Guess the Plot
Thousand Year Silence
1. In 1962, Harper Lee overhears an insightful young lad on a New York train savaging her To Kill A Mockingbird. She vows not to write again for a thousand years. The young man grows up to run a popular writing blog.
2. Searching her deceased grandmother's belongings, Naomi finds a journal that reveals a family secret that's been kept for . . . well, a very long time.
3. In March of 2375, North American Union President George M. Bush III announces the War on Terror will last at least another thousand years. So, until then, no one should disagree with him.
4. Conducting a seance at Stonehenge. the Abernethy siblings release the Wizard Merlin from a stone in which he's been trapped for a thousand years. Now if they could only shut him up.
5. As he wanders the Colorado countryside in search of a job, a car and a meal, an aspiring novelist begins to regret his vow not to speak until his book is published.
6. In the year 1006, Mary Halfweather witnesses an unspeakable crime at the convent to which she's been sent by her destitute parents. Alone, terrified, and bearing evidence that can identify the killer, Mary perishes on the journey home. A thousand years later, an archaeologist discovers her bones--and pieces together a story that's been kept silent for a millennium.
Dear Mr. Agent:
I am writing to you about my first novel titled "Thousand Year Silence" which is complete at 97,000 words.
In 1942, the lives of a Japanese officer and an American private cross paths twice during the course of the war. [No need to say "during the course of the war"; it's obvious.] Once in the Philippines when the American saves his captured enemy’s life, and again in Japan, when their roles reverse at a prisoner of war camp. After the war, the Japanese officer would be branded a war criminal; the American- a war hero. Both, however, shared something in common which would remain a secret for [. . . a thousand years?] sixty years. [Sixty? Okay, I guess Sixty-year Silence doesn't sound as impressive. Hey . . .
- The Hundred Years War actually lasted 116 years.
- The movie One Million Years B.C. could have taken place no earlier than 200,000 B.C.
- Unless I read it wrong, there were four Musketeers.
- A "league" is approximately three miles; anything 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea would be 52,000 miles out the other side of the Earth, or well on its way to the moon. But who would have bought a book titled One Measly League Under the Sea?]
I have been a practicing attorney for fifteen years in the entertainment industry, as well as a producer of a television series and children's DVDs. [With your connections, you'd be perfect to produce Novel Deviations: The Movie. I see it as 50 or 60 hilarious two-minute scenes. Get started on the preliminary arrangements, will you?] Currently, I am an adjunct faculty member of George Mason University teaching research and writing comprehensive courses. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
(Slightly) Revised Version
In 1942, the lives of a Japanese officer and an American private cross paths twice: once in the Philippines when the American saves his captured enemy’s life, and later in Japan, when their roles reverse at a POW camp. After the war, the Japanese officer would be branded a war criminal, the American a war hero. Both, however, shared something which would remain a secret for sixty years.
Having just lost her grandmother, Naomi Yamamoto discovers an old prison journal belonging to her grandfather, Captain Shiro Yamamoto. The journal brings to light the bond between two enemies and the woman they both loved. Here, Naomi learns the secret that nearly died with her grandmother: her real grandfather was an American private who abandoned his lover upon liberation.
Naomi feels that memories of her grandmother will be illuminated if she learns what she can about her birth grandfather. When she discovers he's still alive, living in Kentucky, she drops everything and flies out. Their meeting reveals a heartbreaking story of love and betrayal and a marriage of calculated convenience that forever embittered the woman who was Naomi's grandmother.
Thousand Year Silence is a completed novel at 97,000 words. I have been a practicing attorney for fifteen years in the entertainment industry, as well as a producer of a television series and children's DVDs. Currently, I am an adjunct faculty member of George Mason University. Thank you for your time and consideration.
It sounds like a fascinating story. I'm not sure it's clear in the query that she finds her grandfather in person. The first time through I assumed you meant she "found" him by reading the journal. But perhaps a guy's wartime prison journal wouldn't have that much about love and betrayal.
You might want to mention the format. How much is Naomi's story? Is she merely a tool through which excerpts from the journal are channeled? Or is this her story, with reading the journal a crucial (but not space-consuming) event that sets her on a quest to find her birth grandfather? If, as I suspect, it's the latter, you might want to condense what's here, and expand on what happens when she finds her grandfather.
It seems unlikely a Japanese officer stationed in a combat zone would be reassigned to a POW camp. Are all officers trained for both combat and POW camp operations? You wouldn't want to waste General Patton running a POW camp, any more than you'd want Colonel Klink on your front lines, losing your war.
No doubt there are explanations for how a captured Japanese officer ends up back in Japan, and why Naomi's parents didn't raise her. Not important to the query, I guess, though I did find myself wondering.