Friday, August 19, 2011
Guess the Plot
1. The latest fashion at Swan's school; shiny. One little capsule and you'll glow in the dark for 24 hours. Everyone's doing it. Is it Swan's imagination, or do they get more and more zombie-like with each dose?
2. Glimmer, the elf who delivers the world's sunshine and happiness every morning in bright pink baskets, is captured by a grumpy gnome who doesn't want anyone to be happy ever again. Can Betsy and Bobby save the day?
3. A glimmer of hope. That's all high school student Kalin wants as she sets out to rescue her mom from kidnappers. When she finds out her mother is actually the immortal Morgan le Fay, she can only say one thing. WTF?
4. Lost in the woods at night, Kirene sees a distant flash of light. Is it a cabin? And if so, is it the cabin of a witch or a kindhearted soul or a serial killer? To find out you'll have to read the book, because the query only takes you as far as the door.
5. An old jeweler hands Anika a sparkling gem, and tells her to place it under her pillow for good luck. What he doesn't tell her is that her dreams will now be controlled by the gem. And will all come true.
6. There's something shiny bobbing up and down in the ocean. And Nick has been practicing his swimming. It doesn't look that far. He thinks he can make it out there. But can he make it back? Probably not, but if it's a bottle with a genie inside, he won't have to.
Dear Evil Editor:
Recently, NYT bestselling author, Cassandra Clare introduced me to Eric Paquette, Senior VP of Productions for Screen Gems. During one of our conversations, I told Eric [Even if you're now on a first-name basis with him, in the query I'd refer to him as Mr. Paquette.] about my book and he has requested to read it. His wife, screenwriter Jessica Postigo, has also requested to read my novel. [I haven't seen this much name dropping in the first paragraph of a query letter since the guy who opened by saying My style has been compared to Twain and Harte, Vonnegut and Hiaasen, and Marlowe and Spillane. I never did get around to asking if he meant fictional character Philip Marlowe or Elizabethan poet/playwright Christopher Marlowe.] [The bad news is that Eric and Jessica, being married, will buy (at most) one copy between them if the book is published.] [You've devoted an entire paragraph of your query to naming three people who haven't read your book. If you're gonna do that, why not name people the reader is sure to be familiar with: It has been suggested to me that Stephen King, Steven Spielberg and the late Humphrey Bogart would enjoy my book.] [According to Wikipedia, "first time writer" Jessica Postigo has been hired to write the screenplay of Cassandra Clare's latest novel, which is being produced by Screen Gems. Which invites the question: When you hire your inexperienced wife to write a screenplay for a movie you're producing, are you allowed to pay her twice the going rate?] [By now you've caught on that you must delete that entire paragraph, so let's move on.]
When seventeen-year-old Kalin woke up that morning, she thought the only disruption to her predictable day would be a scheduled visit from her mostly absent Mom. [There's no need to say "that morning," if you don't reveal what morning you're talking about. We can deduce that it's some morning from the context of the sentence.] But from the moment she left her house with her best friend Cori, things just escalated from strange to way past weird. First, during an impromptu visit to a psychic, [On her way to school?] she had a vision of a glass castle. Then, she finds a spellbook in her locker that she just can't get rid of. [I see we've switched from past tense to present.] But, none of those things compare to [Those weren't "things."] going to work and being attacked by some hot guy that turns out to be a black-blooded evil faery, then being rescued by none other than her guidance counselor who tells her that she must go to mystical Avalon to help find her missing mother. [That paragraph is way too wordy. I would trim it to something like:
Seventeen-year-old Kalin isn't expecting Friday to be much different from any other day, so when she's attacked by a black-blooded evil faery and rescued by none other than her guidance counselor, she wonders if she's dreaming. The "guidance" she gets from her counselor doesn't exactly clear things up; he tells her she must go to mystical Avalon to rescue her missing mother.]
Once in Avalon, Kalin learns that her mother is Morgan le Fay, the immortal high court faery queen. The lies continue to unravel as she discovers that her best friend Cori is a faery princess and her guidance counselor a faery knight. [How have all these people managed to hide their dual identities from Kalin for seventeen years? Her best friend is a faery princess in Avalon, and she has no idea? That friendship is over.] Kalin must push aside her own feelings so that she can rescue her Mom from a new faction of faeries bent on destroying Avalon. Unfortunately, faeries have their own set of rules and a system of courts that are too busy accusing each other of deceit to actually be able to help her. Throughout her adventure, Kalin does make some new friends including Rowan, a sexy and dangerous fae with his own secrets. [You're just listing random stuff. You should be telling the story.]
Glimmer, my 66,000-word young adult fantasy manuscript can be described as a Mists of Avalon (Marion Eleanor Zimmer ) [What the? The name on her book cover is Marion Zimmer Bradley.] meets Wicked Lovely (Melissa Marr). [Yes, Morgan le Fay is in Mists of Avalon, and there are faeries in Wicked Lovely, but . . . ] This modern day faery tale has elements of Arthurian and Scottish mythology including some twists on well-known characters from legend. The novel is set in Baltimore, but also visits Avalon, Las Vegas, and Brittany, France.
I am a freelance writer and co-owner of the YA Fantasy Guide that focuses on the young adult fantasy genre. [This leads me to assume you must be familiar with the YA novel Glimmerglass. (Which is confirmed by a visit to your site and a click on "Fairies," Glimmerglass being the top book listed.) Admittedly your book, Glimmer, is about a girl who goes from Baltimore to Avalon to find her mother, while Glimmerglass is about a girl who goes from Philadelphia to Avalon to get away from her mother, but I'm not sure calling your book Glimmer is the best idea. If you wrote a mystery set in Sweden, you wouldn't call your book The Girl with the Crocodile Tattoo, even if the main character was a girl with a crocodile tattoo.] The YAFG receives an average of 35,000 hits per month. I also have a twitter account with more than 10,000 followers.
Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Focus on what happens after Kalin goes to Avalon. What's her plan? A faery faction wants to bring down Avalon, but a seventeen-year-old girl is needed to stop them? What does she bring to the rescue team? What goes wrong? What happens if the faction succeeds? What's the story?