Guess the Plot
1. Domino!—Is it a pizza? A board game? A bag of sugar? Super-sleuth Van Morrison claims he's solved the mystery. But will anyone listen?
2. During a worldwide pandemic, aging superhero Carnival Cavalry tries to popularize stylish two-piece masks.
3. Five year old Timmy Topple receives a hand-carved ebony domino for his birthday. He loves to stand it up, tip it slightly, and hear the solitary satisfying click when it falls. Next year and every year, his father promises, he will get another. So begins his quest for immortality in a story spanning centuries of (set them) ups and (knock them) downs.
4. The fields, homes, and shops of Omendios are being destroyed by monolithic obelisks guarded by screaming apes with clubs! The people fear there are more obelisks than they can hope to defeat, but pizza deliveryman Dom Donovan knows if he can topple just one of them, the rest will follow.
5. When a set of diamond encrusted ivory dominoes goes missing, Detective Zack Martinez knows two things. He needs to solve the case in time to get to his anniversary dinner; and if he doesn't, his marriage will collapse like a . . . house of cards.
6. At the pizza chain’s masquerade ball, Alex's flirtations with Jael blossom into an office romance. She dismisses his enthusiasm for the new organic red sauce as career ambition. At their wedding, when Jael hisses and burns beneath the priest’s blessings, Alex questions how well she really knows him.
7. Sent to a military boarding school by a mother who thinks he's too fickle, Bali experiences one unfortunate event after another, leading to another, until he decides he must run away. Or maybe he should stay. If only he could make up his mind.
[The following is a revision of the query that appeared in Face-Lift 1381. As the book now has a different title, I figured a new Guess the Plot was in order.]
Dear Evil Editor,
At the military boarding school in Haldwani, India, clandestine corporal punishments from the Senior Cadets is accepted as a rite of passage by the juniors. The tall ideals of the old boys have fallen. The seniors rule with an iron-fist with strange codes that either broken or followed, [, enforcing barbaric rules designed to] destroy the juniors. ["Destroy" seems like too strong a word, considering that the seniors were presumably juniors last year, and survived to become seniors. Perhaps "break" or "humiliate"?] while the juniors have no free will.
When fractious thirteen-year-old Bali Zutshi arrives with the new batch, no one thinks he will survive his first term. Not his House Captain, who makes him endure rigorous training for the coveted Boxing Cup he wants no part of. Not his belligerent cadet guardian, who makes him his errand mule and keeps him on a leash. Not his House Master, who passively watches him suffer from a distance. Maybe not even his single mother, who sent him here to make him a man. [She sent him here thinking he might not survive?]
Then one day an anonymous letter blows the lid on [off] the culture of corporal punishments handed down from senior to junior under the garb [guise] of tradition. As the administration leads the investigation - [,] the Senior Cadets begin their search for the whistle-blower. Their suspicion? Bali Zutshi. Unsettled, erratic, and homesick.
Bali has two choices. Run away from school but confirm her [his] mother’s deepest fears about his fickle nature. [Did she send him here to make him a man, or because he was too fickle? I suppose she could believe no fickle child could ever become a real man unless he spent years at a military boarding school.] Or stand up for himself, clear his name and prove that he belongs. [Belongs to what? The seniors? If he clears his name, he's still a junior and subject to being "punished."] [If seniors doling out corporal punishment to juniors is a bad thing, then the whistleblower is on the right side of this issue. If Bali wants to prove he belongs with those who want the tradition to continue, I'd rather read your book about the whistleblower.]
When he finds support from unexpected quarters, he begins to see the unraveling of the lost virtues of the culture that once made the school great. Greater forces are at play and Bali must connect the dots to survive the churn. Justice awaits, but the price is heavy. [This whole paragraph is vague. With a lot more specificity it might suggest Bali is finally coming around.]
DOMINO (~89,000 words) is a coming-of-age story grounded in the harsh realities of a military boarding school in India. I survived five years in one to write this story.
I am a Marketing Professional. This is my debut novel. I took a sabbatical to complete it. I also have a popular Instagram Page with more than 10,000 followers and growing where I post my own original short stories once a month.
Would you like to see more of the book?
Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Regarding the Title: The title derives its name from how a trifling catalytic incident snowballs into a series of unfortunate events in the story.] [It snowballs like a line of dominoes.] [The incident and it's aftermath might make for a more interesting plot summary, replacing the list of people who don't think Bali will make it.]
I don't see how this tradition could have lasted so long without the administration knowing about it, if only because some members of the administration probably attended the school.
Making the juniors train for a boxing match and run errands for you don't strike me as the extreme hazing described as "corporal punishment." It's more like the rookies on a football team being made to carry the veterans' equipment bags. Are the juniors being brutalized?
Bali is a junior at the age of 13? Does that mean they graduate at age 14? Or are there levels higher than senior? You said you went to one for five years. Was that ages 10 - 14? If Bali isn't a junior, why are the seniors bullying him?
There are some improvements over the first version (That Bali was suspected of being the whistleblower seems important, though there was no mention of a whistleblower in Face-Lift 1381), but overall, I don't think it's better. Perhaps third time will be the charm.