Thursday, June 29, 2006
Guess the Plot
Stephanie Steps Up
1. Bored with her tiresome literary agent husband, Stephanie decides to splurge on a depilatory regimen and try to bag a New York book editor.
2. Stephanie has spent ten years sweating at the bottom of the corporate ladder. When information that compromises the CEO appears in her inbox she blackmails him into making her vice president. Then she gets greedy.
3. Stephanie is a failure - financially, romantically, physically. When she finds herself a guinea pig for a revolutionary new exercise regimen, will things get better or worse?
4. Some say Stephanie should step somewhere. Some say Stephanie should step somewhere else. Still, Stephanie seems stupified simply stepping somewhere she shouldn't, silencing sophomore soccer standout Stephen.
5. Stephanie has always stunk at volleyball. But when her team needs a new player, she steps in and leads them to the elementary school league championship.
6. Second rate baseball player Stephen Norcross thinks he’s found his entry route into the majors . . . disguising himself as a woman and playing the Sexual Equality card.
For the third year in a row, sixth-grader Stephanie Marak isn't quite good enough to make the school's volleyball team. This year, she was the thirteenth best player at the tryout. Unfortunately, the coach only took twelve players. Stephanie asks for and gets permission to practice with the team to improve her skills for next year.
When the team's star player moves away mid-season, Stephanie is brought up to replace her. Replacing the best player in the school is terrifying, [Technically, Stephanie is replacing the 12th-best player on the team, who's replacing the 11th best player etc. Stephanie can expect to warm the bench, except when she's handing the good players their Gatorade.] but Stephanie receives anonymous notes in her locker encouraging her to keep trying. Will Stephanie step up and help her team win the championship? [Yes, her overhand jump serves and kills directed at the face of the opposing team's hapless 4th grader win the day. Of course, the 4th grader is ostracized for the remainder of her school days, until she develops laser beam eyes and takes bloody revenge on her classmates and community. But enough about the sequel, which should be much easier to sell.] [Maybe if you're going to ask this question, you should put a spoiler alert on the title.]
"Stephanie Steps Up" is a 22,000 word novel [Expect to hear from Dwight the Troubled Teen.] appropriate for girls aged 8 - 12. [That's one skinny book. Maybe 100 pages, which means 50 sheets of paper. Aren't kids in this age group reading Harry Potter novels?] [Not that I know any 12-year-olds, but this seems kind of tame for anyone over 9. Or are the anonymous notes in the locker from Chad, captain of the boys team, who has the hots for Steph? That's what this book needs, a romantic angle.] I am a certified elementary school teacher with four years of experience in the classroom and in coaching girls' and boys' volleyball teams. I understand the trials and tribulations of a team and the realities of middle-grade girls, and my novel reflects this. I am now a full-time writer with several published stories and articles to my credit.
I am including a synopsis and SASE as well as the first three chapters. Thank you for your time and consideration.
The query seems fine, if rather bland. If there's a villain in the book, you might bring that up to add interest. If there isn't, you might invent one (for the book, not just the query).
Oh, and the "only" should be in front of the "twelve," not the "took." That's a problem that's come up in about a dozen of these queries, so I thought I'd mention it finally. Jam the "only" right up against the word it modifies, or you change the meaning of the sentence.