Thursday, August 26, 2010

8 Pitch Entry #28: A. J. Spindle

Title: Bennett Nelson and the Maker of the Stones

Genre: Heroic Middle Grade Fiction

After surviving a fiery shipwreck, twelve-year-old Bennett Nelson washes up on Isla de Sangra Mala, only to find the natives have been anticipating his arrival. Years before his birth, Bennett’s name was carved into the Shield of Stone by a mystical, prophetic creature.

Bennett is placed in a special camp for children of the Bureau; an organization bound together against an evil man who wants control of the island, Luciadoye the Great. There he attends lessons, learns of magical stones that can do almost anything, but most importantly he learns the power of friendship.

When the only known maker of the stones, Dr. Rivers, goes missing, Bennett, wanting to prove himself to the Bureau, sets out to find and rescue him. But time is running out. Bennett has to hurry and find the Doctor before Luciadoye can use his powers for evil.

8 comments:

  1. Sounds like an exciting middle grade novel! The writing is tight and the plot points very specific.

    I think my only suggestions would be to try to add a little more voice (swapping out a few words perhaps) and clarifying how Bennett sets out to rescue the Doctor.

    Other than that, I thought is was very well-written!

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  2. After surviving a fiery shipwreck, twelve-year-old Bennett Nelson washes up on Isla de Sangra Mala, only to find the natives have been anticipating his arrival. Years before his birth, Bennett’s name was carved into the Shield of Stone by a mystical, prophetic creature. (Cool.)

    Bennett is placed in a special camp for children of the Bureau(,) an organization bound together (this doesn't jive with the mystical stones/natives mentioned earlier) against an evil man who wants control of the island, Luciadoye the Great. There he attends lessons, learns of magical stones that can do almost anything, but most importantly he learns the power of friendship. (show don't tell, and does it even matter? you might be able to trim this.)

    When the only known maker of the stones, Dr. Rivers, goes missing, Bennett, wanting to prove himself to the Bureau, sets out to find and rescue him. But time is running out. Bennett has to hurry and find the Doctor before Luciadoye can use his powers for evil. (all I can hear is Maxwell Smart at the end of those old Get Smart episodes, saying, "If only he had used his power for good..." cliche. be specific - what will Luciadoye do? Why is there a ticking clock? what does the prophecy about him actually have to do with anything?)

    Good luck!

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  3. After surviving a fiery shipwreck, twelve-year-old Bennett Nelson washes up on Isla de Sangra Mala, only to find the natives have been anticipating his arrival. [NICE] Years before his birth, Bennett’s name was carved into the Shield of Stone by a mystical, prophetic creature. [Like a monster? Like a mystical human? What type of creature? Maybe just say by an island prophet, or something like that?]

    Bennett is placed in a special camp for children of the Bureau;(Comma, these are not separate clauses so it doesn't need a semicolon) an organization bound together against an evil man who wants control of the island, Luciadoye the Great. There he (Bennet) attends lessons, learns of magical stones that can do almost anything, but most importantly he learns the power of friendship. (I'm wondering why of friendship? Who does he meet?)

    When the only known maker of the stones, Dr. Rivers, (I don't think you need this name in the pitch) goes missing, Bennett, wanting to prove himself to the Bureau, sets out to find and rescue him. But time is running out. Bennett has to hurry and find the Doctor before Luciadoye can use his powers for evil. (I feel like you could say a bit more--I know we only had 175 words, but still, what would happen if Luciadoye uses his powers for evil? Would the world end? Would the island submerge? what?)

    Nice premise! I can picture my 9-y-o reading this!! Good luck! :D

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  4. This sounds like a great hair-raising read! One thing I'd like to know: WHO is Bennett? All we really know about him (besides that he wants to prove himself) is that he is connected to the Shield of Stone somehow and his age. What's his internal journey going to be about? Is he afraid of snakes? (Sorry, too cliche :) Anyway, this is a great premise and query, I'd just like to know more about your MC.

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  6. Great job. I like that this query is succinct and to the point. Here were my thoughts as I read.

    After surviving a fiery shipwreck, twelve-year-old Bennett Nelson washes up on Isla de Sangra Mala, only to find the natives have been anticipating his arrival. (Cool idea. What happened to his parents?) Years before his birth, Bennett’s name was carved into the Shield of Stone by a mystical, prophetic creature. (Like a magical, future seeing iguana? Why is he special?)

    Bennett is placed in a special camp for children of the Bureau; an organization bound together against an evil man who wants control of the island, Luciadoye the Great. (Is there something special about the island?) There he attends lessons, learns of magical stones that can do almost anything, but most importantly he learns the power of friendship. (This sentence seemed awkward - lessons, learns)

    When the only known maker of the stones, Dr. Rivers, goes missing, Bennett, wanting to prove himself to the Bureau, sets out to find and rescue him. (So many commas in this sentence makes it choppy. Can you cut this into two succinct sentences?) But time is running out. Bennett has to hurry and find the Doctor before Luciadoye can use his powers for evil. (And do what?)

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  7. Good premise. I love the island adventure. I think kids need more of that setting in novels and will eat it up.

    I do echo what everyone else has said. There are sentences that read awkwardly, such as: There he attends lessons, learns of magical stones that can do almost anything, but most importantly he learns the power of friendship.

    One question is, who is this mystical prophetic creature? Is it something that's enticing enough you can play off of to make your pitch, or query more attractive?

    Good luck!

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  8. Well, Bennett's name was written on the the shield of stone, a shield shaped rock that has the names of the islands greatest warriors and heros. But nobody knows who wrote Bennett's name or why it's there (until the middle/end). They just know that he's must be very important. I hope this makes sense. Also, his parent's weren't on the boat with him. I had all this in my first query, but I tried to shorten it, and I realize that it was a mistake.

    Thanks guys for the helpful comments!! :D

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