Thursday, September 16, 2010
Guess the Plot
Sisters Across the Sea
1. Twins are usually close, but Anna and Hannah Kensun are closer than most. They spent the first 18 years of their life literally joined at the hip. But now Hannah got a job in London and Anna’s business in Boston is taking off. Can two people used to being one step apart deal with an ocean between them?
2. Savvy waitress Loretta Muldoon sends Iggy the busboy to answer the phone in the basement of Bud's Diner. It's Bud's sister Nancy; she and Janet are being held by terrorists in Yemen who will sell them to pirates unless Bud deposits $10,000 ransom. Too bad Bud's in a coma! Can Iggy and Loretta save these hapless teens from a fate worse than death?
3. Young and beautiful Gwyn has undertaken to retrieve the talisman that can destroy the cursed zombie army of Francis the Furious from the nunnery at Ammanpur. With the aid of a handsome seaman, Gwyn crosses the ocean only to find the nunnery surrounded and besieged. Can she retrieve the Amulet of Ammanpur and save the . . . sisters across the sea?
4. Shoplifter Todd Wallace is horrified! Christmas is coming and he just realized -- his girlfriend in Liverpool is the sister of his girlfriend in Dublin!
5. Ai-ting, Carmencita, and Gbodi. Three girls from three cultures. None knows about the others. Yet they are sisters, and somehow they must meet and bond or the world will be lost.
6. Nikki flies from the US to India. There she meets an Indian woman who turns out to be her sister. Nikki also meets Rick, an American, and falls in love with him. But both Rick and sis have secrets, secrets that could destroy Nikki's new-found family, secrets worth killing for. Maybe she should have vacationed in Orlando.
I would like to query you for my romantic women’s fiction novel titled Sisters Across the Sea.
Nikki Kashyap [Anagram: khaki yakskin.] is a completely Americanized twenty-eight-year-old who has rejected her Indian roots and disapproving Indian relatives.
Soon after her father mysteriously disappears, she learns she has a mother and sister alive in India. [Who and where are the disapproving Indian relatives? If it's Nikki's Americanization they disapprove of, I would think they would have mentioned her mother and sister to her at some point, as examples of people who haven't rejected their Indian roots. Does everyone think they're dead?] She flies there hoping to form the family bonds and connection she never had. [While I don't see the desire to fly to India and form family bonds as contradicting the completely Americanized/rejected her Indian roots description, maybe we don't need to know she's rejected her roots.]
Her sister is welcoming; her mother is not. Even as Nikki grows closer to her sister, the cultural differences between them lead to unbridgeable [Unresolvable?] conflicts.
As Nikki probes [into] the reason for her mother's hostility, she realizes there are family secrets associated with her birth; secrets someone is willing to kill to keep.
Nikki finds herself mixed up in mystery and murder. [What's the mystery? Who gets murdered?] To complicate matters, she meets an American, Rick Harper, who is supposedly here on a spiritual quest. As Nikki falls in love with him, she learns he is hiding some secrets of his own, and has an agenda that could destroy her family. [I can live with characters who hide secrets; it's when the author hides secrets that I get annoyed. Wouldn't we have a better idea of how exciting/suspenseful/intriguing the book is if we knew the secret that could destroy Nikki's family? I'm not gonna read your book just to find out what the secrets are, but I might read it to find out how Nikki deals with them.]
Nikki's father can mysteriously disappear from the query, as his mysterious disappearance in the book is never elaborated upon.
This is mainly the setup. Try combining the first four plot paragraphs into something like:
When Nikki Kashyap, an Americanized twenty-eight-year-old, learns she has a mother and sister alive in India, she flies there hoping to form the family bonds she never had. But while her sister is welcoming, her mother is not. Behind her mother's hostility are family secrets associated with Nikki's birth--secrets someone is willing to kill to keep.
Now you can introduce the romantic element: While in India Nikki meets an American, Rick Harper, who is supposedly here on a spiritual quest. But as Nikki falls in love with him, she learns he is actually a CIA agent whose mission is to assassinate the Indian prime minister and frame Nikki's sister for the deed.
And then a closing paragraph in which you tell us what Nikki plans to do about this. We don't want to know just her situation; we want to know how she handles it.
That said, the title suggests that the focus of the book is on the sisters; if that's true, you might want to give the sister a name and say something about how they work together to solve the murder or to make the family whole or resolve their unresolvable conflicts.