Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. When the Wright brothers are kidnapped by the Zeppelin Cartel on the eve of their historic flight at Kitty Hawk, Secret Agent Aloysius Ryder must rescue them using only his wits and an arsenal of steam-powered gadgets.
2. Petunia Penguin thinks she's a goose. Her mother taught her the old saying, If at first you don't succeed, so vainly she tries, tries again to achieve her . . . First Flight.
3. Teenager Billy accepts the dare of his high school teammates: he dresses in a superman costume, climbs to the top of the garage, and jumps. In that fateful moment, he discovers his true heritage as the first Nephilim born in 100,000 years. Can Billy lead the fallen angels to redemption? God only knows.
4. Corbin Dooble has studied hard for his pilot's licence. But the plane he has borrowed for his first solo is not exactly what he imagined. Nor did he expect it to be equipped with heat-seeking missiles and a crew of zombies.
5. For young Luigi Limboni, the dream of flight began with a secret notebook of Leonardo da Vinci. But will his first flight also be his last when, as he plummets from the belltower of Santa Maria della Grazie, he realizes there are no wings on the contraption and it must have been a catapult after all?
6. A high school senior, driving her friends to the beach in her minivan, takes a wrong turn near the Oregon coast, and suddenly finds herself in an alternate universe where she's sent to train as a pilot to fight the Nazis, who didn't lose WWII.
Dear Evil Editor,
Flying an ancient Bristol F.2B Fighter plane wasn’t exactly covered in Meri’s high school education. Of course, her teachers didn’t expect her to end up in an alternate version of 2007 the weekend before her senior year finals. But when she heads out on a beach trip with three of her friends, that’s just what happens – while driving her old minivan towards the Oregon coast, Meri takes the wrong exit and suddenly they’re headed for the gates of a refugee camp in Los Angeles, in a world where the Nazis didn’t lose. [Suddenly Meri is wishing she'd paid more attention in Driver's Ed when they were teaching the three-point turn.]
This alternate United States has no use for more displaced persons. They quickly send Meri and her friends to the British Independents, the only group still fighting the Third Reich. [Hard to imagine the US surrendering to the Nazis . . . Wait a minute, did this happen under Bush/Cheney?] After working on her piloting skills, Meri joins the British Independent Air Force.
[Sorry girls, there's no more room in the refugee camp.
But . . . where can we go? We have no--
Tell you what, there's an opening flying bombing missions against Nazi Germany.]
Life there is too intense to waste time worrying about her distant foster family. [Thus we shouldn't worry about mentioning them in our query.] Soon she’s deep in the world of the British Independents – sleeping in the pilots’ barracks, addicted to flying, and seeing an awful lot of a certain lieutenant. It’s a place where Meri feels completely right for the first time, a place where she has a purpose. [Why haven't we given Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan planes full of bombs? Then they'd be the right kind of role models for our teenaged daughters.]
Then saboteurs strike and Meri is left with a choice: stay and risk her life with the British Independents, or run back to the quasi-safety of the alternate United States, and abandon the cause she’s chosen and the people she loves. [Who offers this choice? How is the second option available? The means of travel between the alternate worlds is known? Does it always involve a minivan? What is it?]
"First Flight" is a 70,000 word YA adventure. I have three YA nonfiction books published: The Diabetes Game (Rewarding Health, 2006), Teen Dream Jobs (Beyond Words Publishing, 2003), and It’s Your Rite (Beyond Words Publishing, 2003). I have been interviewed on NBC’s The Today Show as well as on the national radio show Satellite Sisters.
Please let me know if you would like to see the full manuscript.
Are Meri and her friends one flight crew? Do they all pilot planes? Do they all find purpose? In short, does the book follow all of them or just Meri?
I like the query, especially if you drop the foster parents. But the tone is lighter in paragraph one than in the rest. I can't tell if it's like Clueless or if it's serious. I prefer it to be humorous; while I'm willing to buy into interdimensional travel, it's hard to swallow a Los Angeles refugee camp administrator shipping four high school girls to Europe to fly bombing raids against Nazis unless it's a comedy. If it's funny, changing the final sentence to something like:
Then Meri is offered a choice: stay and risk her life with the people she loves, or return to her world in time for graduation and the finals of American Idol.
would bring the tone back to the lightness it had in the opening. We don't need to mention the saboteurs, as we have no idea what they sabotaged or why this is crucial in Meri getting a choice. Did they blow something up, creating a temporary wormhole to the alternate world?