Monday, September 06, 2010
Guess the Plot
The Thief's Girl
1. Shoplifter Todd Wallace gets out of jail, but his girlfriend is gone. He spots a giant hole behind the TV--and Jane's shoe is lying there! He crawls through, only to be grabbed by a giant termite and dragged to a dung heap deep below Chicago. Can he find Jane before these monsters make her their Queen?
2. Pickpocket Charlotte is taken under the wing of a famous thief, but screws up by robbing the Chief of Police. The Chief wants her to snitch on her mentor, who wants her to use her feminine wiles to distract the Chief from the next heist. Life's so complicated when you're fourteen.
3. Every day Caitlin's dad drops her at Montessori, then goes off to burglarize houses. Summer break is approaching, and it's time for Caitlin to learn the trade; she's perfect for those little unlocked basement windows. But when Daddy offers a meager fifteen percent, she realizes she's gonna have to whack him.
4. Gary Nolan didn't want to become a thief. But he had to work his ass off just to get his girlfriend, and he'll be damned if he's going to lose her over a trivial thing like money and his lack of it. The problem is, every time he pulls off a score she raises the stakes. Just how does she expect him to steal a mansion?
5. Being married to the mob is no big deal, but when Sally Fleurty's gangland beau is abducted by aliens on the eve of a turf war anniversary, things get decidedly complicated. Were the bugs hired by rival hoods? Or has a third force muscled in on LA's pirate lingerie racket?
6. Jovis stole a baby girl from abusive parents and raised her as his own, teaching her the family "trade". But when she steals a priceless relic from the Archbishop--a Splinter from the True Cross--all hell breaks loose.
Of all the things Charlotte though would happen when she ran away from home, ending up in the middle of a feud between a housebreaker and the Chief of Police wasn’t one of them. [For every "thing" she thought might happen there are a billion that she didn't think would happen. To put it another way, if you stacked up all the things that she didn't think would happen, they would reach another galaxy. And if you stacked them in order, with the most likely to happen at the bottom of the pile here on Earth and the least likely on the Gohr prison planet Lycus IV in the Andromeda galaxy, landing in the middle of this feud would be no farther away than Earth's stratosphere. If something incredible happened, like she sprouted wings and flew off and reached another galaxy, this might be a reasonable opening, although even then you'd want to use the less awkward wording: The last thing Charlotte expected when she ran away from home was that she'd be spending the night on the Gohr prison planet, Lycus IV. With wings.] [Add to all that the typo in word 6, and it's clear we should just start with paragraph 2.]
To escape an arranged marriage, Charlotte runs away from home with the intention of getting a job and making her own way in the world [known as Lycus IV]. [Did you notice how much "grabbier" the opening line became when I added "known as Lycus IV"? Consider setting the novel on the Gohr prison planet Lycus IV.] [This is the 4th Face-Lift to mention the Gohr prison planet Lycus IV, which I believe now makes that an official running gag, up there with ruthless vigilante sorcerers, brutal eunuchs, weredingos, occluded payphones, etc.] Unfortunately for Charlotte, jobs are harder to get than she’d thought, especially for no-account runaways with no connections to speak of. [Has she tried Supercuts?] To feed herself, Charlotte starts picking pockets. That’s how she met DiSpirito. [No need to suddenly switch to past tense.]
Alessia DiSpirito, known more commonly as The Spirit, a thief famous for never leaving a trail, has long been notorious. [No need to call her both famous and notorious in the same sentence.] Lucky for her, the papers – not to mention the police – aren’t privy to some of the more shocking truths about her, especially the fact that she is a woman. [Although the fact that she is referred to by the pronouns "her" and "she" should have been a dead giveaway.] But the secrets that have saved Alessia from arrest are endangered when she agrees to teach Charlotte how a thief should live.
When Charlotte accidentally tries to pick the pocket of the Chief of Police,
[Alessia's tips on how a thief should live
1. Don't rob the Chief of Police]
he decides to try to turn her into a spy in DiSpirito’s den. Unluckily [for him? Just say "But." I don't see what luck has to do with it.], Charlotte’s loyalty to DiSpirito can’t be swayed. Even more unluckily [What's more], DiSpirito [You said she was more commonly known as The Spirit, so how come you keep calling her DiSpirito?] knows that two can play any game [except solitaire], and she’s asked Charlotte to distract him from his investigation of her.
This would all be a lot easier for Charlotte if she didn’t feel a bit too much friendship for the Chief of Police – and curse it all, a thief cannot become friends with a policeman – [Being friends with a cop is probably better than robbing one.] weren’t making it much too hard to balance her thief self and the person she’d been raised to be. [We have no idea what kind of person she was raised to be. And there's gotta be a better way of saying "her thief self."] [That sentence wasn't a sentence; change "she didn't feel a bit too much" to "her."]
The Thief’s Girl is a Young Adult novel complete at 80,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
I don't buy Charlotte feeling bonds of friendship with the Chief of Police. She tries to rob him, he tries to get her to rat out The Spirit, she refuses, but she considers him her best buddy? Or her potential boyfriend? He's probably old enough to be her grandfather.
How does the Chief know Charlotte is working with The Spirit?
I wouldn't call the Chief/Spirit relationship a feud.
Saying the thief is more commonly known as The Spirit implies that she is less commonly known as Alessia DiSpirito. But if she's known by that name at all, it would be assumed she's female. Perhaps you should say she's known only as The Spirit. I'm surprised she told Charlotte her real name.
This needs a lot of cleaning up. Maybe you should start over and open with The Spirit:
The notorious thief known only as The Spirit takes sixteen-year-old runaway Charlotte under her wing, never suspecting that this could lead to disaster. Charlotte promptly tries to pick the pocket of the Chief of Police, opening a can of worms worthy of a spy novel.
The Chief wants Charlotte to spy on The Spirit. The Spirit wants her to distract the Chief from his investigation. Between loyalty to her mentor and blossoming friendship for the Chief, Charlotte doesn't know what to do. So she packs her belongings and heads for the Gohr prison planet, Lycus IV.
That leaves room to tell us how she plans to resolve her dilemma.