Thursday, September 27, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Hound in the Mine
1. From the heart of the moor came a lament of such otherworldly moans that it seared the mind and disheartened the soul, a howl of iniquity so evil that all but the brave lost faith as reason fled. Yo Quiero Taco Bell, Viva gorditas! A mi corazon!
2. When the last coal mine canary dies, the miners assume it was old age and send Bobby Joe to replace it. But the pet store has only beagles. Returning to the mine, Bobby Joe unleashes the hound, who sniffs out Bobby's co-workers, all dead.
3. Rudy's dog has a tendency to wander off, and he always turns up at the Coaldust place down in the holler. Rudy sets off in search of Ole Blue, only to come upon his mom and Mr. Coaldust in the barn. Will Rudy ever overcome the trauma of finding his saintly mother playing The Hound In The Mine with the local moonshiner?
4. Two years after the hound dog went missing, he turns up doing manual labor in the mine beneath the old mill. Rescue seems impossible, as the hound is addicted to drugs, and his only remaining friend has no arms. Can the evil miller be stopped? Also, slave trees.
5. Gwyfydd, a remote mining outpost on the very south western tip of Wales, was famous for its haunted woods and eerie standing stones. But Peter Hester was there to investigate the legend of a canine abomination. Scientist and skeptic Peter is shocked by his findings, but when he begins to receive cryptic, threatening messages from a shadowy cult, he finds the Hound is only one piece in a puzzle that links all of the town hauntings and a much, much bloodier legend.
6. Johan Kratt is "The Hound"--elite soldier, spy, member of Himmler's ultra-secret Thule Society . . . and Allied double-agent. Ordered to weaken German efforts in Russia, he must delay the German Sixth Army in Stalingrad long enough for the Soviet counter-offensive to arrive. But first he must escape Russia's most infamous gulag: The Mine.
Please consider my YA novel "The Hound in the Mine." It is complete at 75,000 words.
The old hound went missing years ago. [I miss old Huck. Yogi and Quick Draw and Snagglepuss get all the nostalgia press, but it was Huckleberry Hound who paved the way.] By then Corvery, a young cornfield raven, was his only friend. [You're thinking of Heckle. Or Jeckle.] The hound had gotten too ornery for everyone else. He would growl and rave, and howl in the cornfields. He would snarl and froth in the ditches and bark at his reflection in the swimming hole. Everyone figured him for rabid, and Corvery thought he must have gone some place to die.
Or maybe he hadn’t been rabid after all. Just the other day there came a familiar howl from the hills. Now, Corvery is certain he can find the old hound, so he searches the hills with his friend Preston, a boy on summer vacation from school. [If you're a bird searching the hills, a boy is just going to be dead weight. Better to go it alone.] [So far this is sounding like the text of a picture book for five-year-olds. Except for the 75,000 words part.] The two of them discover a poisoned river, where any animal that drinks from it is driven vicious and insane. [How do they know this?]
The poison is seeping into the water from an old mill, but the wheel there is no longer turning saw blades. The miller is using it to dredge a mine, and the creatures of the woods, even the trees, are slaves to the tunnels below. [What does that mean? Slaves in the tunnels?] When Corvery and Preston try to rally them to destroy the mill and bury the tunnels, they find that no one is willing. The water has poisoned their minds, and they crave its taste more than freedom. [I get it. It's a 75,000-word retelling of Aesop's anti-drug fable, "The Hound and the Raven." Moral: A man who drinks from the river of madness will not listen to a talking crow.] Even the old hound is on the miller’s side.
The complete manuscript is available should you wish to see part or all of it. I look forward to hearing from you.
I see this as Animal Farm meets LOTR. Young adults aren't going to care about Corny Crow. Make the boy a hobbit, make the slaves his farmyard friends, make the miller an evil pig wizard, and make the river the ring of power.
It ends with no one wanting help. If you're addicted to joy juice, don't you have to want to be saved? There should be some indication that Corny Crow comes up with a plan.
We don't need the backstory about the hound. Open with the poison river and the miller and the slaves: When the inhabitants of a small town go missing, they are discovered working as drug-addicted slaves in the tunnels beneath the old mill. Is there no hero willing to risk everything to stop the evil miller from carrying out his sinister plot for world domination? Yes! It's Corny the Talking Crow! . . . Now that I think about it, let's leave the crow out of the query entirely.