Friday, September 28, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Mr. Bishop runs the seventh-grade math labs like a drill sergeant: No talking, no late work, no excuses. When Ginny refuses to do math homework for super-popular Naomi, Naomi has her boyfriend trash Ginny's work for the Math Olympics. Can Ginny fix her project in time?
2. Heled Faust had been studying ten years for his sorcerers badge. But in his final exam he theorized, and proved, that the last of the '20 rules of magic', "Magic obeys only the command of the caster," is false. Heled fails the exam but his paper attracts the attention of Muburak. In his quest to influence the world outside of his magic-forged prison, Muburak sends his minions to kidnap Heled and obtain the knowledge he possesses.
3. Dean Miller and his buddies like to taunt Coach Magog by breaking all his silly rules. Sure, they understand why you don't slam someone's head into the floor, or why you don't set the basketball nets on fire. But what could possibly go wrong when you bust the lock off locker 43?
4. When their father dumps Ben and his sisters off at the home of a total stranger, he gives them 20 rules to follow in their new lives, rules like Don't make any friends, and Don't tell anyone I've dumped you off at the home of a complete stranger, and don't ask the host to let you watch Cinemax.
5. Twenty rules separated Gilligan Troy from a happy life. He had overcome the one about not murdering any more people, but could he come to terms with the nineteen rules about sex, mentioned explicitly in his parole papers, that always seemed to trip him up?
6. Nine people, lost at sea, starving to death, getting on each other's nerves as they drift for days in a small lifeboat. They finally make up 20 rules that none of them is allowed to break, rules like no whining, no farting, and no masturbating while ogling buxom Miss Lennox. The first to break a rule will be the first sacrificed for the greater good.
For 15 year old Ben and his sisters life is one long procession of relatives’ homes while their father ‘looks’ for work. [‘Looks’ ? What does that mean? Doesn't look? I ‘think’ that's clever.]
They survive by following the rules. Rule 1: Never argue with the host family, even when you know you are right. Rule 2: Never upset the host family’s routine, even if it means going without. Rule 3: Always look neat and well groomed for school so that teachers don’t investigate your home life. Rule 4: Never make friends, because that means one day you’ll have to tell them about your home life, which you can’t. Rule 5: [Never butcher the host family because the cops will come and find out about your home life. Rule 6: No masturbating while ogling buxom Miss Lennox. Rule 7:] . . .
But this time Dad has dumped them on a total stranger. [How about that guy, kids? He looks pretty cool. You wanna live with him?]
All Ben wants to do is keep his family together and find out more about this mysterious Jason their father has foisted them off onto. [Jason? The Jason? It's a bad sign when your own father foists you off on a stranger, but it's a really bad sign when the stranger is wearing a hockey goalie mask.]
The last thing he needs is to run afoul of the bitchiest girl in the school. Particularly not when his best friend (who doesn’t seem to get the message that they can’t be friends) blurts out a secret the bitchiest girl uses to make Ben’s life, and that of his friend, absolute hell [Rule 12: Don't reveal the secret, not even in a query letter.]
Jason may just be the only one who can help them, [Wouldn't it have been great, back when we were in school, if we could have hired Jason to deal with the bitchiest girl in school?] but Ben has issues of his own with Jason right now, particularly about Jason’s relationship with their Dad. [I thought Jason was a total stranger.]
I am seeking representation for my 40,000 word young adult novel, Twenty Rules. A synopsis and sample chapters are enclosed. Would you be interested in reading more?
Where does dad go while the kids are living with relatives and total strangers?
Even if you weren't told not to make friends, it would be a while before you had a best friend or an enemy. How much time passes between the dump-off and the school troubles?
It feels like the school part comes out of nowhere, like we're in another story. You need to connect the Jason plot and the school plot, or give the less important one a smaller part in the query. Possibly the connection lies in why only Jason can help Ben and his friend.