Saturday, September 22, 2007

Query 10: Thar She Blows

A sudden gust of wind almost knocked me down as I climbed over the basket's side. It pushed my breath back into my throat then hurled itself against the ship's sails. It flew to the top of the mast and tugged at the flag then dived toward the water and danced with the waves. The ship rocked beneath my feet like a giant seesaw, and a flash of lightening blinded me.
That is some busy wind, huh? Knocked, pushed, hurled, flew, tugged, dived, danced? And one after another, as though it can’t do them all at once, and as though the main character could actually see the wind flying, diving, or dancing. And as though we care about the fricking wind. I’m done reading.

"Ahoy, mateys and shiver me timbers!" I shouted above the roar of the wind. "Thar's a storm a-brewin'! Batten down the hatches!"

Damn it, why did I read more? I’m really stopping now.
I squeezed my eyes shut as a gigantic wave crashed over the bow, splashed my face and .....
I was back.
The door at the top of the stairs was open.
Water was dripping from my hair into my eyes, and my little brother was laughing.
"Zach!" I yelled. "The water guns are supposed to stay outside!" I climbed out and stomped up the stairs to find a towel. Pests - that's what little brothers are. Nothing but pests.
Dear Editor,
What do you get when you take a laundry basket and an imaginative child then throw a pesky little brother into the mix? After the initial adventure that I shared above, the story goes on to explore just that question. The older child would say that all you get is shattered adventures and a lot of frustration – every single time. But little brother Zach would disagree. True, his water gun, rubber snake, whistle, and blanket bring the adventures to an abrupt end. But that’s not what he wants; he’s simply trying to join in the fun. Will Zach ever be successful in his quest? He’s beginning to wonder. After reading many of the picture books your company offers, I think my 950-word story about Zach and his older sibling would fit in well with your list. May I share it with you? Thanks for your time and consideration of my request.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

If this is a 950 word picture book then you really need to make it simpler and give it a real plot.

Somebody "annoying" their big sister is a believable character trait, certainly, but what is the plot?

It isn't clear.

LindaBudz said...

If this is Zach's story (he seems to be the one with the problem that needs to be solved), should it be told in the older child's POV? I'd be interested in others' opinions. Can't decide whether it would be interesting or confusing.

Anonymous said...

"lightening"?

Anonymous said...

Can we see some more examples of picture book queries?

ae said...

As a pb writer/illustrator I found your voice too mature for that of a young child. As matter of fact, my first impression was that your speaker was upper mid-grade or even youngest YA. When I got to the end of your query I was surprised. Perhaps you could investigate the halls of midgradery as you pursue this.

I have found thru many conference critiques of other writers, that everyone wants to(and thinks they can)write pb, but much of what I see(saw)is mid-grade voice in that expected pb format.

And SO many editors say they are looking for it mid-grade right now.

You really have to get the voice right in whatever book you write. SMILE

Sarah Miller said...

I'm reminded of Miss Snark's constant remark during last December's crap-o-meter: This isn't a hook, it's a first page.