Sunday, June 25, 2006
Guess the Plot
1. When Gnflzot, the commander-in-chief of the army ants, learns from his scouts that an immense sugar bowl is going to materialize at the turn of the new year, in a far-off land called Atlanta, he springs into action.
2. Corporate CEO Vanda Harjoni from the nation of Jepalasia arrives in New York and hosts an open house at his office, where his basket of betelnut and sugar bowl of lime sit on his desk. When FBI Agent Harold Newson wanders by, he mistakes the sugar bowl contents for cocaine and arrests Vanda, who must find his way through the twisted maze of American justice.
3. With the town’s only bowling alley brothel threatened with foreclosure, the girls take matters into their own hands and raise the money – the hard way.
4. After winning their 10th straight national title, the Texas Longhorns could be at the end of their dynasty. But, the world will never find out if Max Ridgecliff can’t save Nokia from bankruptcy in time to sign the endorsement check.
5. With the season winding down, and a Sugar Bowl bid on the line, star quarterback Jake Zarephath is accused of rape. If it was lacrosse, the season would be called off. But this is big-time football.
6. White granules and shards of porcelain on the kitchen floor. An innocent-looking cream pitcher standing on the table. It was shaping up as Detective Coffee's toughest case.
When walk-on tailback Jake Zarephath helps the West Virginia Mountaineers upset seventh-ranked Pitt in October, he thinks life couldn't get any better. The euphoria doesn't last, however, and Jake's fall from grace stems from an incident that occurs that very night. A week later the local police visit Jake to question him about a rape accusation made by an acquaintance, Robin Dunellen. Unable to remember what happened and unsure what to do anyway, Jake initially leaves his case in the hands of the football program without asking any questions. [He gets accused of rape, and tells the football coach to handle it?]
Unfortunately for Robin, the team is weeks away from an invitation to play in the prestigious Sugar Bowl game. In Autumn nothing is more important to the university and the city of Morgantown than Mountaineer football, and this is shaping up to be the season that is talked about for years to come. Trying to avoid the loss of a key player, [He's a walk-on tailback; how "key" can he be?] assistant athletic director Phil Berg slams Robin using the resources of a well-funded athletic department.
In her first year away from her small hometown Robin becomes the target of an orchestrated campaign of public humiliation and character assassination. Life is difficult for her until Jake begins to have qualms about hiding behind his corrupt protectors as Robin is bullied. Finally, when the bludgeoning continues after the Sugar Bowl bid is in hand, Jake has had enough. [Stop attacking this sweet girl who's accusing me of a rape I didn't commit. I'm sure she has a logical explanation.] He and a local sportswriter, Ham Newton, learn that Robin's friend and self-appointed guardian, Michelle Brigantine, was herself the victim of a violent rape at another university. It doesn't take much for Newton, Jake and even Robin herself to realize that Michelle goaded Robin into making the accusation as a way to retaliate for the crime that was committed against her. [Maybe you should call her Michelle Destroyer instead of Michelle Brigantine.] [In fact, it would be cool to give all your characters ship names: Ham Sub, Robin Dinghy, Jake Junk, and Phil Frigate.]
Jake's anger at this revelation is tempered by the heartbreaking story Michelle finally tells about how she was drugged and assaulted by perpetrators who were never punished. [Okay, let's make sure we've got this straight. Michelle, on a weekend trip to Villanova, gets brutally assaulted. Rather than tell the authorities, she goes to her friend Robin:
Michelle: I was raped while I was in Philadelphia.
Robin: Oh my God! Are you okay? Did they catch who did it?
Michelle: No. I didn't tell anyone.
Robin: You have to go to the police!
Michelle: I know. But now that I'm back here at WVU, I think it would be more convenient to accuse someone here. Saves me the trouble of traveling back and forth to Villanova all the time.
Robin: You're going to accuse someone who didn't do it?
Michelle: No, you are. I've been through enough.
Robin: Well . . . okay. Who should I accuse?
Michelle: The quarterback of the football team.
Robin: But what about our Sugar Bowl bid?
Michelle: Oh yeah. Okay, make it the walk-on tailback. We have to teach someone a lesson.
And after the athletic department throws all their resources into destroying Robin's character, she continues to stand by her story?] [And you thought the fantasy and romance novels had unbelievable plots.] Even after Robin recants her accusation and the charges are dropped, Jake vows not to play in the Sugar Bowl so long as Berg remains in the employ of the athletic department. [A "key" player threatens not to play in the big game? Who's gonna buy that?] A nasty struggle in the press and in the back rooms of Mountaineer Field. After the university president fires Berg just before Christmas Jake is free to return to his team. Surprisingly the unbeaten Mountaineers find that a national championship is within their reach on New Years Day, [West Virginia? Playing for the national championship? That's the most unbelievable part of all.] [Besides, the national championship is decided after New Year's day, in the BCS National Championship game.] and Jake will be there with no strings attached. My novel, "Sugar Bowl", consists of approximately 100,000 words. Besides some realistic football action, the very real issue of sexual assault in the world of college athletics is touched upon. The subject matter is somewhat timely, given the recent debate in the news about alleged sexual assault by members of the Duke University lacrosse team. [Though by the time the book comes out, that will be ancient history.] Please let me know if you're interested in taking a look at the manuscript.
With seven scholarship tailbacks out with season-ending injuries, walk-on Jake Zarephath finds himself a starter for the West Virginia Mountaineers. Life couldn't get any better--until an acquaintance, Robin Dunellen, accuses him of rape. Unfortunately for Robin, the team is in the running for an invitation to play in the prestigious Sugar Bowl game, and she becomes the target of an orchestrated campaign of public humiliation and character assassination, led by assistant athletic director Phil Berg, who will do anything to avoid the loss of a key player.
Eventually Robin admits she wasn't raped, but was goaded into making the accusation. The athletic department doesn't let up on her, and when the bludgeoning continues even after the Sugar Bowl bid is in hand, Jake has had enough. He vows not to play in the Sugar Bowl so long as Berg remains in the employ of the athletic department. A nasty struggle in the press and in the back rooms of Mountaineer Field result in the university president firing Berg just before Christmas. Jake is free to return to his team, and the unbeaten Mountaineers find that a national championship is within their reach.
My novel, "Sugar Bowl", consists of approximately 100,000 words. Besides some realistic football action, the very real issue of sexual assault in the world of college athletics is touched upon. Please let me know if you're interested in taking a look at the manuscript.
Although the query sounds cleaner now, it still leaves the reader wondering why Jake is sympathetic to Robin, when she falsely accused him. And while the Michelle-Robin relationship is out of the query, it's still in the book, and not easily explained.
If you think West Virginia U. came down hard on Robin, wait till you see what they do to you, if you publish a book that makes them look like jerks.