Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Guess the Plot
The Tooth of Time
1. After his parents die, Kelvin goes into a cave on an island known as the Tooth of Time. Suddenly he's in a new universe full of fantastical creatures, where he takes magic classes and plays an exciting new sport. Also, a dragon.
2.Billy had long been able to tune in songs from the radio on his dental fillings. But now he's starting to get dire warnings from the future-- and no one will believe a word that comes out of his mouth.
3. All Eddie wanted was an extra quarter for his last baby tooth. Instead he stumbles onto the awful truth: tooth fairies are aliens bent on cloning humans to use as slaves in the ice cream mines of Garglepuss IV. Only the dentists can save us now!
4. Clockmaker Alex Burton prides himself on the company's bizarre, punch card operated timepiece. But when baby Joey starts teething on the punch cards, the true nature of the machine is revealed and they find themselves 150 years in the past. Steampunk ensues.
5. Zelda the Tooth Fairy is dying, but a rare "tooth of time" would grant her immortality. Jimmy has one; will it come out before it's too late? Unaware of his treasure, Jimmy wonders about that voice that keeps goading him into fistfights.
6. Susie lost her first tooth in time to completely ruin her school photo. On the way home she lost it again, this time out of her pocket. All Susie wanted was a fifty-cent piece, but her search for the tooth lands her in Colonial America.
Dear Evil Editor,
I would greatly appreciate your consideration of my recently completed middle grade/YA novel, THE TOOTH OF TIME.
11-year-old Kelvin doesn’t believe in magic. Why should he? His parents are dead and his relatives have abandoned him and his 9-year-old sister Corly at the Group Home for Troubled Children - but only after making sure they could claim the inheritance..
So it isn’t surprising that, after the siblings escape from the Home, Kelvin is initially skeptical when a homeless man confronts them, claiming to be magical. The man says some other incredible things: that he was friends with their mother who was born in a different universe and that he has been watching over them since their parents died, waiting for the right moment to return with them. [It would have been easier to watch over them as a janitor at the Group Home for Troubled Children than as a homeless guy. Does the Home allow homeless guys to hang around spying on the kids?]
The new universe of Belleterra is a place of magic, fantastical creatures, new friends, and an old and important prophecy made by one of the childrens’ ancestors. The Belleterra government thinks that Kelvin and Corly may be ‘The Ones’ to discover certain secrets that, if the prophecy is correct, will help to prevent a terrible war. Unfortunately the universe is also home to the Ubeltors, an evil society of followers of the late dictator Malificus Ubel, who also want to find the secrets using whatever means necessary. [Have they considered looking in Kel's mother's coded journals?]
Kelvin tries to help the government, but soon finds he has more pressing matters at hand: he sucks in his magic classes, he can’t decipher his mother’s coded journals [He can't? I guarantee he can, and does.] and he really needs to practice his favourite new sport, echolosolo. Then there’s the matter of someone sabotaging his echolator, instructing a dragon to kill him, and kidnapping his sister!
THE TOOTH OF TIME (approx. 107,500 words) is the first of a five book series that will unfold a tale of mystery, magic, suspense and fun. It is appropriate for ages 9 and up.
I would be happy to send you my complete manuscript for your review. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
[Author's note: The title (The Tooth of Time) is the name of a small rock-island set in the midst of a river. In the heart of the island is a cave where the children 'cross-over' into the new universe.]
With main characters who are 11 and 9, this shouldn't be labeled YA.
The name of the island suggests it takes people through time, not to a different universe. And where does the tooth part come in? Is the island shaped like a tooth?
The book may not resemble Harry Potter in any way, but if you bring up plot points in the query that bring Harry to mind (dead parents, magic classes, a prophecy that the MC is "the one," a new sport . . . ) you suggest it's a HP knockoff. How many of these can you leave out of the query?
Try dumping the "Kelvin tries..." paragraph, which is a random list, and just finish the previous paragraph with: ...including kidnapping Carly. This works only if it's the Ubeltors who kidnap her, but the point is to focus on the main plot.
It's hard enough to sell a first novel for adults that's over 100,000 words. Even HP was rejected by a slew of publishers.