Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Guess the Plot
1. They creep in at night. They poop in her garden. But no one believes Frieda Elsburger; only she can see them. Can she wage a one woman battle against the Shadow Cats? On her pension? Buy this book to find out. Buy six. She needs the money.
2. Shadassa inherits a fortune, but there's a catch: to get it she must spend a year living alone in the family mansion, which just happens to be occupied by vicious territorial creatures known as shadow cats. It's gonna be a rough year for this plucky thirteen-year-old mute orphan.
3. The life of Lawrence Hornsby is ruined when cousin Louise performs a seance to ask Aunt Edna where she buried the gold. Edna's spirit does not show, but the shadowy ghosts of her 27 damn cats rise from the back yard. Can Lawrence get rid of them in time to save his relationship with Naomi?
4. After the poor reception of his latest musical, Elliot Rogers fears bankruptcy. When his rival, Andre Floyd sets up a successful production of ‘Oklahoma!’ featuring only mimes, Elliot is struck by an idea that could save his career. If he can remember how to make something other than a shadow bunny, the world will soon see the premiere of his one-man production of . . . Shadow Cats.
5. Gertrude visits her aunt Hortensia, a.k.a. the crazy cat lady, actually a soul-stealing witch, and knocks over Hortensia's gardening bag. The souls of all the cats Hortensia had used as practice escape. Now the town of Spriggerton will face the wrath of the . . . Shadow Cats.
6. Jennifer wants a cat, and is surprised when her mom tells her they already have two very shy cats. Jennifer's never seen them, but she starts putting cat treats on a plate every night, and in the morning they're gone. Is it possible to love a cat you've never seen? And which cat will be Jennifer's favorite?
Dear Evil Editor,
All Shadassa wants is a family, but that is the one thing she does not receive on her thirteenth birthday, [Actually, it's one of many things she does not receive.] when three lawyers visit the orphanage and turn her world upside down. The last of the Faider family, Shadassa is a potential heiress to a large fortune. [Who was the next-to-last of the family, and why didn't they find her a better living arrangement?] The money and the family mansion are hers on one condition – she must stay for a year in the mansion, alone. ["Stay" meaning never leave, or "stay" meaning make it her home? Can she go to the grocery store? The doctor's office?] Not the ideal living style for a mute orphan like Shadassa. However, she has no choice.
Taken from her friends and thrust into the wary, secretive community of a seaside town, the last thing Shadassa needs is more trouble. Too bad it's living in the same house. Dwelling in her basement is a clan of shadow cats, not-so-mythical creatures who thrive in the darkness and consider the mansion their home. In their opinion, Shadassa is trespassing on their territory, and all intruders must pay the price, as she soon learns. The cats' first attack is enough to make Shadassa wish for her old life, but the lawyers left her no way of contacting them, even in an emergency. [Even if she could contact them, you said she had no choice but to live there.]
To make matters worse, Shadassa discovers a riddle about a part of her inheritance she did not know about, a castle hidden on the mansion grounds. Curiosity leads her on the hunt, but someone else is also searching, a man with his own intentions for the secrets guarded by the castle, [How does this man know about the riddle?] and he will let no one get in his way. Between shadow cats, the riddle, and a dangerous adversary, Shadassa has plenty of reasons to falter, but hope keeps her going. There's a chance she might regain her voice.
A middle grade fantasy, Shadow Cats stands at 60,000 words. The manuscript is available upon request. I look forward to hearing from you.
I have trouble buying that anyone would put these terms in their will, but I'm sure there must be a logical explanation.
If the castle is a small toy or a chess piece, I'd leave the castle out of the query and just say she discovers a riddle that could be the key to regaining her voice . If the castle is an actual castle that is somehow difficult to find even though it's right there on the mansion grounds, did you consider making it a hidden room in the mansion, or a secret passage from the lounge to the conservatory? The mysterious mansion's a fine setting. It's where the shadow cats are. So why walk out and go to a mysterious castle? Whatever's in the castle can just be in the mansion where there's the ever-present danger of a shadow cat assault.
The standard villain in this story would be someone trying to scare Sha-na-na into leaving the mansion because the money then goes to him or his organization. That he's looking for the castle doesn't seem as dangerous. We don't know what happens if he finds it before she does.
A thirteen-year-old girl isn't gonna hang around a house for a year if she's being regularly attacked by creatures that want her gone. The place must stink to high heaven, the furniture must be in shreds, and she probably already has cat scratch fever.
Do shadow cats cast shadows?