Wednesday, July 04, 2007
Guess the Plot
Silver and Dust
1. It isn't easy being the last alchemist alive. It's even worse being the last alchemist's housekeeper and having to deal with all that . . . Silver and Dust.
2. The butler polishes the silver. The housekeeper dusts the parlor. The cook lies slumped over the kitchen sink with one of her own knives protruding from her back. Can Inspector Harries discover the perpetrator . . . or will he lose yet another game of Clue to his nine-year-old niece?
3. On the year's hottest game show, one box is filled with millions of dollars' worth of silver, the other with worthless dust. Contestant Thaddeus Bridges knows which box to choose - but can he overcome his speech impediment in time to choose before the clock runs out?
4. Ryan and Sarah need protection from the outside world, so they build a circle around themselves using silver and dust. The outside world doesn't get them, but Ryan kills himself, and now his ghost is after Sarah to do the same. Maybe they should have used bricks and padded walls.
5. The last two unicorns in existence, Silver and Dust, are being hunted by big-game trophy seeker Mic Branford. Can Jenny and her ragamuffin band of fifth grade misfits stop Mic and help Silver and Dust get to a safe place where Dust can birth her foal?
6. The newest, hippest rap duo this side of Pluto is Silver and Dust. Their hit, "Gimme Your Moon Rocks, Martian!" is playing all over the cross-galactic airwaves. They're on top of the planet--until a couple of crazed, Plutonian soccer moms decide to bring them and their Martian-prejudiced music down.
Dear Evil Editor,
Silver and Dust is not a cautionary tale. It's just a tale.
Sarah didn't think that ending up in rehab at fourteen was the worst thing that could happen to her, and she was right. There she meets Ryan, and when he commits suicide after a year of intense best friendship he doesn't leave Sarah far behind. And he doesn't leave.
Ryan is invisible and boneless now. [Boneless? I know he's not a ribeye or a chicken breast, so unless he's an invisible blob of protoplasm, you might want to call him "incorporeal."] Speaking from somewhere between her ears he whispers orders and words of comfort, his voice something Sarah cannot share. And even though she couldn't keep Ryan alive Sarah is determined to keep him. They can't move on from each other. That was never part of the plan. [What was the plan?]
When it becomes apparent that neither of them knows how to bring people back from the dead, [Damn. I thought we might have zombies again.] Ryan admits that the only way he can be independent is if Sarah joins him. The living planet, her parents and other friends, aren't enough to pull Sarah forward, and Ryan is pushing her over and over again. He is the lone person who doesn't think she's crazy. Sarah isn't sure anymore. She has a choice.
Ryan kept Sarah's promises, especially the drunken ones. [No, seriously Sarah, when you were drunk the other night you promised to have sex with me on the balcony.] He won't give them back.
This work of literary fiction is complete at 76,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Regarding the title, as adolescents the two main characters build a circle to protect themselves from the outside world. They choose silver and dust because that is what they have, and they live in grayness when everyone else seems black and white. It's a little bit of symbolism that makes more sense (I hope) in the context of the book.] [When you say "as adolescents" what do you mean? They're adolescents now. Do they build the silver and dust circle while in rehab? Is there a part of the book when they aren't adolescents?
This query reads like a work of literary fiction. Your query is a business letter. It needs to be crystal clear. Here are some phrases that make sense to you, but that aren't clear to me:
he doesn't leave Sarah far behind Are you saying she's on the verge of suicide?
his voice something Sarah cannot share No idea what this means.
They can't move on from each other Literally? As she is "determined to keep him," I assume they can move on from one another.
That was never part of the plan. Was she in on the plan?
the only way he can be independent is if Sarah joins him No idea what you mean by "independent" in this context.
The living planet No idea.
Ryan is pushing her over and over again To kill herself?
She has a choice What choice?
Ryan kept Sarah's promises, especially the drunken ones. He won't give them back. No idea.
These phrases are all vague. This letter needs to be specific. When you rewrite it, try putting a noun that isn't a person in every sentence. Heroin, alcohol, hospital all seem appropriate, but I'll settle for kangaroo, motorcycle and condom. We need some concrete to ground us; this is all wispy ideas. You can do this. Read the other 409 query letters on this site, or click the literary fiction label below and read just those.
I can't tell which specifics are important, but you could easily include what she's rehabbing from, whether it's inpatient rehab, why everyone thinks Sarah's crazy, does she get out of rehab and take action of some sort, what are these "orders" Ryan's voice gives her?
There's no plot. Sarah's best friend kills himself. His spirit remains, or at least she believes it does. We need more than that. What happens? Why do we care about these characters?
Is the whole book dialogue between Sarah and living/dead Ryan? Because dialogue between two fourteen-year-olds isn't going to appeal for long to people older than that. I assume you'd have said so if the book is intended for a YA audience. Perhaps it should be.
It sounds somewhat like a cautionary tale.