Friday, September 05, 2008
Guess the Plot
1. Denise hopes to make Shadow into a top dressage horse. Can the little buckskin mule with the long ears and hearty bray really compete with the big warmbloods?
2. When a car accident forces the amputation of both of Elise's legs, her dream of becoming a ballerina is over. Or is it? Fitted with two prosthetic legs with unnatural spring, Elise is able to perform ballottés and jetés that take her higher than a pole vaulter. But will Miss Grunbar allow her to perform the lead in Kangaroo Lake?
3. Melissa's the new kid in town, and Jade's the self-proclaimed ballet queen. The Karate Kid meets The Turning Point as the underdog tries to dethrone the bully and win the coveted dance studio solo.
4. When Bianca Delune's dream of becoming a prima ballerina is dashed by carping critics, unappreciative audiences and a backstabbing corps de ballet, she assumes a megalomaniacal muttonchopped male avatar and makes money by mercilessly nailing newbie novelists. Three years later a letter arrives offering her a starring dance role. Is it a plot by insulted authors, or will Bianca's dreams come true?
5. The men in Akio's family have been champion sumo wrestlers for generations, and his father and uncles are eager to feed him up and train him. Only problem is, he wants to be a ballet dancer. Also, a tone-deaf conductor.
6. Natasha's mother was a star ballerina of the Bolshoi Ballet - until her involvement in a plot to assassinate Kruschev sent her to Siberia. Natasha, herself training to be a dancer, knows nothing of this until a mysterious man arrives at the barre with a letter allegedly from her mother. Will Natasha give up her role as Aurora to seek the mother she believes is a traitor?
Dear Evil Editor,
(Fawning, pleading for representation, etc.)
My 40,000-word middle grade novel, Ballet Dreams, is aimed at youngsters who love dance or study it. In the United States, there are a minimum of 200,000 such students (20,000 studios x 100 students each), with a possible 2 million, plus their friends and families. [What is this, a Wikipedia article? Just insert "the two million American" in front of "youngsters" in sentence one and drop sentence two. No need to convince me that dance is popular. Especially as your math is way off. 20,000 times 100 is two million for your minimum. Which means your "possible 2 million" just became a possible 20 million. Which means possibly one of every fifteen people in the U.S. is a youngster who loves or studies dance. "Plus their friends and families" means the only people who aren't your audience are a couple hermits in Idaho.]
New dance studio, new school, a new life confronts aspiring ballerina Melissa after her family moves to Southern California from Nebraska. Now Jade, the self-proclaimed queen of ballet, keeps tripping Melissa in class, while bullies at school mock Melissa and her newfound friends, calling them "cow" and "spaz." Can Melissa successfully dethrone Jade by winning a coveted solo and gain acceptance with her school mates by thrashing the bullies? [Can you give us better examples than name-calling of the torment brought upon Melissa by the bullies? I'm thinking if the authorities find you standing over a bruised and bloodied kid you just thrashed, "She called me spaz," isn't going to fly as an explanation.]
I studied ballet and other dance forms for 20 years, plus I currently write for the online publication, Ballet-Dance Magazine (http://www.ballet-dance.com/).
Thank you for your consideration.
Your plot is three sentences. That's no more than three of the minions devoted to their fake plots. And it doesn't provide me enough material to mock.
The underdog formula has been used in every imaginable field (probably including ballet) because it works, but since it's so common you want to tell us what sets your version apart. Does your technical expertise bring more realism to the table, allowing you to breathe life into the dance studio scenes?
Is Melissa better than Jade, or does she have to work twice as hard to have any chance of winning the solo because the version of ballet being taught in Nebraska is called hoe-down?
Is Melissa eleven? Fifteen? The more information you provide, the better. As long as you don't make us read more than a page.
You might want to leave out the bullies and focus entirely on the Jade/Melissa competition. In view of the title, the bullies sound like a subplot that has nothing to do with the main plot. Is there a connection? I assume Jade isn't one of the bullies? Her frequent tripping of Melissa in dance class seems more likely to lead to a thrashing than the bullies' calling Melissa's friends "cow."