Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Guess the Plot
Travels in a Strange Land
1. Amber Mist, earthquake survivor, is astonished to find herself in a strange and wondrous land, a land where inanimate objects turn out to be sentient beings, and cats can talk. But here she is, and she doesn't think repeating There's no place like home is going to get her out.
2. Clare Humphrey, travel book researcher, is disconcerted to find herself in a country where no one jaywalks, bathroom stalls are unscribbled upon, and litter is unheard of. But here she is, and she swears never to return to Singapore.
3. Andrew McAnfry, real estate mogul, is amazed to find himself lying in a cave on an island filled with magical creatures and natives wielding strange powers. But here he is, and after befriending the daughter of the natives' chief, Andrew begins to question whether he even wants to return home.
4. K.K. Farside, sideshow freak in training, is flabbergasted to find herself in a hidden underground world of bearded women. But here she is, and now she wonders, Is it my destiny to save them from the evil shaving cream executives who want to force them to get rid of their beards?
5. Sillibub Harvey, chef on the Orient Express, is dumbfounded to find himself face to face with a herd of zombie cows--cows unhappy with the meal plan--in the kitchen. But here he is, wondering if he'll survive to become a vegetarian, or if the phrase, "your ass is grass" will take on a more sinister meaning.
6. Cedric Lloyd, phone company lineman, is shocked to find himself falling through a multidimensional wormhole while fixing a transformer during a freak lightning storm. But here he is, and to get home, Cedric must brave seven perils.
It started with the earthquake, or maybe it started before that. Maybe it started with the move. Either way Amber Mist had never dreamed of ending up in another world. A world filled with creatures, plants, and even landscapes from a hundred-thousand different worlds. She didn’t expect to be forced out on her own. She didn’t expect to nearly be killed barely an hour after she had arrived. She certainly didn’t expect to be saved by a small, gray, talking, (of course I can talk! Did you think I was dumb or something?) Cat. How could she expect it? [If it started with the move, then the earthquake would have happened after she was in Toonville. Surely if she found herself in this strange place and then endured an earthquake, she'd remember. So it clearly started with the earthquake. "It" being this whole mess.
1. The move.
2. The earthquake.
3. Amber's LSD trip.]
[Wait . . . are you sure it didn't start when she fell through the looking glass?]
And that’s just the first two chapters.
Now Amber has to find her way through a strange ever changing world. In search of someone or something that can take her home. In a land where you never know what is a sentient being and what is an inanimate object, where fiction casually mingles with normality, where even physics can turn back on it’s self, nothing is ever easy. And amber has taken on one of the most difficult and dangerous challenges possible. [What challenge?] Then just as she’s getting the hang of things the world decides to go crazy all over again. [How can she tell the difference? Is it that just as she's getting used to the fact that cats can talk, suddenly cats can't talk? Or is it that they suddenly start speaking Mouse?] Can she get home before the world its self goes haywire? [You just said the world went crazy all over again. How is that different from going haywire?] Even with friends helping her on her way, with the type of challenges she’s facing, her work is cut out for her. [What are the challenges? Who are the friends? This is too vague.]
Such is the basic plot of my novel, [Actually, such is the setup and the setting; the plot would involve the characters she meets, what happens to them, what their plan is. Right now, it could be nothing but a series of brief encounters with odd characters. We need to know the main characters and the thread that holds it all together. Dorothy doesn't wander aimlessly around Oz; she goes to see the wizard. What's Amber's plan?] working title Travels in a Strange Land. And what of me, the author? There are many obstacles standing in my path as well. My name is Kalinda Little. I am 18 and have never been published before. I have been working on this and other stories since I was ten. I am almost purely a fiction writer. [Not sure what that means, but get rid of it.] Though the most basic plot of my novel is common the content and the way it is portrayed is anything but. Please allow me to share more of my manuscript with you. Thank you so much for all of your time. I am eagerly looking forward to hearing from you. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.
First of all, thank you for not elaborating on the many obstacles in your path.
If your plot is common, but the content and the way it is portrayed is anything but, you need to explain what you've done that sets this apart from other similar novels.
It seems like Amber is a kid and the book is intended for kids, but I shouldn't have to make that assumption; it should be declared in the letter.
Too many errors, the most glaring being spelling "itself" incorrectly ("it's self" and "its self").
Outside of the talking cat, there's no specific information about this new world.
I'll trust my less-evil minions to encourage you to stick with it, to read everything you can, to continue your education, etc. As for this query letter, it's back to the drawing board, I'm afraid. Good luck.