12.16.2006

HHCom 94

Which is worse: losing faith, or losing heart? When you're fifteen, it's hard enough navigating freshman year of high school. But when God pulls the cosmic rug out from under you, what's left to believe in?

When her beloved grandmother dies, Emmy Vincent abandons her faith in God and punctuates that decision by hiding her grandmother's rosary so it can't be buried with her.

Soon afterward, a stranger starts turning up in unlikely places. The stranger reveals secrets only Emmy knows, including the fate of the rosary. She tells Emmy stories about her grandmother that Emmy has never heard before. Despite her hesitation, Emmy finds herself drawn to the stranger and comforted by her. Then one day the stranger declares that she's an emissary from heaven, sent to mend fences between Emmy and God.

Can Emmy believe this claim? It would explain the stranger's intimate knowledge of Emmy's life. Or maybe Emmy's just plain going crazy --which would seriously put a damper on asking out the cute sophomore in the back row of history class.

Emmy confides everything to her best friend who, despite good intentions, promptly spills the beans. Suddenly Emmy is at the center of a small whirlwind of psychiatrists, clergy, and the high school gossip mill. And no matter what the truth is, Emmy must come to terms
with a disturbing revelation about her grandmother's past: the legacy of the hidden rosary, which Emmy must now face.



Your hook starts with Emmy meeting the stranger; Grandma kicking the bucket can be a single phrase. The action of course is the friend spilling the beans and that's where it gets interesting and it sounds fun.

Focus.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oh gee. Who could the stranger be?

Pass.

Kate said...

I think this could be better done if you start with talking about the friend spilling the beans and then looking at the things that happened before that in passing mention, as they're only important (as far as I can tell) insofar as how they relate to that. Or at least I think that story makes sense in my head.

wavybrains said...

I'm intrigued by this one. I'm betting the actual book may be gem. Start your hook with the friend, and I think you might have a winner here.

Anonymous said...

Please do not use the line, "God pulls the cosmic rug out from under you" ever again in a manuscript.

Sonarbabe said...

Strange on my part so please forgive me author, but I was pulled out when you mentioned that Emmy is a 15 year old freshman. I don't know why that bugged me so much, but I was more interested in knowing if she was held back and what the rosary, itself, has to do with anything. I'm sorry, but I would pass on this one.

Best of luck to you regardless.

HawkOwl said...

Oh, nummy. It combines three plot aspects I don't like: the "it's not easy being a teenager" plot, the "teenager + magic" plot, and the "uncover mysterious truths" plot. But it also include a Joan of Arcadia type thing, just in case. It's like a superfecta of already-done-ness.

Anonymous said...

I was pulled out when you mentioned that Emmy is a 15 year old freshman.

One way to be a 15 year old freshman is by being born three weeks after the cut-off date for starting school. That's how my daughter did it.

shelby said...

I really like this story. I think with a refocused hook you could go places with it. I would definitely read it. My only comment is to ditch "Emmy." It sounds like an 8-year-old, and very, very few 15-year-olds want to be called by their childhood nickname.

Take, for example, my 15-year-old freshman in high school brother in-law, who also missed the cutoff for starting school like Anon's daughter above. Still, I would say that 15 is the exception and not the rule. Might want to bump it down to 14 and it probably wouldn't make a huge difference.

the author said...

Interesting comments, and constructive (mostly). My first instinct is to explain to a few people how that's not quite what the book is about (hi, hawkowl), but that's not your problem; it's mine. I need to rework the hook.

Emmy is short for Emily, so that's easy to change. And from now on, let's say she's 14!!!

Thanks, everyone. Critique stings, but it teaches too.

Anonymous said...

Author, don't sweat Hawkowl, she doesn't like... people. Her comment for you is pretty much the same thing she always says. Consider the constructive criticism and employ it to your advantage, and leave the rest of the bullshit where it lies.

Ski said...

You almost got me, honest. Don't stop you're close.

Rgds.............Ski

Hoyt Peterson said...

I enjoyed the spirituality concept between Emmy and the God's emissary. I would read it based on that alone.

Anonymous said...

The writing was decent and I like that the best friend spilled the beans instead of Emily keeping it a secret throughout the book, but I find the whole "Touched by an Angel" genre annoying, so I'd pass.

Anonymous said...

A little late to say this but...I turned fifteen in the first half of freshman year. What's the problem? So did a bunch of other people.