Monday, May 08, 2017

Face-Lift 1352

Guess the Plot

Summer, 1992

1. The days are long. The nights are short. The nights are hot. The days are hotter. This is a story about a summer. In 1992.

2. My first kiss. My first job. My first murder. My first pet. My first... whaddaya mean, plot?

3. Ah, yes, good old summer time. Backyard cookouts, kids playing in the yard, mint juleps, lying in the hammock... zzzzz.

4. It is the summer that never ends. Literally. Can Jaden figure out a way to end summer before everyone dies of heat stroke?

5. It's like Groundhog Day, the movie. Except this time it spans an entire summer. Starting off with Joseph getting a bucket of ice cold water dumped on him to wake up.

6. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird are looking forward to a summer of dribbling and tinto de verano. But when a maniac starts murdering tourists with basketballs in the Sagrada Familia, they suspect that Michael Jordan is not doing “salsa lessons” in his spare time.

7. It was a year like any other. Only this year, the first World Ocean Day is celebrated. Then it happens again, and again. Except what happens when the ocean inhabits the entire world? Rick is about to find out. 

8. Angel is hoping to save Damon from killing himself with drugs. If she can't, her career as a singer/songwriter is doomed, because all her songs are about him. That her class ring is a direct line to God should help.

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor,

Please allow me to introduce [Here's the problem with opening with those five words. Immediately my mind goes to "Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones, which may actually be what you want, but at this point I have no idea what you want, so to be fair I decide to Google the five words and see if anything else comes up. Nope. I discover the song has been covered  by Guns N Roses, Motörhead and Jane's Addiction. Naturally I have to listen to each version on YouTube to see how they compare with the original. The Motörhead version's pretty good. Maybe I should check out this Motörhead group. I click on another of their songs. Nope. Forget it. Not for me. I wonder what that umlaut over the second "o" in Motörhead does, but I resist the urge to use Google to find out. I go to Spotify and arrange for my computer to play "Honky Tonk Women" and "Wild Horses" over and over while I'm working.] [My point being that, assuming you would rather I focused more on your query than on the two greatest songs ever recorded, you've screwed up royally. I'm listening to the wrong songs.] SUMMER, 1992, a contemporary, new adult, coming-of-age saga with a love story at its heart, coming in at 89,000 words. [That's a lot of words to describe the book's category. I think of coming of age books as covering the growth from childhood to adulthood. I think of New Adult as taking place in the period just after becoming adult. As there's usually no coming of age section in a bookstore, I'd go with new adult love story.]

It's 1992 and 18-year-old singer/songwriter Angel Carlton has her life all figured out. At the end of the summer, she plans to go to college in Nashville, get a record deal, and finally get over Damon, her brilliant and elusive muse of three years. But first, she arrives at her family's beach house for [she'll be spending] a long-dreamed[-]about, unsupervised summer after graduation in Ocean City, Maryland [,where she first met Damon.] with her two best friends, and searches for a job on the boardwalk.

But Angel has a secret. She believes that because of an answered prayer that reversed the sale of the house, God has sent her to the beach, where she met Damon, to save him [Damon] from drug-fueled self destruction before the summer's end. If successful, she'll become a star; if not and he dies, [she'll become an even bigger star.] she fears she may never write another song... since they are all about him.

Confident that God has already arranged for them to meet, Angel impatiently waits to run into Damon, and vows to remain just friends when it happens. Meanwhile, she begins to suspect that her class ring with the cross might just be a direct channel to God. Every time she looks at it and prays for something, it happens. [If I had that ring I'd be constantly praying. Why isn't she?]

When she actually does run into Damon, all Hell breaks loose. [So the ring was actually a direct channel to Satan. Nice twist.] By the end of the seven tumultuous weeks with songs written, promises broken, and dreams in danger of going up in smoke, Angel is no longer sure of anything anymore. Now she has to figure out what she really wants and, more importantly, what she really believes before she loses everything and everyone she loves the most. [The first plot paragraph had more specific information than I wanted. This one is the opposite. Broken promises and lost dreams seems pretty mild for something described as all hell breaking loose, and everything after that line is vague.]

The story, best described as ELEANOR AND PARK meets THE NOTEBOOK is told in diary format. It alternates between 1992 and the present as the main character, now middle-aged, types up her journal from the summer of 1992 while sharing it with her sixteen-year-old daughter, curious to see if she can guess what it hides without being told. Because of the dominant time period and the resulting nostalgia, I believe it has cross-over potential for women's fiction.

For many years I worked in Nashville's music industry where I pursued rock stardom after spending a summer at the beach. Currently I work as a web designer and homesteader on Maryland's Eastern Shore. I excel at talking people out of things.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


I'd drop the third plot paragraph and rewrite the fourth with more specifics about what happens during those seven weeks and how failing to immediately figure out what she really wants and believes will cause her to lose everything and everyone she loves the most. 

Usually when we get to the end of the plot description the MC needs to take some crucial action or make some crucial decision that will determine how the story ends. Figuring out what she wants and believes is so wide-open it feels bland. Can you at least narrow it down to a couple wants or a couple beliefs?

Using the names Angel and Damon seems heavy-handed to me. 


khazar-khum said...

Does she actually know Damon in the beginning? It sounds as if he's a half-remembered dream that she prays into actual existence.

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of songs written about/inspired by dead people so I'm not sure why him being dead would be a problem.

The plot description could easily be read as having paranormal elements (and the names don't help). If it does, that should be made clearer. If it doesn't, that should also be made clearer.

Good Luck