Guess the Plot
Stop the Presses
1. Tom took a night job in the press room of Trinity News to make a few bucks for college. But now the extra printing work the paper took on to cover its costs has Tom wondering what he's gotten into . . . and how much longer he'll be alive.
2. The disappearance of the socialite daughter of millionaire California vintner Loren Charles is linked to the suspiciously high cholesterol content of this year's Charbono, giving new meaning to the wine's description as "full bodied."
3. How will we communicate after the Zombie Apocalypse? Everyone laughed at Gerald Kilpatrick for keeping the presses from the last days of the New York Times, but with Zombies on the prowl no one's laughing now.
4. When Miriam the media medium comes to stay at Halloween Hotel things get out of hand. Her powers are put to the test as the hotel is forced to close its doors with thirteen unlucky guests trapped inside. Crockery flies in the restaurant, towels flap along corridors and there is a sinister gathering of trouser presses in the lobby, where they snap shut on unwary guests.
5. Reporter Lottie Stuart's first assignment wasn't supposed to involve finding a corpse. Was it an accident? Or premeditated murder? Lottie will dig up the truth, or she's not the best sophomore reporter in the history of her school newspaper.
6. When the Herald goes out of business, it has a bigger effect on Sunnydale than just a couple hundred lost jobs, especially when a serial killer begins stalking the residents, and no one can get up-to-date news or check the obituaries to see who the most recent victim was.
Dear Evil Editor:
College sophomore Lottie Stuart doesn't want to make the headlines—she wants to write them. She just enrolled at a new college, just got hired at the school newspaper and nearly tripped over a dead body while on her first assignment. Now she's got a front-page story and a sneaking suspicion the student's death wasn't just another drinking binge gone bad.
Life gets more complicated when the dead boy's popular best friend [Now that's what I call a bff.] asks her out [Does she go out with him? If so, I'd say: . . . when she starts dating the dead boy's best friend. If not, leave him out of the query.] and she's welcomed into a clique of Southern sorority belles. [When southern sorority girls welcome you into their clique, it's time to look for a new college, because you'll never live down whatever it is they're up to.] She also discovers the most infuriating person she's ever met is her sexy, enigmatic editor, Jack.
The police rule the student's death an accident, but Lottie can't leave it alone. As she digs deeper into the dead boy's past and befriends those who knew him best, one name keeps popping up: the Sigma Society, a shadowy group that could be responsible for a recent rash of campus crime.
Soon Lottie is sneaking into frat houses, [Sophomore women don't have to sneak into frat houses. They have an open invitation.] breaking into secret passageways, coaxing information from her Greek friends and trying to avoid detection by the Sigmas, who are bent on covering up a murder and its ties to a 50-year-old hate crime. Lottie has big decisions to make: does she pursue the truth and risk alienating her newfound friends (and her newfound social status) or ignore the warning signs and let the Sigmas get away with murder? [She decides to compromise: pursue the story, but not till after the big mixer next Saturday at Alpha Beta House,]
STOP THE PRESSES is a 91,000-word YA suspense novel set on the campus of a prestigious private college in the deep South.
I'm a 26-year-old journalist (and recovering sorority girl). I work for a mid-sized daily newspaper. This is my first novel.
Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.
This is okay as it is, but possibly we can improve it. The first sentence is catchy, but it seems odd to start by saying Lottie doesn't want to make headlines. That's true of the vast majority of people. It's like saying Baseball player Bob Johnson doesn't want to die in a car wreck; he wants to hit a home run. This might be just as catchy:
Sophomore journalism student Lottie Stuart just enrolled at a new college, just got hired at the school newspaper . . . and just tripped over a dead body. Now she's got a front-page story and a sneaking suspicion the student's death was more than another drinking binge gone bad.
I'm not sure we need paragraph 2 at all. You can bring Jack in in paragraph 3:
The police rule the student's death an accident, but Lottie can't leave it alone, even when Jack, her sexy--but infuriating--editor advises her to drop it.And if we need to know about the sorority, you can change "her Greek friends" in paragraph 4 to "her sorority sisters." I'm assuming that's who you meant by her Greek friends; if not, we don't need the sorority in the query.
Dumping paragraph 2 gives it a stronger narrative flow. Why interrupt the main plot by introducing some other characters and then immediately dropping them?
I assume college sophomores are old enough to star in books for adults, so is this YA because of something other than Lottie's age?
Why would pursuing the story alienate her friends? Are they in the Sigma Society?