Feb 2, 2010

QUERY- THE ELEANOR STORY (first revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the sample pages.

On her fourteenth birthday, Ellie Cummings has one amazing seventy-two second kiss with the cutest boy in school. Three days later, she’s officially the slut of St. Vincent’s Academy.

Shy, quiet Ellie is in for a surprise when Justin, the boy she’s kept a secret from her friends all summer, transfers to her school. From the moment Ellie chooses a seat in the cafeteria next to Justin, she goes from flying under the radar, to being the center of gossip so juicy even the nuns are taking notice.

Her friendship with Justin is put under the microscope by everyone, including Ellie as she employs every method possible to protect her reputation, even forming her very own list of thirty items guaranteed to keep rumors from spreading. Eye gazing, hand holding, daydreaming (or vacant stare that might be mistaken for daydreaming), are all out of the question.

Despite her efforts to prove Justin is a friend and nothing more, Ellie’s true feelings creep in and she impulsively kisses him in front of twenty-six pairs of eyes and one hairy mole working for the evil HailMary22.

Three days later, HailMary22 has started a blog in her honor, Guess Eleanor Cummings Next Man. Rumors and lies fill the pages of the blog and Ellie can’t escape from an outcome she never asked for. Isolation from her friends and the boy she may love, lead to something far worse than any rumor spread. It’s up to Ellie to decide, hide from HailMary22 or stand up for herself for the first in her life.

THE ELEANOR STORY is a 54,000 word young adult novel. This is my first project.


Dominique said...

You're going to have to explain a bit more about HailMary22, because the reader isn't going to understand who that is or why she/he/it needs a mole.

Is St. Vincent's a really, really small school. Because if my memory of High School and even Junior High (and mine was pretty small) you only knew who the uberpopular people or your friends were dating, and you didn't care about the people you didn't know. What makes this couple so microscope worthy?

Even if she'd kissed the guy in front of the whole school, if she didn't have a rep for being a slut to start with, it seems a huge leap to say people would decide she was a slut now. It's 2010. Teens kiss. They kiss passionately for whole minutes in public hallways with tons of witnesses, and no one says much, except maybe, "Get a room," if it seems called for.

For context might explain some of the unusual occurances.

Bane of Anubis said...

The idea here - a girl saving face/reputation and fighting rumors - is one that many can relate to, so that's good, but the actions aren't ratcheted high enough for me.

I think Dominique's got an excellent point about the relative salaciousness of this... sure, in puritanical society, Ellie's gonna be the town whore, but unless this is an alternate reality, her transgressions seem rather pedestrian.

Also, the whole 72 second kiss thing kind of threw me off. If a girl's actually counting time to her make-out session, that sets off my *psycho* alarm quite loudly.

Julie said...

Dominique - Its a fairly small school with a nun in charge of discipline who is stuck in the 1950's.

Bane - Yes they were counting her kiss in spin the bottle. Basically you don't want to me the longest nor do you want to be the shortest. The longest was 5 sec.

Also, the kiss opens the door for the mysterious girl with the blog to make up lies stemming from this kiss. Pictures with other boys and stories regarding what she's doing with other boys.

For this girl wo had never kissed anyone before and until she actually did it, didn't think she even wanted to yet. So it is a big deal. But I'm not sure how to get that across in the query??

Bane of Anubis said...

Ah, that makes more sense... Perhaps reference the game, though I'm not sure how to do that w/o getting too bogged down in details. Perhaps tie in the first kiss aspect w/ the length.javascript:void(0)

Susan R. Mills said...

I agree with Dominique and Bane. The only other thing I would add is that you shouldn't say it is your first project.

Roni @ FictionGroupie said...

Definitely take out that it's your first project. I also agree with the others that a kiss seems unlikely to be a big enough deal to get the person deemed a slut(and I actually went to a conservative Catholic high school).

So, I think you need to address that issue. Perhaps starting with something that indicates that a kiss isn't necessarily a big deal. *It was just a kiss--well, one that lasted ten times longer than all the other spin the bottle kisses--but a kiss nonetheless.*

Or, play on that list of items to keep rumors from spreading. *Rule #1 Don't give the gossip mill even a crumb to work with.* Then go into the kiss.

Of course, neither of my suggestions are very eloquent, but the idea is to make the reader realize that you don't think a kiss is that big a deal either.

Hope that helps! Good luck!

Julie said...

Thanks Susan and Roni!

Roni - I loved your suggestion about making light of it by saying it was just a kiss and then going into the part about the rumors.

Emily said...

I had problems understanding the logical flow from cause to effect in this query.
In the first paragraph you claim Ellie is the slut of the school, but in the next paragraph you said she is flying below the radar. Is "the cutest boy in school" Justin? Or did the kiss occur before he came to the school? I'm confused about the chronolgy, which is a problem.

Also the phrase "can't escape from an outcome she never asked for" is weak, it tells me very little. And although technically it is not grammatically incorrect to end a sentence with a preposition, it is considered a no-no by many. I would avoid it as hyper-correctionalists abound.

The query isn't bad, but I think it could stand another revision.