Tuesday, May 29, 2012
1. Moto the car can't seem to get his speed over ten miles per hour. If his owner notices, he'll be sent to the junkyard for sure. But wait! No wonder! The idiot's been so busy yacking on his cell phone he hasn't . . . Shifted.
2. When an accident at Oak Ridge nuclear plant threatens a meltdown, Dr. Jack Johnson bravely volunteers to pitch in, receiving what should have been a fatal dose of Gamma radiation. Instead, a shift has occurred. On NASCAR race days, the mild mannered doc becomes the champion avenger of all things rural, the superhero known as . . . the HICK!
3. Stephenie Meyer addict Zoe Dewson always thought it would be cool to be a shape-shifter -- to become an animal that is large and crafty. When she awakens one day to find she shares the fate of Gregor Samsa instead of Jacob Black, her life and her views change.
4. Drake Langdon hates his job mining coal but he loves the chief's daughter Lily. Chief Randal puts Drake on a swing shift in order to keep the lovers apart. When an earthquake traps him a mile below the hills of West Virginia, the only way out is through a condemned mine shaft. But has the trembling earth shifted the shaft?
5. As soon as teenager Kaia arrives in Paris she's arrested as a terrorist. Fortunately, a team of superheroes who have the ability to shift elements want Kaia for her ability to shatter glass. They kidnap her from the police and she joins the team. But will she use her power to shatter the Louvre's glass pyramid?.
6. When a team of shapeshifters all change to look like the president during a White House tour, it's up to tour guide and amateur sleuth Prissy Figbottom to prove which woman is the real president and which ones are imposters. Luckily, Prissy is the one person who knows about the president's new tattoo.
Dear Evil Editor,
Kaia Davis: Painfully shy high school student. Suspected terrorist. And unknowing wielder of an elemental power that could turn the White House into an outhouse. [That outhouse would be big enough for Godzilla. Although I question whether Godzilla would use an outhouse rather than just take a dump in the street.] [On the other hand, maybe the fact that you never see Godzilla dropping logs indicates that he does like a little privacy.] [Then again, whether you like privacy or not, when you discover you're under attack by King Ghidorah and the entire Japanese army, who wouldn't shit their pants? Plus, dropping logs the size of actual logs would be an effective weapon]
Kaia's Monday starts out pretty good. [That sentence would be okay, if a bit blah, if this were the opening of the query, but once you've introduced terrorism and super powers, there's no turning back.] Leaving Pennsylvania for Paris on a foreign exchange program? Terrifying, but exciting, especially when it means getting away from an unloving foster family. Being arrested as a terrorist upon arrival, though, will bring anyone down. Getting rescued by a cute (but cocky) British boy who can control the wind itself? Weird, yes, but an improvement. However, Kaia's day is finally, completely ruined when he drugs and kidnaps her.
Kaia wakes up to find she's been dragged into a covert group made up of teenagers from around the world, all of whom possess the ability to manipulate the elements themselves [Adding "herself," "yourself," etc after a word rarely does anything useful, or at least I, myself, don't think so.] – "shifting" them from gas to liquid [Condensation Boy], altering their structure [Alchem-Miss], or just moving them around really fast and whacking people with them [The Nunchuks Kid].
At first, Kaia feels (for some odd reason) a little out of place. Until, that is, she discovers a silicon-based power of her own which lets her do little things like shatter glass with her mind. [Every team of superheroes needs a member who can shatter glass. Otherwise criminals would be safe hiding in buildings with windows.] [Wait, shattering glass can turn the White House into an outhouse?] [Presumably she has a more useful power than shattering glass. Doing it with your mind may be amazing, but doing it with a brick is equally effective.]
While it sounds kind of cool to join them and become a real-life superhero, Kaia hasn't yet realized there's more to this world than having fun and saving the day. Powerful people have their hands [ladles] in the pot and are cooking up a dangerous soup of [spicy] intrigue, [fishy] conspiracies, and [cheesy] action, laced with a dash of death and a pinch of betrayal to taste. Kaia will have to break out of her [clam] shell – and maybe break some windows [eggs] too – if she's going to [avoid this recipe for disaster.] make it out alive. [An abundance of cooking cliches might be cute if you were trying to sell Murder at Le Cordon Bleu, but here it seems misplaced.] [Also, this is a vague way to tell us about the villains and the danger Kaia faces. It's like opening a menu and reading:
Entree 1: Ingredients are combined lovingly and cooked to perfection, then spooned onto a plate and served.
Entree 2: A medley of items from our kitchen prepared stovetop by our chef and brought to your table.
Entree 3: Stuff, cooked.
Some specifics about these powerful people: who they are, what they want, what happens if they get it, how the superheroes plan to stop them, would be helpful.]
Fortunately, she has some powerful new friends on her side, including her original rescuer, Connor – that cocky, irritating, sarcastic [windbag] Brit… who also happens to be annoyingly attractive when he risks life and limb to protect those he cares about. [For instance, the time he protected his best friend from being mugged outside the Louvre by causing a tornado, he looked annoyingly like Brad Pitt.] [On the bright side, the tornado destroyed the glass pyramid.]
SHIFTED is a YA sci-fi novel with a multicultural cast, complete at 115,000 words. It stands alone but is the first of a planned series of three books.
I am a legal assistant/graphic designer/resident IT… Jill-of-all-trades at a small law firm in Atlanta, Georgia, but I have finally decided not to let my Literature degree and all those Creative Writing courses go to waste. This is my first novel.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
I don't see the need for Kaia being arrested as a terrorist in the query. The kidnapping gets her to the superhero team quickly without raising questions that you don't answer.
You could combine the first two paragraphs into:
Painfully shy high school student Kaia Davis is thrilled to leave behind her unloving foster family for a foreign exchange program in Paris--until she's kidnapped outside Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport by a cocky (but cute) British boy named Connor.
This has the added advantage of telling us Connor's name so that when you mention his name in paragraph 6 you don't have to explain who he is.
Apparently the team know about Kaia's power even though she doesn't?
Just make the part about what happens after the kidnapping as specific as the setup and this'll be 100% better.