Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. When the package arrives, Ernestine believes it is her long-overdue oven-mitts, until a vaporous genie wafts out and volunteers to fix her problems with Stan. Unsure about trusting her love-life to a mirage, she suggests they start with a new career in optometry and the genie agrees. Hilarity ensues.
2. When Santa and the reindeer crash on Christmas Eve, all the cavemen are excited about the sudden abundance of free food. Mugoo fires up the barbeque while Santa searches the snow for his broken time turner so he can get back to the right century and save Christmas. Plus, seven angry elves.
3. Laura Lowman is a genius high school student. Bullied mercilessly, she welcomes the chance to join a local community organization for other brilliant but asocial teens. When it turns out the organization is planning a bloody revenge on the dumber students, will Laura join in or help her classmates?
4. "Gifted" Anna Foster has to build Wankel rotary engines in the cellar blindfolded just to get her parents' attention. She's ready to end it all, until science club co-geek Brian Flanders spots her in the drug store and stays her self-destructive hand as it reaches for the blond hair dye.
5. Fresh out of high school, Celeste Hopewell is offered a position leading an organization that serves people with supernatural powers. What the heck, it's gotta be more interesting than going to college.
6. Something sinister is afoot when the insurance office does its Secret Santa drawing and everyone draws Lucretia's name. Lucretia gets 35 gifts -- and a bullet in the head. Only mailroom boy Clark Cooper can both solve the mystery and deal with the Returns office at Macy's.
Dear Ms. ___________,
I recently read the write up on the Paranormalcy book deal to HarperTeen in Publishers Weekly. I believe that you will find my book fits in a similar vein commercially.
Celeste Hopewell, a telepathic ‘09 high school graduate, is forced to discern [decide] whether she should act for the greater good or pursue her own dreams when she is recruited as the successor to an ancient and clandestine organization [One person is recruited as the successor to an entire organization?] that protects the secrecy of Gifteds, a race of people who have supernatural powers. [TMI] [Usually when I say TMI it's because people are telling me things about themselves that I really don't want to know. In this case, however, it's because that sentence contains more information than the average agent can process without losing consciousness.] She finds love, both encouraged and forbidden, in two vastly different men and is forced to choose between the two [If you're given two choices, and one of them is forbidden, there's no problem at all:
when the existence of Gifteds and humans is threatened. GIFTED is a 90,000 word young adult adventure novel steeped in romance with a strong female protagonist.
I started my own business at age 22, Puppy Cake, LLC, using my degree in International Business and Marketing from Grove City College (’07). [TMI.] Channeling my vivacious imagination [No no no no no. If you want the agent to know you have a vivacious imagination, demonstrate it by summarizing a vivaciously imaginative plot.] and the flexibility of entrepreneurship allowed me to write my first novel. I currently live with my husband and two [extremely fat] dogs in Pittsburgh, PA.
I greatly appreciate your time and consideration. More information about GIFTED and the first three chapters are available on my website _____________. I am prepared to send the full manuscript upon request. [If there's any information on your website that would make me want to read your book, it should be in the query where there's a chance I'll see it.]
You have three sentences about you, and two about what happens in your book. Admittedly one of the latter is long enough to be a paragraph, but all we know is that Celeste is a high school grad who must decide between the good of the many and the good of the one, and between the sexy bad boy and the nerdish nice guy. And we already know nice guys finish last.
I want to see a mix of eight simple and compound sentences in which you tell me what happens. Here are some things you might bring in: Why is Celeste chosen? What does she use her telepathy for? What are these supernatural powers the Gifteds have? Is one of them Aquaman? Who are these two men vying for Celeste's love? And most importantly, what is it that's threatening the existence of Gifteds and humans?
Protecting the secrecy of the Gifteds' existence doesn't seem so important now that I know everyone's about to die. I thus assume revealing their existence is what puts everyone at risk. If that's the crux of your plot, explain it. What's the danger, who's the bad guy, and what's our plan? We do have a plan, right, a million-to-one shot at survival?
If you're an ancient organization charged with keeping a secret from the world, the last thing you're gonna do is tell a seventeen-year-old kid the secret.