Friday, September 30, 2011
Guess the Plot
Half Truths and Bursting Bubbles on Kao San Road
1. I wanted this book about my quirky heroine Kayley to reflect how funny and quirky she is so I gave it this long quirky title.
2. When Soon Kim, owner of Koreatown's only gay bar "Bursting Bubbles", is found dead in a bathtub full of Merlot, homicide detective Zack Martinez knows two things: Kim didn't shoot himself; and it's a cheap Merlot, so no great loss.
3. Lost in the countryside on a road littered with old memoirs and novels, Minnie Jones suddenly realizes -- OMG, the lair of Evil Editor must be near! If only she can find it, she'll be able to submit all those manuscripts locked in her trunk! But night is coming, and so is a hurricane.
4. Julie's uncle dies in Bangkok, leaving her his journal. She heads for Thailand and quickly makes some friends and gets married and meets her uncle's ghost. Then an accident puts her in a coma. Her husband isn't sure he wants her to wake up because he's been having wild sex with one of her new friends. Also, metaphysical swimming.
5. Freshly graduated from college but lacking goals and prospects, Rob backpacks off to Thailand. Buddhism, betel, cheap whores, many bowls of cow intestine stew, crooked pols, and an innocent schoolgirl ensue.
6. The blacktop paver has lied about the quality of his materials, and the new surface on Kao San Road bubbles in the heat of a Bangkok summer. It gives a whole new meaning to "stuck in traffic," and half the Thai population can't get out of Krungthep. Can Dorphy, a drug addict from Boulder, Colorado, avert a revolution and save the monarchy?
7. On his death bed, Kao San tells his nephew he hid the treasure he looted from a wax museum near the road he built across Thailand. Awa's frenemy Han overhears and it becomes a race -- interrupted by moguls, mongols, and mongrels. Hey, maybe that should be my title.
My new novel is complete at 90,000 words. Absurdist fiction is the closest genre I can come to.
A young woman receives her uncle’s journal after his death in Bangkok. Julie is curious why he left it to her and wants to fill in missing blanks [The blanks aren't missing; she wants to fill them with whatever is missing.] by travelling to Thailand to poke around. She wasn’t close to him but she has the feeling there’s more involved than the pages of a journal. [More involved in what?]
Fresh to Bangkok [Nice phrasing. Setting a novel in Bangkok does present numerous opportunities for laughs, as would setting it in Intercourse, PA or Dickshooter, ID or any of these towns.] she makes friends with three women backpacking around Asia. [Asia's a pretty big place to backpack around. Maybe they should be Backpacking in Bangkok. Maybe that should be the title.] [Of course, three women backpacking in Bangkok wouldn't last a day without being kidnapped and forced into the sex trade.] She also meets a man she marries in short order [who turns out to be a short-order cook]. While sleeping one night Julie has the crap scared out of her by her uncle’s ghost. [I once had the crap scared out of me while sleeping. The maid was not amused.] An accident puts her in a coma after the haunting.
Julie doesn’t remember the journal, her husband, friends or the ghost as she enjoys a metaphysical swim around her hospital room watching people watch her body that is plugged into monitors. Her short term memory is gone when she rejoins her body and comes around. Her husband was engaging in wild sex with one of her friends finding relations exceptionally enjoyable as Julie was getting her melon smacked on a sidewalk. His guilt robs him of any residual afterglow. His partner of that moment, Julie’s friend, [You told us his partner was her friend two sentences ago.] is mortified and satisfied at once. [Which came first, the mortification or the satisfaction?]
The women and husband hope Julie’s memory returns but dread the moment when it does. Julie meets a man who looks like her uncle. He’s carrying an old journal. Like hers. [Hers? Meaning her uncle's?] He introduces himself as her ghost. [Her ghost? Or her uncle's ghost?]
Half Truths and Bursting Bubbles on Kao San Road is an earthy story of changing lives and circumstances in a land where nothing runs quite right or as expected.
Tell us specifically what's in the journal that sends Julie to Thailand to poke around. That's a pretty big undertaking just because he left you a journal.
I assume Julie didn't know her husband was involved with her friend, so why is everyone dreading the return of her memory? What is it they don't want her to remember?
This falls apart early. The journal is interesting. Something in the journal compels Julie to go to Thailand. If you tell us what, then you can focus the rest of the query on whatever her uncle wants from her, whether it be to solve his murder or discover that he's her father or kill his business partner or submit his journal to a literary agent.
Instead of a cohesive plot you give us a list of things that happen, and we can't tell which are important. Is the journal just a gimmick to get Julie to Bangkok so the real plot can involve her, or is the journal the main focus of the book?