Monday, September 17, 2012

Rd 1 Agent Pitch Contest #29 - ENDANGERED

ENDANGERED
MG Fantasy Adventure
51,000

Query:

Maddie has a woolly spider monkey that no one else can see. After losing all her friends and getting assigned a therapist, she’s stopped trying to convince people it’s real.

Then Maddie meets worrywart Liam and his smart-aleck friend Hayden at sixth grade orientation, and is astonished to find they’ve discovered “invisible” animals of their own. The three kids are quickly recruited into a top-secret wildlife rescue organization, where Maddie learns that her cute baby monkey isn’t a hallucination, but rather a Spirit Animal—the essence of its endangered species. When a sudden illness ravages her monkey, a horrified Maddie realizes it can only mean one thing: wild woolly spider monkeys are in serious trouble.

Banding together with Liam and Hayden, Maddie must get from California to Brazil to discover what is threatening the monkeys and put a stop to it. Faced with slash and burn deforestation, a corrupt police detective, and desperate poachers, it seems impossible that three kids and one sickly Spirit Animal could have any chance of succeeding in their mission. When it comes to saving her beloved monkeys, though, Maddie knows failure isn't an option.

First 150 Words:

Maddie lowered the baby monkey into her backpack. “Just stay still for me, please?” Maddie asked. Her backpack balanced cautiously on the damp wooden fence in front of the zoo’s Primate House, and Maddie had one strap looped over her arm to make sure it didn’t fall. The monkey’s tiny fingers playfully pulled on hers as she tried to coax him into the bag. “I’m excited to be back here again, too. But if you get out—”

“Who’s she talking to, Grandma?” a little voice asked.

Maddie immediately stopped what she was doing. People can see you. Got to act normal, she told herself, though it was impossible to keep her hands from bobbing weirdly as the monkey scampered out of the bag and over them. Brazilly, no! Get back here! She bit down on her lower lip to stop herself from actually shouting after him.

Farther down the spider monkey viewing area, an old lady gave her a sideways glance.

11 comments:

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!

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 an adorable concept! I happen to be quite the animal nerd, and my sixth grade self would have eaten this up. It reminds me a bit of The Golden Compass, but the story is so different that I think the two novels complement each other instead of competing for attention.

Maddie seems like a great narrator, and I am definitely intrigued by this story's possibilities. The stakes are high, and I know readers are in store for lots of adventure.

I am a little curious why you don't mention if Liam or Hayden's are also monkeys. I'm also not sure why Liam and Hayden's animals don't go to Brazil with them.

Who recruits them to join the top-secret wildlife rescue mission? It may be nice to include a hint of this as well.

Otherwise, great job! I really like this one.

gailecn said...

Yay! So glad to see this one in the contest. I love the way you changed the beginning a little. It reads more naturally. Good luck! :)

Dr. Milestone said...

Nice job on the edits, especially in the first 150. It looks like SugarMagnolia raised the same question about Liam's and Hayden's animals in the query as I did, so with a few tweaks you should be in great shape. Good luck!

SugarMagnolia said...

It's official. I can't get your invisible monkey--and your awesome eco-thriller--out of my head. I think the world needs more environmentally-conscious books, and this story seems like it has a great narrative AND a great message.

YOU HAVE MY VOTE!

Baby said...

YOU HAVE MY VOTE!

Traci VanWagoner said...

Yay! Congrats on the two votes so far. You deserve it. Your revisions really helped. Great work and good luck

Hopey said...

TIE BREAKER VOTE - YOU MOVE TO THE NEXT ROUND!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much! Thanks to the judges for voting, thank you to fellow writers for cheering this on, and thanks to everyone for the great advice to continue making this query the best it can be! I am super appreciative, if you can't tell. Also, major thanks to Deanna for organizing this whole thing.

Now, time to sit down and revise based on all your suggestions...

Anonymous said...

Not sure if anyone is still bopping around critiquing, but I've made some changes to my query! I'll be submitting a revised query to Deanna tonight, and thought I'd post my revisions here just in case anyone stops by and has something to say about them:


Maddie has a woolly spider monkey that no one else can see. After losing all her friends and getting assigned a therapist, she’s stopped trying to convince people it’s real.

Then Maddie meets worrywart Liam and his smart-aleck friend Hayden at sixth grade orientation, and is astonished that they’ve discovered “invisible” animals of their own. Liam has a tiger, Hayden has a sea turtle, and soon Maddie is introduced to an entire secret society of wildlife rescuers, each with their own Spirit Animal. As they explain it, Spirit Animals are the essences of their endangered species. So when a sudden illness ravages her monkey, a horrified Maddie realizes it can only mean one thing: wild woolly spider monkeys are in serious trouble.

Catapulted into a rescue mission, Maddie and the boys travel from California to Brazil to discover what is threatening the monkeys and put a stop to it. Faced with slash and burn deforestation, a corrupt police detective, and desperate poachers, it seems impossible that three kids and one sickly Spirit Animal could have any chance of success. Failure, though, means losing her beloved monkeys forever. For Maddie, that just isn’t an option.

Anonymous said...

New version again that I worked on in my lunch break:


Maddie has a woolly spider monkey that no one else can see. After losing all her friends and getting assigned a therapist, she’s stopped trying to convince people it’s real.

Then Maddie meets worrywart Liam and his smart-aleck friend Hayden at sixth grade orientation, and is astonished that they’ve discovered invisible animals of their own. Liam has a tiger, Hayden has a sea turtle, and soon Maddie is introduced to an entire secret society of wildlife "Guardians", each with their own Spirit Animal. As the Guardians explain, Spirit Animals are the essences of their endangered species. So when a sudden illness ravages her monkey, a horrified Maddie realizes it can only mean one thing: wild woolly spider monkeys are in serious trouble.

Catapulted into a rescue mission, Maddie and the boys travel from California to Brazil to discover what is threatening the monkeys and put a stop to it. Faced with slash and burn deforestation, a corrupt police detective, and desperate poachers, it seems impossible that three kids and one sickly Spirit Animal could have any chance of success. But when failure means losing her beloved monkeys forever, Maddie knows failure just isn't an option.