Monday, February 08, 2010
Guess the Plot
1. Lana longs for the open road, but husband Gary wants to stay put. When he dies, she takes his insurance money to buy a big RV. On her way from Albany to San Clemente she meets different people, and at 87 she falls in love with aging screen idol Jack LeMans. Will they travel together to the end, or will she drive her RV through the great Farmer's Market in the sky?
2. They used to have a lot of negative stereotypes thrown at them; transients, tinkerers, thieves and prostitutes. Then the world was introduced to Frankie ‘the fingers’ and his inexplicable ability to snatch sickness from people as easy as stealing a wallet. It’s a latent ability that has been hidden among clans of gypsies for centuries until Frankie is exposed for his ability.
3. Rhodes Scholar Gypsy Rodes is hitting the road again—this time in search of her gypsy past. But after running into a dead end in Romania, she’s at a crossroads of a sort. Will she wander the highways and byways both physically and metaphorically until the end of time or can she overcome her gypsy past?
4. Gypsy Johnson's parents didn't think her ability to animate toys would force them into a nomadic existence--on the run from the law, the mob, and social services. Maybe allowing her to go to the Museum of Natural History with her pre-school class was a bad idea.
5. Kathy Barnes's parents are dead. To get her inheritance she must locate a man known as The Traveler. She jets off to Albania and meets a loathsome but irresistible Gypsy, but there's no sign of The Traveler. Maybe she should have gone to Moldova.
6. An old Gypsy woman travels through the Carpathians in a mule-drawn wagon, trying to avoid vampires, wolfmen and other cliche characters, but failing miserably.
Dear Evil Editor,
What do Gypsies, Klingons, and Gadjos (non-Gypsies) have in common? [Having looked ahead, I'll answer that: They all get mentioned in the first sentence of your query for no discernible reason.] Kathy Barnes is about to find out in Gypsy. [No need to say "in Gypsy." As we don't know your title yet, we may think you're talking about the Broadway Musical.] [Although I don't recall any Klingons in the musical, unless you count Mama Rose.] After her parents die under mysterious circumstances, Kathy—a modern-day American girl with a Gypsy lineage—receives a cryptic letter with instructions to find a man known only as The Traveler, the sole person who can help locate the family inheritance left to her. [When you're trying to locate a guy, it's never good to discover his nickname is "The Traveler."]
Two years, a bought [bout] with depression, and a closet-case of teenage alcoholism later Kathy turns eighteen and jets off to Albania, to begin her quest. Upon pick-pocketing her own wallet back from Gypsy thieves she devises a scheme to use them for information in her search for The Traveler. But her quest goes awry when she meets a Gypsy with a charismatic, overconfident demeanor she loathes—and a magical spark she simply cannot resist. [I usually find it easy to resist anyone whose demeanor I loathe.]
In a bizarre twist, Kathy uncovers secrets from her family’s past that date back to the Klingon takeover of Earth during World War II, [The Klingons had plenty of success, but I think they were prevented from taking over Earth.] and her life is thrust upon the brink of disaster when the Gypsy leader discovers her lies, her family lineage, and her secret mission to find the inheritance.
Gypsy is a 99,250 word YA novel geared toward a crossover audience (teens to twenty-somethings) that whisks the reader into an exotic world full of young love, lies, and unexploded landmines [Three is a good number of items to put in a list, but if you can come up with only two, it's best not to just toss in a random object.] in the heart of colorful Eastern Europe. [The only colors I think of when I think of Eastern Europe are gray and drab.] Evil Editor once said: “The question is can you say a hearty yes to your quest.” [True, he wasn't referring to my novel (or to any novel), but] My novel begs this same question of the reader. Will you follow Kathy on her quest? Will you answer the call when your own adventure arises? I hope you said a “hearty yes” to these questions [Actually, I tried to ignore them, as they seemed irrelevant, but in retrospect they were annoying enough that I believe I'll use them as an excuse to send a rejection slip. I'm petty that way.] because Gypsy was written to inspire the adventurer in all of us.
This is my first novel. The capstone for my Bachelor’s degree was a research project I conducted on Eastern Europe and the three countries (Albania, Serbia, and Moldova) used for the setting of my story. [Moldova's a country? When did that happen? Ah, research shows my geographical knowledge needs updating. Apparently their main claim to fame is the boy band O-zone, who came to prominence in 2004, when their hit song "Dragostea Din Tei," also known as "The Numa Numa Song," took over the #1 spot on the Eurochart Hot 100, replacing Eamon's "Fuck it (I Don't Want You Back)".]
The manuscript for Gypsy is complete, and I would be happy to send a partial upon your request.
Thank you for your time, Evil Editor. I look forward to having my query letter ripped to shreds.
It's not clear why Kathy needs to "use" the Gypsies to find The Traveler, or why her lineage is being kept secret from them. Why doesn't she just say, "I'm of Gypsy lineage, like you guys, and I'm looking for The Traveler. Seen him around?"
If the main plot is Kathy's quest to find The Traveler, can you hint at whether she ever finds him? I hope your answer is a hearty yes.
What's the Klingon secret? Kathy's great grandfather was a Klingon collaborator, and the inheritance is his ill-gotten gains? There's no harm in telling us. Why is she on the brink of disaster when her secret is discovered, if she didn't know the secret herself until she got there? What danger is she in, and what's her plan?
Dump the Evil Editor stuff and use the first sentence of that paragraph to open your last paragraph.
How the heck did the Klingons get into this?