Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Guess the Plot
1. After Jenny trades Susie her favorite doll for a cookie she starts to have second thoughts. She begs Susie to give her back the doll. But there are no trade-backs with . . . The Keeper.
2. Sarah hates working at the family-owned cemetery. Who wants to cut grass and pick weeds over dead people? But then comes the day she falls into an open grave and finds the cast iron gates and the handsome boy who introduces himself as . . . The Keeper.
3. Betsy Charm's never had a boyfriend that didn't kiss and tell. When she meets Gary Simon she thinks she may have finally found a keeper. Now there's just the small issue that he's sworn off romance because his last girlfriend was heir to a fantasy world empire . . . that's now invading.
4. When she lived in ancient Egypt, Mal was the Keeper, the person assigned to protect the Buddhist flags that foretell the coming of a Tibetan demon. She died protecting the flags, and then she killed herself hundreds more times, but now she's back on Earth, and she'll stop at nothing to find the flags and bring them to America.
5. On her vacation in Aruba, a young woman falls in love with a stranger visiting the island on business. When he abruptly ends their summer fling, she imprisons him in a B&B cottage run by her demented grandmother. Meanwhile his fiancée begins a search for a missing groom to be.
6. When hillbilly boy genius Buddy Boone loses 132 golf balls in the sand trap known as "The Keeper," he knows this defies the laws of physics. He digs into the sand and discovers The Keeper is a time warp, but can he convince the buzzing hairy space creatures that his mother is calling and they must send him back to the 21st century?
Dear Evil Editor,
Seventeen-year-old Mal knows exactly how many seconds it takes to drown. After all, she's killed herself hundreds of times since she arrived in the Valley, an isolated landscape between the world of the living and the world of the dead. Breaking the Habit of drowning is Mal's only concern; that is, until memories begin to resurface, [It's Mal who needs to resurface, if she really wants to break the Habit of drowning.] [Why are we capitalizing "Habit"?] flashes of a previous life in ancient Egypt and the set of prayer flags she died trying to protect.
When Mal is reassigned to a body on earth, she is determined to find the prayer flags and bring them safely back to America. Disguised as a study abroad student, [She hasn't been on Earth for thousands of years; why does she need a disguise? Who's gonna recognize her?] she travels to a remote village in Nepal, [What did you mean by, "she's reassigned to a body"? Some guy is walking along and suddenly someone else has been assigned to his body, someone who insists on going to Nepal? What if this guy already had plans for the evening?] living in a dorm room near the base of the Himalayas. She never expects to find friends. [You mean she doesn't expect to make friends? Or she finds friends from ancient Egypt? Or friends from the Valley?] She never expects to fall for Damian, the handsome Russian student whom she's not sure she can trust. [Instead of wondering whether to use "who" or "whom," use neither.] But most of all Mal never expects to find out the truth about her life in Egypt, the Pharaoh, and the prophecy that drives it all - a prophecy inscribed in the symbols of Buddhist prayer flags, foretelling the rise of an ancient Tibetan demon. [You could save a lot of space by telling us she finds friends, falls for Damian, and finds the secrets of life, instead of repeating that she didn't expect any of this.] Aided by her newfound friends, the advice of a monk, and only a moderate dose of sarcasm, Mal must come to terms with the past if there is any hope of protecting the future.
Complete at 84,000 words, THE KEEPER is aimed at a YA audience. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Author's note (not part of query): The Keeper is the person assigned to protect the prayer flags.]
It's claimed that Mal is seventeen, but I can't tell if that means she has taken over the body of a seventeen-year-old, or she was seventeen when she died in ancient Egypt, or something else.
The last time Mal was on Earth, there was no America. And the prayer flags were in Egypt. So what's with taking the prayer flags back to America?
How can flags that existed two or three millenia ago be found? Wouldn't they have disintegrated by now?
Those are just plot points that can be addressed or not; the main problem is that this is all over the place. You need to focus on the main plot. What is Mal's mission? To find the flags and get them to America? Why does she want to do this? What happens if she fails? Who wants her to fail? What's her plan?
I don't think we need this stuff about drowning hundreds of times. Or the dorm room or the Russian. Thousands of years after she died in Egypt she's back on Earth, and it's up to her to save us all from a Tibetan demon. If that's the story, keep the query focused on it.