Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Face-Lift 1115

Guess the Plot

Just One of the Boys

1. Tomboy Gena has always struggled with identity issues, but now he's certain to cause a stir after gender-reassignment. How will folks react when Geno is...Just One of the Boys?

2. Foundation: Check. Mascara: Check. Corset: Check. Fishnets: Check. And--oh yeah, chihuahua in the purse. Yep, Mike's ready for a night with the boys.

3. Kate's best friend Meredith blabs Kate's secrets to the cool girls, so Kate starts hanging out with the boys. Then the cool girls discover boys and want to use Kate as an in to the boys' group. Now Kate must decide: use this opportunity to become one of the girls, or remain . . . just one of the boys.

4. When Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson ride into the little town of Misery in search of a killer, 16 year old Belle is desperate to join them. Will cutting her hair, wearing her Pa's clothes and carrying a gun convince them that she's-- just one of the boys?

5. A lonely housewife disguises herself as an overweight, obnoxious executive in order to spend more time with her husband at the office. But what secrets will she uncover when her husband thinks she's...Just One of the Boys?

6. When a dragon wakes from his thousand-year nap, he finds a boarding school built over his lair. Roaming the dorms for sustenance, he discovers a deep love for the works of Goethe and an allergy to tweed.

7. Fifteen-year-old Patricia is a horse-loving tomboy. Her twin brother Patrick loves playing piano. When their parents head to Tuscany for the summer, the twins swap plans. He goes to Piano Camp in NYC. She goes to Boy Scout Horse Camp in Wyoming. Does she know Horse Camp has a communal shower room?

8. Psychologist Mandy Smith thinks she knows every manipulative, narcissistic trick used by patients to deceive therapists. Until she starts counseling a Sex Addicts Anonymous group. To better understand her new clients, Mandy hits the bar scene, undercover and transgender.

9. Philippa's always acted like one of the boys alongside her 9 brothers. But when she decides to get in touch with her feminine side, can she grow out her crew cut in time for the junior prom?

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor/ Agent,

I’d like you to consider my tween romance, Just One of the Boys.

Fourteen year old Kate’s so-called best friend Meredith has just blabbed all of her secrets to the cool girls, in hopes of joining their group. [Welcome to our clique. We've been wanting to add a new member, preferably one who blabs her friends' secrets.] [I'd get rid of "so-called" and just put quotation marks around "best friend."] [Also, could readers think Meredith blabbed her own secrets rather than Kate's secrets? Probably not, though technically, you'd write the sentence the same if it were Meredith's secrets, so maybe you should say "Kate's secrets."] Devastated that their friendship seems to be so cheap, Kate instead reconnects with her childhood friend, Aaron, and hangs with him and his buddies instead. [Neither "instead" is needed.]

She doesn’t mind talking football and cars, [Do boys care about cars before they're old enough to drive?] and actually enjoys jamming heavy metal riffs with them. But she has to dress down in order for them to stop trying for her attention. [Not clear what that means, partly because what 14-year-old doesn't want attention?] She gradually gets to know the brooding Brandon, whose home life is terrible, and finds herself falling for him. But he sees her as ‘one of the boys’. Together, they write a song for a competition, and Kate uses the lyrics to express her feelings for him. He loves the song and reveals that he will dedicate it to Meredith, whom he loves from afar. [Kate's mistake was calling the song "Meredith My Love." If she'd named it "Eleanor My Love, no prob. Or she could have put the names Brandon and Kate in the lyrics a la "Jack and Diane," "Frankie and Johnnie," "The Ballad of Bonnie and Clyde."]

Kate needs to figure how to get him to believe exactly how mean Meredith really is. [Without just telling him?] In the meantime, the cool girls (including Meredith) start to be nice to her – probably to get to know the boys. Her impulse is to ignore them, but it gives her an opportunity to stop being one of the boys, even though she really prefers their company. [So what's her dilemma? Sounds like she can just keep hanging with the boys or she can become a cool girl and still hang with the boys, since the cool girls apparently want to hang with the boys. Do both sides of the decision have a major disadvantage?]

This is a story about being yourself, even when the consequences are hard; [I missed that part. Kate's only hard consequence was losing a friendship with someone who wasn't much of a friend anyway. But that wasn't a consequence of being herself; it was a consequence of Meredith being mean.] [Actually, it's a story about how boys make better friends than girls, but don't mention that, as girls are your audience.] about fitting-in and friendship and loyalty and about identity in the ever-changing world of the adolescent.

My contact details are as follows.......


This is pretty wordy. The fewer words you use to make a point, the more room you have to provide additional information.

It's also mainly setup.If you can squeeze the setup into one paragraph, something like:

When 14-year-old Kate is betrayed by her best friend Meredith, she starts hanging out with her childhood friend Aaron and his buddies. She gets to know Brandon, and together they write a song for a contest. The problem: Kate's lyrics express her romantic feelings for Brandon, but he wants to dedicate the song to his secret crush . . . Meredith!

. . . you'll have plenty of room to tell us how Kate attempts to win Brandon over, what goes wrong, what brings the whole situation to a boil.


AlaskaRavenclaw said...

EE, boys care about cars from the age of two. Probably before that, but they're not able to express themselves clearly.

I agree that this is too wordy. I also found the story hard to follow and the sentences a bit convoluted. Shorter, simpler sentences would make the point better.


He loves the song and reveals that he will dedicate it to Meredith, whom he loves from afar.

could be simplified to

He likes the song, but wants to dedicate it to his crush, Meredith.

Evil Editor said...

What 14-year-old boys talk to other 14-year-old boys about is a subject best left to those who've been 14-year-old boys.

BuffySquirrel said...

Is Meredith mean? One instance of letting down a friend in order to ingratiate herself with a bunch of popular girls isn't necessarily a lifestyle choice.

Veronica Rundell said...

This sounds like it could be fun, but I agree, there's not much story revealed. What are the secrets? How humiliating are they? In essence, I can't gauge the level of betrayal.

Why is it so hard for Kate to reveal her infatuation? And, does she ever? If so, what's the result? If not, what holds her back?

If the boys are interested enough that Kate feels compelled to dress down, why is she so reluctant to strut for Brandon? Not that I'm advocating it, it just seems like a character inconsistency based on the query. I mean, she's bold enough to jump in with the boys...but not to confess an attraction?

I've been around lots of 14 y/o boys. Most of then seem pretty eager to encounter a girl who is interested. I've not known many to discuss cars at any length, however, X-box discussions can go on for DAYS.

Anonymous said...

Dear Author
What the others said - her dilemma is buried somewhere in that query. Spell it our more celarly!

I'm guessing that your MC's prob is that she's worked so hard to be one of the boys that she's reached the lamented 'just good friends' status with her crush, and needs to back off and reassert herself as a girl, but at the cost of losing her boy-pals. If so, this needs to be clarified.

And as EE said, the 'boys are better friends than girls' theme needs to be toned down.

Maybe boys just suit her personality better? Maybe she misses her friend and is too proud to make the first move back? Friendships at that age are pretty intense. As I remember, a matter of life or death. She would be grieving the loss. I think the query needs more emotional tension.

Kelsey said...

I have a hard time believing 14-year-old guys wouldn't have any sexual tension with this girl who is interested in the same things they are and is fun to hang out with (and, I assume, not completely unattractive). I've heard many guys talk about falling into the dreaded 'just friends' category, but that's been almost exclusively males attracted to their female friends, not vice-versa. Maybe if she'd grown up with them their whole lives so she felt more like a sister or a cousin, but as it's written... to me it reads more like a plot device than what I've seen with teens.

And maybe this is different regionally, but all the teens I worked with said "guys," not "boys" -- trying to talk to fifteen-year-old girls about "cute boys" rather than "hot guys" was a sure sign that like you so totally don't get it.

My advice would be to focus on people liking everyone except the person who would like them back (MC to Brandon, Brandon to Meredith, Meredith to...). And then...other plot stuff happens too, right? Even for younger YA it doesn't seem enough story to carry a whole book.

Good luck!

Mr Baskerville said...

This is not at all my genre, so take all this with a pound of salt.

I would like to know what secrets Meredith blabbed. How devastating is it to Kate that the girls' clique knows her secrets? Is she shunned by all the girls now? Presumably whatever the secrets are, it's not something that the boys care about.

Seems like Kate has more in common with the boys, or is it all an act and she longs to be girly?

Good luck with this.