Guess the Plot
1. When gardeners plow up what might be an old cemetery on the grounds of Catalpa Hall, Boring-0n-End's oldest building, amateur sleuth and all-around busybody, Amelia Pettipants, suspects the Illuminati are at it again.
2. Her brother drowned twenty years ago. Now Melody Moon has returned to her hometown, rich, famous, and determined to find out what really happened at the lake behind . . . Catalpa Hall.
3. For years everyone steered clear of the oldest building on campus after dark, fearful of meeting its celebrated ghost. But Russell and Trevor need a special project for Photography class. Can they survive a night in Catalpa Hall--and get photographs of the ghost?
4. Sir Neville Hall ships his daughter Catalpa to Kenya to marry a plantation owner before the product of her passion for art can be born. Her artist lover follows, determined to be part of his child's life. Now can Catalpa convince her new husband that the baby drew those pictures of nude women on the wall of the nursery?
5. Expelled from high school, Turk Lombard is sent by his parents to Catalpa Hall, a military academy where troublemakers supposedly get whipped into shape. When it turns out they just get whipped, Turk organizes a rebellion that leaves the entire faculty dead.
6. A university instructor of anthropology must find a missing thousand-year-old, gold-plated nasal cavity before all hell breaks loose – literally.
Dear Agent Almighty,
Melody Moon has returned. Returned to her rural roots with fame, riches, and a burn-scarred young daughter named Ruthie in hopes of finding Gideon, the young man with the spectacular birthmark on his face [It looks exactly like the chariot race from Ben Hur.] whose memory has haunted Melody for twenty years. Yet the date Ruthie discovers Gideon had carved under the stage at the now dilapidated Catalpa Hall is the currentyear. [1. How does she know the date wasn't carved in the current year? 2. How does she know Gideon carved it? 3. How young is Ruthie, and what is she doing underneath a stage in a dilapidated building? 4. The word "yet" leads us to believe finding the current year carved under a stage is astounding. We won't find the event astounding unless you've already convinced us of its genuine unlikelihood. It's sort of like opening your query:
Johnny Graves walked straight to school without seeing anyone. Yet the ruler in his bookbag was orange!This is astounding only if you've already told us he left home with his purple ruler.]
Melody and Gideon were once known as the “Double Uglies,” dubbed as such by Melody’s obnoxious older brother, Dean. The cruel nickname later earned Melody quite a reputation for herself as an author of children’s literature, [Maybe you mean the nickname earned her fame as an author--for instance, when she wrote a series of books about the Double Uglies? Can you have a reputation as an author, if you are an author? Evil Editor has a reputation (totally undeserved) as evil. He has fame (also totally undeserved) as a blogger.] but only Gideon knows that it has actually cost her dreadfully more--it cost her brother’s drowning long ago. [You mean it caused her brother's drowning? Calling Melody and Gideon Double Uglies caused Dean to drown?] It’s a death that torments Gideon to this day, turning him into the recluse he has become.
He feels responsible for the death. [If you get tired of someone calling you ugly, and hold his head underwater in a lake until he drowns, are you really responsible?]
What exactly did happen at the hidden lake behind Catalpa Hall when they were all but children [All but children?] just trying to get by in the backwoods culture…and who else may have witnessed it? It appears that someone with much more sinister motives is also involved. [Much more sinister than whose? Motives for what?] Gideon’s deep love for the enchanting young woman he’d been forced to leave two decades ago may force him to abandon her once more. Melody has no idea why Gideon, once again, feels he must leave her, as well as her daughter, behind. [She goes off and becomes a writer, while he becomes a recluse. She comes back, and he's still there. Yet you claim he left her behind?]
Catalpa Hall is complete at 90,000-words. May I share this mainstream love story with you? I’d be happy to send a partial, or the entire manuscript at your request. Thank you for your time.
It's not clear enough. One could easily get the impression you're trying to keep us in the dark about everything. Why does Gideon think he's responsible for the drowning? Is the person really responsible still hanging around twenty years later? If I'd gotten away with murder, I'd have headed for New Zealand before the cops wised up.
Is the non-romance part basically the twenty-year-old mystery? Or is something going on now? Is someone in danger from the sinister person? Melody came back in hopes of finding Gideon, and Gideon is there. Problem solved. Now Gideon's ditching her because he drowned her brother twenty years ago? I can't remember what I was doing two years ago. Twenty years ago I was so ripped I could have killed a dozen people and I wouldn't remember it.
Gideon feels deep love for someone he hasn't seen in twenty years, and they were children when he last saw her? I don't buy it.
I realize there are lakes smaller than Lake Superior, but for a lake to be hidden, it would have to be more like an indoor swimming pool. I mean, you could call it hidden if it's out in the middle of nowhere, but this lake is right behind Catalpa Hall. Who's it hidden from?