Thursday, July 03, 2008
Guess the Plot
Pickles and Curd Rice
1. Growing up as orphans is tough enough, but Seetha and Senthil now must live with their aunt, who is involved in a bitter war against the cosmos. When poisonous atmosphere threatens to destroy the household, catastrophe ensues.
2. Jonas and Janine decide this will be the year they spice up their sex life. It's been nearly a full year since the sex was pleasing to either. First up: Naming each other's privates based on their scents!
3. Aruna may be from a large Tamil family in a small village in southern India, but she has big plans! Huge! She’s determined to land a spot on the TV show Hell’s Kitchen. With a recipe for Rice Curd and a clever combination of chutney and chutzpah, Aruna finds a whey to have Chef Ramsay eating out of her hands. But when the other contestants find out, Aruna and Gordon find themselves in a pickle.
4. Martha, Caroline and Jolene all find themselves pregnant at the same time. They share their nausea, their pregnancy cravings and their hopes for the future until they discover that their babies all have the same father. Will their friendship survive?
5. Ashima's family have picked out a nice Indian boy for her to marry but she is in love with Spud who is a Goth. They run away to get married but it's soon clear that they have little in common except their love for each other. Can Ashima learn to make gravy the way Spud's mother does, or will he have to learn to like . . . Pickles and Curd Rice?
6. Two AM. Dead husband. Pickles and curd rice on the counter. Half-melted peach ice cream in the bag. Homicide detective Zack Martinez has seen a lot of cases, but this one adds up to a pissed & pregnant wife. Or does it? Either way, he'd better get some rocky road on the way home, or his own pregnant wife will kill him.
Dear Evil Editor
When Seetha and Senthil’s parents die in a car accident (an incident that is now taboo, unlucky to mention) [And yet you mention it in sentence 1. Something tells me this isn't going to go well for you.] they go to live in Madurai, a small town in South India, as part of a joint family. Growing up as orphans is not straightforward, [Not sure what you mean by "not straightforward."] but they have even more than that on their plate. [They also have biriyani, ghee rice, and naan.] Growing up with a depressed uncle, a paralysed cousin and an embittered aunt is what they are faced with now, four years down the line.
Their uncle feels completely out of place as a small town lawyer, being, in popular opinion, too impractical and dreamy for the job, while his wife is engaged in a bitter war against the cosmos on behalf of their handicapped son, [She's trying to get the kid assimilated into the Borg collective.] in whom her entire life is wrapped up.
In short, though everything in the ordinary middle class family seems normal at first sight, [I don't see how you can say the family seems normal when the lady of the house is at war with the Borg.] there are deep undercurrents of jealousy, frustration and helpless anger.
Meanwhile, the eldest daughter, Ria is idling away her years sitting at home, unqualified and looking with increasing desperation at what seems to be a bleak future. When the tension in the house becomes palpable, she decides that the only way to escape the poisonous atmosphere of the house would be to marry—and quickly. She elopes with a neighbour, only to realise the very next day that it was a catastrophic mistake, when she is deserted. But now she has tasted freedom, and unwilling to give it up, she refuses to return home. [One catastrophic day out of the house provides the sweet taste of freedom? She didn't have to elope; a trip to the Sambar Hut for lunch would have done it.] Facing criticism from home, and conquering her own fears, she plunges ahead to the big bad city, finds a job and a life of her own in Mumbai. [There are thirty million people looking for jobs in Mumbai, and she walks in and immediately lands one? I guess it's possible, if she's willing to work as a telemarketer.]
The story explores how this incident becomes the turning point in the lives of the rest of the family—forcing them to reconcile to change, to take another look at their own lives. [Strange that a character who wasn't even mentioned until she left seems to be the driving force of the novel.] It is the transition between childhood and adulthood for the two children, through whose viewpoint the story is primarily told. It tells of how the Adult World looks at children, and children at their elders, and of the illusions shattered during the process of growing up.
Pickles and Curd Rice is set around the turn of the century [Which century?] is a 65000 word work of literary fiction. [Fix this sentence.]
You should include the ages of the orphans.
If this is Seetha's and Senthil's story, you might want to focus entirely on them. If it's more of an ensemble cast, with no main character, you still might want to focus the query on someone. It's hard to get us interested in this many characters in one page.
It doesn't seem like an adult daughter moving out of her parents' home would be such a crucial plot point. If it's really what sets the story in motion, you might want to make it clear why this matters to the orphans, the mother, the son. Why is Ria being gone such an impetus?
It seems a bit long, so if you add anything I've suggested, be sure to get rid of some less important stuff.