Monday, March 19, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Kit always dreamed of owning her own doughnut shop. As an intern, she's worked her way up from cake through glazed and even sprinkles. But is she really ready for . . . Jelly Time?
2. Horace and Elizabeth, two residents of the Orchard Hills community, show how it is possible to stay actively intimate well into the senior years.
3. Women of three generations converge in a hot kitchen full of jars, kettles, sugar, etc. to make the year's supply of jelly. But where's the fruit? Sandra was supposed to bring peaches, grapes, and blueberries, but the only sign of her is a strange text message about going "south" with "Jack."
4. When Marie Wensley's baby son flings his lunch at the kitchen clock, the gears of time itself become sticky, and soon history is replaying itself in devastating ways. If Marie can't undo the damage, the world will be stuck forever in . . . Jelly Time.
5. Pherto Dallowish, having failed to publish his novel, embarks on a quest to know the true nature of evil by immersing himself in a psycho-surrealistic world he calls Jelly Time. He expresses his revelations in a new novel based on the evolution of elephant tusks. But will his agent have any better luck selling this one?
6. Judy Moore is the meanest secretary in the world and she will take all the time she needs to eat her jelly donuts on Friday afternoon--no matter how important Tom Johnson thinks his little letter to Hing Ho about the blasted widgets might be.
Dear Agent X:
While a quirky, mentally ill, professor-turned-novelist is trapped in his car and immersed in Jelly Time (a psycho-surrealistic world), he tries to recall and jot down the circumstances of his life that led to his crash. Will he survive long enough to be rescued?
As a boy growing up in Pittsburgh, Pherto Dallowish is told his mother lives in Africa saving children from starvation, [And, incredibly, he buys this.] only to find out later at age ten that she’s in a mental hospital. When he visits her, she tells him she could never love him and rants on about the impossibility of any kind of peace in a world where good and evil are indistinguishable; he reacts to the rejection by opposite-acting. For years Pherto obsesses over the paradox of his mother, [The paradox?] and struggles to cope with her overbearing nature. The added stress from losing his professorship and then failing to publish a novel, prompts him to resolve the longstanding conflict with her.
Pherto believes reconciliation is only possible by disproving her fatalistic theory. He starves himself to understand the pain of evil; [Me, I would have jabbed a pointy stick into my thigh to understand the pain of evil, and then raided the fridge.] and then, to define evil, he visits and pesters a couple convicted of starving their adopted children. [That's the third reference to starving already. Suddenly my stomach is growling. Which means . . . it's Peanut Butter and Jelly Time!] The quest becomes a romp in Jelly Time, and borders on the ridiculous when Pherto spreads food [Jelly?] on street corners and organizes a ride on the Peace Train. Neither his friend, Chess (dreamer but conformist), nor his literary agent, Vernon H., are [is] able to bring order to his quest. [Out of curiosity, do you happen to know if Vernon H. is taking on new clients?] With the Pittsburgh media and police searching for the mystery man who littered the city, Pherto has a breakthrough. He expresses his revelations in a novel called The Elephant Dentist, which is partly influenced by the Hindu beliefs of Ganesh and his past research on the evolution of elephant tusks. [I had no idea Ganesh researched elephant tusk evolution; perhaps he was searching for a way to repair his own broken tusk.] Will his efforts prove that peace (and good) is possible and lead to reconciliation with his mother? And why has she been bitter all these years? And, if Pherto is not rescued, who writes Jelly Time and why? [You already wrote it. Jeez.]
Jelly Time is a literary mainstream novel of 90,000 words and explores universal themes from a son’s need for a mother’s affection to his need to be cared for in his own mental illness [to world starvation]. The protagonist is a former scientist; I have experience in this area as an assistant professor for six years at The Universities of Ohio, Cincinnati and Alabama. I published twenty-four peer-reviewed scientific papers and twelve book chapters and reviews and now am a full-time writer with two other novels in the works. Mr. X, the managing editor of X, heard my pitch at the X conference and suggested I contact you. [That bastard X again? He's always sending me his castoffs.] May I send you the manuscript? Thank you very much for your time.
While a quirky, mentally ill professor-turned-novelist is trapped in his car and immersed in Jelly Time (a psycho-surrealistic world), he tries to recall and jot down the circumstances that led to his crash.
As a boy, Pherto Dallowish was told his mother lived in Africa saving children from starvation; at age ten he learns that she's actually in a mental hospital. When he visits her, she declares she could never love him and rants about the impossibility of peace in a world where good and evil are indistinguishable.
Into adulthood, Pherto struggles to cope with his mother's overbearing nature. Eventually the added stress of losing his professorship and failing to publish a novel prompts him to resolve their longstanding conflict. He believes reconciliation is possible only by disproving her fatalistic theory.
Pherto's quest becomes a romp in Jelly Time, and borders on the ridiculous when he spreads food on street corners. With the media and police searching for the mystery man who littered the city, Pherto has a breakthrough, a revelation that could lead to the reconciliation he desires. But rushing home, he drives into a ravine and becomes inextricably trapped in his car. Will he survive long enough to be rescued, end starvation and bring peace to the world?
Jelly Time is a literary mainstream novel of 90,000 words and explores universal themes from a son’s need for a mother’s affection to his need to be cared for in his own mental illness. Mr. X, the managing editor of Y, heard my pitch at the Z conference and suggested I contact you. May I send you the manuscript? Thank you very much for your time.
Okay, you don't want my ending (unless I've yet again guessed correctly). But you don't want yours either. I wouldn't read the book to get the answers to the questions you pose, which aren't that interesting.
It was too long. No need to tell us everything. Though it might be interesting to know at what point Pherto slips into mental illness. Also, while I've shortened it, what it may need is for you to decide what's really important (Pherto's breakthrough? The mother/son interaction?) and concentrate on that. There's a lot of stuff in here, and some of it sounds pretty nutty in the query, though I'm sure it's well-handled in the book.
Not clear how a novel could prove peace is possible. And even if it did, it would probably take twenty years to find a publisher and another three to get into print and it would come out the same day as Harry Potter and the Triple Bypass.
Anagrams of Pherto Dallowish: Worship Hell Toad, Death Whirlpools, Adolph Hitler Sow