Guess the Plot
Emily's Guide to Owning a Castle
1. Clean the dungeon once a century. Dust and polish armor daily. Feed the servants well. And above all, never feed the moat monsters before a big battle.
2. Don't build too near the waves on the beach. Don't let your pesky brother design the moat. Don't use all your prettiest shells. Make sure to get a picture, because you can't take it home after vacation.
3. Locate a castle. Identify the owner of the castle. Kill the owner of the castle. Defend your new domain from would-be heroes. Locate another castle.
4. Emily Perkin is ecstatic to learn she's inherited an English castle. Then she learns the pile of rubble is in the middle of a war between hunky government official Nate Burnstead who condemned it and gorgeous Harry Stone of Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, who has the hots for Nate.
5. Emily Lathinger might have passed away 437 years ago, and even her ghost is dementing, but there is no way she is going to let go of her castle. Not after all the lying, bloodshed, fornication and brown nosing she went through to inherit.
6. When Emily discovers a boy trapped in a well in the castle she just inherited, she considers him a pest--until he offers to cure her best friend of a life-threatening genetic disorder if Emily helps him. It sounds too good to be true. What's the catch?
7. My niece Emily tells adults how to adult [meme talk for being responsible owners] with castles - typical. [winky face, hearts]
8. A handy guide to any ghosts that have inhabited a place for a thousand years only to have some rich Amerians come in and try to renovate it for profit. Emily's own story of fighting and winning will be a source of hope and inspiration for ghosts everywhere!
Dear Evil Editor,
Emily Clare is not excited about inheriting a thousand-year-old castle from a great-grandmother she has never met. She is not excited about starting at a new school in England, a country she has never visited. And she is absolutely, positively not excited about being pestered by a mysterious boy trapped in a well beneath her castle.
[Boy: Help!! Help!! I'm trapped in the well! Get me outta here! Lower a rope! Call your father!
Emily: Quit pestering me.]
That is, until the boy promises to magically grant Emily’s wish to cure her best friend’s life-threatening genetic disorder. All Emily has to do is find a particular gold coin as payment.
[Boy: I'll cure your best friend of her life-threatening genetic disorder if you'll rescue me from this well.
Emily: Okay, it's a deal.
Boy: Not so fast. I have other demands.]
As Emily works with her new classmates to locate the coin, she starts to piece together the secret history of the castle and her family's links to the legendary King Arthur. [Intriguing, but vague. Instead of "she starts to piece together the secret history of the castle and her family's links to the legendary King Arthur," you could give us the specifics, i.e. "she learns that the castle belonged to the legendary King Arthur, who once had his way with one of Emily's ancestors on top of the round table.] The closer she gets to finding the coin, [If the coin's so well-hidden that no one's stumbled across it in a thousand years, how does Emily know how close she is to finding it?] the more Emily doubts the boy’s intentions. [Seems like what Emily should be doubting is his ability to magically grant wishes when he can't even get out of a well.] [What does he claim his intentions are?] But once she finally discovers the boy’s true identity and how closely their fates are intertwined, it may be too late to save her castle, her family, or her friends. ["But" seems like the wrong word, as it suggests a reversal of her feelings, when she was already doubting him. I'd change "But once" to "And when."]
Emily’s Guide to Owning a Castle is a middle-grade light fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy and Fablehaven. It is a complete stand-alone at approximately 63,000 words, but also has series potential. [Is this novel written in the form of a guide? If people see the title and assume the book is a nonfiction guide rather than a novel, they might not even give it a look.]
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Is Emily's best friend in England or in wherever she just moved from?
How does the kid in the well know about Emily's friend's genetic disorder?
Assuming the kid in the well is a magician from King Arthur's time and a magic spell turned him into a boy and is keeping him in the well and preventing him from doing any magic until a specific coin is found, seems like he'd have managed to talk someone else into helping him over the past thousand years. I guess no one else has been able to find the coin, and lowering a ladder or a rope hasn't worked for magical reasons, and whenever the castle owner tries to get the villagers to help free the boy, they show up and there's no boy and possibly no well, which makes the castle owner look like an idiot, so for centuries there's been an unwritten rule passed down to owners of this castle to ignore the kid in the well? How'm I doing?
The query isn't bad, although it's hard to buy anyone discovering a boy trapped in a well and recruiting her friends to hunt for a thousand-year-old coin while the boy remains in the well. Does even one of her friends suggest organizing a massive rescue operation to save the boy in the well, instead of looking for the coin?
How does Emily recruit her friends? "I know how we can cure Ellie of her Gaucher's Disease. First we'll need a magic coin that's been missing a thousand years."? Or does she tell them about the boy in the well?