The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

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elfspirit
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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Latest Revision on pg. 2

Post by elfspirit » September 8th, 2010, 12:45 pm

Thanks again for all the help. Here's my latest revision.

85-year-old Dara McBride is appalled by the current trend to confess one's indiscretions as publicly as possible. For decades she has kept quiet about her sins of passion, preferring to be seen as a hard woman rather than sacrifice her pride.

She is certain that her daughter's ex-husband, Michael, knows about her fall from propriety. Because he fled New York City when his marriage collapsed, her secret has been safe. After forty years of absence, he proposes to return and reconcile with Annie, his adopted daughter. Annie, now a woman with a teen-aged son, has never forgotten the beating her drunken father gave her, and she needs little encouragement to avoid the reunion. Dara thinks she's escaped exposure until Annie decides to confront her father. Annie's desire to release the past's hold on her also inspires her to ask dangerous questions about her origins. If Annie and her father reunite, he is likely to tell her that Dara is her birth mother.

Dara knows that Annie could reject her, and her family may hate her for the lies she's perpetuated. Worst of all, they might feel sorry for her. She hasn't lived her long life of sacrifice to have pity blight its conclusion. Dara can only save her pride by speaking first, and she has little time to break her silence.

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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Latest Revision on pg. 2

Post by oldhousejunkie » September 8th, 2010, 2:40 pm

Hey...you're getting there!
elfspirit wrote:Thanks again for all the help. Here's my latest revision.

85-year-old Dara McBride is appalled by the current trend to confess one's indiscretions as publicly as possible. For decades she has kept quiet about her sins of passion, preferring to be seen as a hard woman rather than sacrifice her pride. Good! But I'm not sure about the "sacrificing her pride" part. Maybe: "...rather than endure public censure?" or something to that effect.

She is certain that her daughter's ex-husband, Michael, knows about her fall from propriety. I think "grace" is a better word choice.Because he fled New York City when his marriage collapsed, her secret has been safe. After forty years of absence, he proposes to return and reconcile with Annie, his adopted daughter. Annie, now a woman with a teen-aged son, has never forgotten the beating her drunken father gave her, and she needs little encouragement to avoid the reunion. Dara thinks she's escaped exposure until Annie decides to confront her father. Annie's desire to release the past's hold on her also inspires her to ask dangerous questions about her origins. If Annie and her father reunite, he is likely to tell her that Dara is her birth mother. This is where you lose me. Has Dara been pretending that Annie is her granddaughter? Because I am reading it that Dara had a baby out of wedlock and her own daughter adopted the baby.

Dara knows that Annie could reject her, and her family may hate her for the lies she's perpetuated. Worst of all, they might feel sorry for her. She's been lying about Annie's birth origins and she's worried that people will feel sorry for her?She hasn't lived her long life of sacrifice to have pity blight its conclusion. Dara can only save her pride by speaking first, and she has little time to break her silence. You've gone from talking about a potential murder to Dara worrying about saving her pride. I'm just not caringif Dara's secret gets unearthed.
This is a VAST improvement over your other versions. With some further clarification and different word choices, I think you'll be there. Good luck!

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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: An updated Revision on pg. 2

Post by elfspirit » September 30th, 2010, 11:20 am

I have completely rewritten this, using a different protagonist.


Dara McBride has always relegated the subject of her adoptive granddaughter’s birth mother to the realm of Great Unmentionables, along with the true nature of Annie’s relationship with her "roommate" and how she got pregnant without a man in her life. Annie's adoptive father tops the list of forbidden subjects, and when he announces his return to New York City after a forty-year absence, Dara insists that Annie refuse to meet him.

Annie needs little encouragement. She fears that seeing him will scrape at the shields of selfhood she has constructed against him, leaving only the battered core of the nine-year-old child he tried to kill in a drunken rage. In addition to arousing painful memories, his return seems to awaken ghosts from trampled graves. Clues to Dara's well-concealed history surface: a photo taken in a Magdalen asylum for unwed mothers showing a pregnant inmate who exactly resembles Dara, and information suggesting that the woman named as Annie's biological grandmother drowned as a child.

Tired of being pursued by specters, Annie decides to face her adoptive father, but when he tries to tell her about her birth mother, she panics and flees, torn between the longing to know and the fear that the truth may be more shattering than she can imagine.

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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

Post by pollymilton » September 30th, 2010, 3:48 pm

Hi! I am very new and I can see that you've been working long and hard on this.

Did you know that one of the biggest problems actors have is called "indicating'? They're concerned that just saying the words, living and breathing and being there with their partner won't be enough, so they work very hard to show how they are feeling. Humans are pretty smart, and we can almost always see that in actors. I will say in the gentlest of terms that I think you are indicating a bit in this query. It reads to me like you want to impress with your choices of words and clever construction. Your story sounds interesting, and I think you can write this query almost in its current form - but trust yourself and step back a bit. Tell your story in the most honest way possible. Then we'll want to read it and it won't seem forced.

You are very tenacious! Keep going.
Polly

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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

Post by elfspirit » September 30th, 2010, 5:24 pm

Hi, Polly,

I appreciate your taking the time to read this query. I am familiar with acting techniques or mis-techniques, so "indicating" is an unfamiliar concept to me. I can guess what you're referring to, and I might even be right. Could you give me one example of where I do this in the query?

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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

Post by pollymilton » September 30th, 2010, 6:58 pm

you bet.

I would say here:

She fears that seeing him will scrape at the shields of selfhood she has constructed against him, leaving only the battered core of the nine-year-old child he tried to kill in a drunken rage. In addition to arousing painful memories, his return seems to awaken ghosts from trampled graves. Is there a simpler way to describe her fear? I think "scraping at the shields of selfhood" takes away from her 9 year old inside self. That's a strong image on its own. What's the most important point you're trying to get across here? That she protects herself, or why she does it?

I'm also not sure if you need both ghosts and spectres. Is there a different metaphor you like?


Tired of being pursued by specters, Annie decides to face her adoptive father, but when he tries to tell her about her birth mother, she panics and flees, torn between the longing to know and the fear that the truth may be more shattering than she can imagine.

I think in general , the more "muscular" language you choose will help you along the way. You can write your letter the way you want, just trust yourself and don't feel the need to embellish what you already have.
Hope this helps.
Polly

elfspirit
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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

Post by elfspirit » September 30th, 2010, 7:46 pm

Thanks so much. That's very clear and helpful. I appreciate your taking the time to give me specific examples.

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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

Post by androidblues » October 3rd, 2010, 9:08 pm

It sounded more interesting from Dara's point of view, or at least more original than the general Lifetime plot. But when writing it from Annie's point of view it is more confusing. Why would she be afraid of Dara being her mother? And why would Dara let Michael adopt a child if she knew he was an alcoholic? Perhaps this would be better if it were told from the point of view of Dara's first child. She would be horrified to find that she was raising her sister. Especially if she and Michael had a child and...well that's taking it down the V.C. Andrews route. But try to make it more interesting. Reading about a 40 year old finding out that her 85 year old grandmother is her mother and dealing with the stress of that just isn't interesting.
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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

Post by elfspirit » October 4th, 2010, 8:23 pm

Hi, androidblues, and thanks for your comment. Annie doesn't know Dara is her mother. Her adoptive father wasn't an alcoholic when he adopted her. The Dara version was getting way too problematic. After reading a particularly vehement post on Shark Query about never telling the whole story in a query, I realized I had to switch to Annie's pov and delete the core secret of the story from the query.

fortunately, an agent will not have read the umpteen versions of the query I've posted here. I'm going to take a fresh look at it.

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Re: The Drunkard's Daughter: Started from Scratch, see p. 2

Post by Michael Roland » November 4th, 2010, 6:13 am

Dara McBride has always relegated the subject of her adoptive granddaughter’s birth mother to the realm of Great Unmentionables, along with the true nature of Annie’sI think I need to know who Annie is before I can get concerned about the true nature of her relationship to another person (who I also don't know) relationship with her "roommate" and how she got pregnant without a man in her life. Annie's adoptive father tops the list of forbidden subjects, and when he announces his return to New York City after a forty-year absence, Dara insists that Annie refuse to meet him.OK, after reading it a few times I get it, but I'm sure an agent will only give it one read. Will she get it? The set up for the story is there. At least to me it is, but I would rather not have to work so hard to get it.

Annie needs little encouragement. Why does she need encouragement? So, she can feel like a battered nine year-old? Find out her mother is a criminal? What's in it for her besides pain?She fears that seeing him will scrape at the shields of selfhood she has constructed against him, leaving only the battered core of the nine-year-old child he tried to kill in a drunken rage.This is strong. In addition to arousing painful memories His return seems to awakens ghosts from trampled graves. Clues to Dara's well-concealed history surface: A photo taken in a Magdalen asylum for unwed mothers surfaces, showing a pregnant inmate who exactly resembles Dara. and information suggesting that the woman named as Annie's biological grandmother drowned as a child.

Tired of being pursued by specters, Annie decides to face her adoptive father, but when he tries to tell her about her birth mother, she panics and flees, torn between the longing to know and the fear that the truth may be more shattering than she can imagine.

Sounds like a good story with lots of anxiety, trepidation, suspense, but I think you have more emotion for us that you haven't yet shown.
And, who is the heroine Dara or Annie? I assume Annie, but opening with Dara, who actually gets a last name through me off a bit.

I think your story has a lot of potential. Lots of potential for sympathy for Dara and we want to know the payoff.

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