Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Public Slushpile #12

TITLE: Right Under Their Noses
GENRE: Historical

RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES is an offbeat historical novel (72,000 words) set during the creation of Mount Rushmore, through the Great Depression and on into America's post-World War II euphoria.

At nineteen, Pêche and Ernie marry under George Washington's chin at a time when his face is the only one carved on Mount Rushmore. Pêche prefers a hardhat to the pillbox hat of the day and loves a good fight. She tangles with the Rushmore bosses over working conditions that force Ernie to suck granite dust into his asthmatic lungs. She battles doctors over their treatment of his illness and, as the years pass, questions why she can't get pregnant. To pay these doctors, Pêche fights to sell her own presidential artwork—some find it offensive—at the foot of Rushmore.

When Pêche hightails it for the top of Abe Lincoln's head to greet the aliens during Orson Welles' 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast, the townsfolk blame her for the hysteria that follows when Ernie jokes that she's been abducted by Martians. When Ernie dies and Pêche is finally pregnant, Ernie's parents use her spirited and sometimes misguided forays as leverage in a legal battle for custody of her baby. This is one fight Pêche is not about to lose.

45 comments:

Rachel Menard said...

No. I'm assuming the meat of the story is the custody battle for Peche's baby, which is the last sentence of the query. The rest is backstory, telling us about Peche, who sounds like a very interesting person, but I want to hear more about the story.

Happy Dolphin said...

No.
Too much of a scattergun approach to relating the many plot points that seem to make up the story.

EmilyaNaymark said...

No. Though I think this would be definitely a YES if the query was more focused. Peche and baby - that's the crux.

Nicole said...

Yes, but only because I love the use of Mount Rushmore. Otherwise, I have to agree with the other commenters--I'm not sure if this is some kind of sweeping life story (and at 72K words, I doubt it), or if it's about a custody battle.

Durango Writer said...

No. Too much backstory; conflict needs to be moved higher in query.

Loralie Hall said...

No. This reads more like a list of plot points than a pitch about the core of the story.

Michael Tate said...

No. I don't know where the plot actually starts.

Mary Vettel said...

YES. The premise, locale and historical teasers are fascinating and Peche's fight for custody of her baby is compelling.

A Little Push said...

NO. Too much going on, like others, I wasn't sure what the story actually focuses on.

Jen Chatfield said...

No. Like someone said above - not sure where the story starts and what is backstory.

A.C. Turcotte said...

No. This seems like a list of events, rather than a hook to draw us into your story.

Janice Sperry said...

No. The meat of the story is too thinly spread.

Jean Davis said...

No. Too much backstory.

Lanette said...

No. You have a list of events as A.C. said, plus the query lacks focus. The first thing that stood out to me was the word count. 72,000 words is too short for historical novels and makes me wonder if you've done enough world building.

Angela said...

No. I don't really understand what this is about. There is no clear plot and conflict.

Carrie-Anne said...

No, even though I love a good historical saga. When I was working with Diane Holmes of Pitch University on how to query a long, epic saga, she told me how to emphasize high stakes and a large, sweeping plot trajectory. This doesn't really emphasize high stakes or show a sweeping plot trajectory. 72,000 words is also WAY too short for the type of saga-length storyline this query is describing. I'd expect a novel with such a storyline to be at least 700 pages!

Anonymous said...

I love the historical setting of the story. It sounds like a great saga. Maybe two books?

Anonymous said...

YES. Historical novels with offbeat characters are my cup of tea.

Lori M. Lee said...

No. This entire query is back story.

Woods said...

NO

But it can be a "yes" if you shave down a lot of back story and focus on the main elements.

Holly Bodger said...

No. This is a summary of plot points rather than the goals and conflicts faced by the main character.

Tina Moss said...

NO, I'm not sure of the actual story behind the backstory.

Sarah Ahiers said...

NO
I didn't have a firm grasp of the conflict and the consequences, and the query read too much like a synopsis to me

Kathleen Basi said...

Yes. Although I also wonder whether we're mostly reading backstory, it's interesting and off-the-beaten path enough to make me willing to look.

Sarah Nego(vetich) said...

No, so much going on I have no idea what to focus on.

Heather said...

No.

I couldn't tell if most of it was backstory to setup the main conflict, the custody battle that gets very little screen time here, or if the novel is going to be a point-by-point retelling of all these events, culminating in the custody battle.

SMKrafty said...

No- it didn't draw me in- no real conflict.

Stephanie G said...

No. I'm not sure I get a grasp of what your story is really about. Is it just about Peche's personality and Mount Rushmore, or a custody battle for her baby?

womenswrites said...

Yes, this sounds very unique and full of the character conflict I enjoy.

Leah Petersen said...

No.

The list of what happened ping-ponged around and I don't know whether that's all backstory and the real plot is the baby thing, or if the plot really is that scattered and unfocused.

Aldrea Alien said...

No.
Too muddled and jumpy to hook me. The second paragraph was a major jarring point, had to reread that bit alone to get it.

Stephsco said...

No - But so much potential! As others said, with more focus on the actual plot and conflict, I think this could be great.

Dale said...

No. So what's it about?

Mia K Rose said...

No. There was too much going on and read more like a synopsis than a query trying to hook you in.

S L Jenan said...

No. I like Mt. Rushmore, I like the baby fight (which sounds like it's the actual book), I'm not so hot on everything in between.

Adam Heine said...

NO. I'm not sure I understand where the real story is, and I just don't care about Peche.

Lindsay Kitson said...

No - There's no clear main conflict - it sounds like an epic, but can't be at 72k words, and there wasn't anything that pulled the story together as a whole.

macaronipants said...

No. This reads more like a synopsis than a query and the subject matter feels jumbled.

Marie Andreas said...

No.

This felt far too jumbled, the character sounds very interesting, but needs a better blurb.

Alaskan Ninja said...

YES. The query needs work, but the premise has me interested. It could have everything; humor, heartbreak. I would want to see pages to get an idea of the writer's skills.

CM said...

No. Start with your character and background, continue with your conflict.

Jennifer said...

Yes.

I think this story has potential. It is different. To me, it didn't read so much as back story as summary of the first part of the book. I could be wrong, but I'd read some pages to assess where the author is going with it.

Elizabeth Light said...

No. At first I thought it read too much like a point-by-point synopsis, but then I read the last sentence and realized the whole thing was set up. I'd get to that conflict much, much sooner.

sarahwedgbrow said...

No. The concept is not compelling enough.

Krista V. said...

No. The query makes it sound like the manuscript is a string of random, albeit interesting, events instead of a well-crafted story with a setup, rising action, and so forth.