Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Half the fun is in trying to find this book on the shelves, thanks to an innovative printing method, never before seen.
3. In the finest tradition of literary hoaxes, this book asks the reader to figure out why every page appears to be blank.
4. Josie knows why people ignore her. The Rules of Invisibility keep her unseen. But Claire has discovered her, and now nothing will be the same.
5. Gertie can't figure out why people ignore her. Then she looks in a mirror. Turns out, she's . . . Invisible.
6. Revenge is never pretty. But for Isabel Hitchens, 50 and looking it, a new overnight cream has the answer. Tom Burke isn't going to know what hit him.
On the surface, Claire and Josie are total opposites. Once childhood friends, Claire now enjoys Park High School’s pinnacle of popularity while Josie remains unseen, blending into the crowd by following a list of self-made "Rules of Invisibility," which include [using an unscented anti-perspirant; not wearing clothes--which aren't invisible, and yes, I know the Invisible Girl's clothes disappear when she becomes invisible, but that's a comic book and we're talking about real life here; not bumping into anyone, unless it's Jimmy Clark in the boy's locker room; wrapping your head in bandages like a mummy and putting on sunglasses and a hat when you want to be seen, like when Mrs. Wilson is taking attendance (people find this less disconcerting than empty space);] avoiding eye contact and speaking only when necessary. Things change for both girls when their worlds accidentally collide.
When Josie finds Claire in the school bathroom suffering a painful miscarriage, the two high school juniors begin to rely on one another. [When I was in high school, the worst that happened in the bathroom was that some hoodlum smoked a cigarette. Nowadays the bathroom's home to heroin shooting, abortions, murders . . . and that's just the teachers' bathroom.] Claire needs help, and Josie, avoiding [Repressing?] her own dark memories of sexual abuse, agrees to keep Claire’s secret. Josie is surprised when she discovers just how much she has in common with the seemingly perfect Claire; they’re both miserable and hiding it.
To ensure that her secret will remain safe, Claire wants Josie close. Convincing her friends that they need a "project" to spice up their boring lives, Claire sets in motion a plan to bring Josie into Park High’s circle of popularity. [I was thinking modern-day Blackboard Jungle. Now I'm thinking My Fair Lady.] Josie is wary of the situation, but decides that she can use it to her advantage to escape her own problems. She is accepted quickly, especially by quiet and mysterious Owen, who is dating one of Claire’s best friends.
Claire and Josie’s unlikely friendship sparks a chain of events that ultimately leads each girl to confront the secrets they’ve been keeping, causing them to endure entirely new inner struggles and to realize that the only true way out of anything is straight through the middle. [Vague. Come up with something better than "through the middle."] [Also, the best way to get out of a tunnel is at one of the ends.]
Invisible is a contemporary young adult novel, complete at 53,000 words. A third person narrator offers the perspectives of Claire and Josie in short, alternating chapters. A second book in the series, which will follow these characters through their senior year of high school, is in its beginning stages. [Four additional books covering college (and various prequels) are not yet planned, but inevitable.]
I have taught secondary English for eight years and recently completed my Master’s Degree in education. [Is that the usual order?] I am also a member of the SCBWI. I would be happy to send you Invisible. Thank you for your time and consideration.
This wasn't the next query in line, but it was the only one with five GTPs.
To me, a miscarriage in the girls' bathroom sounds more like tabloid headlines than reading material for a 14-year-old. Obviously I'm out of touch with today's youth.
It may be a bit long. The good news is you can do without the third paragraph. And the sentences about your teaching/education and the third-person narrator can also go. The bad news is that the fourth paragraph needs more specificity. What's this chain of events? Is confronting their secrets a good thing? It's not clear, since they end up with new inner struggles. This paragraph may be the heart of your story, but it's so general we can't tell.