Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Guess the Plot
1. Halia is a wild fairy, who lives in the scrub oak forests above Los Angeles. When wildfires burn through her grove, she must seek a new home. Also, a talking owl.
2. When a dead teen is revealed to be a robot, Forest and his friends wonder what's going on. Then the robot's creator comes to town. Is he here to repair the robot? Is he here to destroy the community? Or is he interested only in . . . Finding Forest?
3. Problem after problem thwart Yvonne’s search for meaning, and her new-found passion for the klutzy-but-unavailable Feng-Shui-for-Pets shopkeeper isn’t helping her. When at last she finds love stealing glances at her from across the therapy group, will Yvonne’s focus on the ‘trees’ give way to a view of the forest?
4. Waldo made his fortune creating those "hidden object" pictures in which children study a drawing searching for hammers and forks and cell phones. But lately the kids are accusing him of phoning it in; it's just too easy to solve puzzles like "Finding Ocean," "Finding Sky," "Finding Forest." The sad devolution of a great artist.
5. Little Janie Andersen always knew she was special. But one day, repeating a line from Forest Gump, “Run Forest Run,” the grove of pines near her house came to life and sprinted away. Now Janie needs the help of a good witch, a talking scarecrow and a tin dog to find the forest.
6. Mary Sue and her boyfriend Gary rampage through Brooklyn while stalking a were-zombie with Lovecraftian ambitions. Meanwhile the Greener in Pieces initiative (run by ghouls) has decided on drastic measures in the once-man vs nature war. Also, a kitchen sink.
Dear Evil Editor,
It takes a lot of courage – or stupidity – to rebel against one’s parents, but Jesse will need more than that [More than stupidity?] to stop Dr. Frey, because Dr. Frey is no father. [It's that old riddle. Dr. Frey is Jesse's mother.] He is Jesse’s creator, and after ten years, he has finally returned for his creation. Jesse knows nothing of this at first, but after the truth is revealed, Jesse is not about to comply with the doctor’s wishes. [Which are?] There are other problems in the community that are more urgent, like the death of Georgette, a friend’s older sister. A scientific investigation leads to the discovery that Georgette was not human, but a highly advanced robot. No such technology exists on post-apocalyptic Earth that could create a thing like this, so the mayors declare a community-wide lockdown. [If beings with vastly superior technology show up, you either make friends or run like the wind. It's unlikely the beings will have a dialogue like:
Leader: Okay, wipe out the puny humans and we'll make this place our base.
General: Yes sir, should take about two min-- Damn, the community's in lockdown.
Leader: Shit. Okay, let's try Mars.]
Jesse and two friends are caught sneaking over the wall during the lockdown, and don’t dare break the law again, but a friend of theirs, Forest, is in trouble. [Specifically, what trouble?] Despite his insistence that they leave him alone, Jesse and the others aren’t about to, but they aren’t sure what to do. Then fires strike simultaneously in different districts of the community and Jesse’s friends become suspicious of the newcomer who claims to be Jesse’s biological father. Worried that his secret will be discovered, Dr. Frey devises a plan to regain control over his creation by kidnapping its companions. Jesse escapes his grasp and manages to rescue the prisoners with help from an old tinker, but Dr. Frey hasn’t given up, and his true goal has come to light – the capture of their friend Forest.
At 50,000 words, Finding Forest is a middle-grade fantasy focused on friendship and the inner humanity shared by all beings [, even machines]. Thank you for your consideration of my novel.
Either give Jesse a name that can't be male or female, or use "he" or "she," based on what Jesse looks like, even if Jesse's a robot.
Frey's "true goal" isn't the capture of Forest; that's his immediate goal. His true goal lies in why he wants Forest. Tell us, so we know what's at stake.
The plot doesn't feel cohesive. I'd start with the discovery that Georgette was a robot, then move on to Frey showing up claiming to be Jesse's father. Then get to the stakes: What is Frey up to, and how do Jesse and friends plan to stop him? And if it turns out all the kids are robots, you might want to mention that, too.
The title's not thrilling me, and not just because it's so similar to Finding Forrester.