Friday, November 13, 2009
Guess the Plot
Ashley Erin Fox
1. Ashley Erin Fox wants revenge for her hideous 1980's moniker, so she and a skin-artist buddy drug her retro-loving parents' wine coolers and tattoo their foreheads with 'ALF' and 'Golden Girl'. Her parents interpret this as a 'warning signal' and call a therapist. Hilarity ensues.
2. Five kids in her kindergarten class were named Ashley (three of them boys). The other six were called Aaron, A-Rawn, Airynne, Eirean, Erinn and Yairhiynnan. Now Ashley Erin Fox's desperate need to determine who she is - once and for all - takes her across seven continents on the ultimate quest for meaning.
3. Eight-year-old twins Ashley and Erin Bingshakle find a fox and name it after themselves, hoping it will make a great pet. But the fox talks them into letting it sleep in their beds and into killing the chickens for its dinner. Can you guess who's in big trouble?
4. Twelve-year-old Ashley Erin Fox is a gifted ballerina. But when she goes to a martial arts summer camp she finds that she also has a natural gift for brutality. In fact, she's a killing machine, and soon finds herself surrounded by gun-wielding agents. She escapes and shaves her head to disguise herself as a boy, but how long can she survive on the lam?
5. When aliens invade, Ashley kidnaps their leader and suborns them into becoming her criminal gang. With their help, she breaks into a nuclear power plant and leaves a three-headed frog by the reactor. Next up: stealing the heir to the Betelgeuse Empire -- he's made of living diamond.
6. Bored with all the Whisky Tango November stuff, PFC Nate Shumberger invents his own phonetic alphabet. But what will happen to military communications, when this catches on among the troops of the Azerbaijan Expeditionary Force?
Twelve-year-old Ashley Fox is a gifted ballerina and unbeknownst to her, also a genetically engineered killing machine. Morally opposed [to] the violent legacy her mad-scientist of a father has designed [in store? prepared?] for her, Ashley is ordered to attend a militant martial arts summer camp where she discovers, much to her dismay, her natural gifts for brutality far outshine everyone she encounters [those of her fellow campers].
When a power-hungry bureaucrat murders Ashley’s parents, she finds, further to her horror, that her overwhelming desire is for revenge, [That seems more like a natural reaction than a horrifying one. Plus her previous reaction was "to her dismay," not her horror. I'd drop the phrase.] despite the inherent risk to her sarcastic younger brother, Geoffrey. Their father’s best friend, Major Ross, rescues the mischievous [Not the word I'd use to refer to a killing machine. Has she killed anyone yet?] children as often as he can, but when Ashley pushes their federally funded enemies too far, Major Ross is killed and Geoffrey is captured. Desperate, the young girl returns home, where an agent is waiting for her. Ash beats him senseless and calls the local police, hoping to expose the conspiracy.
Soon Ashley finds herself at the Angel City Police Department, surrounded by gun-wielding agents and officers, all of whom claim to have some legal jurisdiction over the girl. [[Are they pointing their guns at Ashley or at each other?] At a crucial moment in the final standoff, Ashley snatches her bittersweet moment of revenge, and narrowly escapes with Geoffrey. Together they flee to a prestigious martial arts academy, where Ash, with a newly shaven head, successfully forges their applications and registers herself as a boy.
Ashley is not fond of her new abilities, and to her highly logical mind, the will to use violence feels more akin to understanding, rather than power. [Not clear to me what that means.] Ashley feels she has some inkling of what is [was] meant by F. Scott Fitzgerald when he said ‘the measure of a first-rate intellect is its ability to hold two contradictory ideas at the same time’. She fears she is showing the ominous first-signs of adulthood; self-rationalization and hypocrisy. [This entire paragraph can go. This isn't literary fiction.]
Ashley Erin Fox is an adventure, complete at seventy-three thousand words. The second novel in this series, Trials of Ash, is also complete at one hundred sixteen thousand words, while others linger at various stages of development and abandon.
I have a degree in animation, once sold a few stories to Marvel Comics, and currently work in television and film. If you feel you might be interested, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for all your good work and for your dedication to this profession, God knows it isn’t always as easy as it looks from the outside, but it sure beats shoveling snow. I hope you are warm and happy, wherever you are, and look forward to hearing from you. [This is just something you threw in to amuse the minions, and not part of your query, right?]
The agent/editor is going to assume the book is intended for middle grade as soon as she sees the protagonist is twelve. She'll then wonder if parents want their kids reading about a 12-year-old girl who's a brutal killing machine and beats adults senseless. So tell her who your audience is. If it's adults, it may be a hard sell with such a young protagonist.
It sounds like something that would work well as a graphic novel.
Does Ashley's ballet training come in handy when she goes on one of her killing sprees?
Assuming we all agree a 12-year-old isn't physically capable of what Ashley does, she should either be seventeen, making it more realistic, or seven, making it even more obvious that you don't really expect us to buy it.