Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Guess the Plot
1. A vampire, mummy, zombie, werewolf, and alien walk into a dive bar. No one seems to care. Then the loneliest, most ordinary teen girl on the planet walks in and all hell breaks loose.
2. Ever notice how many movies, books, games, plays start with a normal, ordinary day? Everyone is going along, minding their own business, when suddenly an Orc comes running through, machine gunning the place. Wait--that was right outside the gym just now. And all Jason wanted this time was to pass Algebra.
3. Violet is in her fourth year at Miss Sadinity's School of Sorcery. Alex is in his fifth year, and doesn't even know she exists. Sixth-year Gretchen says she can fix that. Will she--or will Violet be stuck looking--Ordinary?
4. Jane Plane had always thought of herself as a cartoon that was quite ordinary: pretty, but flat to the point of two-dimensionality. Then her artist took a class in 3-D multimedia technology. Whoa! Move over, Lady Gaga!
5. Someone--or something--is preying on the local citizenry, and it's up to a team of werewolves to stop it. The last thing they need is some totally ordinary high school junior like Charlie Hawthorne elbowing into their pack, but when push comes to shove, guess who saves the town's ass?
6. Dan is born under a sign that prophesies greatness in all endeavors. Through high school, he wins every contest and receives every award. But Dan craves to be like everybody else. So he runs away . . . and accidentally breaks the marathon record. He takes a night job in a greasy spoon and wins an international chef award. He hides deep in the mountains and stumbles on Coronado’s seven cities of gold. Can Dan ever be ordinary?
7. In Ordinary, Oklahoma everyone lives in peace and harmony, with good will toward men. Unless of course, you're a woman. Because in Ordinary, women are hunted for sport. And that busload of nuns that had engine trouble is doomed, unless CJ McGillicutty gets there first.
8. John Smith, is an ordinary man. He is a married, white, middle-manager with 2.2 kids and can't decide if he should spend Christmas Eve or Christmas Day with his in-laws. He's not even sure if he should take his tree down before New Years or after. His life choices are in flux and a quandary. Then his wife asks for a divorce. Hilarity ensues.
Dear Evil Editor,
There is nothing special about Charlie Hawthorne. [I'm hooked. I must read on to find out the most fascinating thing about Charlie, namely why she's the main character of a novel.]
Keeping up her grades should be the hardest part of junior year, but when her best friend Melissa starts to experience strange recurring dreams and superhuman senses, Charlie knows that she can’t let her face this alone. [The part before the "but" has little to do with the part after. Instead of "hardest part" you need something like "main focus" or "sole objective,"] She throws herself into the problem the best way that she knows how: by finding out as much as she can. [She's totally ordinary, but when the chips are down she swings into action by ferreting out information like a ferret ferrets out whatever it is ferrets ferret out. She's the superhero known as the . . . Research Assistant.]
With the help of an old book and her own knowledge of myths and legends [Google], [not to mention the fact that Melissa is suddenly ordering depilatories by the gallon,] Charlie discovers that her friend has become a werewolf. She’s not the only one—there are three others, all turned by the same person and for the same purpose.
Connor, local engineering student and born werewolf, wants nothing to do with Charlie, but Melissa is part of the team he has assembled to protect the town from supernatural threats. Something is preying on the citizens of Elks Glade and three people are already dead, with more to come if the wolves don’t stop it. [Because nothing helps townspeople feel safe and secure in their neighborhood like knowing there's a pack of werewolves roaming the streets.] [Though I suppose it's better than knowing George Zimmerman is out there.] [You might change "stop" to "prevent" so no one thinks you mean the wolves are doing the killing.]
He thinks that Charlie is just in the way, but she stubbornly elbows her way into the pack. [This reminds me of that fifteen-year-old girl who demanded to go along with SEAL Team 6 when they took out bin Laden. As I recall, they threw her out of the helicopter over the Pakistan/Afghanistan border.] When the threat comes close to home, can she prove that an ordinary human is capable of protecting her town and her family? [That would be easier to answer if I knew what the threat was. Offhand, I can't think of any supernatural threat she wouldn't be utterly worthless against.]
Ordinary is a 60,000 [page?] paranormal young adult novel that explores the challenge of believing in your own power when everyone around you seems extraordinary. [Seems extraordinary? They're werewolves!]
Thank you for your consideration.
Better ways to open the query:
1. When Charlie Hawthorne sees her best friend Melissa howling at the moon . . .
2. Charlie Hawthorne's best friend Melissa is a werewolf.
3. Something is preying on the citizens of Elks Glade . . . and it's not the werewolves.
4. This book has werewolves, but No! Don't stop reading! These are good werewolves!
Even ordinary people can be good at something. Does Charlie have some special talent? Is it her extensive knowledge of myths and legends that lets her defeat an entity a pack of werewolves can't?
Are all werewolves good in this world? I ask because turning people into werewolves in order to reduce the amount of killing going on sounds like a plan that could backfire. Were the killings done in a way that might lead the citizens to suspect that werewolves dunnit?