Monday, July 05, 2010
Guess the plot
The Zookeeper's Machine
1. Hannie's always playing pranks, so when she claims the neighbor kid was kidnapped by gorillas, no one believes her. She discovers the city's zookeeper is behind it all; he has a machine that swaps human brainwaves with animal brainwaves. Can she stop him before he makes her a porcupine? Also, a guitar-playing snake.
2. Demetrius Nash's machine has made his zoo the biggest tourist attraction on earth. Eleroos, kangaphants, giroceroses, rhinaffes -- put two animals in, mix'n'match comes out! But his plan to make the perfect woman backfires. Tiffani/Amber is one angry 12-foot beyotch who locks him in a cage, feeds him Monkey Chow, and occasionally stomps the snot out of him.
3. Zookeeper Sam Torrance's mother was mauled by an angry rogue gorilla, and ever since he has been hatching his plan for revenge. Can Sam maneuver a gorilla into his torture device, or will it be Sam who ends up in . . . The Zookeeper's Machine?
4. It is the year 2085, and thanks to man-made pollution, all wildlife is extinct. Zookeeper Paul Britton isn't ready to give up the family business. He builds robots that look and act like tigers, lions, and bears. But when the robots begin killing the tourists, Britton is faced with a choice: destroy his beloved machines . . . or become a machine himself!
5. John James loves everything about his job in the Elephant House except cleaning up those enormous poops. After years of hobby tinkering, he finally comes up with a design for a giant pooper scooper that he knows will work. But the US Government will do anything to prevent the invention from being manufactured.
6. Rumors swirl about activities in the heavily-guarded underground bunker near the San Diego Zoo. Is it really a DNA repository--or is it a factory to replicate extinct animals? Also, an escaped smilodon.
Dear Evil Editor,
Hannie Bunker is not looking forward to spending her summer with her aunt in Philadelphia. She hates the idea of wasting three whole months doing chores for a crazy old lady. And, worse than that, she'll be stuck with Noah, the geeky next-door neighbor boy, as her tag along.
Hannie amuses herself by playing tricks on Noah--the dork will fall for anything. When her aunt finds out about the pranks, Hannie is in big trouble. She vows [promises] to change her reputation and be the bestest friend a twelve-year old loser could ask for (lucky for her, Noah's expectations aren't too high, anyway). But when an opportunity to scare the heebie-jeebies out of Noah arises, [I believe you give someone the heebie-jeebies. What you scare out of someone is the crap. Or the wits.] Hannie can't help herself. She could really use the laugh.
Instead of her prank going as planned, Hannie witnesses Noah's kidnapping. His captors? A pair of Western lowland gorillas. [Never recruit gorillas to play a part in a practical joke. They always think they have a better way.] She tries to get help, but she's cried wolf (or maybe gorilla?) too many times in the past and nobody believes her story. [The whole point of crying gorilla instead of wolf was that she knew the chances of an actual gorilla showing up in Philadelphia was nil. No doubt when she saw Noah being carried off by gorillas she was thinking, Dammit, why didn't I cry wolf all those other times?] She is blamed for the boy's disappearance. ["Who, me?!! No, it was . . . two western lowland gorillas! Yeah, that's it."] Determined to prove she isn't lying (and hey, she sorta likes Noah after all), Hannie sets out on a mission to track down the child-snatching primates. [What's her plan, to negotiate the release of the hostage?] She ends up discovering a series of child kidnappings that can all be traced back to Philadelphia's newest zookeeper, Bernard Crumpton. Oh, and he uses a nifty machine to steal brainwaves from his victims and manipulate his zoo animals. Hannie must find a way to destroy the machine and rescue the prisoners before the evil zookeeper can put her brainwaves into the mind of a porcupine. She makes a few friends along the way, including a puzzle-solving tarantula and a guitar-playing rattlesnake. [That sentence isn't needed. In fact it totally dilutes the threat you've built up to.]
My adventurous middle grade novel, THE ZOOKEEPER'S MACHINE, is 39,500 words. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
You can call your book an adventure novel, but it's up to us to decide whether it's adventurous.
I would like a better explanation of what the machine does. If Hannie's brain waves were put in a porcupine, would her consciousness be there? Would the porcupine's consciousness be in Hannie? Has this already been done to all the other kidnapped kids?
You could shorten the first two paragraphs a bit:
Hannie Bunker is miserable. She's stuck spending the summer with her crazy aunt in Philadelphia, and the worst part is that Noah, the geeky next-door neighbor boy, follows her everywhere.
Hannie amuses herself by playing tricks on Noah--the dork will fall for anything. When her aunt finds out about the pranks, Hannie promises to change her ways and be the bestest friend a twelve-year old loser could ask for (luckily, Noah's expectations aren't too high). But when an opportunity to give Noah the heebie-jeebies arises, Hannie can't resist.
That leaves you some extra room to tell us about Hannie's plan.
You might also tell us how the prank was supposed to work before the gorillas went and spoiled everything.