Monday, September 24, 2007

Query 11: You're Not Fooling Me, Cause I Can See the Way You Shake and Shiver

I am currently seeking representation for Screw-Up Summer, a middle grade novel of 32,0000 words. Something about the agent here. Well, what would you do if your parents dumped you in some old summer camp while they went hiking in Nepal? Ginger Patterson tries to make friends, really she does, but the mean girls in her cabin won’t give her a chance.

That sounds familiar. What makes this different from all the other times we've seen "the mean girls"?

She even tries to keep her big mouth shut, but Molly and the Tee Hee Twins press her buttons too hard. Ginger burps out a string of boastful lies
Burps? You don't mean literally?

and ends up with only one friend —shy Diana, the only camper more unpopular than she is.
Again, sounds familiar. The outcast is befriended by the shy girl. Is this meant to be a send-up of the genre?

Irritated by Ginger’s antics like overturning a canoe and messing up a baseball game, Camp Sequoia kicks her out, calling her eccentric Aunt Sylvan to come get her. Sylvan takes Ginger to Hollywood. The place is a blast except Ginger keeps obsessing about her friend Diana who can’t be found.
What? Did Diana follow Ginger to Hollywood? I hope your manuscript doesn't have sentences like that last one.

Discovering that Diana is mega-rich hooks Ginger into believing someone’s kidnapped the shy girl.
Why? Oh, you mean no one could find Diana, and it’s a mystery? That was not clear. And suddenly Diana’s rich and kidnapped? Feels contrived.
She’s turning up clues when her terrible big mouth gets her into more trouble. This time Ginger’s exiled to a mobile home in Lake Elsinore with her senile grandmother and a caretaker. Bored and lonely, Ginger investigates an abandoned mansion Diana mentioned. If only she can rescue her billionaire friend, she’ll be a heroine. That will show the whole world that Ginger Patterson is not a screw-up. Through a series of zany misadventures, this sassy but good-hearted girl finally learns to value friendship more than fame.

Another change of scene, and the mystery of the billionaire camper continues to follow Ginger? My suspension of disbelief is seriously strained at this point.
I'm going to take a guess and say that at the end, the kidnappers who have been haunting the abandoned mansion with the use of phosphorescent paint turn out to be the mean girls from camp wearing werewolf masks, and as they’re led away by the police, they say: “And we would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for you pesky kids and your dog!”


Anonymous said...

I didn't mind the similarities to other stories when i started reading this...but I have to say that all the constant moving around was a little annoying -- not to mention that to me, the last couple of sentences implies that the MC is only in this for herself (which is an automatic turn-off for me) -- doesn't she care about Diana at all? If she does, I think this would be so much stronger if that's emphasized :)

Carly said...

32,0000 words, eh?

Hi. I'm Carly. I found you - oh, hell, I don't remember how. I just did. I actually want to be a children's book editor "when I grow up." Or finish college. Whichever comes first. (Probably the college.)

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