Friday, October 12, 2007
Guess the Plot
1. Wake up, lick owner, pee outside. Run around. Nap. Pee outside. Dinner dinner dinner, walk! Poop outside! Tease cat, lick owner, sleep. Repeat.
2. Danna competes at dog shows with her beloved miniature Poodle, winning ribbons wherever they go. When gorgeous hunk Brett Grandam begins showing his Borzoi, will Danna stay true to her breed?
3. Laketown's SPCA thinks it'll be a great fundraiser--a calendar of the cutest dogs in the pound. But when local photographer/restauranteur Sun Yi Park is through with the calendar's models, the town's got more to worry about than setting up a Paypal account.
4. Escaped slave Samantha thought her dog Charlie was an ordinary dog--until she discovered that genetically engineered dragons had been programmed to capture him. Can she free the other slaves and prevent a war with the talking trees while also protecting Charlie?
5. Life was simple for Miss Buttons and Miniver. Young widow Anne McDonald provided plenty of tuna, and cat perches that let them see the birds and squirrels outside. But when Daniel Richardson, a breeder of champion spaniels, starts to help Anne open up her heart again, Miss Buttons and Miniver realize this is the beginning of the . . . Dog Days.
6. Terminal cancer patient Steve Marsden makes a deal with the devil: his eternal soul in exchange for 7665 extra days of life, just long enough to see his infant daughter grow up and get married. But Satan mischievously grants Steve 7665 dog days, which pass at seven times the speed of human days. Can Steve get his daughter married off by the age of three?
Dear Evil Editor,
I am submitting this query to you because you are so deliciously evil, you love middle grade and fantasy is your favorite genre.
My elevator pitch: In a world of talking trees and flying dragons, a thirteen-year-old slave and her not-so-ordinary dog escape the farm for the forest and the city only to find that no place is safe on the eve of war. [My elevator pitch: Twelve, please.]
Thirteen-year-old Samantha thinks Charlie is a normal dog. But the Farmers are more interested in recapturing him then [than] in bringing back their escaped slave. The reclusive, bark-skinned Treens in the forest readily accept her because Charlie’s by her side. The city people who are supposed to be helping her try to steal Charlie. [Easy to read that sentence as the subject and wonder what happened to the predicate. Perhaps dashes after "people" and "her"?] Not to mention there are genetically engineered dragons programmed to catch him. [Everyone seems to know what's so special about Charlie--except his owner? I'm sure I'll understand why, as soon as you reveal Charlie's amazing quality/ability, which you'll be doing any second now, right?]
All Samantha wants is a safe place to live. Instead, she’s caught in the middle of a city / forest / farm hate triangle. She learns the truth about the Treens, the animals (including Charlie) and the Farmers’ children - the children that the city people say are the Farmers’ army. Can she and her ragtag, dysfunctional group – a city boy, a farm girl, a young Treen, and a dog – [Wait a minute, a girl from a farm with her dog, accompanied by a ragtag group of three, talking trees, going to the city for help . . . Is this Munchkinland?] free the animals and the Farmers’ children [If the children are being held captive, how can they be the farmers' army?] before war destroys the farm, the city and the forest?
Dog Days, my first novel, is complete at 18,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Is the impending war to be fought among the city, forest and farms? If so, why are they going to war?
Are the talking trees mobile? Or do they just stand there talking?
Who is holding the animals and the farmers' children captive? Why didn't Samantha already know this, as she's been on a farm?
18,000 words will easily fit on about 80 pages, which makes your book the thickness of 40 sheets of paper. That's pretty thin for a novel, even for middle grades. More importantly, that's not many words in which to describe a world that consists of three separate lands, that has talking trees and dragons, where 13-year-old girls are enslaved, where war is imminent, where one dog is the key to everyone's hopes and dreams. I worry that the book, like the query, needs more information.
And what's so special about Charlie, and why hasn't Samantha noticed it?