Guess the Plot
1. Hank always wanted to go on the great American road trip after high school. But all he could afford was a bike ride up the mountains of Tennessee.
2. 101 recipes featuring nuts and berries. Also, up-to-date hiking maps.
3. Divyanga Singh is working toward his Masters in Computer Science. To relax, he spends his weekends coding “Appalachian Trail,” a sequel to the cult classic computer game “Oregon Trail.” When Appalachian Trail becomes a hit on campus, Div suddenly becomes very popular with the ladies. But what will he tell his parents, busy arranging a marriage for him back in Delhi?
4. Biff Hardcastle’s Eagle Scout troop is hiking the Shenandoahs from Otter Creek to Humpback Rocks. Little do they know that Tara Lustig’s Girl Scouts are hiking from Humpback Rocks to Otter Creek. Will everyone be prepared when they meet on the... Appalachian Trail?
5. They thought it was just an 80's era computer game meant to teach them American history. But when an electric surge sucks Mikey, Diego, and Kim into the past, they'll be glad they learned so much about geography, the importance of proper supplies, and dysentery.
6. Hiking the Appalachian Trail was supposed to help Nate forget about his tragic past. Instead he keeps running into other hikers who are also trying to forget their tragic pasts and who insist on evaluating and reevaluating their tragic pasts and comparing them with Nate's tragic past.
Nate Townsend is hiking the Appalachian Trail, but not for adventure or challenge -- he’s walking to escape. With each mile, he steps further away from the people and tragic cascade of events that took away his wife and young daughter, and yet the memories continue to torment him. [I can't tell if the tragic cascade of events was Nate's affair with a Bulgarian dockworker, after which his wife left him, taking their daughter, or if it was Nate refusing to carry out a hit on Carlo Gambino's wife and daughter, after which Nate's mob boss had Nate's wife and daughter killed. Or something else entirely.] As he crosses paths with other hikers and townspeople, each carrying their own humorous quirks and emotional scars, [Apparently no one hikes this trail for adventure or challenge. A therapist could set up a practice on the Appalachian Trail and retire young.] Nate is forced to reevaluate his flight and confront his past trauma. [Question for discussion: Do you have to evaluate your flight before you can reevaluate it?] Through a series of flashbacks, the cause of his tortured pilgrimage is revealed. [If only one or two of these flashbacks were in the query.] With the help of one very special woman who joins his journey, Nate must make a climactic decision about his trail’s end. [What are his choices?]
I would love for you to represent my first novel, APPALACHIAN TRAIL, a 98,000-word work of commercial fiction.
A native Southerner recently relocated to New York City, I honed my writing skills for 15 years [while trying to find my way off the Appalachian Trail.] as a newspaper reporter and editor, including at The Oak Ridger (Tenn.), Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal, Florence (S.C.) Daily News.
I thank you for considering representing APPALACHIAN TRAIL and I look forward to your response.
One could get the impression you're trying to be as vague as possible. All these phrases refer to the same thing: tragic cascade of events, memories, his past trauma, the cause of his tortured pilgrimage. How about just telling us what happened so we can sympathize with (or blame) the guy?
This sounds like literary fiction. If it were commercial fiction you wouldn't have so much trouble coming up with a few intriguing plot points.
Here's how I think the book goes: Nate gets on the Trail in Georgia and soon encounters Boston Bill, who's hiking south to forget the tragic juggling accident that cost him his left leg. In North Carolina Nate runs into Lou, who has Tourette's Syndrome and is hiking to forget his one great love, his ventriloquist's dummy. Somehow this forces Nate to reevaluate his flight, whatever that means. Then in Virginia he meets Alison, and she convinces him to hike north to New York, exit the Trail, and become a novelist.
If you don't want me to think that's what happens, you need to provide more specifics about what does happen.