Friday, January 27, 2012
Guess the Plot
The Star Bear Odyssey
1. Microbrewer Dave Fitzsimmons thinks he's found a winning name for his secret lager. He dreams of hitting it big. Then there's a mistake at the printer. Hilarity ensues.
2. A space bear travels to Earth and meets a tragic end, but his cells serve as the building blocks of life on our planet. Written entirely in haiku.
3. Sam and Belle Star, horse and cattle rustlers, stop in a bar where a depressed stockbroker says there’s a bear market at the Chicago Exchange. So the Star gang raid Missouri and Iowa zoos, stealing bears and herding them toward Chicago.
4. When Olga Petrovna, the lead bear in the Moscow Circus's bicycle act, is kidnapped by a rival ringmaster, plucky 11-year-old acrobat Ivan Ivanovich must cross Siberia to far off Irkutsk to recover her.
5. A crew of astronauts set out on the most dangerous mission ever, a voyage from Mizar in Ursa Major (The Great Bear) to Polaris in Ursa Minor (The Little Bear). Apparently they're obsessed with bears, although this is carrying it a bit far.
6. Seventeen-year-old Kendra Langton sets out to follow the path of Odysseus in her sailboat, Star Bear. It's supposed to be an educational vacation, but when she encounters Charybdis and then gets attacked by a Cyclops, she realizes she's in for rough sailing. Could Circe be behind this?
7. Every solstice, Grock the centaur makes the pilgrimage to the Ring of Stones to learn about his destiny from the Star Bear. This year, his oracle is silent and Grock needs to find out why the stars' voices have been stilled.
Dear Evil Editor,
Attached please find my 523 word very haiku horror picture story for all ages, [If it's haiku, we don't need a word count; we need a syllable count.] [Not sure what the word "very" is modifying. Very haiku? As opposed to somewhat haiku? Would a somewhat haiku book be written using a lower percentage of haiku, or would it just have some inferior haiku, like with eight syllables in the middle line?] The Star Bear Odyssey. You mentioned that you would be interested in seeing it. [Note to self: Henceforth no more than two beers per night at a writers conference.]
The crash-landing of another traveller, expelled from his own star, rudely interrupts a small water bear space traveller’s journey. [These strings of modifiers (very haiku horror picture, small water bear space) don't help your cause, partly because they seem like randomly chosen words.] [Here's a haiku I just composed using your word-string method:
Small water bear space
Very haiku horror pics
Charge tennis cow spring.
Is that what the haiku in your book are like?]
The empathetic star bear is glad to receive company and agrees to take care of the foundling. A tale reminiscent of a twining of Roald Dahl’s dark humor and Poe’s psychological distress unfolds.
[Edgar Allan Poe
And Roald Dahl entwining.
On one level it is a simple story of survival. On another level it is about depression, abuse, and the betrayal of trust.
And the betrayal of trust.
Sounds like a downer.]
The outcome is necessarily tragic, but also a pyrrhic victory, in that the star bear’s cells serve as a fragile evolutionary bridge on earth. Panspermia is an unlikely but possible scientific theory for the sustenance of life on earth. [For those who don't want to look it up, panspermia is the theory that sperm from a star bear traveled through space until it encountered the egg of an Earth mammal, resulting in the creation of Yogi Bear.]
I wrote the book during a period of severe depression, for which it served as a kind of catharsis. I have had it edited professionally by Hat Trick Rooster, a published Xanaduian poet. [I Googled the words Xanaduian poet but Google insisted I meant Canadian poet. I guess that means they never heard of a poet from Xanadu. (Personally, I'm surprised they've heard of any poets from Canada.) Then I Googled Hat Trick Rooster and got this 1961 Australian ad for Red Rooster's Hawaiian Hat Trick box of food.] [I had no idea Australian ads were as annoying as American ads. "Chunks and chips." That sounds appetizing.] [Does a haiku author really need a haiku editor? Haiku are only about eight words long. I guess the editor can confirm that each line has the right number of syllables. And some words do have questionable syllabic totals. For instance, Xanaduian. If you pronounce it Zan a du ee an it's five syllables, but if you pronounce it Zan a du yen it's four. If I were writing a haiku, I'd go with four syllables. Otherwise it takes up the entire first line. To illustrate, compare these haiku:
Brings pleasure to Kublai Khan
But not to students.
It describes Rooster Hat Trick,
Whoever that is.
As haiku, they're equally great, but the first one has more words. That's the point I'm trying to make.] [Wild guess: Xanaduian TV ads are less annoying than Australian TV ads.]
I am at a loss as to what type of publication (other than/self-publishing) it might appeal to. (which I won't mention) [I agree that it's a mistake to mention in a query that you believe self-publishing is your best bet.]
I am an artist and aspiring illustrator-author, an avid reader, and fascinated by the evolution of books, reading and technology. The illustrations for Star Bear are done on smooth, bleed proof paper in mixed media. The haikus are written in calligraphy as part of each illustration. I found the physical act of handwriting in itself therapeutic. [I don't even remember how to perform the physical act of handwriting.]
I look forward to hearing from you.
Maybe this would be a hit in Japan. Or maybe it would be cool for teachers to use when covering poetry in elementary school.
Clearly you need to include sample pages so editors can judge the quality of the art, calligraphy and haiku. If they like what they see, they will probably want a lot more of the story than you provide here. The mention of horror/Poe/Dahl leads me to believe there's a plot. Are the bear and the foundling the only characters? What happens when they get here? What's this about betrayal? Summarize the story. Then add:
Haiku book, complete
With space bear illustrations.