Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Guess the Plot
1. When rocker Davy Spanks dies, Spanks imitator Elroy attempts the ultimate tribute show – and gets mistaken for Davy, accused of faking his own death. Now Elroy must lead Davy's mercurial girlfriend and bickering bandmates on their reunion tour. Even worse, Elroy is beginning to suspect that Davy did fake his own death.
2. In this light-hearted mystery for the picture book set, Silly Chicken dodges falling acorns and thinks the world is ending, but ace detective Shamrock Holmes, the cleverest frog in Ireland, suspects a certain rascally squirrel is responsible. But how can he prove it?
3. Tina Spark sends her poodle out to pee just as the giant Space Globe descends from a cloud and hovers over the back yard. Thousands of tiny parachutes pop out of hatches in the Globe and float down to earth. By the time Tina opens the door to call Fluff in, the grass is teeming with squeaky little blue creatures. Is it wrong to let the dog eat them?
4. It's up to homicide detective Zack Martinez to unmask the culprit responsible for the horrors at Baskerville Manor. He decides to channel Sherlock Holmes and heads to Reggie's Pipe 'N Tweed for a new outfit, where he is nearly taken prisoner by scheming socialite Pamela Bassett. Can his new butler keep this wonton creature occupied long enough for Zack to solve the murder? Or will wedding bells soon be ringing?
5. Every year the Fodellan people sacrifice one of their unmarried youth to the god Ban-Har-Gran. Zula has been selected, and so prepares to meet her god. But Jamaris loves her, and the thought of her death is to much for him to bear. Will he rescue Zula, condemning their people to doom?
6. Alexandra escapes Jezebel and the bad crowd she'd become a part of, and forms bonds of friendship with a new group, joining their struggling band. When one of their own dies, the band plays a song in tribute. Hey, they had to do something . . . but was the Chicken Dance really the most appropriate song?
When sarcastic firebrand Alexandra Laurence joins up with the wrong crowd of kids, she hardly notices the path of destruction her rebellion instigates.
Life changes dramatically for Alex, however, when the gang of defiant teenagers demands retribution for the school's expulsion of one of their members. Alex chafes under the control of her volatile leader, Jezebel Collins, while acting as an unwilling puppet in the plot for revenge. When a violent betrayal shatters her existing world, [It takes no more words to say, "When Jezebel's goons murder Alex's best friend," thus providing us with specific information.] Alex finds herself in a new environment, new school, and a new life. [Finds herself? Did her family move? Was she beamed in the Star Trek transporter? Tell us.] [Topic for discussion: Which is more likely to malfunction: the transporter or the holodeck?] It takes a faulty reinvention of her identity, [What does that mean?] a struggling band, and the reentrance of Jake Garrison, one night’s bad memory, before Alex decides to try and find herself once again. [She just found herself in the last sentence.] In the process, she determines her true identify [Identity. I'm starting to wonder if she really was beamed to her new world in a transporter, one that stole her memory.] and discovers a group of friends with a similar passion for music and devotion to the people they love. Together, Alex and her peers face the harsh reality and angst of modern high school life while forging a bond that proves strong enough to survive even the most painful of experiences: the death of one of their own. [
Many novels emphasize the hyperboles of teenage life, but in actuality the bookstores are becoming devoid of works depicting the true reality of today's high school generation. [If this agent needs you to tell her what's in bookstores, she's the wrong agent.] This 130,000-word work, mainstream young adult fiction, covers the trials, emotions, and events that comprise today's high school experiences while examining the stereotypes and clichés that apply to an age group in constant motion and grasping for independence.
My own teenage years have been spent growing up in a materialistic, commanding, and judgmental society, which has given me firsthand experience to incorporate into this work. [Translation: I am uniquely qualified to write about teenagers because I am one. I suggest keeping that to yourself for the time being.] While not yet published, I have attended multiple workshops and received excellent reviews on this piece from teachers, peers, and aspiring writers. I have also completed two other books and am in the process of writing a sequel to this work, a planned series of four. [If it's 130,000 words, you've already written the sequel.]
Please let me know if you are interested in reading Tribute or receiving a more descriptive synopsis. I have enclosed a SASE for your convenience.
[Note to EE (not part of the query; got it minions? NOT part of the query.): The title of the novel comes into play in the last chapter, which involves the group playing a song as a kind of accolade (or tribute) to their friend, which is hinted on within the query, but not fully expressed.]
Your first sentence is set off from the rest of the query as if it's the main hook. Yet it seems this is just setup, and the story really begins after Alex somehow gets to her new world, in which case there's no reason the sentence needs a paragraph to itself.
Terms like path of destruction, volatile leader, violent betrayal, unwilling puppet are better suited to a political thriller than a book about high school angst. If you want to convince an agent you are the person to write about high school kids, talk like a high school kid. And not the one who always aces his vocab tests.
Even if a large part of the book takes place in Alex's original world, a brief mention is plenty. Something like:
When Alexandra Laurence's family move to Charleston, Alex sees it as a chance to start her high school life over, this time avoiding the clique of terrorists she fell in with in Atlanta.
When sarcastic firebrand Alexandra Laurence awakens one morning to find herself in an alternate universe, she decides it's the perfect time to join a rock band.
I'm assuming the main plot isn't Alex versus Jezebel, as moving away would not be a good way to resolve things. I'm assuming the main plot is Alex starting over, so concentrate on that. Is there a villain in that part? Is there conflict? Is it the story of how these kids handle the death? Was the dead kid's blood drained? Because with the Twilight series over, the bookstores are becoming devoid of works depicting the true reality of today's high school vampire generation. Focus on the most important part of the plot. And ditch the biography.