Guess the Plot
1. A literary allegory about fractals and their impact on science and mathematics from the 1700s through the end of the twentieth century. Includes a room full of infinite clowns.
2. Taylor didn't think much of it when she broke her grandmother's mirror. At worst it was seven years bad luck. Except now it seems that a doppelganger is going around, doing terrible things in her name. Can Taylor find her other self before it's too late?
3. Amber's mirror is cracked. And in the thin hairline in the glass, she swears that she can see another eye, staring back at her...
4. Klutzy witch Missy breaks her magic mirror, releasing insane, distorted doppelgangers of herself. They band together, lock her in her swamp cave, and go about *shudder* doing good. Missy must enlist the aid of the brainless prince she turned into a frog while avoiding his romantic overtures if she's to remain the most feared witch in seven kingdoms.
5. How can 13-year-old Kass convince her father she isn't crazy like her grandmother and her mother, when she can't even tell if the voices that only she can hear are real? And when she does crazy things like intervening in a melee between striking workers and scabs at a local mill?
6. When Queen Lillith's magic mirror shatters, she's left to reflect sorrowfully on her past actions and her many regrets. If only that huntsman had brought Snow White's REAL heart for her to devour...
Dear Evil Editor,
My name is Joanna Hoyt [You'll be signing the letter at the end, so unless you're so famous that your name is enough to hook the agent, this is a waste of space.] and I’m seeking literary representation for my YA historical magic realism novel CRACKED REFLECTIONS. [That was a lot of adjectives. Commas are needed with more than two. Better yet, you could say my YA magic realism novel set in 1912.] [Also, are you sure this is YA? Your main character is 13, which is a bit young for YA, and you stated in your first comment about the opening (previous blog post) that you think this is a novel for adults. You seem conflicted about your audience.] I hoped you might consider it since your MS Wishlist includes historical fantasy and #ownvoices writings featuring disabled characters.
Some of thirteen-year-old Kassandra Leonhart’s worries are shared by many of her neighbors, children of immigrants working in the textile mills of Guerdon, Massachusetts in 1912. Can her father avoid workplace accidents and mill lung? Can Kass persuade her new teacher that, though German, she’s not an ignorant foreigner, while also keeping up friendships with newer Russian and Italian immigrants? Can she keep up with schoolwork and also with the after-school job that helps feed her family?
Some of her worries are uniquely her own. Can she convince her father and sisters that she isn’t crazy like her grandmother and her late mother? How can she tell which of the images and voices that only she perceives are signs of insanity and which are glimpses of something real and important? [So far you've given us more questions than answers.] [Also, scanning down the page I see that this summary is too long, so I suggest we cram these two paragraphs into one sentence (Thirteen-year-old Kassandra Leonhart, a child of German immigrants living in Guerdon, Massachusetts, is worried that the images and voices only she perceives are signs of the insanity that runs in her family.) and get to what happens.
Kass’ friends [If it pains you to add 's to a name that ends in s, don't give your characters names that end in s. If you stick with Kass, the possessive is Kass's.] and neighbors-- policemen, laborers, labor organizers, reporters from papers with radically opposing views, and all their children-- can’t agree about what’s real and important either. ["Real and important" is vague. I don't think we need that sentence.] When millworkers strike in nearby Lawrence, some see a peaceful revolution for justice, others a reign of terror brought on by foreign agitators. When another young girl is seriously injured at the mill where Kass’ father works, half the workers go on strike and try to keep the other half out and the militia are called in. Kass’ daily walks to work and school take her through the fighting that ensues.
First Kass tries to stay out of the fray. Then she intervenes in a melée to help a schoolmate turned millhand turned striker. When she recovers from her injuries she’s called on to testify about just what happened in the fight. She knows something the other witnesses don’t, thanks to her polyglot understanding and her position at a crucial moment. She understands what she saw differently from the other witnesses, partly because of her visions and voices. But if other people realize what she’s seeing and hearing they won’t trust her testimony; and she’s almost sure they should....
CRACKED REFLECTIONS, complete at 80,000 words, is a YA novel exploring the shadowlands between madness and insight, cruelty and justice, kindness and complacency, foreignness and belonging, childhood and adulthood. [Try to limit lists to three items, max. Beyond that they become boring. In this case, I think I'd just go with madness and insight.] The first chapter is pasted below.
A short story featuring Kass’ adventures, also titled Cracked Reflections, appeared in Enigmatic Mirror Press’[s] anthology Mysterion in August 2016. My short fiction has appeared in other pro publications including Crossed Genres, Daily Science Fiction, and Upper Rubber Boot Books’ anthology Broad Knowledge. I am also the author of the nonfiction book A Wary Welcome: The History of US Attitudes toward Immigration, published in April 2017. I share Kass’ struggles with anxiety, though not, alas, her flashes of clairvoyance.
Thank you for taking time to read and consider this query. I look forward to hearing from you.
Getting rid of the red should get this down to a reasonable length (some tweaking may be needed to smooth out transitions).
Can you should find a way to work in an example or two of what Kass sees and hears, and why she's confident her visions are relevant? Does she have a track record for being right?
Possibly she knows who's guilty of something because she saw it in one of her never-wrong visions, but that won't fly in court, so she's considering lying under oath and saying she actually saw what happened? If that's what's happening, I'd spell it out so we appreciate her dilemma.