Guess the Plot
A Time to Say Goodbye
1. Pert Susie Martin knows exactly what time it is when the appletinis wear off at the bar, and she finds herself chatting with Mort Hurmp about his insurance business.
2. When your yappy little dog shits on the neighbor’s carpet; after your mother-in-law says hello; right before the waitress brings the check.
3. Southern belle May Lynn falls in love with the preacher, but she's already engaged to her cousin. Which of them will she tell that it's . . . Time to Say Goodbye?
4. Not when he set fire to her Manolo’s. Not when he threatened her with a Ka-Bar combat knife. Not even when he shaved her head in the middle of the night. But when he melts her Lyle Lovett CD collection in the oven, she realizes it's . . . Time to Say Goodbye.
5. When Buster the Turtle dies, Marge has to face explaining mortality to little Timmy. When Timmy finds the concept difficult to grasp, Marge finally finds a way she can make her fat, lazy husband useful . . . as another example.
6. The Craddocks are hospitable, but the Morleys have no concept of time. Norma Craddock snores in the recliner while her husband is already under the covers upstairs. But the Morleys, still at the dining table recounting their latest vacation, don't realize it is . . . A Time to Say Goodbye.
From researching your website, I learned that you are looking for historical inspiration novels. My novel, A Time to Say Goodbye, is a completed 70,000-word novel about a young white woman from the Old South who becomes an abolitionist. While traveling through England with her family, May Lynn, the daughter of a wealthy plantation owner, falls in love with Michael, an aspiring preacher. This causes conflict within her family because she is already betrothed to her cousin, through an arranged marriage. A plan to elope meets with disastrous consequences, which include her rape and Michael's disappearance. The pain inflicted on May Lynn from the rape, opens her eyes to the sorrowful life of the slaves on her father's plantation. [Some people have to experience pain to discover the awful truth: it hurts. Other people are able to figure this out from the screaming and moaning that accompany the whippings.] She embarks on a career of helping slaves while she tries to heal from her past.
There are many novels on the market about Southern Belles who become abolitionists; However, the young ladies in those novel usually for no apparent reason believe slavery is wrong. [Slavery? Wrong? Where do authors come up with these ridiculous characters?] My novel presents a believable reason why a Southern Belle would forget her upbringing and pursue freedom for an enslaved people. [So, if a woman lives on a southern plantation, surrounded by slavery, it's inexplicable that she would come to believe slavery is bad, but if some guy rapes her while she's touring England, the truth dawns on her?] [Idea for another novel: same story, but instead of becoming an abolitionist, the woman invents the telephone and starts England's first rape crisis hot line.] A Time to Say Goodbye is my first novel. However, I have worked as an editorial assistant for the North Carolina Literary Review. I have a MA in Literature and have studied creative writing at East Carolina University. Thank you for looking at my query. I will gladly send you the rest of my manuscript.
I'm guessing that at the time this is set, a trip to England took two weeks each way. Plus they're over there long enough for her to fall in love with a guy? Who's running the plantation during the three or four months the family is in England? How much contact would a woman traveling with her family have with one guy if she's touring the country? Is May Lynn's cousin part of the troupe? Is Michael traveling with them for some reason?
You don't need to answer all these questions in the query, though they do occur to the reader, so you might clear up some of them. You probably have room to touch on what her helping of slaves consists of, as well. Does she help them escape? Work to get them better conditions? Is this close to the war, or well before?
I'd merely stick with the facts (her cruel treatment opens her eyes) rather than imply that books in which heroines simply realize that slavery is wrong are somehow inferior. That few southern belles tried to do anything about slavery doesn't mean few knew it was wrong.