Monday, April 07, 2008
Guess the Plot
Frederica and the Heir to the Underworld
1. Ever since Frederica began working for the sewage maintenance company she has harboured dreams of making it to the highest rank of sewage worker. If only she can beat her claustrophobia.
2. Frederica's sanctuary is the tree house in her back yard. So it's understandable that she is extremely upset when the Lord of the Underworld decides to use the tree house as his new headquarters. Hilarity ensues.
3. When Ellen flees her strait-laced family and meets a handsome stranger, she misunderstands his introduction, thinking him in the underwear business. When she discovers that he's actually the son of Satan, will she be pleased or disappointed?
4. Frederica Gates has a crush on Mario Viscioni, a stunningly handsome boy who sits next to her in Biology. But he's not like other kids--he has a chauffeur, and big men with guns escort him everywhere. Is he merely rich, or is he really a Mafia scion?
5. Frederica is a typical California teenager, so she's a little upset when her father shows up after a ten-year absence and takes her away from her school and friends. Lucky for Freddie her latest crush happens to be Polydegmon, Greek god of the underworld. Surely he'll rescue her. Also, insane crows.
6. There's a new kid at Grover Cleveland Middle School: Damien Shatan, a quiet, dark-eyed boy who never speaks to anyone. Frederica Collins, math whiz and new herself, decides to try and bring him out of his shell. What will happen when she discovers he isn't just different--he's actually from Hell?
Dear Benevolent Editor,
Frederica Fitzgerald is a typical teenager with the usual boy troubles and problems with her parents. Ok, so she’s crushing on the heir of the Underworld- the Greek one with the dog- and most of her class mates wouldn’t know Hades from a hamburger. [That last part, after the dash, has nothing to do with why she's not really typical. Dump it.] Actually her dad’s not so normal either. [Actually, you never claimed her dad was normal.] After all, how many kids her age have a self-centered ancient god for a father?
“Frederica and the Heir to the Underworld” is a young adult urban fantasy set in the breezy sunshine of a SoCal spring and the fog-laden gloom of the Underworld. The novel is complete at 75K words.
The week before Freddy's sweet sixteen she’s nearly run over by a tall, dark dreamboat on a big white horse. [This guy.] Freddy can deal with the running over part- no harm done. It’s the rider- Mr. Sex Bomb himself- who turns out to be the real problem. From the moment he helps her butt up from the asphalt, Freddy’s got it bad for Polydegmon. [Anagram: Monopoly dog. The dog is one of the better Monopoly tokens, along with the race car and battleship. The hat, shoe, iron, cannon and thimble are for losers. At least I think that's supposed to be a cannon. Even blown up to the actual size of a cannon that thing's barrel couldn't hold anything bigger than a BB.] [My favorite Monopoly spaces:
5. B & O Railroad. When someone buys it you can taunt them for having BO.
4. Marvin Gardens. Is it a street or a guy's name?!
3. Water Works. It's funny because it's alliterative.
2. Chance. Much more intriguing than Community Chest because it has a big question mark on the board.
1. Jail. It's two spaces in one: You can be in jail, or just visiting!!] Freddy can get over his weird name (what kind of sadistic parents name their kid Polydegmon anyway?) and the way he dresses isn’t quite a deal-breaker (dude, togas went out of style a couple thousand years ago). No, Freddy’s real problem is that Polydegmon is as mysterious as he is good-looking, and wherever he goes trouble seems to follow: rabid dogs suddenly running around the suburbs, insane crows trying to peck Freddy and her friends to death at the local burger joint and other less than savory occurences.
Among these ongoing disasters, Freddy’s long lost and not so dear old dad- Cernunnos, the God of the Hunt- himself suddenly drops back into the picture for the first time in a decade. Cernunnos needs his daughter back, [Why?] and he doesn’t care about nitpicky things like school, friends, or ripping Freddy away from anything she’s ever cared about. When Daddy-dearest carries Freddy off to his otherworldly realm it falls to Polydegmon to help her escape, and stop all these stupid supernatural shenanigans from ruining both their lives.
A SASE for your reply has been included, and I look forward to sending you the complete manuscript. Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.
I'm not sure what makes this urban fantasy as opposed to plain old contemporary fantasy. While I expect the tone of an urban fantasy to have plenty of humor, the subject matter tends to be dark and edgy. The tone of the query is making this sound like a comedy. If it's a comedy, I'd call it a fantasy. If it's not, you might tone down the humor in the query a bit and show us the dark side.
While there's no lack of specificity here, we do slip into generality a few times: "and other less than savory occurrences" (note double "r") ; "from anything she’s ever cared about"; all these stupid supernatural shenanigans. Better to name a third unsavory occurrence than to say and other ones. Better to say ripping Freddie away from her favorite mall than "anything she cares about." What are all these shenanigans?
Why would Polly or Cernunnos cause crows to try to kill Freddie? Isn't Polly a little old for Freddie?
You might be better off starting with paragraph 3 (which can be two paragraphs), adding paragraph 2 to your closing, and dumping paragraph 1. You don't lose any key information, and you get to a better query length. It would open something like:
The week before Freddy's sweet sixteen she’s nearly run over by Mr. tall, dark and handsome on a big white horse. Freddy can deal with the running over part- no harm done. The problem is the rider: Polydegmon, Greek god of the Underworld.
From the moment . . .