No matter how hard Laura Sanders, the heroine of my completed 97,250-word women’s fiction manuscript, BLAME IT ON MERYL, pretends to lead a glamorous life - working as a TV producer, living in a luxury condo in Los Angeles and travelling the world - the shame of being a virgin at age 28 makes it all meaningless. She’s resigned to live a dull, uneventful life in the company of a few close friends and her disinterested cat. Then she sees Mamma Mia and - wham! - Laura feels as if Meryl Streep dances off the screen to wake her from her slumber. The actress plays the role with such energy and gusto, exactly what has been missing in Laura’s life.
If only Laura could have Meryl Streep in her life; surely she could guide her to a place where such joy is possible. But what if she can? Laura invents a fantasy starring herself as the intern set photographer for Mamma Mia. It gives her a chance to live the fun and exciting life of a Hollywood movie set and more importantly, access to Meryl’s wisdom and friendship. Back in reality things aren’t so bad either. Laura gets a promotion that brings her into Natalie’s and Vera’s orbit. These women are a different species to her. Whereas she and her best friend Sophia know every Danish director of the dogma movement, Natalie and Vera know every variety of vibrator on the market. Now with Meryl at her side, Laura has the confidence to move in their circle without fear of being caught as the loser that she knows she is.
Seeing herself through the eyes of an imaginary Meryl Streep, Laura learns to accept and love herself. She embarks on a journey to discover her own sexuality. But soon her fantasy world becomes too appealing and Laura begins to lose touch with her reality. Will she be able to take what she learns from her fantasy life and rediscover the very real possibility of love that awaits her? Or will she lose touch forever?
Laura Sanders produces TV in Los Angeles, lives in a luxury condo, and travels the world, but her glamorous life feels like a sham because Laura is also a 28-year-old virgin with few friends and an emotionally distant cat. She's resigned to her dull, lonely existence, so it's a shock when reality isn't the thing that finally wakes Laura up -- fantasy is.
The film Mamma Mia hits Laura like a stampede of ABBA fans, with Meryl Streep seeming to dance off the screen to show Laura all the joy and passion her own life lacks. Laura begins fantasizing about being an intern on the movie set, enjoying the fun of Hollywood while benefiting from Meryl's wisdom and friendship. Then Laura's reality takes an exciting turn too.
A promotion draws her into a new circle of friends -- ones more likely to discuss vibrators than Danish directors. With imaginary-Meryl by her side, Laura has the confidence to move into their ranks without fear of being caught out as the loser she knows she is. She begins exploring her sexuality and reawakens to the possibility that love awaits her, but Laura also finds her bright daydreams have a dark side.
For fantasies are more intoxicating than reality, and Laura is starting to get lost in hers. If she doesn't start taking what she's learned from her imaginary life, and using it to connect with real people soon, Laura is in danger of losing touch with reality permanently.
BLAME IT ON MERYL is a 97,000-word women's fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.
Have any thoughts about either the original or the re-written query? Please join the discussion in the comment thread!
Also, I'd be delighted if you would please help draw more commenters to the site by mentioning this post to your online friends. Thank you!