Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. In a world of living letters, Q crosses time and space to find his one true love and eternal companion . . . U.
2. New Yorker Jessica Floop moves to London, hoping for a new life and a glimpse of Hugh Grant, but instead finds herself thrust into an unintelligible world of spotted dick, bangers and lorries. And never mind trying to figure out where the line is for the Ladies' Room.
3. Tommy's parents always thought it was cute that his favorite letter was Q. But as Tommy approaches puberty, his alphabetic preference becomes an obsession that will take over his life and threaten the entire planet.
4. Quinn embarques on a Quixotic quest to res-q an acquaintance from iniquitous delinquents, but quickly finds himself in a quandary, questioning whether he's quite qooqoo.
5. Roger Swenson, mute since birth, is interrogated by the police in this short story written entirely in questions.
6. The letter Q has been kidnapped by Evil Editor, and writers can no longer send him query letters. It's a welcome respite, but all too brief, as EE's ingenious minions soon inundate him with kwery letters.
Dear Evil Editor:
In the spirit of Cervantes’s Don Quixote and Lennox’s The Female Quixote, my young adult novel [has the letter "Q" in its title.] entitled Q follows a troubled young man on a modern-day heroic quest to rescue a fair maiden from perceived threats of bloodthirsty vampires, futuristic assassins, and hedonistic frat boys.
A latch-key kid raised on a steady diet of 1980s movies, [mainly Porky's and Porky's 2, each of which he's seen dozens of times,] 15-year-old Quinn sees danger everywhere. Growing up in Philadelphia, he has long known not to open the front door for anyone, not to take candy from strangers, [When you're fifteen, it's not candy that strangers offer you.] and not to interact with the bums on the subway.
When he witnesses a figure in black climbing into the window of his neighbor and classmate Claire, he begins to suspect that sinister forces have descended upon the city to wage a concentrated assault. His suspicions strengthen when, a few days later, Claire is arrested by the police, or so they appear. [Awkward. ...so it appears or --or were they the police? would be better.] [Also, has Quinn bothered to ask Claire about the figure in black? As she hasn't been killed or kidnaped, he might suspect he was wrong about sinister forces descending.] He must save her from annihilation, eternal damnation, or a fate worse than death. His journey to find and rescue Claire [Has he determined that those weren't the police?] takes him through the mean streets of West Philadelphia, the dank yet heavily populated subway city, the riverfront undergoing mysterious revival, [Why mysterious?] and finally to the massive glass towers that crown the city’s skyline and economy. [Those glass towers are empty. The economy of Philadelphia is based entirely on cheesesteak sandwiches, Tastycakes, and soft pretzels.]
Along the way, Quinn must face core-shaking questions about Claire’s identity and integrity and about his perceptions of the world. The lines between reality and imagination blur, both for Quinn and for the reader. [End that sentence after "blur."] Are those police officers genuinely out to “serve and protect”? Is the innocuous South Street goth club really just for fun? [Ditch that question.] Could the man living in a box along the Parkway really be a master of self-defense, a sage mentor to guide him? Are the dangers really all in Quinn’s mind or could he actually be the city’s savior? [Delete "really."]
Q is complete at 60,000 words.
I have a PhD in English literature with a minor specialization in 18th century British literature. I was also born and raised in Philadelphia. I would be pleased to send a detailed synopsis, sample chapters, or the entire manuscript.
I appreciate your attention and consideration, and an SASE enclosed.
I like the story and I like the query. I'm not crazy about every paragraph ending with a list; at least hold your lists to three items (the riverfront revival can go). I'd get rid of the list at the end of the first paragraph, and replace "danger" in the second paragraph with "vampires and assassins." Better to mention vampires after mentioning his movie addiction.
Even with a broken leg Jimmy Stewart tried to do something when he thought someone was in danger in the next building. Does Quinn do anything when the black figure goes in Claire's window?