Thursday, August 26, 2010

5 Pitch Entry #31: Steph

Title: MEGALAND


Genre: Upper Middle Grade – Contemporary

When 14 year-old artist Inky Kahn picks the new girl as his secret muse, he never imagines his drawings of her will be used by a predatory game developer to ensnare her.

Inky Kahn is stuck in a deep purple funk of extended grief over his father's death, and doomed to another year in his demanding prep school. His geeky Buddhist friend Rungs steers him to a computer game in development, thinking it will help Inky get past his heartache, and showcase his drawings. The boys’ cyber-sleuthing leads them to discover that their new classmate, Amanda, has made a date with the game developer – a convicted child molester - apparently thinking he’s Inky because of the drawings. Equipped with spy gear from Rungs’ intelligence-officer father, a provocative drawing by Inky, and Amanda’s newfound inner courage, they trap the creep and in the process transcend their adolescent isolation and cement their friendships.

5 comments:

  1. When 14 year-old artist Inky Kahn picks the new girl as his secret muse, he never imagines his drawings of her will be used by a predatory game developer to ensnare her.
    *I would have liked to seen this sentence shorter, with more of a hook. Maybe: 14 year old artist Inky Kahn picks a new girl for his secret muse, never expecting it to lead to her kidnapping. Also, ensnare sounds a bit of an old word for YA.*

    Inky Kahn is stuck in a deep purple funk of extended grief over his father's death, and doomed to another year in his demanding prep school. His geeky Buddhist friend Rungs steers him to a computer game in development, thinking it will help Inky get past his heartache, and showcase his drawings. The boys’ cyber-sleuthing leads them to discover that their new classmate, Amanda, has made a date with the game developer – a convicted child molester - apparently thinking he’s Inky because of the drawings. Equipped with spy gear from Rungs’ intelligence-officer father, a provocative drawing by Inky, and Amanda’s newfound inner courage, they trap the creep and in the process transcend their adolescent isolation and cement their friendships.
    *While you do a good job of showing the overall story arc, and created a tale with definite intrigue, I felt like this pitch waffled between YA voice and adult voice. Also, I'm struggling to 'picture' what a "proactive drawing" would be. And, I think some details could've been stripped out, at this point we don't need to know his buddy is a geeky Buddhist, do we? I would suggest rewording that. Try to balance the info in the pitch with the voice of the story.*

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  2. When 14(-)year-old artist Inky Kahn picks the new girl as his secret muse, he never imagines his drawings of her will be used by a predatory game developer to ensnare her. (Nice hook, but needs more voice - while I disagree with AE about it being too adult, it just sounds bland. maybe a simple 'could get her killed', since you elaborate how later?)

    Inky Kahn is stuck in a deep purple funk of extended grief (wordy - and redundant - stuck in a funk' means the same thing as 'extended grief'. pick one) over his father's death, and (cut the and) doomed to another year in his demanding prep school.

    His geeky Buddhist (does this matter?)friend Rungs steers him to a computer game in development, thinking it will help Inky get past his heartache,(comma not needed) and showcase his drawings.

    The boys’ cyber-sleuthing (what cyber-sleuthing? they weren't investigating anything) leads them to discover that their new classmate, Amanda, has made a date with the game developer – a convicted child molester (how the HECK do they find this out?) - apparently thinking he’s Inky because of the drawings.

    Equipped with spy gear from Rungs’ intelligence-officer father, (gee, that's convenient) a provocative drawing by Inky, and Amanda’s newfound inner courage, (huh?) they trap the creep and in the process transcend their adolescent isolation and cement their friendships. (this is cliche and vague and totally lacking voice)

    So why wouldn't they just tell their parents or the police when they figure out Amanda plans to meet somebody besides Inky? I need more to make this believable.

    Good luck!

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  3. Wow, this sounds unique! I'd definitely want to read this!

    My comments for critique:

    I think there's a disconnect between the hook and the premise of the story. The first sentence of the second paragraph seemed a little too poetic to me--it had the inkling of an artist's voice, but then the query turning into a techy type thriller. I guess I wasn't expecting such a serious turn based on the opening lines. Additionally, I think having more than two characters in a query makes it seem complicated.

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  4. Your story sounds interesting, especially since your characters are boys.

    When 14 year-old artist Inky Kahn picks the new girl as his secret muse, he never imagines his drawings of her will be used by a predatory game developer to ensnare her. I like the suggestion of Jess to switch it to: could get her killed.

    Inky Kahn is stuck in a deep purple funk of extended grief over his father's death, and doomed to another year in his demanding prep school. His geeky Buddhist friend Rungs steers him to a computer game in development, thinking it will help Inky get past his heartache, and showcase his drawings. Perhaps instead: Grief stricken over his father's death, he's reluctant to help his geeky Buddist friend Rungs (I like the Buddist connection)develop a computer game until he realizes it's a way to showcase his drawings. The boys’ cyber-sleuthing leads them to discover that their new classmate, Amanda, has made a date with the game developer – a convicted child molester - apparently thinking he’s Inky because of the drawings. Equipped with spy gear from Rungs’ intelligence-officer father, a provocative drawing by Inky, and Amanda’s newfound inner courage, they trap the creep and in the process transcend their adolescent isolation and cement their friendships.

    The last two sentences--I think you need to show a bit more how they discover Amanda has made a date with the person and why they feel the need to trap the person. I like how they use Rung's father's equipment though. Then end with the stakes as to what will happen for them and Amanda if they don't succed. Your last sentence tells us what happens. I think you want to leave a hook so the agent asks for me.

    I think the cyber sleuthing will definitely appeal to boy readers. Good luck.

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  5. Love the title and the name of the main character!

    Your opening line was fine, though the "predatory game developer" threw me a bit at first.

    While I like the idea of two best friends saving a damsel in distress, something about the idea of a child predator just creeped me out. As it should.

    And maybe this is just the way I'm reading the pitch, but I see a disconnect between the almost playfulness of the boy-artist and boy-spy tracking down a convicted child molester. Something is just off about it and I can't put my finger on it.

    Maybe the genre needs to be aged up a little bit. Or maybe the overall tone of the pitch needs to be a little darker. There is just something that's a touch off, so it's not quite resonating for me.

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