Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Guess the Plot
Trail of Hope
1. Commentators from Fox News discuss the forced relocation of the Cherokee in 1838.
2. Orphaned sisters Hope and Patience Tudor cross the Atlantic on the Mayflower. Twelve year old Hope has heard fanciful stories of seven idyllic golden cities in the west, ruled by a benevolent sorceress, and runs away to find them. Can Patience find her before it's too late?
3. A pioneer woman treks from Connecticut to Oregon and starts a new life raising a child. Then, from out of nowhere, her husband shows up, wanting to know where the kid came from.
4. Hope McGhee, 16, gets dragged along with her nature-loving parents for a two-week trip to the wilds of Alaska. Furious to be so far from malls and MySpace, she half-asses the survival courses, which leaves her up a creek, stranded by a freak summer storm. Can Hope blaze a trail to safety?
5. The clues point to murder, as crack private eye Dick Peters hunts for the missing debutante, Hope Diamond. Her killer left bits and pieces of her along the road, and Peters follows the Trail of Hope into peril.
6. Little Suze Hanford loves her pet banana slug Hope. But when Hope starts spelling out hot stock tips with her slime trail, she's kidnapped by Suze's next door neighbor, an unscrupulous day-trader. Will Suze ever see her pet again?
Dear Evil Editor,
I am seeking representation for my historical fiction, Trail of Hope, complete at 135,000 words.
When her husband Frank decides to start a fresh life elsewhere, Abigail finds herself trekking from Connecticut to the Oregon Territory in 1848. [You might include the phrase "with him," somewhere in there. Otherwise it sounds like Frank took off for Virginia with the babysitter.] To survive, Abigail must develop the physical strength and endurance to withstand the rigors of the trail west and the mental and emotional fortitude necessary to build a new life. Through fire, flood, accidents, and deaths, Abigail finds new friendships [Those sound more like things that would end her friendships. Permanently.] to sustain her and the courage necessary to succeed. But Frank questions her changing attitudes and new friends, especially the leader’s son. [The leader? Leader of what?]
[Frank: Where've you been?
Abigail: I was with the leader's son.
Frank: The leader? Leader of what?]
[Does the leader have a name? If so, I think it would add a mysterious, foreboding aspect to the book if you eliminated the name and always referred to him as "The Entity."]
Will the hardships of the journey forge Abigail and Frank tighter, or tear them apart?
First of a trilogy, Trail of Hope closes with Abigail gazing out at her new homeland, believing herself a widow, [What happened to Frank? Did the hardships of the journey tear them apart?] sheltering a newborn entrusted to her care. Book Two opens with Frank appearing out of nowhere, [No one appears out of nowhere. Is that his explanation? Because I don't see Abigail buying it.] convinced the toddler at the door is proof of her infidelity. [Oh, like Frank wasn't off boffing Miss Kitty in the room over the saloon in Cheyenne for the past year.] Book Three continues the story of that child and the growth of Portland and surrounding areas. [Your series morphs into a textbook for Urban Studies 101?] More than the story of Abigail, the series probes the reasons men and women traveled west to settle and develop new cities and territories. Why did they risk hardship, illness, even death, abandoning the settled lands in the east, especially before the 1849 gold rush? [Also, why didn't they just take the train?]
I thank you for your time and consideration.
If I'm in Connecticut and I want to start over in a new place, and I'm traveling by covered wagon, I'm heading for New York. If my kids don't like it there, they can move to Ohio, and their kids can try Kansas, and eventually my descendents might make it to Portland, Oregon. No way am I leaving Connecticut in a covered wagon heading for Oregon. Even if that was the original plan, at some point I'm gonna tell "the leader," look pal, I know we were planning to go to Oregon, but it's been ten months, and suddenly this Pittsburgh place isn't looking half bad.
Is 135,000 the word count for book 1? Is the entire trilogy complete? Trekking across the country could be interesting. Settling in Portland with this Frank clown sounds like a drag of a book. And the history of Portland (book 3) is pure dullsville. I recommend limiting the query to book 1.
If you don't like "The Entity," for a more comical slant, call the leader "The Big Enchilada."
Frank: Where've you been?
Abigail: I was with The Little Enchilada.