Monday, December 11, 2006
Guess the Plot
Jumping the Stream
1. After a crackdown on cockfighting, a new gambling craze sweeps the country, one that involves trained crickets, drunks, and urinals. But it isn't long before PETI gets wind of what's going on.
2. Inspired by the great Evel Knievel, hunky Bobby Ray is determined to jump the Snake River. When he falls in love with hot rocket tech Sandra, he must decide whether to go ahead with the pay-per-view event or scrap the jump for a week with her and her bisexual girlfriends camping in the wilderness. Also, a werewolf.
3. A team of daredevils is auditioning new recruits. Mae Wong can't wait to defy her parents and race her motorbike down the riverside runway and off the launch ramp. Will that begin an exciting new career? Or just another unpleasant swim?
4. After her boyfriend cheats on her, 35-year-old Katie takes her great aunt's advice and "jumps the stream," becoming a lesbian.
5. Enchanted trout live in the waters of Inqwinq, near the tower where Princess Punzellini awaits her prince. But when the handsome one arrives, will he rush to kiss her? Or will he be unable to resist . . . the call of the trout?
6. A heartwarming coming-of-age story of two boys in the Blue Ridge Mountains who challenge each other to jump across the narrow but deep gorge cut by Cooker's Creek. Also, dueling banjos.
Dear Mr. Editor:
In Jumping The Stream, Katie Grant loses her best friend, her boyfriend, and her job, but she gains a house, a heritage, and a new perspective. After unexpectedly inheriting a Connecticut colonial from a great-aunt she barely remembers, Katie catches her boyfriend, Todd, in bed with her best friend, Lauren. Eager to get away from her mediocre, stagnant life, thirty-five year old Katie quits her beat reporter job, leaves her cruddy apartment, and moves across the county [Does quitting your job and moving across the country count as losing your job?] to the old house, expecting nothing more than a fresh start. [Wimp. Any other woman would have sold the house and used the money to hire a hit man to take out Todd and Lauren.]
She finds the house steeped in history. When she discovers the private journals of her great-great-something grandmother, revolutionary war widow Libby Hutchins, Katie dives in. [Hoping the journals haven't been ruined by being stored at the bottom of the swimming pool.] But the journals only point out how inadequate Katie is compared to Libby, a courageous, vibrant woman who faced war, rape, and even murder. [I think we can safely assume Libby would have had the guts to murder Todd and Lauren.] Katie feels the long line of ancestors who lived in the house evaluating her, and the verdict isn't good. [New paragraph.] As Christmas approaches, Katie’s loneliness and dejection deepen until she finds herself walking into Christmas Eve service for the first time in nearly two decades. Her salvation doesn't come from the minister, though; it sits down next to her in the form of the minister’s sister, Jean Walsh. As Jean pulls Katie out of the emotional whirlwind that’s been beating her down, Katie comes to realize that Jean has become much more than a friend, and that all her life Katie has been looking for love the wrong way. [Way to go, Katie. Even Libby wouldn't have had the cojones for this.] [The minister's sister? That's like the time Evil Editor was feeling depressed and troubled, so I went to a psychiatrist, and before I even talked to him, his male receptionist tried to convince me I was gay. I think that's what he was doing, anyway; why else would he tell me he liked my shirt?]
I've enclosed the complete synopsis and first three chapters of Jumping The Stream* according to the guidelines on your web site; [Change to: In accordance with your submission guidelines, I've enclosed etc.] I hope you enjoy them, and I would be glad to send you the complete manuscript (79,000 words) at your request.
My fiction has appeared or been accepted for publication in The First Line, Thereby Hangs A Tale, and THEMA; my nonfiction has appeared in EE Times [EE Times? How many books, magazines, and blogs am I going to let use my name to trick people into buying stuff I have nothing to do with before I start suing people right and left?] and on Scout.com.
I look forward to your reply. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[*The dead great-aunt leaves Katie a letter with the advice that she must "have the courage to cross the stream to know what's on the other side." Thus the title.]
In the event EE has misinterpreted the Katie/Jean relationship, he won't be the only one, so you may want to make it clear.
Not that your book isn't brilliant, but as Libby's "vibrant, courageous" life puts Katie's "mediocre, stagnant" life to shame, have you considered that Libby's private journals would make a far more fascinating book?