Session #1 Assignment – Plot Summary

The Assignment:  Write a plot summary, up to 500 words, of a story already in progress or write the summaries for two to three new story ideas, 500 words total.

I learned from this exercise that I need to write the entire plot, point by point — I got wrapped around the 500-word limit axle.  But I’ll be rewriting it and will post soon … 

Any feedback you have on the original submission or instructor’s feedback is welcome!

My Submission:

Mollie (Kinsella) Gallo, granddaughter of famous 1940s Western movie star and television actor Danny Kelly (Daniel Kinsella), seeks to divorce her husband of 8 years, Mick Gallo.  Mick’s suspected serial philandering and the hostile behavior of his spoiled, angry stepdaughter Tessa figure prominently in Mollie’s desire to end the marriage.  Mollie knows that Mick has grown more than merely accustomed to the lifestyle that Mollie’s inherited wealth has brought him, and each time she tries to discuss divorce he becomes increasingly panicked and abusive, threatening her that she will not live with the consequences of her decision to end the marriage.

Attempting to convince Mollie that he is committed to reconnecting with her, Mick plans for them to go on a private sportfishing vacation off the coast of Baja, Mexico.  Mollie finds outs that Mick does not intend for her to survive their holiday but she does not have tangible evidence. She decides to leave Mick without telling him.

Mollie makes a show of packing for the trip and at the last minute remembers an important errand.  Promising to meet Mick to board the ship, she heads in the opposite direction of the harbor.  She races to a local training stable, trading car for truck and trailer, loads her most beloved companions, her two show horses, and heads toward the old Kinsella family ranch in the Sierra Nevada mountains. She remembers something important at home and must return there before she heads out. 

When Mollie arrives home, she sees Tessa getting out of a cab in the driveway.  Tessa tells her that Mick had arranged for her to spend the weekend with him and Mollie.  Mollie tells Mick must have forgotten and plans have changed.  She tells Tessa that she is dropping her horses at a friend’s farm for rest from training.  Knowing she can’t leave 15 year old Tessa at the home alone, unable to reach Tessa’s mother who is travelling on business, and unwilling to inform Mick, Mollie takes Tessa along, intending to drop her off at her aunt’s on the way out of town.

Tessa’s aunt is not at home.  Mollie decides to take Tessa with her to the Kinsella ranch and find a way to get her home later.  They head northeast toward the ranch, which has morphed from an old movie set including ranch and ghost town to a home for troubled teens lovingly cared for by Mollie’s cousin Lucy, who along with Mollie inherited the ranch from their famous grandfather.

On arrival, they find that Azalia Morales, 19 year old former “guest” of the ranch, has been found murdered in the wilderness surrounding the ranch. On her body were several pieces of old jewelry that had belonged to Lucy’s mother, Miranda Barragan, a Mexican-born actress/singer who had abandoned the Kinsella family and moved back to Mexico in the late 1960s. 

Mollie, Tessa and Lucy become involved in Azalia’s murder investigation. Mollie reunites with her old love.   While Mollie attempts to keep Mick at bay, she finds herself forging a new relationship with Tessa as well as with her former lover.  Azalia’s murder investigation reveals old Kinsella family secrets that threaten the lives of Mollie, Lucy and Tessa.

Instructor’s Critique (her embedded comments are in CAPS)

Carol,

This looks good and you have good writing skills. In a summary for a publisher, you would abbreviate much of the back story so you could outline the entire story to the end. This is enough for our class though, and what you have does certainly seem viable and is intriguing. You don’t want to develop too much of the back story at the start of your novel. You want to drop in information as you go along. Her marriage woes and her husband’s plan to kill her are actually a subplot, though one with a lot of juice. I think I personally might start the story as she pulls into the drive of her house and finds the child there. Not too much gab, though she reflects on a couple of things: She had to get away from Mick and his plan for her…etc. And then off they go. She reflects on the back story as they investigate.

That’s my sense of things, but I look forward to seeing what you do. Good work. miki

Mollie (Kinsella) Gallo, granddaughter of famous 1940s Western movie star and television actor Danny Kelly (Daniel Kinsella), seeks to divorce her husband of 8 –WE SPELL NUMBERS UNDER 10– years, Mick Gallo. Mick’s suspected serial philandering and the hostile behavior of his spoiled, angry stepdaughter COMMA IF HE ONLY HAS ONE SPOILED, ANGRY STEPDAUGHTER Tessa COMMA figure prominently in Mollie’s desire to end the marriage. Mollie COMMA HOWEVER COMMA –GIVE US SOMETHING OF A TRANSITION knows that Mick has grown more than merely accustomed to the lifestyle that Mollie’s inherited wealth has brought him, and each time she tries to discuss divorce COMMA he becomes increasingly panicked and abusive, threatening [her] that she will not WON’T live with the consequences of her decision to end the marriage.

Attempting to convince Mollie that he is HE’S committed to reconnecting with her, Mick plans for [the] them to go on a private sportfishing vacation off the coast of Baja, Mexico. Mollie finds out[s] that Mick does not DOESN’T –CONTRACTIONS ARE MORE NATURAL intend for her to survive their holiday but she does not DOESN’T  have tangible evidence. She decides to leave Mick without telling him.

Mollie makes a show of packing for the trip COMMA BUT [and] at the last minute remembers an important errand. Promising to meet Mick to board the ship, she heads in the opposite direction of the harbor. She races to a local training stable, trading car for truck and trailer, loads her most beloved companions, her two show horses, and heads toward the old Kinsella family ranch in the Sierra Nevada mountains. BUT THEN She remembers something important at home and must return there before she heads out.

When Mollie arrives home, she sees Tessa getting out of a cab in the driveway. Tessa tells her that Mick had arranged for her COMMA TESSA COMMA –JUST TO BE CLEAR  to spend the weekend with him and Mollie. Mollie tells TESSA  Mick must have forgotten and plans have changed. She tells Tessa that she is SHE’S  dropping her horses at a friend’s farm for rest from training. Knowing she can’t leave 15 HYPHEN year HYPHEN old Tessa at the home alone, unable to reach Tessa’s mother who is travelling on business, and unwilling to inform Mick, Mollie takes Tessa along, intending to drop her off at her aunt’s on the way out of town.

Tessa’s aunt is not ISN’T at home. Mollie decides to take Tessa with her to the Kinsella ranch and find a way to get her home later. They head northeast toward the ranch, which has morphed from an old movie set including ranch and ghost town INto a home for troubled teens lovingly cared for by Mollie’s cousin Lucy, who along with Mollie inherited the ranch from their famous grandfather.

On arrival, they find that Azalia Morales, 19 HYPHEN year HYPHEN old former “guest” [of the ranch] HERE–AVOID THE `RANCH’ REPEAT , has been found murdered in the wilderness surrounding the ranch. On her body were several pieces of old jewelry that had belonged to Lucy’s mother, Miranda Barragan, a Mexican-born actress/singer who had abandoned the Kinsella family and moved back to Mexico in the late 1960s.

Mollie, Tessa and Lucy become involved in Azalia’s murder investigation. Mollie reunites with her old love. While Mollie attempts to keep Mick at bay, she finds herself forging a new relationship with Tessa as well as with her former lover. Azalia’s murder investigation reveals old Kinsella family secrets that threaten the lives of Mollie, Lucy and Tessa. SOUNDS GOOD

4 responses to “Session #1 Assignment – Plot Summary

  1. I want to read this story. So if this summary is a sales pitch, to a publisher, say, then it worked. I found I wanted more details about what was happening later in the story. The summary felt…rushed, toward the end. A lot said with a few words, and more just hinted at, like the teasers on the back cover of paperbacks. (Maybe that’s why I want more?) After reading the whole summary, by comparison. the beginning felt the opposite. I know the story you write will ring true in the details! Keep going!

    • Yes Lindsay, I did rush it at the end. The assignment had a 500 word limit and I was not prepared to get the whole plot outline into the word limit … but I am writing the entire plot summary, end to end, and will post it as soon as i get it done … thanks for reading!!!

  2. Oh!!! Really intriguing and I loved your instructor’s feedback, too. Is Tessa Mick’s daughter or stepdaughter? (If it’s his stepdaughter there’s a bit of story possibility about her mother?) I love the picture you are already painting of the “the west” with the horses, ranch, farm, training etc. Might it be wise to introduce more male characters (like Mollie’s new/old love?)

    • Tessa is Mick’s daughter, Mollies stepdaughter .. there is a ton of back story that these assignments don’t reveal but at the end of the course we will be writing 2500 words so I’m debating about whether to write from the beginning or the middle (where the mystery develops)

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