Guess the Plot
Gin and Sympathy
1. After her husband's architectural firm goes bankrupt, Dallas Grimes meets a wealthy philanthropist who promises her a million dollars if she accepts his indecent proposal: submit a query to Evil Editor for which all the fake plots will contain clever references to Miss Snark. Also, sympathy.
2. In this touching coming-of-age memoir, Miss Snark reveals her passion while touching lightly on her shortcoming. Profusely illustrated, sample cluegun included.
3. Jealous of Evil Editor's growing publishing empire, Miss Snark decides to go for a kinder, gentler image and pens her own book of writing tips. Sample tip #85: Rejection goes down easier with a gin chaser.
4. Miss Snark spends Friday night blubbering with two of the lesser gods: Gin and Sympathy. In the morning she burns the shoe boxes and computer containing her seven unpublishable novels, and gets a new tattoo in preparation for her blind date with Arnold Patterson, pizza driver. Is she at rock bottom yet? Or will Sunday be even worse?
5. Our heroine has trouble with her cussing, weight, smoking, and a certain beverage. When her best drinking buddy, Niles, is found murdered, she vows to secretly sober up until she finds the fiend who did it.
6. Fifteen years ago, our heroine had an affair with Eugene, a man with a tail. She got pregnant, but never told Eugene. Now her son wants to meet the father he never knew. But she just wants gin. Also, sympathy.
Dear Evil Editor,
Dorothy Abramson has been a fag hag as long as she can remember. [Even Evil Editor, with his history of electro-shock therapy, heroin addiction, and the Burmese prison brainwashing incident, can remember back to the age of five. "As long as she can remember" may be an exaggeration.] Whether she's dancing till dawn with Nathaniel, holding Robert's hand through an AIDS test, or trading blows with the bigots who gaybashed Marshall, [Just so we're on the same wave length, is "trading blows" more gay slang, or is she brawling?] this self-proclaimed "fairy godmother to the fey" is the best friend a gay boy could ask for.
But it wasn't always that way. Once upon a time, Dorothy made the hag's classic mistake and tried to seduce her best friend -- his refusal broke her heart, and she vowed from then on to respect the impassable boundaries of intimacy. But when one of her beloved boys starts [I'd stick with the past tense here.] crossing lines of his own, and suddenly everything gets a lot more complicated.
Their affair is short lived: Eugene goes back to his husband with his tail between his legs, and Dorothy is left with nothing but a newly broken heart... and an unplanned pregnancy. Dorothy swears that she'll never tell Eugene, as she doesn't want to break up his marriage. [Here's where to return to present tense.] Fifteen years later, however, her teenaged son wants to meet his long lost father. Dorothy knows she should say no, but she can't help wondering if the boy who wandered once can be convinced now to switch for good. [This makes it seem like she is motivated less by satisfying her son's curiosity than by satisfying her own. Surely she's moved on with her life after fifteen years.]
Gin and Sympathy is an 80,000 word commercial novel detailing the life of a girl who follows her heart to the wrong side of the rainbow. I would be happy to provide you with a complete manuscript and look forward to hearing from you soon. I am enclosing an SASE for your reply, or you may contact me at _________
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Long-time minions will recognize this as a revised version of Face-Lift 117. That's where the rest of the laughs are, in case you were wondering.
Is this version better? I think so. It now sounds like it has a central plot, while it previously consisted entirely of lists, giving the impression it was a series of vignettes. Not that a series of vignettes can't work in a memoir, but the "son" aspect gives it more appeal now that you're calling it a novel rather than a faux memoir.
That term "fag hag" is rather jolting. Maybe not to those you see as your target audience, but possibly to those to whom you're sending the query. If it began:
Whether she's dancing till dawn with Nathaniel, holding Robert's hand through an AIDS test, or trading blows with the bigots who gaybashed Marshall, Dorothy Abramson, self-proclaimed "fairy godmother to the fey," is the best friend a gay boy could want.. . . it might be less abrasive.
But it wasn't always that way. Dorothy once made the mistake of trying to seduce her best friend. His refusal broke her heart, and she vowed to respect the impassable boundaries of intimacy from then on.
But when one of her beloved boys started crossing lines of his own, everything got a lot more complicated. Their affair was short lived: etc. etc.
I assume "boy" is slang for man? It still sounds weird when talking about the 15-year-old son of a boy.
It seems like it would be impossible to keep knowledge of her son from Eugene. Surely they had numerous mutual friends. Did she claim the kid was someone else's? I doubt it; the kid hasn't met Eugene and he certainly would have met him if Eugene didn't think the kid was his. Did she move to Alaska? Maybe, but she's been a fag hag as long as she can remember, which would include the last fifteen years. Not that Anchorage doesn't have a thriving gay community, but . . .