3rd SR Crapometer #14

Dear Ms. Snark:

A boy's first brush with love, death, and wearing women's underwear—just your average coming-of-age story.

One Friday night, 15-year-old Malcolm O'Healy's life takes a sharp turn for the weird and wonderful against the backdrop of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. An outsider among the outsiders at his high school, Malcolm stumbles into the theater expecting to watch the show,
not become part of it. But that night, caught somewhere between Sharon, his emotionally shattered mother, Lucy, the sexual predator of the freshman class, and Trixie, floorshow mistress and the love of his Latin class, Malcolm will discover just what kind of man he really is. [TITLE] is his story.

Rocky Horror has been the misfit's midnight movie of choice for almost 30 years. It's cultural shorthand for the thousands of people who've been part of the "floorshow" experience and the hundreds of thousands more who return each week to have an uninhibited good time. In my
research, I haven't found a single work of fiction based on this perennial youth subculture. [TITLE] is a 55,000 word novel for all of those people, as well as anyone who has struggled to belong.

I chose to query you [agent choice reasons here].

Growing up in Ohio, I was a Rocky Horror regular and played Magenta in in our floorshow cast for four years. My short stories have been published [my credentials]. I would love to send you the complete manuscript of [TITLE].

Thank You,


Friday, September 20, 1991
11:38 p.m.

"If there are any beautiful people here, they're stupid."

Trixie worked a smudge of lip liner off her front tooth with her tongue.

"Gone?" she asked, baring her teeth.

Malcolm nodded, and his over-heated brain regretted it. The girl bathed in the streetlamp's puddle of yellow-white, the casual conversation—it was all just too surreal. For an instant, he saw two girls staring up at him with four swimming-pool-blue eyes. He leaned against the concrete stairwell that led to a decrepit parking garage, desperately nonchalant, while Trixie got her floorshow face on.

Trixie pulled a compact from her tackle box of Halloween close-outs and lipsticks meant for black girls. Her tiny hands moved in rote memory of the same lines drawn week after week. Just like the movie. Always almost the same, but not quite, differences so subtle it took
repeated exposure before you could spy them. Rocky Horror offered an illusion of security for the floorshow cast and the audience—same images, same words—and they came back over and over again. Malcolm, with less than ten visits on his punch card, was still a newbie.

Everybody came for their own reasons. Some people wanted a place to cuss and be rowdy. Others liked to dress up and get stared at.

Malcolm's reason was on the steps in front of him, smoothing the last of the white face around her hairline, blending it under her jaw. Tracy Wilcox, who had refused to answer to any name other than Trixie since seventh grade. She was a Junior, a year ahead of him at St. Brendan's Catholic High School, even though they were the same age.

Trixie was beautiful. And she was anything but stupid.

She wore big hoop earrings and black lace bras under her white blouses, just daring the vice-principal, Brother Abe, to say something. She looked tough and seemed to dare the social powers that be to jack with her. More than once, Malcolm had turned a corner to see Trixie, feet planted wide, tearing some idiot jock a new one with nothing more than a loud voice and superior vocabulary. Those confrontations, like the time Rick Dorsey had to ask his girlfriend
what an encephalitic hermaphrodite was, were some of Malcolm's favorite memories from freshman year.

He had stalked her, following her after Latin class, making mental notes when and where he passed her in the hall. He made excuses to walk by her locker, and imagined putting a note through the vent, saying what, he had no idea. But he'd never worked up the sack to talk
to her. Not until that night two and a half months ago. Something about being at Rocky made him bolder. Or crazier.

Trixie adjusted the zip-up sweatshirt that kept the makeup and powder off her costume. It was black, like everything else she seemed to own. Somewhere, he filed that precious detail in a drawer in his mind marked "Trixie," which was sloppily pasted over the original label,

The reason fan fiction, love poems and Christian rock suck big time is that it's not enough to be about the beloved. You have to have something other than "it's about Rocky Horror Picture Show, and there's never been anything about it before !!!) to maintain a novel.

You're going to get tired of me saying this but is there a plot? 'Coming of age' is not a plot.

Rocky Horror may not have been done before but that doesn't make it fresh and new.

Pass on this one.


Manic Mom said...

Oh man, I am really starting to get scared of you, Miss Snark.

This is a book I would definitely pick up, flip to the inside cover, read the acknowledgments (is that with an E or without? I know judgment), and depending on the cover and the blurbs, I would buy it.

I loved the first page.

Anonymous said...

I thought there was some very good writing here, but that you were going over the same ground again and again - that ground being how great Trixie is. Sleek this intro down, and get us into the action. Something with The Rocky Horror Picture Show at its heart should be as zippy as doing The Timewarp.

But again, I did like the writing, and I really liked some of the details that show just how ga-ga Malcom is for Trixie. Very nicely done; good luck with it!

Anonymous said...

I'm fairly sure "Prep" was as close to plot-free as a book can get. Yet it was an entertaining read.

Don't give up snarkling - this one's pretty good to a mere reader like me.

Anonymous said...

Passive voice.

I'll leave it there.

magz said...

Our BeLoved MS may not be the agent for this... but there is one.
I'd buy, read and reccomend this book in a heartbeat.
LOVED IT. Kudos oh Author. Well done.

Anonymous said...

This is decent writing and an interesting premise to one of the multitude who saw her share of RHPS - but so far there's no "there" there.... Either start with some action or let us know (at least) that something important is about to happen. Where's the beef??

Clarice Snarkling said...

While I have few nice things to say about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, I think Stephen Chbosky incorporated the characters' RHPS obsession very seamlessly into the story.

I think this author may be on the same track. I think, though, he or she might do better if some non-RHPS action / "plot" was introduced before he/ she introduced the Rocky Horror stuff. Readers who aren't familiar with it might tune out if the book began with it.

a fan said...

If I were an agent, I would have requested more. I agree with the others -- this needs to be cleaned up, streamlined, and propped up with a plot. But it has definite potential for the right agent.

JJ said...

This entry got lots of comment kudos and as a RHPS fan I was intrigued by the query, but the writing is too thick for me; I could barely get through it. Too many adjectives, too much of an essay instead of a story with a character I get to know quickly and care about. Just proof that the biz is subjective, and that's probably a good thing for variety.

Frainstorm said...

Loved this. Love Trixie. When she dumps Whatshisname, I'm making my move. I'd bet on the come, ask for more and hope the plot worked out well enough. Surely there is one.

Great stuff, and the writing was most enjoyable. Good luck with it.


A. M. said...

We don't need to know all there is to know about the chars before some sort of story or action takes place. Too bad we weren't there when he asked her out for the first time or something. Hearing about some interesting stuff that's already happened isn't that interesting. Neither is char physical description.

He's already seen RHPS 10 times. Bummer. I haven't. So why do we have to be there, right this moment, on the street? Is there going to be a car accident, a drive-by shooting or whatever in the very next sentence?

Anonymous said...

RHPS has indeed been done before in a novel: Stephen Chbosky's "The Perks of Being a Wallflower." It's ranked #1,266 in books.