Thursday, January 30, 2014
Guess the Plot
1. I was walking down the beach in Malibu when Julia Roberts came running down from her mansion and invited me up for a nooner. Then there was the time I went to get my driver's license renewed and there was no line. And once . . .
2. In the future, when dentures come with a free set of fake memories, two octogenarians find a way to hook up as versions of themselves fifty years ago. Can they stay inside their memories, or will their nasty nurse "spill" their memory tumblers?
3. Reg is haunted by memories of alien abductions and painful and invasive medical procedures. Finally he meets a hypnotherapist who eases his mind and relieves the terrifying flashbacks. But were the memories real in the first place? Or is the therapist manipulating him into becoming a hitman for the CIA?
4. Is her name Margot, or Celeste? Is she a brain surgeon, or a deep cover Russian operative? And why does she have a gun smoking in her hand? All of these questions might be answered whenever whoever she is analyzes her . . . False Memories.
5. Down South.
6. When Allison goes into the hospital for brain surgery, the surgeon decides to try an experimental procedure, grafting a dead girl's gray matter onto her brain. Now Allison's remembering stuff that happened to the dead chick and getting involved in her life of drug abuse and murder. Which, frankly, is more interesting than her own life ever was.
7. When Meagen didn't grow into the voluptous busty gal she always wanted to be she sought the knife of a famous plastic surgeon. Now she's in demand and loving it. The problem is she didn't pay the piper and the repo man is hunting her. Will she live the life of false mammaries or renege and develop . . . false memories?
Most Evil Editor,
Sixteen-year-old Allison wakes up after losing ten months to a car accident and brain surgery – not your average brain surgery, but an experiment grafting some dead chick’s gray matter to her own. [Surgeon: I don't like the looks of this chick's brain. Let's try something unusual. Nurse, is there a dead chick around whose brain we could scrape some gray matter out of? And some super glue?] Her life’s in ruins: stuck in a rehab hospital, she’s hearing voices and reliving what the doctors call false memories – but the lure of that one Kansas pasture remains. [Wait, what? What Kansas pasture?]
Allison explores the memories, until her parents, surgeon and psychiatrist insist on drugs to block the thoughts. Drugs she won’t take. They think she’s crazy, [Is that how the psychiatrist worded his prognosis when talking to Allison's parents? "I think she's crazy."?] but the voice, begging for help, feels like her only sanity – a dead girl [chick] wanting to make amends to the little brother she left behind. Allison goes AWOL from rehab, heading to a town she’s never seen before and stumbling onto tragedy, drug abuse and murder. Then Allison wants redemption for a life that slipped over the edge – even knowing she could be next.
FALSE MEMORIES is a contemporary YA, complete at 48,000 words with series potential. [Is it a series in which each book is about another character who has gray matter from some dead chick grafted onto her brain, or are all the books about Allison adapting to having some dead chick's gray matter on her brain?] The manuscript is written in dual points of view (Allison as well as the girl who died) [I think you should continue to refer to her as the dead chick.] and would appeal to fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY.
I’m a member of SCBWI, and write both MG and YA. I practice medicine as well, but [not legally.] I’ve yet to master the brain-grafting-thing; it seemed so easy in the story. [The problem is obvious. In the book, the dead chick is fresh, and they can get the gray matter with a spoon. You're apparently using a chick who's been dead about 12 hours; try a chisel.]
Is the Kansas pasture Allison's memory or the dead chick's? And why is it in the query?
I'm thinking you could just tell about the brain surgery and "memories" and say that Allison believes they feel too real to be "false," without mentioning the gray matter graft. Even if you're dead-set on the graft in the book (instead of the dead girl having died in the same accident, or having been in the same hospital room with Allison), because it's believable in the book, you can do without it in the query, where it may give the wrong impression about the book, namely that it's totally wacko.
The setup: Allison wakes from 10 months in a coma to find she has memories of a girl who died recently. She sets out to find some kind of redemption for the girl. That's about all we have. We want more. We want to know what she does, who wants to stop her from butting in, what's her plan, what if she fails?