Friday, February 01, 2013
Guess the Plot
Cave of Secrets
1. 49-year-old virgin and spelunker Bernard Longhard finally gets a date. Wow, has he ever been caving in the wrong places!
2. A trio of wiccans--Larry Lotter, Donald Deasley and Permione Wranger--discover the Cave of Secrets on the outskirts of Bogsmeade whilst hunting the nefarious You-Knew-Whom. Unfortunately, Catman got there first. Will there be room for brooms once the Catmobile gets parked? Also, unicorns, werewolves and giants unite against the humans.
3. Exploring a cave, aspiring marine biologist Paige Watson discovers a makeshift submarine. Is it a forgotten remnant from some war? Or could it be the secret weapon of supervillain Turtleman?
4. It's a cave, and it has secrets, and that's all I'm gonna tell you in my query, but all is revealed in the book. Presumably.
5. Goblins, orcs, and dwarves all know
Where the naughty children go
The ones who won't go right to bed
Or hit their sisters in the head
The ones who never eat their greens
And will not keep their bedroom clean.
They'll come at night, they'll come by day
To take the horrid ones away
Off to the secret cave they go
Where there are children you may know
Ellen, David, Mary Jean
Jayden, Robert, LaTyrene.
All were naughty,all were bad
They drove their folks and teachers mad
But now they toil, far away
And never get a chance to play
Or dance beneath the happy sun
Jumping up and down for fun.
So listen children, don't be bad
Or make your Mom and Daddy mad
Always be good and nice and kind
Else one day you just might find
Goblins have come to get you, so
Off to their secret cave you go.
If it really is a submarine, they’ve found more than just adventure. [We don't need this sentence. Save it till we know what "it" is and who "they" are.]
Paige Watson – a cross between Nancy Drew and a young Stephanie Plum – is thirteen when her dad lands a summer fellowship in the Caribbean. Other girls might balk at leaving home for that long. That’s another thing she can’t stand about them. [Another thing? What was the first thing?] [Also, I don't recall Stephanie Plum ever leaving Trenton, New Jersey.] Marine biology ranks way over friends. Cruz Rivera lives on the island of Culebra, and snorkels all summer. [I would start a new paragraph with Cruz. Or move him to sentence 2 in this paragraph.] When they meet on the reef, he knows they’ll hit it off. He’s wrong. Even adrift in the Atlantic, clinging to the same boogie board, she’s the queen of awkward silences and he’s an idiot. ["Idiot" isn't the best word. We want a semi-endearing word for the "hero," like flake, screwball, misfit, kook . . .]
Between the perils of Puerto Rico’s coast and a makeshift submarine deep in a cave, whatever they have – and it’s not friendship – actually clicks. [You just said he was wrong to believe they would hit it off. Now you say they click.] Why would anyone need a secret sub? The only path from the cave leads to a Fish and Wildlife guy, who’s definitely not interested in the turtles he pretends. [He pretends turtles? How about: not as interested in turtles as he pretends.] [Also, if you can't convince a thirteen-year-old you're interested in turtles, you're not trying hard enough.] When the tide changes, gun barrels are flashing and the undertow’s far worse than they expected. [Whoa, I missed it. When did Blue Lagoon turn into Thunderball?]
CAVE OF SECRETS is a story about trusting once again, [That Fish and Wildlife guy wasn't really interested in turtles. I just know it. I'll never trust another human being.] [Unless he proves me wrong by showing me he actually is interested in turtles.] a middle grade adventure at 22,000 words. I’m a member of the SCBWI and several critique groups. I've published a few medical papers in the past, but now write middle grade adventure and fantasy.
I do appreciate your time,
Not clear how this is about trusting again. If you just tell the story, including the part where she loses trust, we'll get it.
Each sentence should follow logically from the previous one. Too many of these don't, especially in the "Between the perils" paragraph.
Just tell us what happens. While spending summer on the Caribbean island Culebra, 13-year-old Paige Watson meets Cruz Rivera while snorkeling. Together they stumble on a makeshift submarine in a cave. And?
The Nancy Drew/Stephanie Plum reference made me think comedic mystery. This sounds more like thriller. Admittedly the line between mystery and thriller may blur a bit in the middle grade set. Are the kids trying to solve a crime or save the world? Is Turtleman a common criminal? An evil overlord? An eccentric inventor? Less setup/more plot.
GTP #5: Khazar-khum.