Monday, January 21, 2013
Guess the Plot
Sir Celery and the Hornworm
1. Sir Celery stalks a killer hornworm in order to dig up some dirt. He'll have to pull some strings in order to produce the evidence he needs, though he risks soiling his own reputation. Meanwhile, the hornworm eats, shoots and leaves.
2. When a hungry hornworm spies Lady Tomato, he thinks he might not starve to death after all. But he didn't know the Knights of the Veggie Table used chemical warfare. Sir Celery to the rescue!
3. An elderly celery stalk undertakes a quest to rid the world of hornworm. He and his aid, a carrot, are mount their guinea pig chargers, Chipper and Daisy. The vegetable pair are armed with a fondue skewer and plastic cocktail swords. All goes well until Chipper’s and Daisy’s stomachs growl.
4. Sir Celery was disliked by the rest of the vegetables. He was stiff, stringy, and enjoyed peanut butter way too much for the rest of the garden denizens. Until the hornworms moved in, and Sir Celery was the only stalk with the backbone to take on the death-eaters in green-blooded battle. Also, tomatoes with relationship issues.
5. An aging singer, with the punk rock band Sir Celery and Mr. Hornworm, tries to make a last go of it on the road. There, he meets a young man who has his eye on music success. What lessons will the old singer share?
6. Scotland Yard Detective Jack Celery is knighted for service to the Queen. Now, with his trusty second, Sergeant Hornworm, they'll tackle their toughest case yet. Some fiend has been mutilating Post and Kellogg deliverymen. It’s history’s first cereal killer.
7. One writer bets another one hundred dollars he can stump EE and the minions with the most inane title ever. The minions are unimpressed.
8. Craft mezcal producer, Juan, cheapens his product by replacing the maguey worm with hornworm. All goes well until a drug cartel boss’s moll drops a celery stalk into her Margarita. The worm turns and attacks the celery. The moll pukes all over the boss’s fifty-thousand dollar antique loveseat. And pieces of Juan are strewn about Oaxaca.
Deep within The Garden a battle for survival rages.
The deadly hornworm has arrived and threatens to drain fair Lady Tomato of her very life. Valiant Sir Celery, a Knight of the Veggie Table, hears her cries and strives to save her. [Spoiler alert.] Quick-thinking and organic chemical warfare defeats the hornworm moments before Lady Tomato’s skin is pierced. [Thus saving her virtue.]
Sir Celery and the Hornworm (715 words) is a garden adventure (think “Veggie Tales meets Camelot”) for children aged 4-7. Non-fiction facts at the conclusion describe ways farmers use intercropping to organically protect against insect infestation and crop loss in age-appropriate terms. [You had me at Sir Celery. You lost me with intercropping.] [Now if the hornworm has his way with Lady Tomato, and the moral of the story is that the gardener should have used intercropping, okay.] The subject matter lends itself to development into a series [in which Sir Celery will take on such fearsome villains as mealy worms, earwigs, and an aphid named Anthony].
As an avid gardener and a former college biology teacher, I hope my vegetable heroes [such as Baron Broccoli, Captain Eggplant, and The Cucumber Kid] will nourish the nature-curious reader while fostering positive attitudes that facilitate [encourage] a healthy diet. [And not attitudes like, I'm not eating Sir Celery! Who else will take on the evil hornworms?!!] [Or the attitude that it's acceptable to use weapons of mass destruction against those who are just trying to avoid starvation.]
I am a member of SCBWI and received an Honorable Mention in Writer’s Digest’s annual competition (2011). [The fact that they call it an Honorable Mention doesn't make it worth mentioning.] I had the pleasure of hearing your presentations at SCBWI Illinois’ Prairie Writer’s Day and appreciate the opportunity to submit this manuscript for your consideration. I hope Sir Celery suits your taste. Thank you very much for your time.
Cute. And it's a lazy agent who will refuse to look at a 715-word manuscript. Or at least to request sentences.
Is the intercropping appendix part of the 715 words? I'm inclined to advise leaving out the intercropping, at least from the query. You could still offer it as an optional addition with the manuscript. Although . . . Your goal (you say) is to promote a healthy diet. Or is it to encourage intercropping or to give advice on pest prevention?
Is there anything in the plot that suggests we should eat more celery? I ask only because when children's books feature talking bunnies and duckies with human names, it doesn't encourage kids to eat those animals.
We need an avid entomologist to write a book in which sweet naive Henry Hornworm is gassed by an army of evil celery stalks. Apparently whichever character gets a cute name is the one we side with.