Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Face-Lift 790

Guess the Plot

Experimenting with Love

1. Kaely has fallen for Colin, but he's gay so she decides to turn him straight. When her attempts all fail, she comes up with a new experiment: disguise herself as a guy, get Colin to fall for her/him, and then reveal the truth, at which point he'll have to be straight.

2. Thelda Mondthwaite's family has been in the love potion business eight centuries. Tradition means everything, until niece Titiana joins the business. Tit says diversification is the key to future success. When Thelda finds a bottle labeled “On Your Knees, Wastrel,” she knows the company is in trouble.

3. It was supposed to be a simple psychology trial - can people make themselves fall in love? The answer seems to be yes: the more time Gaby spends with her assigned partner, the more she starts to like him. But will she throw him over when she learns this was actually a drug trial for a new pheromone-enhanced body wash?

4. Salitor the wizard has been trying for decades to perfect the formula for a sure-fire love potion. All his failed attempts, unfortunately for mankind, have to go somewhere, and that somewhere is the galactic horror known as the Soul Sucker.

5. High school junior David Jacoby concocts a love potion in the chem lab. He has only three days before the prom to slip it to Marla, the prettiest, most popular girl in the school. So he invents a gizmo that freezes time, then winds up in the seventh dimension. He takes Marla to the prom or not in a happy or weird ending, accordingly. Final chapter is dadaist garble.

6. Julie has always dreamed of the perfect guy, but being the school nerd doesn't help her chances one bit. Now she's all grown up and decides to make all the boys that once knew her jealous by creating the perfect boy for her. Too bad he's a robot and has no emotions, otherwise his seamless construction would've fooled the idiots.

Original Version

Your Evilness,

Kaely is known to the online world as kaekat2012 on her blog and she's as close to a being star as she is becoming president at 16. That is, until she meets Colin, a super hot foreign exchange student from Scottland. Not only do her almost nonexistant readers love him, but Kaely finds herself developing strong feelings for him. [You screwed up your first sentence, spelled "Scotland" wrong in your second sentence, and spelled "nonexistent" wrong in your third sentence. Whoever's reading this will assume every sentence in your book has a mistake, and stop reading here.]

There's only one tiny problem, he's gay. Kaely's determined to turn him straight one way or the other but finds that extremely difficult. [What are the ways she tries?] But then she has a brilliant idea: pretend to be a guy to win Colin's heart then reveal the truth to him, [No wonder she's set her sights on a gay guy; a sixteen-year-old girl who can pass as a guy probably isn't getting much action from the straight guys.] and she'll document her progress on her blog to gain readers and reach her possible stardome. [That comma should be a colon in sentence 1, you need a comma after "heart" in sentence 2, and you spelled "stardom" wrong in sentence 3 (and in the sentence below this one).]

Soon enough, the blog kicks off as a national hit and Kaely must decide what's more important to her, her newfound stardome or true happiness. [She must give up her blog to achieve the happiness that comes with a romantic relationship with a gay guy?] [I've made you look like a complete fool on my blog for the past year. Now will you date me?]

Experimenting With Love is a YA realistic fiction romance complete at 67,000 words. [What's realistic about it?]

Thank you for your time and consideration,


You need to explain why Kaely has to decide between stardom and happiness. Why can't she have both? What will bring her happiness?

I don't see how this can be a romance if the heroine's crush is a gay guy.

You need to get rid of the errors in the query and in the book.


mb said...

Actually I was hoping "stardome" was correct and this was sci-fi.

Anon Y. Author said...

I will be nice, I will be nice, I will be...

Oh gosh, make it tough on me why don't you.

Spelling and grammar errors aside, this plot sounds like it was thought up by a sixteen-year-old. It's corny and unbelievable, not realistic.

As for realism...I think in reality, a blog of a girl pretending to be a guy to "turn" a gay guy straight would be met with a lot of (rightful) outrage and disdain. She might get her stardom but it'll be more like infamy, because a lot of people will just think she's a shallow snot. And those will be the nicer things they'd call her.

To me, I felt like the query implies that she can (for some unexplained reason) have only her fame or her "true happiness". My mind immediately wonders if "true happiness" means a relationship with Colin, and what that implies is downright offensive to me.

If that's not how you wanted your book to sound, you have a lot of work to do on this query. If it is supposed to sound that way, reconsider the entire thing.

Either way, clean up the errors.

angela robbins said...

Why waste her time on something she knows will NOT come to fruition?

EE said it all in his blue comments and in the notes.

J.M. said...

When you said Kaely had "met" Colin, I thought you meant online. I was increasingly confused as I read the query, and it took a re-reading to see what was actually going on.

Seriously, Kaely fools this guy into thinking she's a guy? This must be outside of school if not outside of town or at least during limited hours, because she couldn't possibly introduce her Brandon Teena act around people who know her.

Anonymous said...

This would only work if Colin were pretending to be gay to avoid dealing with girls and if he's also reading her blog -- think of Shakespeare's comedy plotlines; the writers of SHE'S THE MAN did. If her blog is so famous, why isn't Colin reading it? If Colin's really gay, perhaps Kaely (hate the name, BTW) learns that she's not going to find adult romantic love at age 16, and that true friendship is always worth having....

150 said...

I have to disagree with everyone--the story sounded compelling to me. Of course, that's assuming that "true happiness" is friendship with Colin and a date with a straight guy. But I'd like to see Kaely pull a doomed Viola/Cesario act. Between the viral blog and her attempt to straighten a gay guy, it sounds like there's plenty of conflict.

The SPAG is damning, though. Do everything you can to straighten out this writing, because no one, agent or editor, will read more than a page of this unless your misspelled words are as immaculately-chosen and placed as brushstrokes on the Sistine Chapel. Based on the query I'm guessing they're not, so you must, must fix your errors.

You sound young. Think about writing another book and then coming back to this with another year of perspective.

I'd read a few pages to see how your voice and storytelling skills were.

vkw said...

Yep, this is just a bad idea, altogether. Passing as a member of the other gender works in the movies - as comedies. This girl is taking a lot of things for granted, the first and the most offensive being that if she dresses like a guy, meets Colin, he will automatically fall heads over heels in love with him/her, and then when she reveals that she been deceiving him all this time, he'll just go straight.

That's like saying every straight guy she meets will fall in love with her too. Come on, she's not that hot or assuming any gay man that shows attention to another gay guy will result in a love affair is very offensive.

However, something like this would probably go viral on the internet, so that works for me.

True happiness is seldom found in romantic relationships involving 16 year olds. Usually its intense infatuation, followed by drama, more drams, unimangeable misery, followed by new infatuation and the lifespan of such 'true happiness' is about 4 months.

The real story here is how Katelin's fantasies of redeeming a gay boy result in her discovering that true happiness comes from trusting, long-term relationships with family, friends along with healthy self-esteem and acceptance of oneself, while she overcomes her need to be in the spotlight and sabotaging opportunities for healthy relationships - because even at 16 she should realize that deceiving someone to love you, will most likely result in long-lasting contempt not happiness.

I could go on . . . but this story needs to be rewritten.


Khazar-khum said...

Why does Kaely want Colin? Is it because he's unattainable? Does she think she can "fix" him? Or does she just need someone with decent fashion sense so that straight guys will notice her?

Stephen Prosapio said...

Awwww man. One of the *only* times the guess the plot actually is the one I say "I hope it's that one!" - and it kind of turns out to be eh.

Author. Great concept and I wouldn't give up on this idea. The query does need some work (spelling and grammar errors???).

Also, this is really all kind of set up. Doesn't Colin find out about the blog? I mean that's where we get into the conflict, right? You need to express that and at least hint at the resolution in the pitch to agents and publishers.

Good luck!

Adam Heine said...

I thought this was an interesting idea, but I'm pretty sure a lot of the reading community would HATE the idea of a gay guy getting "fixed" (as the comments here suggest already).

If, however, she learns that Colin can't be changed, the book might work. But it needs to be made clear in the query that Kaely's goals are vain/ridiculous.

If Kaely actually turns Colin straight in the end, I'm pretty sure you're facing an outright boycott. Then again, how does that saying about bad publicity go...?

pulp said...

Shades of Smart Bitches Trashy Books' "magic vajayjay." Turns even the most Rochesteresque guarded heart hero into love mush.

Query contains many errors, but I like your tone.

_*rachel*_ said...

Get rid of the first paragraph, give us a few more details (like how she tries to get him without pretending to be a guy, maybe), and get rid of all those errors. Especially the last one.

This is normally the sort of idea that would sent me screaming into the ether, but it actually sounds pretty fun. Shakespearean, even. Though Anon 12:09 had some good ideas.

Anonymous said...

Dear Writer,
Please know that queries have to be the hardst writing you'll ever do. You chomped down and did it. Congratulations. I love heart and admire courage. I write awful queries but I am getting better thanks to the help I've received here.

I think it's every woman's dream to turn a gay man straight. (But that could be me.)And it is a good idea, but not realistic. Loved the comment from Anon that Colin is pretending to be gay - and she tries pretending to be a man.
I can see a disastrous meeting - and the truth comes out - for both of them. A coming of age story? Only you have the answer. Keep at it, keep writing, please re-send. I want more.

Rebecca Christiansen said...

This could be a good idea - only if it's made explicit that Kaely is a vain idiot and that it's obviously not going to work. If the notion that Colin can be "turned straight" is taking itself seriously here, most people would be downright offended.

St0n3henge said...

I actually kinda liked the story on this one. It could be fixed. Of course, the main character is very naive if she thinks her plan will work, but 16-year-olds tend to be that way. Some questions I have would be: How can she fool Colin AND everyone else in the school? We're assuming the other students know she's a girl. Second, when does Colin find out about the blog? I'm assuming he does find out at some point. Did he know about it all along?
Most importantly, what about the ending? You'll have to wrap this up very neatly if it's going to work.

Anonymous said...

This is a concept where it could either be compelling or both homo- and transphobic as hell. And I'll be honest, your spelling and grammar don't leave me convinced that you've considered those angles completely. Maybe that's kind of mean and judgmental, but if you're going to present a concept that's walking a thin line between compelling and hurtful, you should probably be a thoughtful person.

I like the idea of a person coming to terms with the fact that sometimes a person just isn't attracted to them, for whatever reason. If it's because of sexual orientation, then hey, that could work. I'm worried, though, that if she's doing drag in-person, rather than trying to conduct an epistolary romance over the internets, that you're going to fall into uncomfortable territory. Especially on the trans angle. I can't speak all that specifically to any of it when we don't have a really clear idea of how the story shakes out, but "cis girl pretends to be a dude, and either feels absolutely no discomfort at all or has a Really Rough Time, poor baby" has the possibility of being kind of ugly. You don't even have to toss in the "and it's all to turn a gay boy straight!" angle to start seeing problems.

Problematic themes won't necessarily stop your book from succeeding--that (non-fiction, serious business) book from a few years ago by the cis woman who lived as a man for six months or whatever did quite well despite being immensely transphobic in some respects--but I think they're well worth being aware of. Please consider whether your story shows a truckload of unexamined straight and cis privilege, and whether some of that can be mitigated in editing.

Polenth said...

It does currently sound like Colin is going to be 'cured'. Maybe she ends up dating Colin's straight brother or it turns out Colin is bisexual... but if either of those are the case, it'd be best to put it in the query.

I'd also expect the fame to have downsides. At the moment it sounds like the fame is all good and just like she imagined it'd be. The reality is that sort of blog goes viral because people love picking holes in it. She'd get a lot of negative attention.