Tuesday, August 02, 2011
Guess the Plot
1. Editing her webpage late at night, 15-year-old Wanda accidentally destroys the intricate network of blog links that supports reality. Now she has until dawn to restore the balance.
2. I am linked, linked to another—soul to soul, mind to mind, power to power. And when the beasts that live beyond the bark find me, I shall be in a race to save our souls. A race I'm not sure I can win.
3. Karenna is a Soul Magnet -- a being who attracts disembodied spirits from a secret realm. In Karenna's case, it's Jaynor, the Prince of the Realm, who was murdered by his evil uncle. Karenna can't shake Jaynor, which makes things awkward in her English class at Centerville High.
4. In an alternate 1850s America, the Lakota Sioux build a fence across the prairies to keep the pioneers out. When a young George Armstrong Custer accidentally gets lost on the west side of the fence, the medicine man Black Hawk, held hostage in Philadelphia, offers to guide the missing youngster home through dreams. And now President Millard Fillmore is having some odd dreams too.
5. Private investigators Amar, Shiv and Chiranveen are quadruplets who communicate telepathically with their dead sister Yami in order to solve crimes in Kolkata. Which comes in handy when American vampires tire of hamburger-flavoured blood and set out to snack on Indian street food vendors.
6. Memoirs of two breakfast sausages, one shipped to Waffle House and the other to McDonalds, and how they remain forever . . . Linked.
Dear Evil Editor...
Eyes follow my every move. [My sympathies. I, too, must suffer the paparazzi.] They stalk me from every corner of the forest—a forest that lives and breathes by its own set of rules. Rules I don't abide by or even know exist. [If you don't know they exist, how do you know you aren't abiding by them?] But when the beasts that live beyond the bark and between the branches cross into my world, everything changes.
In a blink, the hunt is on—the hunt for me. I'm ripped from the only life I've known for the last seventeen years and plunged into the heart of the forest. Into a world I've never known or imagined. [I usually recommend that authors put their bio at the end of the query and get right to their book. However, your bio sounds like it might be more interesting than your book. Have you considered adding a few characters and turning this into a novel?] A place where a thought is more than an idea, it's a weapon. A weapon I can control. And suddenly those sent to protect me are begging me to fight for the freedom of the Realm, for those who have tapped into the power of the mind—a race of people hunted and controlled by one of their own.
But the forest has other plans. Plans that could destroy the Realm’s only hope for survival.
I become linked—soul to soul, mind to mind, power to power—with another. [Who?] Another whom I would give anything to protect. [Who is it?] Anything to save. [Yeah, but who is it?] when the beasts that hunt me find me, I'm in a race not only to protect a forgotten people but a race to save our souls. A race I'm not sure I can win.
Linked is a 98,000 word Paranormal Romance Novel for Young Adults. It is a fast-paced, thrill ride that follows Anika, a seventeen-year-old orphan, whose soul is merged with the one sent to protect her. Together they will battle to save the Realm and save their souls. Or die trying.
If you are going to write the query in the first-person, and in the POV of a character (an idea I will discourage below), you should follow through to the end, i.e. put the last paragraph in the same POV:
Linked is a 98,000 word memoir that young adults should enjoy. It follows me, Anika, a seventeen-year-old orphan as my spirit merges with the one sent to protect me. Together we battle to save the Realm. And to save our souls.
If you switch to the author's POV in the last paragraph, the reader thinks, She was trying to be clever, but she didn't have the guts to carry it through to the bitter end. Whereas my way the reader thinks, She's too clever for her own good, but at least she's not shamefully gutless.
If you describe a fast-paced thrill ride, there's no need to tell us it's a fast-paced thrill ride. Unfortunately, despite the character being hunted by beasts, this doesn't sound fast-paced or thrilling.
It's too abstract/intangible/vague. You'd think a teenager would be more specific. I have to work to figure out what happens. And I worry that I'll have to work just as hard reading the book.
In any case, it's all set-up. Anika has been ripped from her world and plunged into the forest. Something called the Realm is at risk. She links with someone. That's not much to go on. If you could explain in concrete terms what her power is, what she and her soul-mate plan to do to save the Realm, what problems pop up, etc., we'd have a better idea if it's a story we want to read.
And since the author is in a better position to fill us in on all of this than the character, you're better off writing the standard business-letter query.
If it's a romance, put something about the romance into the query.
Also, while sentence fragments can be effective in stressing ideas, they lose their punch when they're used too often, i.e. when half the sentences are fragments.