Monday, May 04, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. When the great town of Holly, Texas is renamed Holy, Texas after a sign painting accident Bow Bradshaw returns to set things right for her great-grandmother Holly for whom the town was named after she single-handedly choked three attacking Apaches to death with one strand of Christmas ribbon and a baby on her hip in the 1880s.
2. Some said it was time to go when the waters ran dry in Holy, Texas, but ten year old Tim Dawson knows his friend the old medicine man on the reservation down the road has all the answers they need. But can Tim help the holy man remember the old ways in time to save the town?
3. Callie Palmer experiences first love while standing in the intersection between murder and revelation. Welcome to Holy, Texas; where the dead whisper secrets through hymns and Beatles’ songs.
4. Holy, Texas: home to 228 different cults. Great for tourism, but each cult has its own dubious agenda. The only thing they all agree on is that Holy isn't the right name for the town.
5. Janette didn't want to be one of those girls who drops out of school because she's pregnant, but prom happens. Things get difficult when it turns out her boyfriend is an angel, and he might not be the kind who can still fly...
6. Evelyn, the world's biggest Dante fangirl, decides to go on a trip similar to her hero. She's already visited Hell, Michigan, and Purgatory, Rhode Island, so now it's off to Holy, Texas! Add in a bizarre preacher, a chili cookoff, a ten gallon hat, and what is either a divine vision or a peyote-induced haze, and Evelyn is assured of an eventful time.
Dear Evil Editor,
Seventeen year old Callie Palmer has a lot on her mind. Her dad is dead. Her mother is moving her across the country to Frye, a tiny East Texas town. While Callie and her mother pick through the wreckage of loss, their extended family grapple with issues of their own. Uncle Duke and Aunt Mary are raising their grandchildren, nine year old Cody and sixteen year old Chrissy. Duke and Mary’s efforts to shield them from a drug abusing mother push Cody into a permanent state of make-believe and drive Chrissy down the road of the prodigal.
In the meantime, Callie finds herself caught between a hot mess and hard place. Tuck Easton, her cousin’s vainglorious boyfriend, can’t keep his paws off her. Cole Pritchard, the Sheriff’s inscrutable son, won’t spare two words on her. [I got the impression from sentence 3 that Callie and Mom were on the road; apparently they've been in Frye quite a while.] [The sheriff's son should be "enigmatic"; "inscrutable" is reserved for Fu Manchu and Keanu Reeves.]
The town down the road has been controlled since the 1850s by fundamentalist extremists. Folks in Holy, Texas are hell-bent on keeping the faithful. [What does that mean?] Reverend Adler not only shepherds the Church of the Atoned; he makes sure its [it's] always washed in the blood. Innocent blood. [You're being too inscrutable.]
Rock Point, Holy's local hangout, is breathtaking. It’s drop dead gorgeous. Just ask Judith and Dane, the star-crossed lovers who died there thirty years ago. [You're having trouble deciding where your focus should be. Each paragraph is about something different; they need to connect logically to each other.]
Each move Callie makes pulls her closer to an acceptance of her father’s death, but also closer to the terrible truth about Judith and Dane. [What are these moves she's making? We haven't seen her do anything since she got to Frye.] Sometimes love turns into obsession, exacting a deadly price. In Holy, Texas, Callie experiences the blinding tunnel vision of first love while standing in the intersection between murder and revelation. One hundred fifty years of mayhem and mystery threaten to collide with the present, altering Callie’s life forever. [This is all vague. We want clear specific information.]
Welcome to Holy, Texas; where the dead whisper secrets through both hymns and Beatles’ songs. [Pssst! I was the walrus.]
Holy, Texas is a Young Adult novel of approximately 83,000 words which combines elements of mystery, romance, and suspense with a coming of age story.
I am a school librarian (version 2.0; no shushing!). Always a perpetual reader, [Don't you just hate those occasional perpetual readers?] I’ve bathed in the written word for so long that my toes are wrinkled with story. [Then I'll assume your library has all of Evil Editor's books.] As a result, my novel tumbled out after my last semester of graduate work in library science.
Evil Editor, thank you for your time. If you are interested in Holy, Texas, I would be delighted to send all or a portion of it. [I hope you'll be sending it on paper, as I don't particularly care to read it off your wrinkled toes.]
What are Uncle Duke and Aunt Mary doing here? Besides taking up most of your crucial first paragraph? Possibly they have a role in the book, but they don't do anything in the query. Focus on Callie.
By telling us a little of everything, you tell us too little of what's really important. Your story.
Either of your very short plot paragraphs would make a good first paragraph. Either can lead you into Callie stumbling onto the Judith/Dane mystery, which I'm guessing is the main plot. Duke, Mary, Cody, Chrissy and Tuck aren't needed. Callie, Callie, Callie.
Wouldn't it be easier if they moved to Holy instead of Frye? I know almost nothing about the next town over, and I didn't just move here.