Thursday, July 24, 2008
Guess the Plot
1. Jimmy’s baby brother witnessed the murder of their Uncle Wences, standing in his crib as the assailant swept through the front window and strangled the old man. The detectives promised to solve the case but Jimmy was unconvinced. All they had to go on was the cryptic word his baby brother kept repeating: “Tarawa. Tarawa.” Unfortunately, no one knew what the hell that meant.
2. Justin was busy saving a bus load of preschoolers when the Justice League handed out the rallying cries for its members. Now he's stuck screaming, "Tarawa!" instead of something cool. It's affecting his self-esteem, his sex life, and--most importantly--his marketability for endorsement contracts. What's a superhero to do???
3. When her town is ransacked and burned to the ground by roving bandits, Tarawa is forced into the wilderness. On death's door, she's rescued by a mysterious monk, who trains her in the ancient art of killing. Years later, she's capable of killing anyone with a single blow. But when she finds love in the form of a simple farmer, she must decide if life is worth something after all.
4. Kidnapped from Earth by the king of the elfes of Tarawa, Fay Emory sides with the Tarawan enemy, Suva, in war. The big question is, when a war has lasted a thousand years, is there anything a 12-year-old girl can do to end it? Also, a frog that isn't transformed into a prince.
5. When Master Sergeant Shepard McManus wakes, he sees the rising sun of Tojo flapping over the base. The assault had failed and Tarawa stood firmly in the hands of the Japanese. Thus begins the alternate history of Japan as the dominant power in the Pacific.
6. In Tarawa, words are dangerous tools. Speaking the wrong one can be deadly. When Lieh, street urchin and petty thief, discovers an ancient dictionary, she has no idea the terrors she'll unleash on the city. Can she figure out how to undo the damage, or will her words come back to haunt her?
Dear Evil Editor:
Researching via the Internet, I found your agency and decided to contact you for representation of my young adult fantasy ‘Tarawa’. With an approximate count of ninety thousand words, it has similarities to Philip Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials Book One, The Golden Compass’, whose protagonist’s life is challenged [by?] her parent’s [Parents'?] secrets. [I'd rather you tell me something about your book before you bring up Philip Pullman's.]
Twelve when kidnapped from Earth by her long-absent father Deryck, King of the Elfes of Tarawa, Fay Emory rebels. Stunned she is an Elfe, [If she made it to age 12 without even knowing she was an elfe, it can't be much different from being a human.] Fay does not want to be a princess either. Befriending a frog faery a kiss will not transform into a prince, rejecting a king her father betroths her to, [Sorry, sire, but I refuse to marry beneath myself.] and wearing a sword but refusing to fight, [Fight? Don't be silly, this is just an accessory.] Fay’s differences propel her to champion Tarawa’s enemy, the underworld Troll kingdom of Suva. Ending an unjust war that’s lasted a thousand years is a lofty goal. [If there's anyone still alive after a thousand years of war, they must be fighting with squirt guns and snowballs.] It’s also as dangerous as Fay fears. [That's it? What happens? What's her role in ending the war? Warrior? Negotiator? Marry the Suvan prince? None of these seems reasonable for a 12-year-old kid.]
Having decided to write fiction, I attended The Wimbledon Writer’s Conference in Middlemarch, England in 2005, [where my writing stayed about the same, but my backhand improved immensely,] and Erstwhile College’s ‘Writers’ in Purgatory’ Conference in Hell, Nevada in 2006. Based on recommendations, I have studied books on technique and written virtual reams to improve my skills. [I, too, have written virtual reams, in my persona as Poet Laureate of Sim City. Someday I may start doing some actual writing.] Regularly, I also exchange pieces and critiques with writers I met at both conferences.
Enclosed in this email are the first ten pages and a brief synopsis of ‘Tarawa’. Thank you for taking time for my query.
For some reason I can't get that song out of my head. How does it go? Tarawa Boom De Ay?
Tarawa sounds like baby talk. Replace the "w" with any other consonant or any consonant plus an "i" or an "h."
The title means nothing to anyone.
Apparently Tarawa isn't on Earth. How did the kidnappers get Fay there?
Young adults usually don't want to read about 12-year-olds. Have you considered making Fay older or calling it middle-grade?
Lose the paragraph with your credits and give us more information about the plot.