Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What It's All About

So, recently, I came out of the closet about writing. The first question people normally ask is "Will you try to get published?" and the second is, "Well, what are you writing about?". So, here is the 'what'.

The children's novel that I am revising now is about the magical connections that make life wonderful. Since it is a middle grade novel (for pre-teens) it is really about an adventure between a boy and a star. That's right, it's about a star.

This is the query (the letter to a literary agent) that explains the premise:


When a thirteen-year-old boy has no one left to turn to, and a Star just won't accept her place in the universe, two worlds collide with a big bang.

Most stars are born ready for the mundane jobs of keeping the universe in order and balance--patrolling space, banishing rogue comets, and monitoring life on planets. But not Star. Born of a wonder and fueled by thoughts, she flies when she should hover, and bumps into things which should never be disturbed. Chances are she'll go supernova before long. She's expected to settle into being a student at the school of Earth. But she's not the settling type.

For a thirteen-year-old, he's got some cosmic problems of his own. His older brother is sick, his mom has checked out of life, and his sister is supremely annoying. Fresh from a visit to his brother in the hospital, the boy wishes the wish that pulls Star down to Earth. He races to fix the mess he made, and finds he has to be more than just a little brother to right the world. It is up to him to keep his fallen Star from going Supernova, and from destroying,well, his entire universe.

So, that's it, in a nutshell (or query). Questions? Comments? Comets? Criticisms?

11 comments:

  1. I like it. A lot. Have a few suggestions. Use names to personalize it a bit. Unless this is like the Little Prince? I also have a few tightening suggestions. Otherwise, I really like it.


    When thirteen-year-old Fred has no one left to turn to, and a Star just won't accept her place in the universe, two worlds collide with a big bang.

    Most stars are born ready for the mundane jobs like patrolling space, banishing rogue comets, and monitoring life on planets. But not Jasmine. Born of a wonder and fueled by thoughts, she flies when she should hover, and bumps into things which should never be disturbed. She's expected to settle into being a student at the school of Earth. But she's not the settling type.

    Fred’s got some cosmic problems of his own. His older brother is sick, his mom has checked out of life, and his sister is supremely annoying. Fresh from a visit to his brother in the hospital, Fred wishes the wish that pulls Jasmine down to Earth. He races to fix the mess he made, and finds he has to be more than just a little brother to right the world. It is up to him to keep his fallen Star from going Supernova, and from destroying, well, his entire universe.

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  2. Ah, yes, the name problem. Both main characters have nicknames throughout the novel, and their true names are revealed at the end. I am not sure how to incorporate this in the query without it getting a bit awkward.

    I'm glad you liked the rest.

    And, you are right, the name thing needs to be addressed!

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  3. I think that you are also right in getting rid of the 'chances are...' sentence. It flows better.

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  4. Sarah, thanks so much for the thoughtful feedback.

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  5. If the requested first pages would have their nicknames, I would think use that. Otherwise, I think you'd muddy the waters. Is there a special significance in the true names? I'm assuming so. Perhaps that's better handled in the synopsis.

    The job of the query is to create interest in the manuscript pages. I think you've done that here. Are you ready to submit?

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  6. I wish that I were ready to submit. The revision process seems very slow to me. A part of the problem is that I just don't have a lot of time during the summer to dedicate to physical writing. However, I find that letting things stew in my brain allows for better writing in the end.

    I am enjoying learning about the business side of writing in the meantime, but it really makes me want to hurry up and submit.

    The characters' true names do have significance. I am wondering if some agents might find the absence of names annoying enough not to read pages, or if there is enough of a hook that they would read on. I do not explicitly explain the name thing, it unfolds throughout the whole story.
    What do you think?

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  7. Sarah-- I love Fred and Jasmine. I have been chuckling over those names since you first commented.

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  8. Names are fun, aren't they?

    So - I suggest you go here and submit your query for critique. I like the Query Shark, but she only does a percentage of the submitted queries. With EE, yours will come up for sure.

    Most of EE's minions are not children's writers, but they're an awesome bunch and can give you feedback.

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  9. Good advice. I haven't submitted to query shark since I'm not finished revising the ms. I think that's one of her rules. I'll sit with your comments for a while, think about the name thing, maybe come up with some ideas, before submitting to EE.

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  10. Sarah-- let me return the favor. I'd love to take a look at your writing, if you would like some extra feedback.

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  11. Don't worry. I'm sure the opportunity will present itself at some point.

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