Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Face-Lift 1398

Guess the Plot

The Dreamers of Knotty Netherbrook

1. In the small village Knotty Netherbrook, no one dreams. Not anymore. Not since . . . the 'Incident'.

2. In Knotty Netherbrook, a dreamer's dreams after drinking a drachm from the dreaming ditch decide the dreamer's destiny. It's a weird place.

3. Nightmares a problem? Lack of sleep? Want to add spice to those boring dreams about being naked, falling, and going to work? Call the Dreamers of Knotty Netherbrook for a personal morpheus to make bedtime so much more. It'll only cost a few years at the end of your life which you probably would have otherwise spent in cancer-ridden agony anyway.

4. After her family moves to Netherwbrook Cottage, Mia stumbles upon a sanctuary for lost and forgotten imaginary creatures in this sequel to The Magic Animals of Yetanotherbook. The sanctuary is a dream-world created by Anne, the previous resident of the cottage, but with Anne gone, a monster now stalks the grounds, and it's getting stronger. Moving is always such a hassle.

5. The Netherbrook artists colony is more than a bit naughty, and no one knows that better than carpenter-cum-milkman Dick Wilkins. But when the paternity tests come out, will Dick find his own dreams have landed him in a bit too much reality? Also, carbon dating.

6. Night after night, Alison Chaines lies awake in frustration while her useless husband snores next to her. She tries sleep aids but nothing seems to work, until a friend offers her a tiny purple pill that works too well. She slips into a coma and finds herself locked in a dream of Netherbrook, a tiny village in the alps known for serene views, crisp clean air, and ridiculously handsome men who know a thing or two about the art of bondage.

Original Version

Middle child Mia Blake is sick of having to share, be it a room with her little brother or a planet with her depressingly perfect sister. One problem is solved when her parents become caretakers of a rambling country estate, the other - to Mia's considerable alarm - when she stumbles upon a sanctuary for lost and forgotten imaginary creatures. [It's probably clear enough that the 2nd problem is solved, but it might be better to say: Both problems are solved, one when . . . and the other when--to Mia's....]

There she meets Calamancer the fox, who remembers very little but insists it is Anne, his owner, who is lost: Anne, who lived in Netherbrook Cottage before Mia, and created the dream-world she has found. With Anne gone, the sanctuary cannot hold. Already a monster stalks its dark places, devouring nightmares and growing stronger.

Meanwhile, Mia's parents need her help restoring their new home. They're on a shoestring budget and a tight deadline, and every pair of hands counts. If Mia hopes to stay long enough to learn Netherbrook’s secrets, she'll have to pull her weight.

Helping both Calamancer and her parents without dozing off in her dinner is hard enough, but just as Mia starts to think she has something truly special all to herself, she meets Sara.

Sara can also walk in two worlds, and doesn’t like finding Mia there one bit. Sara says Calamancer can’t be trusted, and her dream companion - a dragon - is terrified of him.

As Mia untangles the mystery of Anne’s disappearance, she realises it's no accident her family and Sara's are on a collision course.

Someone knows Mia is special, and wants Anne's sanctuary protected. 

Someone wants it destroyed, and the Blakes gone.

And someone is feeding the monster.

With the sanctuary, her own life, and everything her parents have worked for in danger, Mia must decide: which will she risk, and which will she try to save?

The Dreamers of Knotty Netherbrook is middle-grade contemporary fantasy, complete at 83,000 words. Dreamers is my first novel.

Author's note: About the title: Dreamers was written for my daughter. Noticing a pattern in her choice of reading material I asked if the latest was The Magic Animals of Yetanotherbook. She stuck her tongue out and told me to do better if I could. She says I have, but I wouldn't draw any conclusions from that. So the title is an homage to a dad joke, and the story was written to please one little girl. I hope others will too, one day.


I like this. If you can do without the red words, it will be about the length of the average agent's attention span.

Not sure we need to know all or any of the following, but I'll ask anyway:

Are Anne's parents the previous caretakers or the owners of the estate? I assume the latter, as otherwise Anne's disappearance isn't a mystery. She moved.

Did Anne disappear while in the dream world or the real world? Either way I assume there'd be a massive search going on in the real world.

So Mia's goal is to find Anne and return her so the sanctuary can "hold"?


Anonymous said...

This piqued my interest. Bravo.

Of concern, your word count is way over for your genre (Upper middle grade should be less than 60K). There are books that are longer that get published, yes, but they're usually not debuts.

A couple more nits in addition to EE's:

The line about sharing a planet with her sister threw me in a more science fictiony direction, you might want to rephrase.

If there's a sanctuary for them, are the creatures actually imaginary? Is the dream-world/sanctuary an actual dream (arrived at by sleeping)?

If you're new to thinking about publishing, check out Writer's Beware and make sure you do your research.

Good Luck with this.

Peeling said...

First, thank you so much for taking the time to look at this! I'll definitely be taking the suggestions on board.

Re the comment above:

"Of concern, your word count is way over for your genre"

I'm torn about this. I set my target for editing it down based on The Fire Within, which my daughter devoured along with all its sequels a few years ago and which is firmly MG. That's around the 88,000 mark. Could I drop an entire third of Dreamers? Honestly, I think I'd need professional help seeing how to do that. If that means it doesn't get published, I suppose I'll just have to write something else :)

"The line about sharing a planet with her sister"

Yep, gotcha. Will rethink.

"If there's a sanctuary for them, are the creatures actually imaginary? Is the dream-world/sanctuary an actual dream (arrived at by sleeping)?"

In the book dreams (everyone's dreams) are a little like Tel'aran'rhiod in the Wheel of Time books: a place populated by our imaginations but which can also be visited 'in the flesh' at will by some individuals (and by ordinary people, given the right circumstances). The sanctuary was created by one such, who wanted to save imaginary creations from vanishing when the dreams they live in evaporate.

Anonymous said...

Just for what it's worth, I am another that also took the "sharing a planet" thing as laying the ground work for a sci-fi kind of story.