Monday, February 23, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. One magical summer, the kids from the Fat Camp and the kids from the Boot Camp for Troubled Teens meet, overcome their differences, and band together to kill and eat the counselors and administration.
2. Outraged by the cultural appropriation of Native American language, protesters occupy Camp Winne-hoho-ugh and rename it for its real inhabitants: chubby pasty-faced rich kids.
3. Chester isn't surprised to see flying rowboats and outhouses that clean themselves. After all, it's a magical fat camp. But he is a little surprised to find his cabin leader is an alien laying the groundwork for a war against the human race. Also, Cyclops and Bigfoot.
4. Sherlock Jefferson goes undercover as an elk hunter to search for Octopus Jones, a thug now hiding undercover as an inarticulate waiter at Bonnie's Egg & Bacon Inn, just down the road from the local terrorist training center, which is trying to pass itself off as a fat camp for boys.
5. Becca has always been heavy. The summer before senior year, she plans to attend Camp Weight-A-Spell, a weight-loss camp famous for its astounding success stories. What she doesn't know is that Margie, the camp's director is a witch, and her "diet shakes" are actually magic potions that quite literally melt away the pounds.
6. The boys' camp always won the Muddy Lake fishing contest. But this summer the girls have an advantage, as Wiccan counselor Kate Hecky adds enchantment to their fishing rods. But their lures attract a lake creature older and bigger than anyone expected. Can Kate and her novice witches send it back into the deeps?
Welcome to Camp Weight-A-Spell, a magical fat camp where the outhouses clean themselves, [If I'm attending a fat camp (and who among us couldn't stand to lose fifty pounds?) I'm going to find one with plumbing.] rowboats can fly, and spriggans get drunk on Listerine. But fourteen-year-old Chester Jones isn't worried, he's used to weird stuff - he's a warlock. [If you're going to say he isn't worried, give us something most people would worry about, like the lake is full of monsters, not the outhouses clean themselves. Or, instead of "worried," say he isn't fazed or impressed.] [Also, if the fat camp is magical, why don't they magically create some toilets? Better yet, magically melt fifty pounds off the campers; otherwise those rowboats will never get off the ground.]
Chester's real concern [So, he is worried.] is with his psycho cabin leader, Kyle (don't call me "Sir",) Mutare. Kyle isn't even human, he's a shape shifter evoking a shimmer. But that's not the worst part. A gateway has opened to the old shifters' world of Meta. [So, this is what's known as Meta-fiction?] Buried there is a mummy Kyle wants very much - a mummy that when resurrected will lead the shifters in war against the human race. [How does Chester know all this?]
When Kyle and three campers disappear from a group outing, Chester fears Kyle has taken his friends hostage to assist him in an ancient ritual to revive the mummy. Armed with a map of the burial site and his exceptional abilities at incantations, Chester sets out to save his friends and find the mummy before it's too late. His plan, however, didn't include an angry Cyclops and a Bigfoot with an agenda of his own. [Didn't we just have another Bigfoot story? I don't really see Bigfoot as much of a threat to a warlock. It's a tall hairy guy with big feet. Not that I'd want to come face-to-face with Bigfoot in the real world, but in fiction, where shapeshifters and warlocks exist, he's kind of lame.]
Camp Weight-A-Spell, an MG fantasy, is complete at 60,000 words.
Thank you in advance for your time. [It's too late to thank me in advance; I've already read the entire query.]
This reads okay for a middle grade book. And perhaps the following logic problems won't matter to kids:
1. An army of shapeshifters should be able to defeat the human race without needing a mummy to lead them. In fact, the mummy is the only member of the Meta army the humans could handle. We'd take out the mummy within seconds.
2. Is there some reason Kyle has chosen to be a cabin leader at a fat camp when the mummy is buried on Meta? Surely there are better first steps toward conquering humanity. Does the ancient ritual specify the need for three obese human teenagers?
3. The stakes seem kind of high for a kid. This sounds more like a job for the Men in Black.
4. Aren't flying rowboats counterproductive at a fat camp?
Also, the title gives no indication that this is a high-stakes thriller. Try: How Chester Jones Lost Fifty Pounds and Saved the Human Race.