Friday, April 25, 2008
Guess the Plot
Keeping King Tut
1. Alicia Hummer, thrice divorced and bored witless, has had it with men and Texas. All she needs is a bankroll to break free and escape Dullsville, but her get-rich-quick scheme to knock over the Museum of Antiquities comes unraveled when she discovers her booty's got booty. Mummy for money makes for a bad trade when the Mummy's curse is . . . love.
2. Scandal! Meret, housekeeper to the pharaohs, dishes on Egypt's most famous boy king. Did we say boy king? Make that playboy king! Sneak a peek into the lives of the royals, including late-night parties and wacky religious rites. But the most delicious gossip of all involves Tut and a certain half-sister of his . . . Housekeeping has never been so dirty!
3. Josiah Keeper has a problem. He's suddenly found himself in ancient Egypt, and Tutankhamen wants him dead. What's worse is Tut's stepmother, Nefertiti, wants both of them dead. Forced into hiding, can Josiah and Tut work out their differences and see to it that Tut takes his rightful place on the throne?
4. Literary Fiction author Bromeliad Fauntleroy has written the definitive novel of male ennui during the teen angst years. However, to do so, she had to invoke the ghost of King Tut. Now she's stuck with a dusty, moldy zombie with delusions of Godhood and immortality. Can she send Tut back or will the next Empire be governed by the boy-king . . . and his blushing new bride?
5. Managing the tour of King Tut's sarcophogas was supposed to be Cora's big break. Instead it's turning out to be a nightmare. Caught between Egytpian officials demanding the mummy's return and the American officials who won't let it fly without a passport, Cora desperately asks Tut what he wants. Much to her shock, he answers! He wants her. Now, while trying to keep their blooming love under wraps, Cora must decide whether to give Tut up, or keep him for herself.
6. Archaeology student Chas Tommet accidentally raises Tutankhamen from the dead. Their instant friendship is endangered when Tut, sharing Chas's apartment, begins demanding to live in the style to which he was accustomed in his previous life. Chas soon realizes that his meager museum stipend is not up to the monumental task of keeping King Tut. But how do you kill someone who's been dead for centuries?
Josiah Keeper has always been interested in Egyptology; soon he’ll find that history is magic—literally. A 41,600 word historical fantasy, Keeping King Tut is a transitional middle grade novel that seamlessly integrates modern children, a touch of the fantastic, and ancient history.
Josiah has a lot on his plate. [A lot of ribs and fries, or a lot of liver and lima beans?] He has to live with his know-it-all cousin Darah, his uncle’s idea of homeschooling is mountains of homework, and the new kid is arrogant, a bully, and just might want Josiah dead. [Liver and lima beans.] [What is the new kid the new kid in? Town? The 4H club? The neighborhood?] The really bad news? That kid is none other that Tutankhamen, the future king of Egypt— [I think we need to discuss your bad news ranking system.
Under your system, we have:
Bad news: The new kid is an arrogant bully who wants you dead.
Really bad news: The new kid is Tutankhamen.
I suspect most kids would have a completely different order.] Ancient Egypt, which is where Josiah and Darah have somehow found themselves. [So did Tut appear in modern times first, or did they meet when Josiah went back in time?]
Nefertiti, Tut’s stepmother, has seized the throne and is ready to kill anyone who gets in her way—especially the true heir. [To our list of characters whose names sound better when spelled backwards (Hannah, Elle, Bob and Morchcrom) we can now add Tut.] Pursued by a mysterious and deadly High Priest, the three children are forced into hiding together, where Josiah is surprised to find that Tut isn’t quite as cold and imperious as he seemed. Together, they must track down an ancient order, discover a powerful book, and face an unimaginable foe [They must do these things? Or what?] when Josiah realizes that the High Priest is his own long-gone father. [When your missing father turns up in ancient Egypt, long-gone is an understatement.]
Keeping King Tut is a thrilling combination of magic, history, and a (mostly) ordinary boy trying to figure out both.
I recently sold a novelette, “Tangle,” that will be published by Leading Edge in May 2008. I graduated in 2004 with a BA in English from Brigham Young University and attended the BYU Writing for Young Readers conference in June of 2007. If you are interested, I would be happy to send you the full manuscript. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.
A couple words I'd remove: "seamlessly" and "thrilling." If it's thrilling and you've described it well, we already know it's thrilling. The agent will notice how seamlessly you've integrated your story elements without your pointing it out. Agents are notorious for not trusting authors' opinions of their own work.
I assume there's a good reason Josiah doesn't realize the high priest who's pursuing him is his father for so long, but later realizes it is.
How do they get to Egypt? Is that question answered in the book? Does Tut bring them? Does the father? That they somehow find themselves there sounds bad. You want the agent to know there's an explanation.
A bit more clarity about how Tut and Josiah meet and about the stakes, and I'd be happy with this.
Did you name it Keeping King Tut because the kid's name is Keeper? Or vice versa?