Monday, July 25, 2011
Guess the Plot
1. At a camp for diabetic teens, someone is playing games with campers' lives. Did one of the counselors sneak in a pecan pie? Or is there a killer on the loose? Also, an incontinent dog.
2. Thanks to genetic engineering, the war on drugs is finally over. People just can't get high anymore . . . until eighteen-year-old 'Bones' Jackson hits on the bright idea of selling insulin to the local kids. Also, a corrupt dentist.
3. Diabetic cop Duke Davis has seen it all, but when he catches wind of a string of murders carried out using insulin as a weapon, he's plunged into the murky world of...INSULIN JUNKIES!
4. Hito is the leader of a group of Japanese schoolkids fleeing Fukushima who become morbidly obese on California public school system food. When puberty triggers their genetic metamorphosis into blood-sugar craving vampires Hito realizes their dependence on high fructose corn syrup-infused victims means they can never go home again.
5. It started as a support group for diabetics. But now the tavern is on fire, Miss Laverne's petunias have all been trampled, and twenty pissed-off seniors with low blood sugar and Vespa scooters are terrorizing the sleepy village of Hamlet. Can Constable Cymbolist Mack stop them before they destroy everything in their hunt for low-fat snacks?
6. In the late '60s, earnest diabetic Lori Steinman sets out on her bicycle from West Quoddy Head, Maine, to cross America and prove women don't need no men. At the same time, addict Mike "Sugarman" Sanders sets out on his Harley from Cape Alava, Washington, to cross America and bed as many women as he can. What happens when they meet in Wichita is a secret, but it's sure to astound you.
Dear Evil Editor,
Eva knows something’s wrong long before the doctor diagnoses her as an insulin junkie, a.k.a. a diabetic. [A doctor calling a diabetic an insulin junkie before she starts on insulin? That's like the time I told one of my psychiatrists I was thinking of starting a small press and she called me a heroin addict.] No seventeen-year-old wakes up having wet the bed for the fourth time in as many days and thinks, “Yep, this is totally normal.” [I would think, I gotta stop drinking a six pack and taking three Ambiens right before bedtime.] [No need to put quotation marks around something not spoken aloud.] She’s blamed it on the mildly incontinent dog that sleeps in her bed, but there’s no fooling a blood glucose meter. [I can't tell if she blames the dog when her mother notices the sheets are wet, or if she blames the dog because she's in denial. It seems like you mean the latter because of the "no fooling a blood glucose meter" comment, but it seems to me that whatever she wears to bed would be wet, thus getting the dog off the hook even without the glucose test.]
The diagnosis ends Eva’s plans for a post-graduation road trip [to Hershey's Chocolate World]. Instead, she’s off to Camp, [You might want to name the camp, if you're going to capitalize the word.] where the counselors are fellow insulin junkies and every bunk bed comes with a syringe of Glucagon. It’s meant to teach teenage diabetics to take care of themselves, and Eva goes only to placate her grieving mother. [Implying that she doesn't think she needs to learn to take care of herself?] ["Grieving" seems a bit strong. Maybe "distraught," "fearful," "worried"?]
Two of the counselors – known by their Camp names, Rider and Natron – take it upon themselves to teach the lessons not sanctioned by Camp administrators, things like how the campers function with dangerously low blood glucose levels, how alcohol affects diabetics, and how to skirt the rules. Eva, fascinated by Natron and unfortunately attracted to Rider, listens eagerly. [Delete "unfortunately" or explain it.] But when one of the ‘lessons’ puts someone in the hospital, Eva has to figure out who she can trust to teach her about diabetes…and who’s playing with all of them.
INSULIN JUNKIES is a 65,000-word contemporary YA novel. The first five pages follow this email. I’ve had type 1 diabetes since 2000; I also have three YA nonfiction books published: The Diabetes Game (Rewarding Health, 2005), Teen Dream Jobs (Beyond Words Publishing, 2003), and It’s Your Rite (Beyond Words Publishing, 2003). Thank you for your time.
This sounds like a story that will appeal to teens who identify with Eva, and others as well.
The last plot paragraph needs to clarify what it's saying. I'm not sure if you're saying Rider and Natron are teaching secret things a teen diabetic needs to know, even though they aren't sanctioned by the administration, or if they're teaching how to get away with actions that are potentially dangerous. I can't tell if "skirt the rules" refers to rules diabetics must adhere to to stay healthy, or camp rules, like No going in the boys' tent after dark. I can't tell if "playing with all of them" implies that someone is intentionally trying to harm them.
In other words, is there a villain? Is it a mystery? Someone is responsible for someone else ending up in the hospital, and no one is confessing? Is someone in the hospital from a forcibly administered Glucagon overdose or from eating a hunk of cheesecake on a dare?
You might want to cut your set-up to one paragraph: When seventeen-year-old Eva is diagnosed with Diabetes, she cancels her post-graduation road trip and registers at Camp ___________, where the counselors are fellow "insulin junkies" and . . .
That gives you an extra paragraph to fill us in on what's going on in this camp: the conflict, the danger, the stakes, the romantic angle.