Saturday, July 15, 2006
Guess the Plot
Pushing Leaves Towards the Sun
1. Astronaut Spiff Pushing accepts the most dangerous challenge in NASA history: a mission to land on and map the sun.
2. A 29,000-word romance/adventure novel targeted at the grief-stricken, with self-help/psychology features to ease readers through times of personal tragedy. Includes song lyrics.
3. As the greenhouse effect turns Earth into a jungle, a band of landscapers and scientists embark on a daring scheme to preserve New York City inside the world's largest igloo.
4. Terraforming has never been more boring, and botanical geneticist Thelma Griffin, stuck alone in the space station, has nothing to do but tinker. When the scientist unwittingly creates sentient plants, will she neglect her duties to tell her new friends all about her life?
5. Tired of the endless NYC winters, a stockbroker takes off for a new life in Arizona. There, he stumbles upon an ancient cult of Huitzilopochtli that's looking for a fresh sacrifice.
6. Using it as an excuse to catch a little alone time away from his nagging wife and five kids, Joe rakes his yard westward by hand, vowing not to stop raking until he reaches the sun.
From the short synopsis of your past/present clients on AgentQuery.com it appears that you represent exactly the young adult genre of my recently completed novel. More specifically, my book Pushing Leaves Towards the Sun is nine days in the life of two young adults rebuilding their lives after losing their best friend in a motorcycle accident.
Two years after the accident, Billy and Lindy have different coping skills and live in a duplex with Spy, Dog, Roxie, and Just Dan. [I'm sure there's a good reason the nine days you've chosen to chronicle take place two years after the death, rather than two days or weeks or months. You might mention in the query what's so significant about these nine days.] Billy now sees life as being short and he is playing hard. [How about a couple examples of what he's doing differently now?] Lindy is still in counseling and using her emotional rollercoaster to create her second musical effort “Studying Psychology, Mostly as a Patient” [Which is . . . a song? Symphony? Commercial jingle for a psychiatric hospital?] and break into the recording industry. [Actually, commercials probably would help fill some of those empty and unprofitable psych ward hospital beds.
Commercial voice over: Would you prescribe meds you've never taken yourself?
2nd voice over: Would you commit patients to a ward where the television is permanently tuned to the cartoon channel, if you've never lived there?
3rd voice over: Why pay for a psychiatric education when you can experience it first hand?
Chorus of singers (to the tune of "Suicide is Painless"): Studying Psychology . . . Mostly as a Patient.]
This is a (29,000 word) book of fiction but it incorporates all I have learned about grief, psychology, and recovery from the countless volunteers and professionals that I met with after losing my fiancée in an airline tragedy ten years ago. A synopsis is attached.
Anyone who has ever wrestled with a personal tragedy in their own life is my target audience. [Anyone period? Or any Young Adult?] Life comes at Billy and Lindy fast while they are simultaneously dealing with grief. [Even two years after the fact? What's the plot? Is this the nine days during which Lindy makes it big? Billy nearly kills himself? Ghost Rider comes through town and sets them on the right path?] It is a crossover novel between adventure, psychology, self-help, and romance. [Nothing in the query indicates that there's any adventure or romance in the book.] In addition to publishing rights, the lyrics in my novel have music rights considerations. [Are they your lyrics, or someone else's? Don't get too attached to putting someone else's song lyrics in your book unless you already have permission.] I’ve enclosed the first 3 chapters and 19 chapter titles (and a SASE) for representation consideration. [The sentences in this paragraph don't have much connection with one another.] [I'd be interested in your chapter titles if this were nonfiction . . . though not all 19 of them.]
Cheers! [Grief and tragedy, tragedy and grief . . . Cheers!]
My recently completed novel, Pushing Leaves Toward the Sun, chronicles nine days in the lives of two young adults who lost their best friend in a motorcycle accident.
Life comes at Billy and Lindy fast while they are dealing with their grief, and each copes differently. Billy now sees life as short and he is living each day as if it's his last, cliff diving, wing walking, and even wrestling sharks. Lindy is in counseling and drawing upon her shifting emotional states to create her second CD, Studying Psychology, Mostly as a Patient, hoping to break into the recording industry. After Billy convinces Lindy to climb Mount Everest with him, they become only the fourth couple to make love at the summit.
This 29,000-word Young Adult novel incorporates all I have learned about grief, psychology, and recovery from the countless volunteers and professionals that I met with after losing my fiancée in an airline tragedy ten years ago. Any young adult who has ever dealt with a personal tragedy is my target audience.
I’ve enclosed the first 3 chapters and a synopsis. Thank you.
Evil Editor has stressed the young adult aspect, because this is too short to be called a novel for "anyone." Actually, it seems too short for the 16 - 18 crowd, and the younger teens might prefer to have characters from their own age group. Two years after a motorcycle accident would seem to indicate your characters are at least 18 now. Maybe they should be fourteen, and their friend was killed in a bungee jumping accident. Or maybe you should pad the book with an extra 40,000 words.