and at 65,000 words it is paced for a quick and easy read. [You make it sound like you purposely cut it down to 65,000 words as a favor to the readers. I'd like to think it's 65,000 words because that's how long it was when you got to the end, not because you wanted it to be quick and easy for us.]
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I believe many readers will identify [with the process].
I feel readers will cheer Katherine's return from despair.
I believe this book will appeal to women ages 30 to 55.
Believe it or not, it doesn't matter to the editor what an author believes about her own book. This stuff isn't as bad as the claims that the book will sell millions of copies or make a great movie, but the editor can decide how the book will affect readers and to whom it will appeal. The best way to convince us to read your book is not with themes and societal importance; it's with a compelling plot. Thus:
Is the murder in the book? Does Katherine discover the body? Is there a confrontation between Katherine and the murderer? Does the murderer get away with it? Does she look for the murderer, hound the police, visit him in jail? Is there another key character? We want to know what happens. I'm not sure she doesn't sit around reflecting on her life for 65,000 words.