Monday, July 23, 2007
Guess the Plot
The Whitlock Papers
1. Whitlock Manor is an exclusive spa, catering lavishly to the rich and famous. But smooth-skinned young girls have been disappearing and janitor Willy Bliss has discovered the mystery behind the manor's famed bathroom tissue. Can he survive the perilous journey to the outside world and reveal the secret of . . . The Whitlock Papers?
2. An ancient secret has been kept for centuries, but the current custodian of the precious knowledge faces a temptation so strong that it may destroy the world. Can newspaper editor Beauregard Jameson resist publishing . . . The Whitlock Papers?
3. Second grader Joey Whitlock obsessively chronicles every mundane activity in his household. While searching Joey's desk for a spare candy bar, his teacher, Mrs. Grodle, discovers the diary containing a detailed description of her one-night fling with Mr. Whitlock. Maybe it's time for another "parent - teacher conference."
4. The POWs in Colditz are desperate for cigarette papers. They've already smoked their way through the Old Testament and the New Testament is disappearing fast. Will Captain Whitlock, on his way to liberate the castle, bring them what they need?
5. Super spy Dan Whitlock told his psychiatrist everything. Now his case file has gone missing. Can Dan retrieve his papers before his true identity is exposed? Or will his girlfriend find out why her Victoria's Secret lingerie was stretched out of shape?
6. In the medieval city known as Whitlock, fourteen-year-old Amelia finds papers that could rock the Earth's very foundation. Now she must decide whether to destroy them, give them to a complete stranger, or turn them over to the space alien.
What happens when future and past collide—when fate tosses ordinary people into the mix with heroes and monsters older than time itself [—when clichés battle it out for supremacy in a query letter for the ages]?
Amelia Paige is about to find out…
I am writing in reference to my YA fiction title, The Whitlock Papers. It is the story of Amelia Paige, a fourteen year-old girl living in the medieval town of Whitlock. When she stumbles upon a trail of riddles left behind by her missing grandfather, [If I'm captured or whatever, and I find myself with the opportunity to leave a clue to where I'm being taken, it's going to be something like, Help! They're taking me to the library! Not: What building has the most stories?] Amelia finds herself in the middle of an ancient mystery involving the forgotten city of Veritas and an enemy who will stop at nothing to reign on its throne. Knox, a visitor from Veritas, comes to Amelia’s aid, and the unusual pair discovers a map to the city’s hidden gates. In the wrong hands, this map could lead to an overthrow that would rock the very foundations of the earth. [If this city is that important, why has it been forgotten?]
While striving to keep the map safe, Amelia and Knox find a citizen of Veritas who needs it in order to return home. [There seem to be a lot of people from Veritas roaming around, even though it's a forgotten city and no one can even find it without a map.] Can they give him the map without endangering Veritas? Can they help one man while hindering another? [Hindering? When you discover an evil overlord is about to rock the foundations of the Earth, you might want to do something more drastic than hinder him.] Amelia and Knox attempt to answer these questions, but all is not as it seems: Whitlock’s Prince keeps sneaking into the forest by night, [What of it? Can't you make that sound a little more sinister?] Amelia may be helping the enemy, and her beloved mentor, the King’s High Councilor, is not even human. [Minions may vote on what the King's High Councilor is:
1. Alien from another planet
5. Dick Cheney]
This book is written for young teens. Its appeal lies in a fun, mysterious plot which deals with friendship, faith, and finding one’s purpose through the chaotic maze of adolescence. [I see no evidence that it deals with any of these things. Except for that sentence, of course.]
I am a graduate of Middle Tennessee State University, and am currently staying at home with my young daughter. This is my first attempt to become published. Whitlock is finished, [I recommend using the full title, even if it requires additional ink.] and its word count is 56,000. I am writing the second book in the Hidden Gates Trilogy, The Labyrinth of Ocasus, [Labyrinth? Maybe this is the one about the chaotic maze of adolescence.] at this time.
Out of courtesy, I would also like to inform you that I am submitting to other agencies simultaneously. Thank you so much for the time you have taken to read my query. I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
The title sounds like a thriller or mystery. You know, like The Ipcress File, The Quiller Memorandum, The Pelican Brief, The Colbert Report. Plus, your character is named Amelia. That's like naming a character Hercule or Sherlock. As soon as people see the name Amelia, they'll think Miss Pettipants.
I wouldn't mind seeing a stronger connection between the missing grandfather and the rest of the plot. He left a trail of riddles, but that's the last we hear of him.
Whitlock sounds more like a Wyoming mining town than a medieval city. How far is it from Ocasus, which sounds like it's on Crete?
I can't tell from the query if the story is set in medieval times or if it's set in present times in a medieval city. And what do you mean, "future and past collide"? Where does the future come in?