HH Com 472

SABOTAGE is chick lit that in no way involves New York City, the publishing industry, the fashion industry, or thirty-something women dying to get married. There is, I confess, a modicum of shopping and a gay best friend, two conventions I couldn't resist.

(your hook starts here)
Mired in a quarter-life rut, Ginger Apperson agrees to be a temporary guide at the local art museum, filling in for eccentric Mrs. Singletroy, a docent since Pollock was the next big thing.
Complicating matters, Mrs. S. expects Ginger to somehow overthrow Jessica, a maddeningly perfect young guide who's trying to rid the docent roster of the elderly.

Ginger discovers she loves introducing art to the masses, especially the class of second graders who visit the museum weekly. When she starts dating the students' charming teacher, Gabe, the exciting twenty-something life she always imagined seems to be starting. Still, she has no idea how to thwart Jessica, and the more she tries the less confident she feels.

Increasingly paranoid, Ginger finds herself seeing conspiracies around every corner. When one of the museum's masterpieces is revealed as a fake, Ginger strives to topple her rival, embarking on a risky stakeout and a disastrous break-in, culminating in the embarrassing
discovery that it's herself she's been sabotaging.

Humiliated, Ginger must find a way to own up to her mistakes and redeem herself in Gabe's eyes. Eventually, she learns to plot her own course, without competition or mentors, and finds that where she is isn't a bad place to be.

Unless ol Jessica is the person responsible for the painting being a fake, what does "revealed as a fake" have to do with "toppling her rival"?

And a class of second graders in an art museum every week??

People who work in art museums at age 25 tend to be starving artists not people mired in ruts looking for something fun to do in their spare time.

You can dismiss the conventions of chick lit but you should understand what they are first. First and foremost chick lit is about self discovery. Focus on that.


Anonymous said...

Two main characters with names starting with the same letter--I learned not to do that when in jr. high.

Isn't *anyone* reading the danged 808 section of the library anymore? They cover stuff like that!

Yes, Miss Snark, one of my eyebrows hooked skyward at the 2nd graders weekly trip, too. Like parents would sign off on that field trip permission slip all the time.

Oh--down in anal-retentive Texas a teacher got fired for taking her students to a Dallas art museum. Seems one of the poor little innocent 5th graders saw a painting of some hussy being all nekked an' not a bit ashamed about it! *GASP*


I would suggest the writer do a bit more research in this area, as it would make a more interesting conflict.

jamiehall said...

Here are the things I tripped over:

The same class comes to the museum that often?

I don't know what Pollock is. After re-reading I assume you meant it as an age marker for the elderly character. Maybe I'm out of touch, but maybe you should choose something more famous, such as Red Skelton.

Ginger Apperson? Mrs. Singletroy? Are you suffering from weird name disease? Don't worry, a lot of writers get that, but it might be something to look at to make your work stronger.

clarice snarkling said...

I was following you, author, until paragraphs 4 and 5. Why does she need to break in to the museum? What does this have to do with Jessica? The "sabotage" plot point is still very muddy to me.

This seems like it could be a fun read, though. I'm not a big chick lit reader, but the premise of this interests me. There seem to be a few believability issues to work out. Did Ginger get the job because she's knowledgeable about art, or because, perhaps, Mrs. Singletroy is an old family friend? A job as a museum guide, even a temporary one, would attract applications from dozens of art history grads (probably some with advanced degrees, as well). So if Ginger won the job without connections, she'd have to be quite a whiz with her art knowledge. Otherwise, how does she get up to speed with her knowledge of the museum's works? I'd imagine that even for an art history grad, there'd be a pretty intense training period as the guide got himself or herself up to speed on all the museum's works.

Also, like Miss Snark, I'm wondering about the 2nd graders who make weekly visits to the museum. Must be a private school!

Good luck with this, author. I'm glad you've chosen a new chick lit setting, and I hope you can work out the fuzzy spots in your plot.

Virginia Miss said...

In case Blogger ate my earlier post:

In addition to the points Miss Snark raised, a few other things confused me.

If Ginger's finally living the exciting 20-something life, why is she becoming increasingly paranoid and start seeing conspiracies around every corner?

Try starting your hook when the fake masterpiece is revealed, and make the conflict clear.

Anonymous said...

Jamiehall--I agree with most of the criticism so far, but Jackson Pollack is pretty darned famous, and certainly more appropriate to the museum setting than Red Skelton.

Cara said...

Chick lit is about self discovery? I just thought it was really bad lit about cliches and shopping.
Well, I guess you do learn something new everyday.
(The ones I tried plodding through didn't interest me enough to figure that out)

HawkOwl said...

Damn. I was drooling after the first paragraph. The rest was such a let-down.

This sounds more like a comedy-thriller thing than chick lit to me.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what Pollock is. After re-reading I assume you meant it as an age marker for the elderly character. Maybe I'm out of touch, but maybe you should choose something more famous, such as Red Skelton.

Oh, Dog!! I'm dyin' here! Yes, every museum should have at least as many Skeltons as Pollocks.
Damn, at least Google Pollock before you make a statement like that.

Anonymous said...

Hello! Jackson Pollack. You know, one of the world's most famous abstract artists.

Anonymous said...

Well, I am shocked and saddened that someone doesn't know who Jackson Pollock is--and that someone thinks Red Skelton has anything to do with fine art. (Oh, he was a fine comedian, perhaps even an artist. Didn't he paint sad clowns? I betcha there aren't any of those hanging in the "local art museum" in this story, though.) Tsk.

Didn't love the names.
Ginger "A Person" is too obvious. There are two letter-G names and two J-sound names.

Good opportunities for espionage and related hijinks. Sounds like fun.

Anonymous said...

The biggest problem I have here is that Jessica isn't really Ginger's nemesis at all--she's Mrs. S.'s nemesis. There needs to be more of a bond between Mrs. S. and Ginger if Ginger is going to make this her own battle. Simply filling in for the old woman and/or disliking Jessica isn't enough. I'd suggest making Mrs. S. her grandmother or something like that--and the art gallery the one thing that got Grandma out of her depression after Grandpa died. Or some such tear-jerking twist to explain why Ginger is going to all this trouble to bring down an enemy that's not really her problem.

Also, while the security guards are paid employees, most docents at art galleries I've known have been volunteers, hence often elderly and/or well off enough to not need to work for pay. Art gallery donors are often older as well. So it seems like Jessica would be cutting her own throat by trying to push the elderly out of the museum.

Jamiehall, may I suggest an introductory art history course? Jackson Pollock was one of the best-known and most controversial artists of the 20th century. It's a perfectly appropriate reference for a novel set in an art gallery.

jamiehall said...

At least I gave you some laughs that I didn't know who Pollack was.

I deliberately didn't google it, because it looked like it was being used as the kind of age marker that should be instantly recognized by anyone, and I figured that if it failed on one (not stupid) reader, then it was a concern to bring up. Because query readers don't have the time to google any unrecognized name.

I wasn't trying to suggest that Red Skelton had anything to do with art, because I was unaware that Pollack had anything to do with art.

I guess I really shot myself in the foot with that strategy, because it ended up being something so famous that everyone is expected to know it. Well, all of us look really stupid sometimes. It's the price of being alive.