Wednesday, October 09, 2013
Guess the Plot
1. Busting Mr. Parker's car window in third grade. Throwing for an interception that cost the Homecoming Game. And now, a broken condom after an evening with Miss West Virginia's Third Runner Up.
2. Ed "forgot" to pick up his mother's arthritis prescription so he substituted a few aspirin tablets. What's the difference, the old hag was probably faking her pain anyway just so Ed would live at home and wait on her hand and foot. Anyway, he "forgot" she was allergic to aspirin, so her death was . . . unintended.
3. Agnes didn't intend to fall in love with a Jewish guy; it just happened. She can't tell her parents; they'd disown her. But a lifetime without Fred Weinberg would be a lifetime of sorrow. On the other hand, Fred might expect her to give up bacon.
4. When Casey Montieth missed her archery target in gym, she didn't see the black form emerging from a hole in the field. Now all Hell has really broken loose.
5. For 24 years Dalton Abernathy has struggled to break into literary fiction. His friend accidentally submits some of Dalton's disjointed, mangled, notes from a half-dozen projects to an agent. Now he has a bestseller on his hands, a Pulitzer nomination, and loads of adoring fans.
6. Two weeks before her wedding to rich hunk Bruce, Sylvia discovers him boffing her sister, the maiden of honor. So Sylvia and her friends trick him into a fling with a mob boss's trophy wife. And Sylvia’s intended becomes her unintended.
Ag Kelly is a young, flirty flapper who has finally found a [fetching fellow] man who can [fling a frisbee forty furlongs.] deliver a passionate kiss. It's a shame she has to keep it a secret. [If the one thing she was looking for in a man is talent at kissing, she seems kind of shallow.]
Ag's life is easier when she keeps [hides] her late night shenanigans away from her strict Catholic family. Even though they have grown used to her rolled stockings and bobbed hair, they will [would] never understand what she is doing now. This innocent summer crush is just one more defiant act best kept under wraps, [That's pretty much what you said two sentences ago.] and with good reason. It was never supposed to go this far. [That seems contradictory. Is it an innocent summer crush or not? How about: What began as an innocent summer crush has gone way too far.] Despite her attempts to keep Fred Weinberg at arm's length, she is totally unprepared for the intense attraction she feels for him. It's absurd, not to mention sinful. The desire is mutual and grows quickly into an [a] once-in-a-lifetime love affair. The fact he is Jewish makes matters worse. [That's a long paragraph with a little information. Here it is in one sentence: Ag's strict Catholic family would freak out if they knew she'd fallen madly in love with a guy named Fred Weinberg.]
She tries to deny it. [But there's no getting around it; he's Jewish.] He tries to stop it. She counts the days until a new job takes him away, but now he wants her to leave town with him. She would have to disappear, never to see her family again. She'd be disowned if they found out, not to mention the condemnation that surely would follow. [Once you've been disowned, does it matter what follows? Also, if she disappears, never to see her family again, does it matter if they then disown her?] But ending it would mean giving up her true love in exchange for a lifetime of sorrow. The fear of making the right choice gnaws at her gut [even more than the fear of making the wrong choice] as she struggles to find a way to combine their worlds. [Tough choice. A lifetime of happiness with your one true love or a lifetime of sorrow with the bigots you blame for costing you a lifetime of happiness.]
Either way, she will have to pay for what she has done. [You haven't told us anything that happens in this book other than Fred and Ag fall in love. We need a plot.]
UNINTENDED is a historical romance novel complete at 130,000 words. It is my first novel. I have a Bachelor's degree in English and work in the pharmaceutical industry writing medical and clinical research manuscripts. [Wait, are you the one who writes those two-page, tiny-print side-effects warnings that accompany advertisements for drugs? I can see how it would be frustrating to write that stuff and know no one will ever read it. I'd be tempted to stick a few lies in the middle of page 2, like "Has been shown to cause Ebola virus in most patients," just for laughs. Try it, I guarantee no one will ever see it.]
Thank you for your time and consideration.
It's wordy and repetitive and it's all setup. Here's my character, and here's her seemingly hopeless situation. All of that can be condensed into one three-sentence paragraph. Leaving lots of room to tell us what happens. I assume she doesn't spend 125,000 words making her choice. And that the choice she makes leads to interesting consequences.
That's a pretty long book. If you can cut it down to about 75,000 words without taking out anything important, as I suspect you can, you'll have a better chance of selling it.