Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #8


Title: Vesper Venti’s Virtual Reality
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Word Count: Almost completed approx 25 000 – 30 000 words

Query:

Virtual reality was what 13-Year-Old Vesper Venti expected when she turned on her parent’s prototype gaming console, but instead she finds herself battling a real ninja inside a dank Egyptian pyramid.   When a mysterious girl named Venny comes to her aid, Vesper is astounded by her revelation.   Vesper is a “time-mender,” but she isn’t buying it.  She just wants to get back to her family until Venny’s second revelation for the day. She is family. They are sisters both stolen from Altonia, a world that was placed at the gates of the universe to prevent Salazar from entering to begin his evil reign. 
 Simple solution, learn to time-mend, big Problem, Venny can only teach Vesper the basics so they improvise.  They find themselves hurtling down a time-stream to Altonia which is under occupation by one of Salazar’s henchman.  Vesper and Venny are forced underground where they meet Ronin a resistance fighter with an even bigger revelation for the sisters. They are the lost heirs to the Altonian throne. When the three motley time-mender’s combine forces and attempt to reclaim the throne,  they realise they have bitten off more than they can mend and now Salazar is rattling the gates of the universe and it’s all their fault. 

First 150

Watch out on your left,’ Drew bellowed as Vesper blocked an open hand jab then swept her leg and back flipped over the couch.  She took her stance again and beckoned the ninja to advance. They paced around the ring, sizing each other up but this time Vesper struck.  She launched into the air whirling around and jabbing left with all her might and the ninja crumpled to the floor.  She took her stance again and bowed low. The ninja dragged itself up and acknowledged the defeat with a bow and the room erupted with cheers. Vesper pulled off the silver cuffs and the ninja, her kimono and the ring disappeared from the room.
Yoshi picked up the silver cuffs and pulled them on. A huge virtual screen appeared and he began swiping his way through. He put ona metal Samurai uniform with a Helmut and grabbed a virtual sword.

9 comments:

Elaine Smith said...

I like the idea of individuals who can time-mend. I think I'd have a clearer image if you give a few more details about who Salazar is in the query - he can't get into Altonia but his henchman can? He is a different species to both the Altonians and his bully?

Anonymous said...

QUERY:

Virtual reality was what 13-Year-Old Vesper Venti expected when she turned on her parent’s prototype gaming console, but instead she finds herself battling a real ninja inside a dank Egyptian pyramid.   When a mysterious girl named Venny comes to her aid, Vesper is astounded by her revelation.   Vesper is a “time-mender,” [TELL US WHAT A TIME MENDER IS] but she isn’t buying it [HOW IS SHE ASTOUNDED IF SHE ISN’T “BUYING IT”?].  She just wants to get back to her family until Venny’s second revelation for the day. She is family. They are sisters both stolen from Altonia, a world that was placed at the gates of the universe to prevent Salazar [WHO IS HE?] from entering to begin his evil reign. 

 Simple solution, learn to time-mend, big Problem, Venny can only teach Vesper the basics so they improvise.  They find themselves hurtling down a time-stream to Altonia which is under occupation by one of Salazar’s henchman.  Vesper and Venny are forced underground where they meet Ronin a resistance fighter with an even bigger revelation for the sisters. They are the lost heirs to the Altonian throne. When the three motley time-mender’s combine forces and attempt to reclaim the throne,  they realise they have bitten off more than they can mend. [BREAK INTO TWO SENTENCES] Now Salazar is rattling the gates of the universe and it’s all their fault. [NEED A CLOSING HOOK] Can Vesper yadada yadda before it's too late [OR WHATEVER THE CONSEQUENCE IS]

150:

Watch out on your left,’ Drew bellowed as Vesper blocked an open hand jab then swept her leg and back flipped over the couch.  She took her stance again and beckoned the ninja to advance. They paced around the ring, sizing each other up but this time Vesper struck.  She launched into the air whirling around and jabbing left with all her might and the ninja crumpled to the floor.  She took her stance again and bowed low. The ninja dragged itself up and acknowledged the defeat with a bow and the room erupted with cheers. Vesper pulled off the silver cuffs and the ninja, her kimono and the ring disappeared from the room.

Yoshi picked up the silver cuffs and pulled them on. A huge virtual screen appeared and he began swiping his way through. He put ona metal Samurai uniform with a Helmut and grabbed a virtual sword.

[3 PEOPLE ALREADY IN JUST THE FIRST 150 WORDS, AND THE READER DOESN’T KNOW WHO ANY OF THEM ARE, OR WHO THE MAIN CHARACTER IS. FROM THE QUERY, I KNOW THE MC IS VESPER, SO MAYBE YOU CAN BEGIN MORE FROM HER POV. CAN BE DONE EASILY BY JUST REARRANGING:

Vesper took her stance again and beckoned the ninja to advance.

“Watch out on your left!,” Drew bellowed.

Vesper blocked an open hand jab then swept her leg and back flipped over the couch.  They paced around the ring, sizing each other up but this time Vesper struck.  She launched into the air whirling around and jabbing left with all her might and the ninja crumpled to the floor.  She took her stance again and bowed low. The ninja dragged itself up and acknowledged the defeat with a bow and the room erupted with cheers. Vesper pulled off the silver cuffs and the ninja, her kimono and the ring disappeared from the room.

Yoshi [WHO IS HE/SHE?] picked up the silver cuffs and pulled them on. A huge virtual screen appeared and he began swiping his way through. He put on a metal Samurai uniform with a Helmut and grabbed a virtual sword.

Cat said...

The query is good but I'd add one more word to describe the antagonist. Is he an evil magician, a banished priest, a howling daemon?

Oh, and there is a typo in the sample. I'm sure you meant to write helmet not Helmut. ;-)

Jayme said...

This sounds awesome. Like really, really awesome! But I think it can be clearer. For starters, I’m unclear on the inciting incident. Is her parents’ prototype gaming console really a prototype gaming console (i.e. SHE did something that made her end up in the dank pyramid)? Or do her parents call it that but really it’s a top secret contraption of some kind (i.e. the CONSOLE caused the inciting incident). I would tweak your opening to reflect that. For example:

“Thirteen-year-old Vesper Venti is a hardcore gamer, so when her parents tell her not to touch their prototype gaming console… well, that just isn’t going to happen. Unfortunately, the prototype console is actually a [whatever it is], and instead of the virtual ninja she expects she’s forced to square off against the real deal in a dank pyramid.”

Also, if all Vesper wants to do is go home, why learn to time-mend and go to Altonia? Are they under attack from more ninjas and have no choice? Does Venny trick her? Also, who/what is Salazar? A demon? An evil time-mender? Again, I haven’t read your manuscript, but maybe something like:

“…dank pyramid. A mysterious girl named Venny saves her butt, but not for long. Turns out they’re sisters stolen from Altonia, a world placed at the gates of the universe to prevent Salazar, the king of evil [or whatever he is], from wreaking havoc on Earth. But Altonia is crumbling. One of Salazar’s henchmen is already on the throne… and his master isn’t far behind.

All Vesper wants is to go home, but unless she helps Venny [whatever they need to do] she won’t have a home to go back to. No one will. Reluctantly, she learns the basics of time-mending, and they grab a time-stream to Altonia, where they meet Ronin, a [handsome?] resistance fighter. When he reveals they are the lost heirs of Altonia, the three combine forces to reclaim the throne… but they soon realize they’ve bitten off more than they can mend. Now, Salazar is rattling the gates of the universe, and it’s all their fault.”

I agree with some of the other comments that your 150 need to be clarified. I know nothing about Drew and Yoshi and wouldn’t know anything about Vesper if I hadn’t read the query. Your word count of 25-30k leaves a lot of wiggle room. Maybe you could chop things up with a little bit of playful bickering (like you hear between fellow gamers).

All in all, I think you’ve got a great concept. Keep at it! :)

Nicole said...

Neat premise. I'll admit I got a little overwhelmed with all the Vs in the query. It might cause you two potential issues with agents: 1) they'll be confused about which character is which, 2) they'll be able to guess right away that the girls are sisters.

I also spotted some missing commas, so watch that carefully. Otherwise, who doesn't love ninjas and time travel?

Good luck!

Jambo said...

Thank you all for taking the time to review my query. You have all made some excellent suggestions and I have ammended my query and manuscript considerably. Best of luck to you all, cheers Julie

Jambo said...

Query Revision: I am not sure if this will work when I paste it in, but here goes.

Vesper Venti's Virtual Reality

Thirteen-year-old Vesper Venti is a hardcore gamer and Karate enthusiast. When she turns on her parent’s latest prototype gaming console, she is expecting to square off against a virtual ninja, but instead she finds herself battling the real deal in a dank Egyptian pyramid.

When a mysterious girl named Venny comes to her aid, Vesper is astounded by her revelation. Vesper is a time-mender from Altonia. A world placed at the gates of the universe to prevent Salazar, the king of the dark realm from breaking through and taking control of the universe. But Vesper isn’t buying it. She can barely mend a sock, let alone time. She just wants to get back to her family until Venny’s second revelation for the day. She is family. They are sisters both stolen from a time- stream in Altonia by Salazar’s ninja’s in order to tear the very fabric of reality.

Simple solution, master this time-mending thingy or whatever it Venny calls it. It’s her only access to the time-stream and her ticket home. Big problem, Venny will only teach Vesper the basics. She won’t allow Vesper to experiment in the time-stream.
When one Salazar’s ninja’s come to take its next victim, Vesper does battle with it but this time she improvises. Instead of mending the tear, she jumps on the ninja’s back and grabs Venny, forcing her to follow. They find themselves hurtling them down a time-stream to the very place Vesper wishes to avoid. Altonia is crumbling under the rule of one of Salazar’s henchman and Vesper and Venny are forced underground where they meet Ronin, a resistance fighter with an even bigger revelation for the sisters. They are the lost heirs to the Altonian throne.

When the three motley time- mender’s combine forces and attempt to reclaim the throne, they realise they have bitten off more than they can mend. Now Salazar is rattling the gates of the universe and it’s all their fault. Vesper must make the hardest decision of her life, one which may seal her fate forever.

First 150
Vesper blocked with an open hand jab then she swept her leg and back flipped over the couch. She planted her feet and launched into the air, whirling around and jabbing left with all her might and the ninja crumpled to the floor. Vesper took a bow and the room erupted with cheers from Drew, Evie and Yoshi. She pulled off the silver cuffs and the ninja, her kimono and the ring disappeared from the room.
‘I call it the grasshopper,’ said Vesper in her best Darth Vader voice and she raised an eyebrow at Drew.
‘Alright alright,’ Drew surrendered, ‘I may not be able to match the grasshopper, but I reckon I can at least get an eyebrow raise.’
‘Vesper is hardly going to quiver in her socks when you enter the ring,’ Evie chuckled. ‘She is a green belt after all.’

Jayme said...

LOVE the revision to your 150. It’s much clearer now and gives me an immediate sense of the scene. The changes to your query are also really great. A few thoughts:

“A mysterious girl named Venny comes to her aid. She tells Vesper they are both time-menders from Altonia, a world placed at the gates of the universe to prevent Salazar, the king of the dark realm, from breaking through and taking control of the universe. (This information was in a fragment before, so I’ve just combined the two sentences) Vesper isn’t buying it. She can barely mend a sock, let alone time. (love this!) She just wants to get back to her family… but Venny claims she is family. (I think this is a cleaner transition, but that’s just my opinion) They are sisters stolen from a time-stream in Altonia by Salazar’s ninjas (ninjas doesn’t need an apostrophe), who hope to tear the fabric of reality and release their master.

In paragraph three, I’d clarify things a little: “Venny insists Vesper learn time-mending and repair the damage. Vesper has other ideas. When one of Salazar’s ninjas shows up, she thinks it’s her ticket home. Instead of mending the tear the ninja used, she jumps in and grabs Venny, forcing her to follow. But Vesper is still a beginner, and the sisters find themselves hurtling out of control down a time-stream to the very place Vesper wishes to avoid.”

All in all, very nicely done. And thanks for your feedback on my query! :)

Jambo said...

Thanks Jayme for taking the time again. Your suggestions were great. Best of luck in the contest