HH Com 583

To lovely young Nicola, whose engagement announcement kicks off my novel, “That Summer,” life offers a world of opportunities.

Her mother, Cate, gets more like a hemisphere.

But a woman at 50 has already rejected a continent of choices. Olympic diving? No. Translating “King Lear” into Elvish? No. Letting her only daughter get married and move away without strenuous protest? The moving-away part really hurts: Cate gave a baby boy up
for adoption when she was 17. She can’t let her girl go.

Anna, a widowed graphic designer, would love to be the bride. Her groom candidates come to include a passionate high school crush, a travel agent who gives erotic foot massages and the bright-eyed young editor who wants to publish the comic book she’s drawing as a
Hanukah present.

Lindy, who teaches math, thinks men are like the cars in the Detroit Grand Prix. There’s always another coming around the corner, and it’s just as well that they go by so quickly. Her heart belongs to Chopin. She’s composing an etude she might – or might not – have the nerve to enter in a major piano competition.

(your hook starts here)
Women at 50 have full lives, with careers and family and maybe a little romance, but friends don’t let friends throw themselves between a daughter and the altar. Anna and Lindy have three months to persuade Cate that the wedding is not the end of the world and
middle age is no time to stop exploring her options – or herself.

Lose all that character description blather and tell us what happens.


clarice snarkling said...

Wait, so Anna and Lindy are Cate's friends? I think that's what you're implying in the last paragraph, but you're specific with nearly everything about them except their relationship to the main character.

I like the energy with which you describe your characters, author. I hope you maintain that energy throughout our narrative, as well. If I picked this up off the shelf, I'd likely thumb through it to see what else was going on in the book.

There was a YA book published in the late 90s with the title That Summer. (Author: Sarah Dessen.) Since your target audience is about a generation older than that book's target audience, I'd say you're safe, but it may be an obstacle you'd run into with agents if they're familiar with the Dessen book.

xiqay said...

I have trouble believing a 50 year old woman would stand in the way of her daughter's marriage because she wants to keep her daughter at home (can't give her up the way she gave up the baby boy for adoption). Perhaps there is some woman somewhere like this, but I'm having plausibility problems here.

You describe women in their 50s generally as if they're desperate and then say they have full lives. There's something inherently contradictory there.

In my 30s I remember a woman friend speaking admiringly of women in their 50s. The 50s see women in the prime of careers and comfortable, having resolved all kinds of issues, and yet young enough to still have loads of energy and creative talent. My friend pointed this out to me, and her comment stuck with me.

Now that I'm here in my 50s, I feel just this way. And so do most of the women I know.

We've rejected a continent of choices, but we've also made some selections. So your premise is off-putting to me.

Also, I can't tell if this is Nicola's story, Cate's story, or the friends' Anna and Lindy's story.

What I'm also wondering about is whether Cate thinks the potential groom is her long-lost son.

Too many issues for me to like this. Hope my comments help you in some way.

Good luck.

SusanH-B said...

Author here.

Miss Snark, I dreamed about you. (I bet others did, too.) In my dream, you were reading my entry, and reading it, and reading it, and then all of a sudden you sat up and threw some sort of pail at my head. And that's when I woke out of a dead slumber, sat up and cried: Omigod, I have no plot!

Also, my hair was on fire.

Thank you for all you've done.

Clarice, Xiqay, thanks for commenting.