Friday, January 16, 2009
Guess the Plot
The End of Normal
1. It's just another day in Des Moines for Shelly and her family. Snow, people in the skywalk, dogs driving the taxis...or has something subtly changed?
2. Trisha thinks she has the most boring life of anyone in her class until Nicole arrives from France and becomes her Best Friend Forever. Trisha helps Nicole with her English and Nicole introduces Trisha to pot and drink. When an all-night party at Nicole's house gets out of hand, Trisha's parents step in and ground her. Can she ever go back to the boring life she had before?
3. Theodora Mulldock had a normal home life in many ways--until she underwent a creepy doctor's revolutionary "procedure." Now she's having nightmares and dealing with the deadly . . . Beings of the Darkness. Is this the end for Theodora? Or just . . . the end of normal?
4. Julia was living in her parent's pool house and ordering take-out with her daddy's unlimited Visa until the bottom fell out of the stock market and Daddy tried to fly without a plane. Now Julia and her mother are living in a two bedroom apartment, eating Hamburger Helper and Julia is slowly realizing the end of normal might just be the beginning she's always dreamed of.
5. Sarah has tried hard to fit in her whole life. But when she finds out she's the daughter of two crime-fighting superheroes who are about to go on the Jerry Springer show, she knows it's the end of normal for her. Can she convince her parents to keep their identities secret, or will she die of shame?
6. Normal the mouse is on a quest to eat every scrap of cheese in the kitchen and he easily defeats all the traps put down by the housekeeper but when Mr. Gilmore gets a cat things start to turn nasty. As Normal flees for his life he falls in a bucket of paint and nearly drowns, lands in a humane trap and has to escape and runs into a dead end with no escape from the teeth and claws. Will Fangs be . . . the end of Normal?
7. Angela Schultz always thought she was perfectly normal. She must have been wrong. Ever since she turned 21, the strangest things have been happening. Things explode when she’s mad, and all of her wishes are coming true. Could this have anything to do with the father she never knew?
8. After another ho-hum day at the office Jane pauses in her driveway and reflects on her boring life, wishing for more. Turns out that moment is The End of Normal for Jane, because when she opens the front door snooblecorants glomp a miniature juju zulrp without even proselytizing the jelly bean carnation. Now the neighbors think mumified kronkoids are swimming up the celophane pipeline--in unison! Can Jane foink the marmalade soprano before the astroturf shoebox schlobodizes the tea cozy?
Eight GTPs? This is the end of normal.
Sixth grader Theodora Mulldock's life is typical in many ways – school, loving mother and grandmother, a bad habit [Angel dust.] and a best friend. Her lifelong struggle to read, however, is anything but typical. For Theodora, the words literally move around on the page and re-form into strange shapes, yet no one seems to understand or believe her. Not until she meets creepy Doctor Rivale and undergoes his 'procedure' is she able to read for the first time, [She made it to 6th grade without ever reading? I got through my senior year of high school without reading anything, but . . . ] revealing more than she could ever have anticipated.
"I've been waiting for you for five hundred years," Doctor Rivale whispers in Theodora's ear.
The realization of what she really is, and where she's really from, throws her life into spellbinding chaos, taking her and her family to New York City, Portugal and Ireland. [What she really is and where she's really from are your hook. Whether she's a vampire from Transylvania, a mutant from Planet X or a witch from Normal, Illinois, the query is more interesting if you give us the specifics.] [Also, going to New York City, Portugal and Ireland doesn't sound like spellbinding chaos to me (though I must admit I'm not sure what spellbinding chaos is).] Normal, with its comfortable trappings is devoured in one sentence. [If that one sentence is the one the doctor whispered, this sentence should come right before or after that one. Also, this sentence would be more effective if you'd been calling Theodora's life "normal," rather than "typical."] Theodora's shocking heritage, unlocks both family secrets and terror on her search for the truth. One of the many twists and turns is her communication with her late father through her dreams and terrifying nightmares. These nightmares are where she – and the reader – meet The Beings of the Darkness, [She meets them in nightmares; the reader meets them in your book.] and discover how cold and deadly they are. Unfortunately, they are searching for the same, very important book that Theodora must find – a circumstance that is most unfortunate indeed. [If you're talking about Novel Deviations, volume 1, there are plenty of copies to go around.]
Welcome to The End of Normal, my complex suspense novel for young adults. [With a sixth-grade heroine, this may not appeal to the young adult market. Can you promote Theodora to tenth grade? Or call it middle grade?]
For the past eleven years I've been a public middle school language arts teacher. I've read hundreds of Young Adult novels and I know what it takes to get middle school readers to put down their cell phones and pick up a book – and read it. My book has the ingredients young adult readers crave in order to relate. The characters experience self-doubt, family struggles and the kinds of social struggles middle-schoolers experience every day. But more importantly, my book also has the ingredients young adults want [Again, I'd say kids rather than young adults. Possibly any age would enjoy the book, but what age group is your target audience?] in a book: demons, secret boxes, mysterious gadgets, nightmares, deception and suspense.
I am a proud member of SCBWI and a National Writing Project Fellow. My article, Are You Seizing The Everyday Moments?: The Power of Discussion, was published in The Keystone State Reading Association's professional journal, The Keystone Reader. I have also received honorable mention in the national Children's Writers Fiction Contest sponsored by Stepping Stones Magazine for my children's picture book manuscript, The Question.
I am currently in my last revisions of my completed Book Two of the planned three book series. I truly believe this could explode into something big. I need your agency's expertise to represent me. Based on my online research, I think my work would be a good fit for _________________________.
Upon your request, I will send you my 60,100 word, completed manuscript. Thank you for your time and for considering The End of Normal. I look forward to your reply.
I feel you're being too secretive. What is Theodora's shocking heritage? What is she, and where is she from? What is the book she must find, and how does she know she must find it? This is stuff you wouldn't reveal on the back cover, but revealing it in a query letter is a good thing.
There's too much about you.
"My book has the ingredients young adult readers crave in order to relate," and " I truly believe this could explode into something big," have to go. In fact, this would be plenty of info to add to the plot description:
In The End of Normal, a middle grade novel, Theodora experiences self-doubt, family problems and the kinds of social struggles middle-schoolers experience every day, but she also encounters demons, deception, secret boxes, mysterious gadgets, and suspense.
I am a member of SCBWI and a National Writing Project Fellow, and my children's picture book manuscript The Question received honorable mention in the national Children's Writers Fiction Contest sponsored by Stepping Stones magazine. Upon your request, I will submit the 60,100 word, completed manuscript. Thank you for considering The End of Normal.
You seem to be writing for middle school, as you say you know what it takes to get middle-schoolers to put down their cell phones, but you also call it young adult. Choose one.