Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Guess the Plot
1. There's a robot, a pretty girl, flying saucers, and mad scientists! It's "The Tempest" in space! Whaddya mean, it's been done?
2. Raven-haired and temperamental, she storms across the land in search of some object that will save the king. Gypsies, fae armies, oracles, and mages hamper or assist her. Accordingly, the king turns out to be a villain, or not.
3. Janelle just found out she's a "Tempest": a human hurricane. In fact, she's the strongest tempest in the world, destined to become the scariest hurricane ever. Plus, she's been kidnapped by the evil Tempest High Leader and taken to an island to be trained to kill without mercy when she becomes a hurricane. She will be the main weapon in a war against all mankind. And you thought you were having a bad day.
4. No one knows exactly what inspired Shakespeare’s play, The Tempest. Now on a trip to England 15 year old Miranda discovers the truth about the play, Shakespeare and her family’s own dark secret. Could she really be descended from the magical Duke of Milan?
5. Hillbilly boy genius Buddy Boone applies his iPhone ohmmeter app to an experiment inspired by Benjamin Franklin's kite-in-a-lightning-storm trick -- and accidentally makes contact with seven very hungry aliens from Star XQI3 who land their spaceship behind the shed and launch a deadly bid to take over the world.
6. Restaurant-owner Joe is known around town for his screaming matches with the wife. As he walks into the restaurant, he trips over her body, a steak knife in her chest. He has a few ideas who might want to frame him for murder . . . and he's determined to show them the true meaning of rage before the cops can lock him up.
Dear Evil Editor,
Life blows for sixteen-year-old Janelle. Literally. She just found out she’s a human hurricane, a Tempest. That’s what the stupid gray spiral on her arm means. Just touching the ocean will make her turn into her stormy, deadly self. No wonder her dad seemed so nervous when he tried to tell her. [If your father informs you you're a human hurricane, you're not going to be worried about the day you ravage the Caribbean, killing thousands; you're going to be wondering how your father became delusional so fast.]
As if things aren’t bad enough, the evil Tempest High Leader, Andrina, just kidnapped her. Now Janelle has to attend Morgen Institute, Andrina’s boarding school for Tempest kids. But it’s no tropical paradise on this Caribbean island. Behind the perfect beaches and dorm parties lies the ugly truth Janelle’s dad hid her from all her life. Morgen Institute trains Tempests [to] kill without mercy when they become hurricanes. Whether they like it or not. [I don't think I'd let my students anywhere near a perfect beach if their touching the ocean would unleash a hurricane. My boarding school would be in western Mongolia.] [It sounds like you're saying the ugly truth her dad hid from her all her life is that Morgen Institute trains Tempests to kill without mercy. The ugly truth he hid from her is that she's a Tempest. Thus I'd change "the ugly truth Janelle’s dad hid her from all her life." to a colon.]
No way in hell is Janelle going to kill people. But Andrina won’t let her go. Because Janelle’s the strongest Tempest in the world, destined to become the scariest hurricane ever and kill thousands. [That's not enough people. If she kills 7000 people, that's about one of every million people on Earth.] Now she's the main weapon in Andrina's war against mankind. [That's like a pitchfork being your main weapon in a war against the United States. Can you make Andrina's war be against Aruba instead of mankind?]
Time’s running out. In order to escape, Janelle has to face the truth about herself…and what it really means to be a Tempest.
TEMPEST is a 67,000 word young adult fantasy. It may be the first book of a series.
So, are all hurricanes former Tempests? Or are the Tempests extra hurricanes thrown into the mix?
Not to downplay the destructive force of a hurricane, but if you're at war with mankind, you might be better off training human earthquakes to strike dams and nuclear power plants. More people die from taking aspirin than from hurricanes.
Something about this feels more middle grade than YA. Maybe it's that younger kids are more likely to buy into the human hurricane idea. Or maybe it's that phrases like "The stupid gray spiral," "the evil Tempest High Leader," "The strongest Tempest in the world," and "scariest hurricane ever" sound like they'd appeal more to a less mature crowd. Adjectives that aren't so general and overblown might help. Or calling it middle grade.