Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Query 78: Redux

Child God

“That God all the grown-ups worship in church was never a real kid,” Roy tells Angela. “Kids need their own god."

Ninth-grader Angela Dawn’s main concern this summer is perfecting her competitive baton-twirling. However, her arrogant and hyper-intelligent classmate Roy Wiley couldn’t care less about such “pointless endeavors.” He’s far too busy working on his Master Plan to save all the world’s children from hunger, disease, war and abuse.

Angela is leery of Roy when their respective parents convince the Boy Genius to tutor Angela in math, but she winds up admitting Roy is nothing if not different. After all, most twelve-year-olds don’t own 955 radio-controlled helicopters, carry around a water pistol filled with lemon juice or call poison ivy “free weaponry- ripe for the picking!” Roy enables Angela to see not only math but everything brand-new light, showing her the world as he sees it- brimming with potential. In return, Angela tries to repay Roy by helping him moderate his obsessions. But when Roy overreacts to being bullied, reprisals and counter-reprisals grow more and more violent. Angela’s efforts to stop the cycle only lead to her own life disintegrating, as friends abandon her and Roy ’s enemies target her as well. Learning the truth about the bullies makes Angela question everything she thinks she knows about Roy . Finally, Angela makes a shocking discovery about who Roy really holds responsible for the state of the world’s children, and is forced to decide: is she the one who will help make Roy’s dreams a reality, or is she the world’s only hope of stopping him?

CHILD GOD is my YA Suspense novel, complete at 90,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Comments

I think you've done a good job to elaborate but not really to clarify. I think you're holding your cards close to your chest because you don't want to give away spoilers. You don't have to show ALL your cards, of course -- in fact, you want there to be some mystique to entice a reader on -- but I think you're holding back your hook, and that's what's going to sell this pitch.

Where I'm having a hard time is connecting the dots between the opening and closing of this query. Here's what I'm getting out of the query:

Roy is a self-centered, high-IQ kid with violent tendencies and, possibly, delusions of grandeur. He thinks there's some one thing that is causing misery for the children of the world. ALL the children. So he has a plan to save a couple of billion of them. And set up a god just for kids in the process.

Angela finds out what the plan is and has to decide if a 12 yo with the above tendencies is about to go all Columbine on -- what, the whole world? -- or will be the new Dalai Lama.

As written, half of this query sounds like it could be a very personal story about a delusional kid whom another kid is trying to help. Angela grows in the process of reaching out to him and maybe helps Roy try to find his center so he doesn't go over the edge. I like that story.

The other half sounds like a delusional kid who somehow may actually become the world's next god or anti-god, destined to lead 2 billion children to the Promised Land. Or not. I don't like this story quite as much, but it has promise.

But the query isn't giving me enough to quite figure out which story I'm getting.

Is it this one?

Ninth-grader Angela Dawn’s main concern this summer is perfecting her competitive baton-twirling. Her parents' main concern is that she pass math next year. So they persuade her arrogant and hyper-intelligent classmate Roy Wiley into tutoring her. Only Roy's not so much concerned about pointless crap like batons and simple geometry. He’s far too busy working on his Master Plan for saving all the world’s children from hunger, disease, war and abuse.

Right off, Angela sees that Roy has ... eccentricities. After all, most twelve-year-olds don’t own 955 radio-controlled helicopters, carry around a water pistol filled with lemon juice or call poison ivy “free weaponry - ripe for the picking!" But the Boy Genius also has a gift for seeing the world in a truly rare and enlightening way, brimming with potential. He shares his unique perspective with her, giving her a glimpse into the mind of a true prodigy and the lightning connections that illuminate his world. In return, Angela reaches out, helping him moderate his obsessive and violent nature.

After bullies attack him, though, Roy overreacts, and the reprisals and counter-reprisals grow more and more violent. Angela tries to stop the cycle, only to have her friends abandon her and Roy’s enemies target her too. Amid the escalating violence, Roy reveals his Master Plan to her, and Angela realizes that the line where genius leaves off and delusions begin maybe isn't as clear as she first thought. Caught between concern that Roy is about to cross that line and the possibility that his Plan could actually work, Angela must decide: Is Roy a demi-god in the making or is she the world's best hope of stopping him?

2 comments:

AA said...

You buried your hook! This is good- but we still need a little bit more about what actually happens.

Jo-Ann said...

The new query is tighter, but my issue is that the "child god" point was never followed up.

Does Roy see himself as a god, or is he hearing a god-being tell him what to do?

90000 words is long for a younger YA book (kids tend to read up, so it would appeal to those below 9th grade) but at least it gives you the opportunity to elaborate on more than one theme.

BTW, I dont think you could have chosen an endeavor more pointless than baton-twirling.