Thursday, November 03, 2011
Guess the Plot
Summer of the Flood
1. Stranded on the roof when the river breaks its banks, Elsa bludgeons her abusive husband and casts him into the deluge below. But her actions are witnessed by a ghostly child who taunts and goads Elsa the entire summer.
2. Sixth-grader Annie wants to stage a production of Hamlet with local children, while her cousin Maggie wants to jump in the rising river and drown herself. Either way, there's gonna be a tragedy.
3. Abby and Jake may be only 14 years old, but they know they're in love. Can Abby get her dad, Noah, to give Jake a place on his precious ark?
4. That was the year. The year we all despaired. The year red heels were found washed up on the beach. The year glue-on mutton chops sold on e-bay. The year NaNoWriMo happened in June.
5. Everyone in the valley is making fun of that crazy old religious man, for building that giant boat. When storm clouds roll in, however, and a parade of paired animals begins making its way through town, folks start getting nervous.
6. When a hurricane leaves Galveston Island flooded, residents are forced to wade to school and work. The wet clothes and shoes are bad enough, but the worst part? Sharks.
The summer before Annie starts sixth grade, her cousin Maggie goes crazy. The kind of crazy where she runs away from home and tries to commit suicide.
Maggie’s parents don’t know what to do with her. They think a summer in Northern England with her recluse grandparents – former Shakespearean actors who sing to their sheep [Baa baa baa, baa baa baa ram.] and haven’t left their house in six years – will clear her head and get her out of their hair. [Nice. Their kid tries to kill herself and they want her out of their hair.]
Annie – she’s coming too, with a grand plan for their English summer that includes finding clues about the mother she never knew, getting Maggie’s mind off jumping in another river, and convincing her grandmother to stage Hamlet in their backyard, cast with children from the local village.
[Quotes from 6th-grade Hamlet:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be
You may not borrow nor shall I lend my iPod.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy comic books.
Something is rotten in the refrigerator.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than baseball cards, Barbie dolls and Xboxes.
Get thee to a video arcade.
Bieber or not Bieber -- that is the question.]
Maggie – she’s not having any of it. Her heart’s still set on running.
SUMMER OF THE FLOOD is a middle grade novel of 51,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
How old is Maggie?
You've given us the characters: Maggie, Annie, reclusive grandparents. You've set up the situation: the two girls are spending the summer in England. Now . . . What happens?
You can cut the setup to something like:
The summer before Annie starts sixth grade, her cousin Maggie runs away from home and tries to commit suicide. Maggie’s parents decide a summer in Northern England with her reclusive grandparents will set her on the right track, and Annie goes along, hoping to find clues about the mother she never knew--and to keep Maggie’s mind off jumping in another river.
Now give us two more paragraphs in which you relate the plot.