Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Getting Naked With Josie - er, umn... I mean posting my entry...

As some of you may have noticed, Moonrat is holding a competition that you can learn about: here and then updated, here and here.

Josephine Damian has bravely posted her entry for open comment on her blog, which she commented somewhere or other made her feel naked... so I thought I’d be, gulp, brave enough to do the same. Comments and crits are welcome – I’m closing in on query time so anything that helps me tweak is always appreciated.

The following is my entry for Raskin’s Wings, my middle grade novel.

Headline:

Why Benny is the only boy who can see Raskin remains a mystery, but helping the wayward fairy to win back his wings may just earn them both salvation.

Back Cover (133 words):

Raskin is not your average fairy. His affinity for mortals gets him in trouble more often than not, culminating in his being clipped as a punishment for his crimes. Now he’s in a race against trolls and a fairy on a power trip to right his past misdeeds and win back his wings.

Benny Sherman doesn’t need the hassle. First, he and his mom are crammed into Grandma’s overcrowded bungalow after his parents’ separation. Then he’s forced to attend Catholic school, where every day promises to be as much fun as church. Meeting a wingless fairy in need of his assistance isn’t likely to help him fit in and, if he had to be caught up in such nonsense, why couldn’t he at least get cool creatures? Instead, Benny gets girly fairies!

Jacket Copy (353 words):

When Raskin’s impetuousness leads him to trust one mortal too many, he has no idea it will mean the loss of the Tuatha De Danann, or his own wings. Recovering the talisman before it falls into the hands of trolls is his only chance of regaining the kingdom’s forgiveness, but how can one fairy hope to accomplish such a lofty goal without wings or magic? Raskin’s journey takes him across the ocean and onto the path of the only boy who can see him.

Benny Sherman’s sixth grade year is heading in a less than stellar direction. His parents’ separation forces Benny and his mom to move in with Grandma Sicola, where play dates are unheard of and chores are expected. Rounding out the series of changes, Benny is sent to St. Michael’s Catholic school – he can’t even remember all of the prayers, how can he fake being a real Catholic all day long? His mother’s preoccupation with her new job means that Benny needs to navigate his surroundings on his own... but it’s not all bad, new responsibilities come with an exciting independence the eleven year old has never known.

While fleeing from Branaugh, the neighborhood miscreant, Benny and his buddy John find themselves falling into a fairy den, where they come face to face with Raskin and his companions. When Raskin realizes Benny can see and hear him, the fairy is convinced that the boy is meant to help and, more than that, he’s a balm to the fairy who has missed human companionship more than any of his magic. Once the boys determine that they are neither dead nor hallucinating, they agree to bring the fairies home and aid in their search, but keeping the whole thing secret means alienating friends and a whole lot of creative lying. If they can outsmart the troop of fairies trying to thwart Raskin, stay away from the nefarious trolls, and retrieve the talisman, Benny’s life can go back to normal...

When the trolls set their sights on the boy rather than the fairy, Benny steps into more danger than he bargained for...

Author Bio (word count: rather short, but I can puff it up with a little creative fibbing ;-):

Merry Monteleone has been weaving stories since she was a small child, though persnickety adults often referred to it as ‘fibbing’. Most of her fiction is set in the Chicago land area, where she grew up and is now raising her three children. Raskin’s Wings is her debut novel.

17 comments:

Josephine Damian said...

Woot! Bet you'll get lots of hits just mentioning "getting naked" in your subject line. Too bad I didn't say I felt "as panty-less as Britney Spears" - then you'd get a gazillion hits!

Thanks for the plug, and for being brave enough to post your entry - why haven't the guys posted theirs yet? Italian chicks rule (because they have cojones.)

*Merry Monteleone has been weaving stories since she was a small child, though persnickety adults often referred to it as ‘fibbing’.*

If I could write a bio this strong I wouldn't need to mention cooking a corpse.

More crits to follow....

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Josephine,

Don't worry about the plug, I probably wouldn't have posted if you hadn't been posting yours... I figured it was a good opportunity for feedback...

As far as my bio, I figured lack of platform wasn't as detrimental to middle grade readers - so I aimed more for their sensibilities than anything... glad you liked it.

I like your 'cooking corpse' line, for your subject matter, the credentials are fantastic.

The Anti-Wife said...

Well done!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Anti-Wife,

Thank You!!! I just read your character bio a little bit ago, but haven't had time to comment - I like it a lot - I actually like both plotlines, but the first one still sticks out more for me... I'll be over soon to comment there.

Mary Witzl said...

I like the sound of this, Merry. Now I ought to dust mine off and post it, but I'm a little light in the cojones department.

They called it fibbing when I was little, too, the old farts.

Josephine Damian said...

Merry, I just found out jurors 1-34 are to report for duty tomorrow.... I am #38! Which means I can make my all important nail appointment tomorrow - but it looks like I may be called in Thurs. now. Crap. Well, at least I'll have nice nails to go with my cojones.

I wanted a transitional sentence between the first Raskin and Benny paragraphs that tells me the connection/relationship between the two. Also, I wanted to get rid of the "is" in the opening..."Not your ordinary fairy, Raskin...."

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Mary,

It's a really good exercise to get a concise view of your novel and how to pitch it - if you'd rather not post it, I'd be happy to crit you in private if you like. I still have your email, so if you've lost mine just give me a yay or nay and I'll drop you a line... or if you still have mine just drop me the line :-)

Hi Josephine,

Nice nails are very important... it's too cold here to worry about a pedicure, but those are always good too...

Thanks for the crit - if you have anything on the jacket copy let me know and I'll post a revision on what you've given me so far a little later today.

Josephine Damian said...

“Raskin’s journey takes him across the ocean and onto the path of the only boy who can see him.” which to me explains the hassle in the next line: “Benny Sherman doesn’t need the hassle.”

This is the kind of transition I thought you should use in the back cover. I too struggled with not wanting to repeat the same lines in my back cover and jacket flap.

“why couldn’t he at least get cool creatures (like ________)” I wanted to hear more of Benny’s voice here and have him name a type of creature kids that age would be into - something popular these days with real kids so they’d relate to Benny.

“Instead, Benny gets girly faires!” girly and the plural form kinda bothered me. “gets a hapless fairy” “gets a loser fairy” “gets a clipped fairy” – just a suggestion.

“Now he’s in a race against trolls and a fairy on a power trip to right his past misdeeds and win back his wings.”

Maybe “Determined to right his past deeds and win back his wings, Raskin’s in a race against (____) trolls and a (______) fairy on a power trip.” – wanted a bit more description and in terms the kids use these days.

IMO, being a mom is all the platform you need to write YA - you already know how kids sound, the kind of phrases they use.

Merry Monteleone said...

Rock on, Josephine! I'm going to copy paste the suggestions into an open file and work from there - I'll post revisions a little later today or tomorrow...

Using Benny's voice worked really well in the pitch I posted at BookEnds, but the phrase he used was "sissy fairies" - something my ten year old later said was not something 'cool' to say. Sissy is my generation and above... they would say "stupid fairies" which didn't have the same ring to it to me... so I'm wavering with the line of dialogue in the ms - wondering if I can pass that one off as eleven year old speak or if I need to change it.

Stop back in later and I should have a revision up - thanks for the eye.

Shelly said...

I can hardly wait for the novel to be out now, Merry! It is going to be a fun read.

Jerseygirl89 said...

I love it. The provocative title and all your book info. I really want to read your book now!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Shelly,

Keep that enthusiasm, you'll be getting the full ms to wade through pretty soon, if you're still up for it :-)

Hi Jersey,

Thanks!!! Hopefully I can find an agent who feels the same way. My fingers and toesies are crossed... plus I'm killing myself on revisions... which is much harder with crossed fingers...

silken said...

good luck merry!

Josephine Damian said...

Thought your jacket copy was fine, and the last line creates suspence. Interesting that we did better with the longer versions than the shorter. I wonder if the others had the same struggles.

Since my nail tech is booked solid it would have been tough to reschedule and I gotta look pretty for Donald! I already bought a new red suit - gotta stand out in the crowd.

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Silken,

Thanks so much for the visit and well wishes.

Hi Josephine,

Okay, here's the revised pitch, what do you think?

Raskin is not your average fairy. His affinity for mortals gets him in trouble more often than not, culminating in his being clipped as a punishment for his crimes. Now he’s in a race against trolls and a fairy on a power trip to right his past misdeeds and win back his wings. Raskin’s journey takes him across an ocean and onto the path of the only boy who can see him.

Benny Sherman doesn’t need the hassle. First, he and his mom are crammed into Grandma’s overcrowded bungalow after his parents’ separation. Then he’s forced to attend Catholic school, where every day promises to be as much fun as church. Meeting a wingless fairy in need of his assistance isn’t likely to help him fit in and Benny wonders what he ever did to deserve being saddled with creatures most people think are just make believe. “...not even cool creatures, either. I get sissy fairies!”


By the way, I left you a comment at Nathan's blog about meeting with Donald, but my fingers and toes are crossed for you - relax and enjoy the fun.

Ello said...

Cool! I thought that was really interesting and I would definitely read it! Great concept!

Merry Monteleone said...

Hi Ello,

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it... you know, narrowing down the pitch and synopsis is at least as daunting as writing the darn thing.