Guess the Plot
Oliver and the Underlings
1. Oliver has been trapped inside a query for months now. Will the creatures who live inside the book help him find a way out before EE rips the query to shreds?
2. Puberty is a trying time for any teenage boy, but when Oliver finds his balls have learnt to talk life becomes intolerable. Not only do the sentient Underlings chime in at the most inopportune moments, especially when girls are present, but the hot and sweaty atmosphere is making them increasingly irritable. Can Oliver make peace with his testy testes in time to get a date for the junior prom?
3. Fifteen-year-old Ollie is an awkward genius. He invents tiny micro photo-robots, the Underlings, and plants them in cheerleaders' underwear. As girls disrobe, face-blocked photos are posted to a porno website. When three of them are abducted. Ollie knows all about it while the cops clueless. If he gives the data to the police, he goes to prison for teen porn. Somehow he must free the girls and capture the criminals himself.
4. Oliver Wendell Livingston wants to start a ska-steampunk band, like Springheel Jack or Steam Powered Giraffe. His financial adviser father decides to buy him a band that already exists--the struggling Underlings. But can they make beautiful music together, or will Oliver have to retreat to the family basement?
5. Bad enough that the creepy old man who's been after Oliver's mother for years turns out to be Oliver's grandfather; now monsters are coming out of the closet all over town. Oliver puts together a team to deal with the chaos in this middle grade story filled with adult sexual innuendo.
6. Oliver the poodle is highly protective of his family. So when he discovers a group of little goblins living behind the fireplace, he tries to warn the humans. But will they listen before it's too late?
7. Oliver has grand dreams of starting his own Mafia family. Unfortunately, he’s an orphan, his entire family wiped out by an unfortunate accident with a cheese grater and five peaches. If only he could find some underlings willing to crown him their godfather.
Dear Evil Editor:
All eleven-year-old Oliver Bradshaw wants is a normal life. A safe place he can call home. [A lavish wardrobe.] Some friends. That's hard to have when his [friends mock him for having a name that's an anagram of "lavish wardrobe" and his] mom is running from a creepy old man, his dad is missing, and monsters are coming out of closets all over his new town. [It's about time wolfmen and vampires and monsters came out of the closet.]
When the monsters kidnap Oliver's classmates, Oliver must enter their world to get them back. [Why is this Oliver's responsibility?] [Grammatically, "their" refers to Oliver's classmates.] [Where is the monsters' world and how does Oliver enter it? Can anyone enter it? By walking into a closet?] He needs an army for this rescue mission. What he has is his quick-to-scare best friend, a devil-may-care bully, and a friendly monster that looks like a wad of chewing gum.
Oliver quickly finds the monsters' world to be a complicated one, full of fighting monster clans and weird technology powered by magic instead of electricity. While there, he runs into his grandfather, a traveler between the two worlds. His grandfather is searching for Oliver's missing dad, kidnapped when Oliver was just a year old, and has recruited the ugliest, meanest-looking monsters in the entire underworld to help him. If that weren't bad enough, [Why is that bad? If you're on a mission in monster land, don't you want the best monsters on your team?] his grandfather is the creepy old man his mom has been running from for years. [Not clear why mom didn't recognize the creepy old man in all those years.]
If Oliver can't sort out his true allies from his enemies, not only will he fail in rescuing his dad and his classmates, but the monster war will spill into his own world, and nowhere will ever be safe again. [He needs a better goal than "sorting out" his allies and enemies. He needs to shut down access to his world by the monsters. How's he plan to do that?]
OLIVER AND THE UNDERLINGS is a 50,000 word middle grade fantasy novel.
By day, I work at a university, writing software to transfer electronic student records from one computer to another. By night, I write fiction to transfer stories from my imagination to the imaginations of others. I view both professions as a kind of magic. [Cute paragraph. Get rid of it.]
I have published short fiction in markets such as Spider, Stories for Children, knowonder! magazine, and Kids'Magination. I am also a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature and the Gotham Writers' Workshop, and I am a member of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators.
Thank you for the opportunity to present my work to you. My novel is complete should you desire to see more.
You say nowhere will ever be safe again if the monster war spills into our world, but as the monsters are already coming out of closets all over town and kidnapping people, is anywhere safe even now?
It's kind of listy. A list of stuff Oliver wants, of stuff that's going on, of characters who are his underlings and of stuff he finds in the monsters' world. Try to limit yourself to one list, and tell us the story rather than listing elements of the story . . .
. . . Which will be easier to do if you focus on one plot line. When monsters cross into our world and kidnap all of Oliver Bradshaw's classmates, it's up to Oliver to recruit a hostage rescue team. Unfortunately, the only allies he can find are his quick-to-scare best friend, a devil-may-care bully, and a friendly monster that looks like a wad of chewing gum.
Getting there is the easy part--every bedroom in town is a portal to monsterland. But . . .
Now you can tell us their plan and what goes wrong and why failure is not an option.