You’ve Got a Book in You (Maybe Five)

That’s right, friends, you’ve got a book in you, maybe five, and in this lesson I will teach you everything you need to know to get them out and published. I don’t care if you’ve never written a sentence, even you, can get published by the Big Five.

Plot is king, or queen, or something in-between, and Big Publishing has developed a formula on what plots they will accept and reject. Through my intensive research and study of the Modern Literary Canon, I have come up with Five (5) Plots absolutely GUARANTEED to get you published. I also include in this lesson, five (5) plots to avoid, plots that will get your manuscript rejected again and again.

Here are the five plots guaranteed to get you published!

One: André, a dashing gay man buys a house next door to a Christian family with a real mother and father and handsome son, fifteen year-old Jimmy, a high-school junior. André falls in love with Jimmy and arranges to be working in his garden every day when Jimmy comes home from school. André repeatedly comes-on to Jimmy and in the boy’s disinterest begins to detect the unmistakable signs of homophobia. One day the boy becomes enraged and, despite André’s attempt to fend him off with a garden hose, André gets a bloody nose. Jimmy is convicted of hate crimes and sent to jail. André becomes a hero to the neighborhood for exposing a coven of right-wing republican homophobes.

Two: At Progressive High, Slutania, a pregnant junior, decides to run for Homecoming Queen. Daughter of a proud Democrat mother, she knows how to organize and soon has a large lead over Maurice, a generic white boy. Slutania’s election seems a fait accompli until Mary, a Born-Again Christian hate-monger challenges her, declaring to a shocked assembly that a pregnant student should not be held up as a role model. Things look bad for Slutania, but with her mother’s guidance she puts together a coalition of LGBTQ, African-Americans, Trans-abled stutterers, secular Jews, undocumented immigrants, Hermaphrodites, orthodox Muslims, and wins one for Sacred Diversity!

Three: Ralph Tufasnales, a struggling transgendered-male building-contractor is losing ground to Whitey Mann, her Christian competitor. Ralph starts drinking, complicating her relationship with her partner, Betty. When all seems lost, Ralph comes across Pancho, Cisco, and Pedro, known in the business as the Three Illegal Amigos. They agree to work for half of what Ralph has been paying her American workers. She hires them on the spot and wins the big Government Contract for the Day Laborer Pick-Up Site.

Four: Two rich, white college boys are seen harassing a vulture sitting atop a Saguaro cactus. Relentlessly they take turns hurling insults at the bird, each trying to top the other in a perverted twist on the old game called “the dozens.” Despite the pleas of tearful passers-by to desist, they continue and the vulture finally flies off, severely traumatized. Later that day the same boys are walking atop a steep cliff over the sea when the vulture streaks down, causing one of the boys to lose his footing and fall to his death. The guilt-ridden survivor goes on a solo trek into the desert. He returns years later, wiser and more sensitive and founds the new eco-warrior band, Save the Vultures. Free bonus title: To Mock a Killingbird

Five: This plot will successfully run the gauntlet of the sci-fi imprints at any of Los Cincos Grande. A time-warp hiccup in 2525 spits out, Tutti-Frutti, a tripandermorphagine and resident of Mexarabia, an enlightened country with more genders than Baskin-Robbins has ice cream flavors. He/she/it finds her/him/it-self in the year 1969 in the back of a souped-up,’54 Ford Mainline coupe roaring down the highway. Rudi, the driver turns and notices someone in the back seat. “Who are you?”

“Tutti-Frutti.”

“I’m Rudi.”

Rudi invites Tutti-Frutti to go to the Altamont Free Concert with him. As the festivities begin, Tooti-Frutti finds them not totally alien and realizes that his/her/its ancestors were not as primitive as the professors said they were. Tutti-Frutti wins the first round and in the middle of the second, another time-warp hiccup occurs and he/she/it is whisked back to 2525. Suggested title: You Can Come Home Again.

And now… here are the five NO-GO plots you must absolutely avoid!

One: A Christian mother, father, and fifteen year-old son, Jimmy, live in a middle class neighborhood. André, A gay man, buys the house next door. Taken with Jimmy’s good looks, André begins coming on to him. Jimmy politely tells André that he’s not gay and is not interested. Undeterred, André continues his come-ons, stationing himself in the garden every day when Jimmy comes home. One day, despite his parents’ warnings, Jimmy loses his temper and tells Andre to “get lost.” André is offended and sets a trap. Hiding a video camera in the trellis, he comes on to Jimmy and Jimmy tells him to “go to hell.” André turns the hose on Jimmy, enraging him. Jimmy gives André a bloody nose. André turns the video over to the police and Jimmy is arrested and sentenced to prison for ‘hate crimes.’ Years later, after André has long moved away, Jimmy comes home. Older and wiser, he unites with his loving parents and vows to stay strong in his faith, and tread carefully in the brave new world.

Two: At Progressive High, a pregnant junior, Slutania, appears destined to win the Homecoming Queen slot. Mary, a devout Christian student, does not think that a pregnant student would be a good role model for the high school, and decides to challenge her. Despite constant shaming for being a ‘hater,’ by both the student body and the teachers, Mary sticks to her guns and eventually wins the Homecoming Queen slot. Knowing of Slutania’s anguish, Mary reaches out and makes her a member of her court.

Three: George Goodman and his wife, Trudy, welcome their new neighbors, Makmoud and Taureg, refugees from Awfulstan, with an Upside Down Pineapple Cake. George and Trudy hardly ever see their new neighbors, but they begin to notice strange behaviors and odd visitors in the night. A glimpse of some suspicious packages in Makmoud’s garage intrigues George. He sneaks in after the neighbor couple go on vacation to the beaches of Arabia, and finds hand grenades and AK-47s. George alerts the FBI and Makmoud and Taureg are arrested at the airport and a major terrorist event prevented!

Four: Ice Pik, a black rapper, attempts to lift up the lives of his people. He decides to write raps that elevate women to courtly heights of respect, raps that demonize drugs and thug culture and promote learning and responsibility, and raps that heal the racial divisions of the nation. Despite several attempts on his life and the rhymed derision of his peers, Ice raps his way to the prestigious ‘WURD’ awards and wins!

Five: A 17-year old white American boy named Van dies in 1966 in a mysterious hit-and-run accident. He ‘wakes’ in the year 2015 when a backhoe at a construction site unearths his coffin. Van heads home in the dark and is set upon by a gang of black street-corner thugs. Van is rescued by a kindly black man, Charles. Van eventually gets home only to find his parents gone and strangers living in his house. His world has changed in big and strange ways. With the help of Charles and his beautiful bi-racial daughter, Mignon, Van attempts to come to terms with all the social changes that modern Americans have absorbed over the last forty five years -- all at once!

Well, call it hubris, but I tried to make a go of it with NO-GO No. 5. It’s actually the plot of my latest novel, Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again. If you want to see how badly I failed, it’s available on Amazon.com.

That’s right, friends, you’ve got a book in you, maybe five, and in this lesson I will teach you everything you need to know to get them out and published. I don’t care if you’ve never written a sentence, even you, can get published by the Big Five.

Plot is king, or queen, or something in-between, and Big Publishing has developed a formula on what plots they will accept and reject. Through my intensive research and study of the Modern Literary Canon, I have come up with Five (5) Plots absolutely GUARANTEED to get you published. I also include in this lesson, five (5) plots to avoid, plots that will get your manuscript rejected again and again.

Here are the five plots guaranteed to get you published!

One: André, a dashing gay man buys a house next door to a Christian family with a real mother and father and handsome son, fifteen year-old Jimmy, a high-school junior. André falls in love with Jimmy and arranges to be working in his garden every day when Jimmy comes home from school. André repeatedly comes-on to Jimmy and in the boy’s disinterest begins to detect the unmistakable signs of homophobia. One day the boy becomes enraged and, despite André’s attempt to fend him off with a garden hose, André gets a bloody nose. Jimmy is convicted of hate crimes and sent to jail. André becomes a hero to the neighborhood for exposing a coven of right-wing republican homophobes.

Two: At Progressive High, Slutania, a pregnant junior, decides to run for Homecoming Queen. Daughter of a proud Democrat mother, she knows how to organize and soon has a large lead over Maurice, a generic white boy. Slutania’s election seems a fait accompli until Mary, a Born-Again Christian hate-monger challenges her, declaring to a shocked assembly that a pregnant student should not be held up as a role model. Things look bad for Slutania, but with her mother’s guidance she puts together a coalition of LGBTQ, African-Americans, Trans-abled stutterers, secular Jews, undocumented immigrants, Hermaphrodites, orthodox Muslims, and wins one for Sacred Diversity!

Three: Ralph Tufasnales, a struggling transgendered-male building-contractor is losing ground to Whitey Mann, her Christian competitor. Ralph starts drinking, complicating her relationship with her partner, Betty. When all seems lost, Ralph comes across Pancho, Cisco, and Pedro, known in the business as the Three Illegal Amigos. They agree to work for half of what Ralph has been paying her American workers. She hires them on the spot and wins the big Government Contract for the Day Laborer Pick-Up Site.

Four: Two rich, white college boys are seen harassing a vulture sitting atop a Saguaro cactus. Relentlessly they take turns hurling insults at the bird, each trying to top the other in a perverted twist on the old game called “the dozens.” Despite the pleas of tearful passers-by to desist, they continue and the vulture finally flies off, severely traumatized. Later that day the same boys are walking atop a steep cliff over the sea when the vulture streaks down, causing one of the boys to lose his footing and fall to his death. The guilt-ridden survivor goes on a solo trek into the desert. He returns years later, wiser and more sensitive and founds the new eco-warrior band, Save the Vultures. Free bonus title: To Mock a Killingbird

Five: This plot will successfully run the gauntlet of the sci-fi imprints at any of Los Cincos Grande. A time-warp hiccup in 2525 spits out, Tutti-Frutti, a tripandermorphagine and resident of Mexarabia, an enlightened country with more genders than Baskin-Robbins has ice cream flavors. He/she/it finds her/him/it-self in the year 1969 in the back of a souped-up,’54 Ford Mainline coupe roaring down the highway. Rudi, the driver turns and notices someone in the back seat. “Who are you?”

“Tutti-Frutti.”

“I’m Rudi.”

Rudi invites Tutti-Frutti to go to the Altamont Free Concert with him. As the festivities begin, Tooti-Frutti finds them not totally alien and realizes that his/her/its ancestors were not as primitive as the professors said they were. Tutti-Frutti wins the first round and in the middle of the second, another time-warp hiccup occurs and he/she/it is whisked back to 2525. Suggested title: You Can Come Home Again.

And now… here are the five NO-GO plots you must absolutely avoid!

One: A Christian mother, father, and fifteen year-old son, Jimmy, live in a middle class neighborhood. André, A gay man, buys the house next door. Taken with Jimmy’s good looks, André begins coming on to him. Jimmy politely tells André that he’s not gay and is not interested. Undeterred, André continues his come-ons, stationing himself in the garden every day when Jimmy comes home. One day, despite his parents’ warnings, Jimmy loses his temper and tells Andre to “get lost.” André is offended and sets a trap. Hiding a video camera in the trellis, he comes on to Jimmy and Jimmy tells him to “go to hell.” André turns the hose on Jimmy, enraging him. Jimmy gives André a bloody nose. André turns the video over to the police and Jimmy is arrested and sentenced to prison for ‘hate crimes.’ Years later, after André has long moved away, Jimmy comes home. Older and wiser, he unites with his loving parents and vows to stay strong in his faith, and tread carefully in the brave new world.

Two: At Progressive High, a pregnant junior, Slutania, appears destined to win the Homecoming Queen slot. Mary, a devout Christian student, does not think that a pregnant student would be a good role model for the high school, and decides to challenge her. Despite constant shaming for being a ‘hater,’ by both the student body and the teachers, Mary sticks to her guns and eventually wins the Homecoming Queen slot. Knowing of Slutania’s anguish, Mary reaches out and makes her a member of her court.

Three: George Goodman and his wife, Trudy, welcome their new neighbors, Makmoud and Taureg, refugees from Awfulstan, with an Upside Down Pineapple Cake. George and Trudy hardly ever see their new neighbors, but they begin to notice strange behaviors and odd visitors in the night. A glimpse of some suspicious packages in Makmoud’s garage intrigues George. He sneaks in after the neighbor couple go on vacation to the beaches of Arabia, and finds hand grenades and AK-47s. George alerts the FBI and Makmoud and Taureg are arrested at the airport and a major terrorist event prevented!

Four: Ice Pik, a black rapper, attempts to lift up the lives of his people. He decides to write raps that elevate women to courtly heights of respect, raps that demonize drugs and thug culture and promote learning and responsibility, and raps that heal the racial divisions of the nation. Despite several attempts on his life and the rhymed derision of his peers, Ice raps his way to the prestigious ‘WURD’ awards and wins!

Five: A 17-year old white American boy named Van dies in 1966 in a mysterious hit-and-run accident. He ‘wakes’ in the year 2015 when a backhoe at a construction site unearths his coffin. Van heads home in the dark and is set upon by a gang of black street-corner thugs. Van is rescued by a kindly black man, Charles. Van eventually gets home only to find his parents gone and strangers living in his house. His world has changed in big and strange ways. With the help of Charles and his beautiful bi-racial daughter, Mignon, Van attempts to come to terms with all the social changes that modern Americans have absorbed over the last forty five years -- all at once!

Well, call it hubris, but I tried to make a go of it with NO-GO No. 5. It’s actually the plot of my latest novel, Van Ripplewink: You Can’t Go Home Again. If you want to see how badly I failed, it’s available on Amazon.com.

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