Monday, September 17, 2012

Rd 1 Agent Pitch Contest #24 - THUNDERBIRD DREAMS

Thunderbird Dreams
Middle Grade Historical Fantasy


Twelve-year-old tomboy Christine Miller doesn’t believe in ghosts, spooks, or spirits. She can’t, ‘cause if she did, she’d have to worry about her mom coming back to haunt her. Nope, no ghosts for her. So, what is that white figure pointing at her in the dark of  night? And who’s playing tom-toms in the coal mine? Not ghosts, that’s for sure.

She sets out to prove it and ends up in a chase with the local boys that leads her to Native American ruins. Inside the old granary, she finds a strange stick her new friend, Tate, swears was not there yesterday. When she picks it up, drumbeats pound through her, and she is set on the path of an ancient quest to save the Thunderbird, the last of a race of power beings, trapped inside the mountain. The stick is a warclub she must use to send the Thunderbird home.

Chris couldn’t save her mom from drowning, but she will save the last Thunderbird. Even if that means pretending to be a boy to get inside the mine, defying her dad when he finds out, and facing the mine boss in a race to get to the Thunderbird first. Chris wants to free the Thunderbird. The boss wants to trap the Thunderbird here forever by stealing his power. If the boss wins, he will destroy the lives of everyone she has come to care for. If Chris is to win, she will have to let go of the guilt that’s haunted her more than any ghost ever could.

First 150 words:

Not that I’m afraid or anything, ‘cause I’m not, but when a high-pitched wail rises in the chilly night, I pull the quilt up to my eyeballs and scooch closer to my sisters. “Did you hear that?” I whisper.

“It’s a coyote, Christine. Go to sleep,” Bethany mutters. She rolls over and yanks the quilt away. Megan keeps on snoozing in the middle of us, hugging that dang stuffed bear of hers.

“That’s no coyote,” I mutter. We’ve been in this flea-bitten middle-of-nowhere mining town for almost a week now, I know the difference. I shiver and tug my corner of the quilt back. What I heard sounded like a ghost from one of old Jeb’s stories. But he’s far away now and that ghostly sound was nearby.

Another caterwaul, and I sit up. Twelve-year-olds do not believe in ghosts. I don’t. I can’t.


SugarMagnolia said...

Thanks for participating! My plan is to read through all the entries and then begin my comments and critiques. I will give out my top ten my votes when I'm finished.

Best of luck to you, and stay tuned!

Jayme said...

So glad to see your query here, [name of person I can’t say because this contest is anonymous]. Good luck! :)

Rina Heisel said...

I really enjoyed your first 150! I think Chris has fun, spunky voice that makes her a fun MC to follow around. The fact she does NOT want to believe in ghosts is a nice twist, too.

I think the last paragraph in your query could maybe use a little more of that fun Christine voice in it.

Best of luck!

gailecn said...

Ooh - I loved the premise of this one! Good luck:)

SugarMagnolia said...

(Hi again! I plan to give out comments during this round, and then I'll give out my top ten votes as soon as I have critiqued everyone's queries.)

What a great concept! I love Christine's voice, and I can sense how exciting and fast-paced this novel must be. Excellent idea!

I'm a little unclear about the Thunderbird's powers. How could the mine boss steal it? And what exactly is he planning on destroying with it?

I was also a bit unclear about why Christine didn't want her mom to come back and visit her. You mention guilt over the drowning in the third paragraph, but is there any way you could move a hint of this to the first paragraph?

(I say this because I would be OVERJOYED if my mother came back and visited me as a ghost. The fact that Christine doesn't want her to initially made me think her mom was scary or evil.)

What a great job, though. Your voice is spot-on, and this sounds like a wonderful story.

Katharina Gerlach said...

This query improved so much since pitch polish. Now, put in a little more of your MC's voice in the last para and you're perfect. I would so much love to read this story.

Baby said...


Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone for the wonderful comments and suggestions. SugarmMagnolia, you are amazing with giving such detailed critiques to everyone. You asked some good questions about my query. And thanks Baby for the vote!

Romo said...