My last On Reading post, How Much Trouble Can One Teen Get Into, Anyway? was a synopsis of a fake YA book, not the actual book I read, which was chock-full of troubles, but not quite as outlandish as what I posted.
Apparently I am obsessed with synopses of fake YA books, because I recently unearthed something I wrote almost 10 years ago that treads similar ground. Background: I used to work for a film producer, and one of my jobs was to read screenplays and decide which ones were good enough to pass along to my boss. I’d sift through query letters, pick the ones I felt were most promising, request the script, read it, and write coverage. If my boss didn’t want to read the script based on my coverage, I’d pass on it, returning the script with a letter about what didn’t work for us.
So on July 1, 1997, I wrote up a fake query letter & fake rejection letter, and mailed them to my high school friend Z. A few years after that, she returned photocopies to me to cheer me up about my writing. Here it is:
Dear Ms. Y_______:
How can a writer meet a producer without bringing a new script to the table?
I enclose a copy of my action/adventure screenplay, MY SUMMER AT CONGO CAMP*, which is decidedly more mainstream than HE SAID NO: THE A_______ H________** STORY, which, by the way, now was Mark-Paul Gossealaar (SAVED BY THE BELL) attached to play Scott***, the main character’s mentor who teaches him how to love again.
I’m excited to have you read MY SUMMER AT CONGO CAMP, a fresh, brainy look at the real world of summer camp–the world that doesn’t show up in sitcoms and Saturday morning cartoons. Mike is an ambitious junior counselor with dreams of being camp director someday. But in the meantime, he’s got to get through a summer he’ll never forget–and cope with the rigors of turning fourteen.
When Mike meets Dorinda, a sly, sassy camper from the wrong part of the cabin, sparks fly as they discover a mutual love for fast cars, Jim Beam, and Afternoon Activities. Mike’s never known a girl like Dorinda: tough yet tender, strong, but fragile like a flower blossoming in the cracks of the pavement. But Dorinda has a secret: she’s undercover, hiding out in Congo Camp from the contract out on her life after a business deal gone bad. Mike and Dorinda’s innocent passion for one another is strongly tested by the arrival of the gang from the camp across the lack [sic], and Dorinda’s past catches up with her in a brutal, bloody showdown against the backdrop of the Congo King and Queen Pageant.
MY SUMMER AT CONGO CAMP meets a central need of today’s increasingly event driven film industry by providing what our biggest audience (fourteen year old boys) craves: a character that they can believe in, and the kind of violence and mayhem usually only found in movies for adults.
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
*Z & I were counselors together at Congo Camp in 1990.
**A____ H_____ said no when I asked him to my ring dance junior year.
***One of our youth group leaders who thought it was funny that I asked A_____ H_____ out. I hope he has learned to love again.
Yesterday’s work read was a disease comedy–fun!