Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Guess the Plot
The Brave Little Onion
1. After losing a court case to the giant, Ruta Bagle, Stinky McScallion projects a brave front to keep her neighbor from depositing chicken litter on the back forty acres.
2. From the author of "The Shallow Shallot" and "Greedykins Garlic" comes another in the best-selling children's series "Happiness is Halitosis."
3. "Don't cry," her momma said. But what's a little onion to do? Pearl doesn't want to wind up chopped, sauteed or carmelized. But then she meets an anchovy-stuffed olive who teaches her that there's an entirely different career choice for a diminutive onion. Provided, of course, she can learn to swim and overcome her fear of toothpicks.
4. The true story of how a group of unhirable Liberal Arts majors created an unstoppable comic force.
5. Consigned to the vegetable drawer with the evil Miss Chipotle Pepper and her gang of pomadoro thugs, Pearl Onion discovers there's a bigger danger in town when Mung the Moldy threatens to envelop everyone in fungus. Prequel to The Burpless Cucumber Saves the Party.
6. After a routine check-up at Dr. Shallot's surgery, Vidalia's is devastated to learn she is suffering from stemphyllium blight. She vows to do good in the world during the little time she has left. As the layers of this story are peeled back, even the strongest reader will be left in tears.
Dear Evil Editor,
"Have you ever wondered why onions are so green and stinky?" asked the raging-red, Miss Chipotle Pepper. Thus begins my allegorical and multicultural "Early Reader" novel of 20,000 words, "The Brave Little Onion." [If you replace "allegorical and multicultural" with "funny" it'll sound less like a hoax.] When Pearl Onion and her six sisters are stacked into the vegetable bin.
From the early days on a family farm in Central Ohio with bright sun and abundant water to the frantic time of pulling and the freezing, dark 18-wheeler, Pearl Onion wins and loses friends in the vegetable world as she is process, weighed and priced into one of California's upscale supermarkets. In the display case, she finds a love and rejection with a Mayan sweet. Discovering the first whiffs of conspiracy from the pepper patch, Pearl Onion attempts to organize the Spanish Red and Bermuda Yellow onions into a fighting force. Before her plan can be executed, she's purchased and consigned to the vegetable drawer.
As the days pass, Pearl learns of other cultures; from the unwrapping of the Bright Green Oriental Cabbage and the peeling of the Exotic Asian Mangoes, to the evil rumor mongering of Miss Chipotle Pepper and her gang of pomadoro thugs. However, an even greater conspiracy threatens life in the vegetable drawer. Mung the moldy from the White Asparagus enters and threatens to envelope the drawer in green, white and black fungus.
Can the brave little Pearl and her sister onions defeat the evil Mung? OR will the entire vegetable drawer turn black and succumb to an odiferous liquid mutiny? Victory rides with Boston Lettuce and Idaho Potatoes.
The Brave Little Onion is the first of a series with work subsequent titles being: The Burpless Cucumber Saves the Party, The Prune and Rabbit Soiree' and The Great White Truffle Sings for His Dinner.
I am a college-educated [University of North Carolina at Shallot] writer with technical publications [in such magazines as (links provided not because there's anything interesting there, but to prove I didn't make them up) Spudman, Corn and Soybean Digest and Artichoke.]. The completed manuscript is ready for your perusal. Thank you for your time and effort.
First of all, get rid of "Victory rides with Boston Lettuce and Idaho Potatoes." These characters haven't even been in the query. At this late date, you're better off not mentioning them, even if they are the heroes.
Normally it's not necessary to include that you're college-educated (though when your title is The Brave Little Onion, maybe it's a good idea to imply that you're not six years old).
Besides, "I am college-educated" sounds like something you'd say if you dropped out after your first semester, and now you're hoping they don't ask you to elaborate.
"Early Reader" novel of 20,000 words? My early reader was about Ted and Sally, with vocabulary words like See Boots run. Run, Boots, run. Are you sure early readers are ready for Oriental, Exotic, Chipotle, pomodoro, thugs, fungus, soiree, truffle? (These are the ones I suspect are in the books; others, like upscale, mongering, conspiracy, odiferous may appear only in the query . . . but the editor of The Brave Little Onion may not be that impressed by adult vocabulary. Keep in mind that first-reader slush piles are handled by six-year-olds in Asian sweat shops.
Has a few minor errors you'll want to clean up, including "pomodoro," "processed," "envelop." And the third sentence isn't.
The main problem may be that the age range for kids who read 20,000-word books with this vocabulary may not intersect with the age range of kids who would be intrigued by a book called The Brave Little Onion. Little kids aren't going to get much of the humor, and if your audience is, say, fourth graders, you need a better title, something like Onions versus Peppers: The Vegetable Drawer Wars.