Guess the Plot
The Orphan Files
1. There are a million stories in the orphanage, and we're going to shove each and every one down your throat, one miserable, tear-jerking page at a time. Damn right you should feel guilty.
2. Thousands of elderly orphans descend upon a Philadelphia orphanage, demanding their files in order to at last learn the identities of their parents. They are shocked to discover that all of them were fathered by NBA star Wilt Chamberlain.
3. Lauren and her friends are playing amateur detective when they follow an old lady into the orphanage museum. It's all in fun--until the woman goes to the mysterious, off-limits third floor. And the game's afoot.
4. When Skippy Woodstock’s parents die in an air liner crash, the tyke finds himself sole heir to an immense fortune. After the funeral, tax lawyers, financial planners, and con artists descend, each touting ways for Skippy to avoid the Death Tax. Who will be chosen when... The Orphan Files?
5. Rage.dll is an orphan file remaining after Rage Warriors is uninstalled. Rage is lonely and depressed with nothing to do. When its computer is idle, Rage surfs the net. It discovers billions of other orphan files and organizes them. They invade computers across the Internet to bring down the civilization that abandoned them.
6. Three destitute teens, best friends since childhood, leave their babies on the doorstep of an orphanage the same night. Decades later they long to know what became of their children. They break into the orphanage one night and steal the files of the only children abandoned there that day long ago. But which is which?
At first Lauren thinks tracking the old lady through the orphanage museum is just another eye-roll-worthy game. She’ll play along to make her friends happy, but pretty soon the lady will leave without having stolen even the tiniest artifact, and then everything will be over except Danae’s lecture on “Maybe Next Time” and “You Never Know.”
But then the old lady traipses up to the museum’s off-limits third floor. Calling the authorities would obviously take way too much time, so Lauren and her friends have no choice but to follow the lady themselves. Turns out, though, that the lady, Mrs. Oliva, isn’t there to pinch the paintings or steal the silver collection. [Referring to her as the "old lady" and "the lady" four times is a bit strange when they know who she is. Why not use her name from the beginning?] Instead she’s looking for papers her friend lost at the orphanage fifty years ago. [If they learn this by confronting her and asking her, say so.
Lauren: What are you doing on the off-limits third floor?
Mrs. Oliva: I'm, uh, looking for some papers a friend of mine lost fifty years ago. And there they are! Didya ever notice it's always in the last place you look?]
Lauren and her friends jump at the chance to crack a real case, and soon their sleuthing turns up a hot lead. [To where the papers are?] But right when they’re poised to follow it, Mrs. Oliva forbids them to investigate further.
Lauren can read between the lines. Person or persons unknown must be threatening or blackmailing Mrs. Oliva, which means she needs their help more than ever. Now on a mission to keep Mrs. Oliva safe, the girls shadow her to their prime suspect’s house, where Lauren discovers that Mrs. Oliva’s been lying to them. Big time. [Do they go inside the house?] And even worse, she’s convinced Lauren’s friend’s brother to steal more orphanage papers for her. [Any orphanage papers?]
Now Lauren has to figure out how to keep her friend’s brother out of jail, bring Mrs. Oliva to justice, [What is Mrs. Oliva's crime? What happened to their mission to keep her safe? Who is she to them?] and solve the fifty-year-old mystery of the orphan’s papers. [Is the mystery why someone wants the papers? Do the papers solve a mystery? If so, what mystery?] All before her parents realize she’s snuck out in the middle of the night. [Does this all take place in one night?]
My middle-grade mystery, The Orphan Files, is complete at 30,000 words. I hope to feature Lauren and her friends in a continuing series. Thank you for your time and consideration.
How many of Lauren's friends are in on this, and how old are they?
This is well-written, but too vague. It's okay to keep the mystery of what the papers are secret; it's not known to the kids. But if you want us to be intrigued, you need to reveal some of what they know. What is the hot lead they turn up? Who is their prime suspect, and why? What did Mrs. Oliva tell them that is a big-time lie?
In a murder mystery, the mystery is whodunnit. We have a crime and we have several suspects with motives. I want to know what, specifically, Lauren and her friends are trying to find out.
I think it would be better if Mrs. Oliva were recruiting Lauren's brother instead of Lauren's friend's brother.