Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Blue Gemstone
1. The Key Keepers use the Blue Gemstone to open the door to an alternate universe in which they meet Toots, who sends them to Alaska to recover another gemstone. But can they complete the mission without being captured by shape shifters and sacrificed to the god Zendu?
2. A pearl for Christmas, a ruby for Valentine's, and an emerald for her birthday. Sue's husband sure is spending hard to assure her that his cheating days are over. But will the sparkle of her Columbus Day sapphire blind her to his sudden increase in "business trips"?
3. Jeweler Rocco Testadura can sense the emotions of every stone that he sets, knowing that happy jewels make for happy customers. Can he find a way to cheer up the blue gemstone, before it drives a client to despair and suicide?
4. Mallory thinks that she has found the man of her dreams, until Bill's romantic moonlit proposal turns into Mallory's nightmare. A sapphire? What, is he kidding?
5. When Shannon starts work as a waitress in The Blue Gemstone, the swankiest restaurant in town, she has no idea she's really stumbled into a front for the werewolf crime lords known as the Lupens.
6. Career burglar Snarfi has just four days to steal The Blue Gemstone from the dragon Gryk'ka, or the evil emperor will kill Snarfi's mother. There's only one problem: Snarfi is colorblind. Stock characters include a rebellious princess, a buffoonish wizard, and a curmudgeonly dwarf. Also, a snake with legs.
Dear Evil Editor,
I read on your blog that you represented a gem of wisdom, "Why You Don't Get Published," and I knew immediately that you were the editor for me. [Say no more. A contract will be in the mail within the hour.]
"The Blue Gemstone," is a Middle School Fantasy, complete at 71,000 words.
On the way home from a local swimming hole, cousins, Jake and Libby Marks, [Already I can tell this is going to be one of those quaint old-timey stories I love, the kind that bring back memories of reading Tom Sawyer.] meet an alien from an alternate universe. The alien, a member of a race of healers, gives the children a sapphire stone, a key that opens doors to other realities. [Oh well. I suppose if Mark Twain were alive today he'd be writing books like Huckleberry Finn XCII: The Shadow Creatures of Lorkha Tau.]
Intrigued, Jake and Libby visit the alien's world where they meet the Honorable Major Toots, the president of the healers. Toots explains that they are Key Keepers, and warns them to protect their gemstone from falling into the hands of the shape shifters. Then, Toots tells them that their great, great, great Grandpa Willie--who's supposed to be dead--is in trouble.
According to Toots, Willie is alive. [I inferred that from the previous sentence.] The shifters have stolen his gemstone, trapping him on a mirror world in Alaska. Jake and Libby must rescue Grandpa Willie, and recover his stolen stone. Toots gives the children two magic computers--the size of a cell phone--to help them.
Rescuing Grandpa is the easy part. [The hard part is reading the map of Alaska on the four-centimeter-square monitors that come with the computers. That and loading a 115-year-old guy onto a dogsled without breaking his hips.] Stealing the gemstone back from the shifters is another matter entirely.
At first, it was fun. An adventure. But Jake and Libby learn there is more at stake than Grandpa's gemstone. Maddas, the evil dictator of the shape shifters, ["Maddas" makes me think of a fabric; it would sound more like an evil dictator spelled backwards.] believes Jake and Libby are THE TWINS. [TWINS? But they're cousins! Identical cousins. And you can lose your mind . . . when cousins . . . are two of a kind.] He wants to kidnap the children, take them to Amusa, and sacrifice them to his god, Zendu.
[A paragraph on my two short story sales] [A sentence will do.]
Thank you in advance for reading my query,
It seems odd that the shape shifters would hole up in Alaska, given that they have access to numerous realities.
Do these kids have families who expect them home for dinner?
Is "Toots" pronounced like in, "Hey toots, need an editor for that book?" Or does it rhyme with "prostitutes"?
Gemstone is kind of general. You claim it's a sapphire, why not call it the mystic sapphire of Lorkha Tau, instead of the blue gemstone?
Not sure what a magical computer can do that a normal one can't, but if it's magic, it might as well be a magic cell phone or a magic acorn as a computer. In any case, I'd drop the magic computer, and rewrite everything after that. From there on it's a list of choppy sentences with little life. We need more than a series of events; make us care about the characters. There's a lot of fantastical stuff in the book, but maybe a bit less in the query would be better.