Sunday, September 09, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Brother Gastric of the Monastery of St. Squibb has difficulties in finding a cheaper substitute for the precious vellum of the illuminated manuscripts - until he meets an entrepreneur with no smarts and a speech defect.
2. Elena wants her rock band, Ellum, to make it big, but Ryan sabotages the band, believing that if Elena becomes famous he'll never be able to convince her to travel from Earth to his home world where she is destined to usher in a new era of peace.
3. When 15-year-old Shondra got pregnant, her mother pressured her to give the baby up. Now she's 19, and nothing will stop her from retaking her baby . . . no matter who she has to kill.
4. Eight-year-ld Billy Mills thiks readig will be easier if he ca get rid f sme f thse esky letters. He's already stle enohpee, but this time he's bud t get caught.
5. Lisa knows that if you go into someone's house and steal all their money, they notice. But if you take a dollar here or a few cents there, they never catch on. She launches her own small crime wave--stealing ellum, or the most diminutive amounts she can. It was going great--until she entered the home of pennypincher Bert the Accountant.
6. When a group of terrorists discover an ancient cache of Ellum, the long-lost source of eternal life, it is up to archaeology student and athiest Paul Neidermeyer to restore the proper order of the universe--by stealing back the Ellum.
Dear Evil Editor:
I am seeking representation for my young adult novel, Stealing Ellum, in which a wannabe rock star discovers that her unearthly heritage, her best friend, and the guitarist she won’t allow herself to fall in love with stand between her and her dream.
Elena Carsen has set a record: she’s been kicked out of six foster homes in the last four years and she’s working on the seventh. She’s struggled to make her band what it is, and she’ll do whatever it takes to be discovered. [The connection between those sentences isn't clear. Has she been kicked out of foster homes because she struggled to make her band what it is? What is it? A Captain and Tennille cover band?] [Now that I've read the rest of the query, whether there's a connection or not you can do without the foster homes sentence.] But there’s one problem: Elena’s old guitarist has gone AWOL and Ryan, her new one…well, he isn’t exactly from around here.
Ryan is [was] sent to Earth to protect Elena. He knows her true identity: she is the sole descendant of a murdered monarch. Sixteen years ago, she was hidden away on Earth so that the Vae – the people responsible for her parents’ deaths – couldn’t find her. Ryan’s assignment should be easy so long as Elena doesn’t draw too much attention to herself. Unfortunately, attention is exactly what Elena wants. [If the Vae are investigating every teenaged Earth girl who draws attention to herself, they'll never get anything else done.]
While Elena works to achieve her dream, Ryan does everything he can to sabotage her efforts. [For instance, he inserts a six-minute Hendrix guitar riff into "Love Will Keep Us Together."] He has to keep her alive and unnoticed until it is time for her to return to his worlds. Elena is heralded as the solution to the violence that has plagued the Dominion since the monarchy’s destruction. [But the plague of violence must continue a few more years before Elena returns and ends it?] Elena is someone to be respected. She’s someone to be admired. And she’s someone who should never, ever be touched – no matter how badly Ryan wants to.
Stealing Ellum is the first book of a trilogy and is complete at 65,000 words. As per the guidelines on your website, I have enclosed the first ten pages of my novel and a SASE. Thank you for taking the time to consider my material.
[Ellum is the name of Elena’s band.]
I'd drop the last three sentences of the plot (admired, respected, never, ever touched). They're general, and somehow icky. A better ending would be to combine the two previous sentences:
He must keep her alive and unnoticed until it's time for her to return to his worlds--for only Elena can end the violence that has plagued the Dominion since the monarchy’s destruction.
Shouldn't they have headed for the Dominion by now? Surely it takes more than a few weeks to get to another solar system. How old is Elena supposed to be when she gets back?
Convincing someone to go with me to another solar system is going to be a hard sell. I'd want to stay on her good side. I don't think I'd be sabotaging her hopes and dreams.