Monday, November 15, 2010
Guess the Plot
How to Be Ruthless
1. Marry Ruth, fight with Ruth, divorce Ruth, stalk Ruth, die, haunt Ruth, get chased off by her new Ghostbuster boyfriend.
2. After insuring the life of his wife, Ruth, for a million dollars, Lance is looking for a hitman who can make her murder look like an accident.
3. When his beloved wife Ruth dies after 47 years of marriage, Aaron Cohen must learn to live, laugh and love again in the wild, savage jungle of senior dating.
4. Humble, henpecked accountant Fred Fotheringale plots to murder his shrewish wife, Ruth. The twist: she wants to be Fredless.
5. Orphaned in mysterious circumstances involving a runaway sled and a chain saw, Ruth now lives with her creepy, but clueless guardians. She’s sure they have her best interests at heart, that those near-misses were just accidents. But when she finds a flow-chart headed: “How To Be Ruthless,” her suspicions are aroused.
6. High school student Hunter Kent has been dumping girlfriends for years. Now he's dating hot hot hot Ruth, but while she's out of town over summer vacation, Hunter falls in love with someone new: Ruth's little brother. Hunter may become hunted when Ruth finds out.
7. Ruth and George seem to be the perfect couple. Then George discovers Ruth sleeping with the milkman and--after a protracted and painful divorce--begins his new Ruthless existence.
8. Existential poet Marcus Prufroche loves his all-grey decor, his beret, and his cadre of nubile graduate students. What he doesn't love is his grandmother Ruth Himmelburg, who thinks her Marky should go out and get a real job. When she tries to fix him up with her best friend's granddaughter visiting from a Lithuanian shtetl, Marcus decides it's time to take action. Fatal action.
9. When Fredrick is kidnapped by a band of female pirates, it seems like heaven at first. But the amazon pirate leader, Ruth, wants more from him than just pleasure. To prove that Fredrick is worthy enough to be her equal, he will have to launch a solo attack on a rival pirate band and bring back the forbidden Crystal of Foretelling. Can he succeed if he is . . . Ruthless?
10. Ruthless vigilante sorcerers descend on Mobile, Alabama when they hear rumors about a baby with the power to heal broken bones. Unfortunately, they're about to encounter a pack of ravenous ninja were-zombies.
11. In a post-apocalyptic world where the Catholic church is the only surviving authority, Ruth is an assassin for T.H.U.G.S.--the Thaumatological Heresy and Unnatural Gestation Society. In other words, she's an angel hunter. But after the Church discovers that Ruth's own biological father is an angel, it's Ruth's turn to be hunted. Her mother is as hot on her heels as hell itself, so it'll take a miracle for Ruth to survive.
12. At the behest of his therapist, smalltime hoodlum Petie Raklune begins blogging anonymously about his exploits. When the readership hits a million plus, book deals pour in amidst a clamor to reveal his identity. But should Petie give up a life of picking pockets merely for an international book tour?
Dear Evil One,
At the end of his high school career, Hunter Kent has racked up four virginities taken, ten ex-girlfriends, and one-hundred twenty-six insane parties hosted. He has no idea what he’s going to do with his life, but never mind that for now. It’s the last summer before adulthood begins. [He sounds like Holden Caulfield.] [Wait a minute, Hunter/Holden. Caulfield/Kent. Too close to be a coincidence . . . although you might change Hunter's last name to Kenfield.] He just wants to live it up.
At Hunter’s very last high school party, theatre star Laura Welch fixates on him. [Whattaya mean, theatre star? Are we talking school play or Broadway?] [Okay, the truth comes out. I changed her name from Laura to Ruth in the Guess the Plot feature; I had to, or the title wouldn't make sense, as there's nothing about ruthlessness in the plot summary.] Hunter’s cool with that -- she’s hot. When Laura takes off to Mexico for half the summer, however, her sixteen-year-old brother Taylor crashes into Hunter’s life. Taylor is a musical prodigy, home for the summer from a prestigious fine arts academy. He’s fresh, uncharted territory, and Hunter is obsessed. Their relationship is a slow burn, evoking more passion in Hunter than he’s ever felt for anyone else. [He never suspected he could be this obsessed with a pianist.] For Hunter, the best part about dating the hottest girl in town is making out with her little brother. [The term "little brother" is introducing the Ewww factor, even though we know he's only a year younger. I don't think we need the word "little" now that we know his age.]
The only problem? Laura. Hunter thinks he can handle telling her he’s in love with her brother, until she drops a bomb: she’s pregnant. [And to make matters worse, the father is Hunter's kid sister.] On top of that, Taylor seems to be lying about everything. [Either leave that out or be more specific.] Grown-up life is a helluva lot more complicated than high school.
How To Be Ruthless is a YA novel complete at 50,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.
For starters it's obvious that you simply must change Laura's name to Ruth.
It's not clear why it's called How to Be Ruthless. Normally that doesn't matter, but in this case I think you should mention some ruthless behavior in the Laura/Hunter relationship. "Ruthless" doesn't feel like the right word. Which is another good reason to change her name.
Are we supposed to like Hunter? I've noticed that the minions often make comments like: Why would I want to read a whole book about this jerk? If this is about Hunter coming to terms with his sexuality, you might want to tone down the stolen virginities part and try to make him sound more sympathetic. Unfortunately, you may need to do that in the book as well as the query.