Thursday, April 08, 2010

Face-Lift 752


Guess the Plot

11:11

1. With only 49 minutes to go, Cinderella faces a dilemma: should she risk riding back home in a pumpkin to stick around and find out what really makes Prince Charming the most desirable man in the kingdom? Also, a glass codpiece.

2. The eleventh day of the eleventh month. Then the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour. With each 'War to End All Wars' the tradition became more entrenched. Joss figures the next Big Truce will go down to the 11th second and catapult his mass disarmament munition assistance software into a fat multi-government contract and make him a billionaire. But first he has to start the next war.

3. When Elle wakes up in Adaven, Nevada, she discovers that every clock is stuck on 11:11. She loves having breakfast at the local diner any time she wants, but when she gets a craving for a tuna melt and fries, can she deal with a menu that never switches over to lunch?

4. Four toothpicks lined up on the table next to the body. Were they a clue left by the victim? Or just his way of keeping track of how many martinis he'd drunk? Either way they're a reminder to homicide detective Zack Martinez that if he's not home by eleven, he'd better bring his wife a slice of cheesecake from Mario's.

5. According to superstition, if you make a wish at 11:11, it comes true. Dannie-Lynn tries wishing the handsome quarterback will make a pass at her. He does, but when she gets him he can't complete the long ball. Maybe she'll have a better chance of scoring if she wishes for the tight end.

6. A bomb threat phoned in to the Times stating that the Statue of Liberty will be blown up at 11:11 is assumed to be a hoax, but reporter Ronnie Jason investigates anyway, and finds there's more than a statue at risk. Can she prevent Ellis Island from becoming the next Chernobyl?


Original Version

Dear Evil Editor:

Dannie-Lynn Grady is your typical, plain and ordinary seventeen-year-old girl who fantasizes about what life would be like with the gorgeous, popular guy in school. When she learns about an old superstition of making a wish at 11:11, she takes advantage of the opportunity and wishes to be with guys that she’s convinced life would be perfect with. [When I think of taking advantage of an opportunity, I think once-in-a-lifetime, now-or-never, like when that guy came to my door with a truckload of ham he was willing to unload for only five hundred dollars. Not something you can do twice a day, any day. I'd describe this as giving it a try.] Little does she know that while she’s looking for the perfect guy, he’s waiting for her to stop looking.

Often humorous with a dose of drama, 11:11 is a 70,000 word young adult novel that [Whoa. The plot's over? Girl wants guy? That's the plot of every YA book. Who's this guy who's waiting for her? A shy guy she's never met who adores her from afar? Her best friend since she was five who she never thought about in "that way"? A serial killer who just needs a good woman to set him on the path to righteousness?] appeals to us girls who sat on the bleachers and imagined we were the cheerleader that the quarterback was talking to. [That cheerleader is a botox-addicted, thrice-divorced alcoholic who cries herself to sleep every night.] [On the other hand, she's still hot hot hot.]

I am a freelance writer and have written and produced young adult inspirational plays for various churches and schools. [There's nothing young adults like better than attending inspirational plays.] I also have a short story that won the 2001 Brampton Library Short Story Award, which led to library publication and has been used in the writing curriculum at Central Peel Secondary School. [Impressive, but I'd rather know what happens in your book.]

Please feel free to reach me through my email, phone, home address, or my website which are all listed below. I thank you for your consideration.

Regards,


Notes

More information, please. Does her 11:11 wish come true? And if so, and the guy turns out to be a lemon, does she learn her lesson or make another 11:11 wish?

Actually, if you make an 11:11 wish for the quarterback, and you actually get him, wouldn't the next logical step be to immediately dump him and wish for Robert Pattinson? I mean, if wishing works, you might as well shoot for the top.

22 comments:

_*rachel*_ said...

Well, you kind of need to tell us what your plot is. Since there's so little plot in here that it'll all be rewritten in your next query draft, I'll critique the rest, which is a little long for my tastes.

Here's my cut version:

11:11 is a 70,000 word young adult novel [for the] girls who sat on the bleachers and [envied] the cheerleader that the quarterback was talking to.

I am a freelance writer and have a short story that won the 2001 Brampton Library Short Story Award, which led to library publication.

Thank you for your consideration.

Regards,

Here's my reasoning:
1) Don't tell us your book is humorous; show us.
2) The plays and skits aren't pariah, but I'm not sure how much they count as published.
3) The story award is good, but I looked up the high school. While it's definitely a plus that they're using it as curriculum, it's only one high school and it's smaller than mine was.
4) You've already got your contact information on the query letter; the agent can see it.

Jaymi said...

Im hoping that your plot actually has a unique voice or twist to this so that it stands out as original. As with any romance, there are no new stories, just new ways to tell them.

SHOW us that this is original. Show us why the wish is important, or in the end not. What makes the main character special, not just the same old teenager?

Stina Kanaris said...

I had a feeling that is what was going to be said!

I'm the one who wrote that crazy condensed query. I have a much longer one with way more plot, but after some advice from a blog, I shortened it down (OK, axed it to death).

I will work on my longer one and post it later. Thanks!

Dave F. said...

Is this that old country song -- Looking for love in all the wrong places?

I ask that because you say: "Little does she know that while she’s looking for the perfect guy, he’s waiting for her to stop looking."

It sounds like a nice romantic story but you don't say that in the query. Give us a little more plot in the query about Dannie-Lynn and her search for the perfect (and not-so-perfect) guy. Make it warm and fuzzy and hot-chocolatey and bunny slippers like...

150 said...

Go ahead and put another version of the query in the comments; we'll look at it again.

Kayeleen Hamblin said...

I'm not crazy about this hook line: "Dannie-Lynn Grady is your typical, plain and ordinary seventeen-year-old girl who fantasizes about what life would be like with the gorgeous, popular guy in school." It doesn't give me any sense of what is unique about this girl. I'd probably cut it entirely and start with what happens when she makes the wish. That will make her stand out.

Amy said...

I think you should avoid describing your protagonist as "typical, plain, and ordinary." What I want to know about your protagonist is what makes her special and interesting.

Angie said...

1 was deliciously naughty...

But to the main attraction:

I agree we need more of the plot to get an idea of what the conflict is.

This seems to be the second entry to mention some blog said to pare the query and we have an end product of bare bones. I can't imagine they'd recommend cutting out the conflict, the voice etc... If so, I'd be worried.

Put that stuff back in and we'll give it a whirl.

Angie

Stina Kanaris said...

Here is another version of the query with more plot. Rip it to shreds ;-).

We have all made wishes and have subsequently been disappointed when they didn’t come true. Dannie-Lynn was disappointed because hers did.


11:11 is about seventeen year old Dannie-Lynn Grady who has spent the last three years living at the bottom of the high school food chain while staring up at Jeff Rogers, the gorgeous, muscular, seemingly unattainable captain of the Woodlawn High football team. Desperate to have a chance with him, Dannie-Lynn learns of an old superstition of making a wish at 11:11 and wishes they were together. She wakes up the next morning, ecstatic to learn that her wish came true, but dating Jeff turns out to be anything but what she imagined.


Dannie-Lynn allows her desperation of finding the perfect boyfriend to get the best of her as she continues down the dramatic path that this wishing venture has taken her on, wishing for guys she barely knows but thinks life would be perfect with. Not only does it turn out nothing like she imagined, but she finally realizes it comes with a price; when she wishes for something, it not only affects her life, but everyone else’s as well, and her selfishness may have just caused her to lose the person she is really meant to be with.


11:11 is a 70,000 word young adult novel. I am a freelance writer and have a short story that won the 2001 Brampton Library Short Story Award, which led to library publication. I thank you for considering my submission and look forward to hearing from you.

Jaymi said...

MUCH BETTER! The opener is so much better than the same old girl bit. It also tell us in the first sentence the "hitch" to the plot.

Favorite quote:...Dannie-Lynn Grady who has spent the last three years living at the bottom of the high school food chain (great voice)

The second paragraph could be rearranged to read a little smoother. Something like....

Dannie-Lynn Grady has spent the last three years living at the bottom of the high school food chain. Desperate to have a chance with Jeff Rogers, the gorgeous captain of the football team, Dannie-Lynn takes a chance on a silly superstition of making a wish at 11:11. She wishes they were together. She wakes up the next morning, ecstatic to learn that her wish came true, but dating Jeff turns out to be anything but what she imagined.

It says the same thing. It just works a little better for my taste.

I would take this out of the second paragraph.....
as she continues down the dramatic path that this wishing venture has taken her on, wishing for guys she barely knows but thinks life would be perfect with.

Cool award, by the way!

Take my advice with the grain of salt. I just had my query for Wake Up handed to me on a silver plater. Good Luck to you.

Evil Editor said...

The new version is much better.

Remove "11:11 is about" from the first sentence of paragraph 2.

Change "Desperate to have a chance with him, Dannie-Lynn learns of an old superstition of making a wish at 11:11 and wishes they were together."

to

When Dannie-Lynn learns of an old superstition--wishes made at 11:11 always come true--she decides to give it a try.


I don't see how she wakes to find the wish came true. Is Jeff beside her in bed?


Change "caused her to lose" to "lost her" (or "cost her").

Stina Kanaris said...

"I don't see how she wakes to find the wish came true. Is Jeff beside her in bed?"

Ha! Good point! I should reword. Thank you!

At least you got a platter, Jaymi. I'm pretty sure mine was on the end of a stick ;-). Thanks for your feedback!

Stephen Prosapio said...

WOW! This is much better!

I have but one nit:
"Dannie-Lynn allows her desperation of finding the perfect boyfriend to get the best of her as she continues down the dramatic path that this wishing venture has taken her on, wishing for guys she barely knows but thinks life would be perfect with."

You mention she's desperate in the paragraph above and I don't think you want to overdo that negative intonation with your hero twice in one query. That sentence runs long as well. The Late Great Miss Snark claimed that queries shouldn't have sentences over 10 words. I'm not that much of a purist, but when you get into the 40s...

Great revision.

_*rachel*_ said...

Ah, but prophets' severed heads come on silver platters. Kebabs come on sticks. I'm getting hungry.

Good revision!

Jaymi said...

Rachel, OMG, that made me laugh out loud.

Stina Kanaris said...

We have all made wishes and have subsequently been disappointed when they didn’t come true. Dannie-Lynn was disappointed because hers did.


Dannie-Lynn Grady has spent the last three years living at the bottom of the high school food chain staring up at Jeff Rogers, the gorgeous captain of the football team. She learns of an old superstition--the 1,111 Spirit Guardians will grant you a wish at 11:11 to help you with your destiny--and decides to give it a try. She wakes up the next morning to find her life has completely changed, and dating Jeff turns out to be anything but what she imagined.

Dannie-Lynn allows her desperation of finding the perfect boyfriend get the best of her. She wishes for guys she barely knows but thinks life would be perfect with. Not only does it turn out nothing like she imagined but she finally realizes it comes with a price; when she wishes for something, it not only affects her destiny, but everyone else’s as well. She discovers her selfishness may have just cost her to lose the person she is really meant to be with.

11:11 is a 70,000 word young adult novel. I am a freelance writer and have a short story that won the 2001 Brampton Library Short Story Award, which led to library publication. I thank you for considering my submission and look forward to hearing from you.

Tom said...

Not a lot to add to what the others said. Nice revision. I'd only suggest going over it and cutting every word that doesn't need to be there; trim the fat.

Jeb said...

The first paragraph is reasonably good; the second is far too short on specifics. We still don't know much about what actually happens.

I'd stop the first paragraph after "changed" and start the second with "Dating Jeff..." but with something specific about why that's bad. Then drop most of paragraph two. The only action there is that she wishes herself into a string of guys looking for the perfect one.

Presumably one particularly nasty occurrance wakes her up to the fact that the nice guy who is perfect for her is now disgusted, but we know nothing about him. Or it.

Can you fit a mention of him into the first paragraph, ie "Against the advice of her best friend Brad, she wishes"?

150 said...

Why. Why are queries never specific. I just. So many times. So many.

*collects self*

When something happens, instead of telling us "something happens", TELL US WHAT HAPPENS.

Example.

She wakes up the next morning to find her life has completely changed, and dating Jeff turns out to be anything but what she imagined.

-->"It works. But Jeff turns out to be a cannibal baby-kicker who stabbed his mother."

Dannie-Lynn allows her desperation of finding the perfect boyfriend get the best of her. She wishes for guys she barely knows but thinks life would be perfect with.

-->"She tries again, this time wishing for Steve the hot librarian--who is actually a woman. Then Mark, the hot janitor who likes to snort Pixie Stix."

Not only does it turn out nothing like she imagined but she finally realizes it comes with a price; when she wishes for something, it not only affects her destiny, but everyone else’s as well.

-->"Finally she wishes for Horace the hot fireman, who burns down the school--with her shy-but-hunky lab partner still inside."

She discovers her selfishness may have just cost her to lose the person she is really meant to be with.

-->"Has she blown her chance at love, or can she start over with Hunky Lab Partner's charred corpse?"

Please. Please. Specifics. Actual, concrete happenings. I beg you. If you use vague generalities, I assume your book is vague and general. This query starts with a cute premise and then just goes all mushy.

Sarah Laurenson said...

It's basically good. There's a lot of setup here but the meat of the story is a bit light on detail.

Here's a trimmed down version you might want to play with.


Dannie-Lynn Grady has spent the last three years living at the bottom of the high school food chain staring up at Jeff Rogers, the gorgeous captain of the football team. She learns of an old superstition--the 1,111 Spirit Guardians will grant you a wish at 11:11 to help you with your destiny--and gives it a try. The next morning, she finds her life has completely changed, but dating Jeff is not what she imagined.

Desperate to find the perfect boyfriend, she wishes for guys she barely knows. None of them turn out like she imagined. She finally realizes this wishing comes with a price; it not only affects her destiny, but everyone else’s as well. Her selfishness may have lost her the person she’s really meant to be with.

saltysnapfiction said...

Wonderful, wonderful revision!
I'd love to read the book now....
=)

Epae

Stina Kanaris said...

Thanks everyone!
Back to the query drawing board I go!