Monday, September 17, 2012

Rd 1 Agent Pitch Contest #16 - THE CHRISTMAS LEGACY

The Christmas Legacy
MG holiday story
5,200 words


Kristopher Nicholas Kringle suffers under the weight of primogeniture--thirty nine generations of it, to be precise.  The thought of stepping into the black boots and red suit of Santa Claus is just too much for this twelve-year-old to bear.  How can he reward the good children of Earth when he can't go one day without harassing his sisters?

When his troublemaking goes too far, Kris runs away with the help of a young reindeer in a similar plight.  In Barbados, Kris and Desiree Cupid hope to find a respite from responsibility and birthright.  But just when they decide that running from their troubles isn't the solution, they fall into the hands of a man who holds a grudge against Kris's father, and running away suddenly takes on much more dire consequences.

First 150 words:

"Kristopher Nicholas Kringle, you come here this minute!"

"I didn't do it!"

Mrs. Claus glared at her son across the ink-stained rug.  Elves scrambled around them, frantically decorating the Yule Ballroom for the evening's Feast of St. Nicholas.  The young boy squirmed under his mother's frown.

"Well?" she asked.

"That was already there!"

"Young man, this rug has been part of the Kringle family for centuries, and this ink-stain most certainly was not here before."

"Um..."  Before he had a chance to invent another excuse, an ear-piercing shriek echoed through the castle.


Noelle Kringle ran into the ballroom, scattering elves in her wake.  Water dripped from the towel wrapped around her hair.  "Mother!" she repeated.

"Not now, Noelle, I'm speaking with your brother--"

"But look what he did to my hair!" she screeched.  She removed the towel from her head, exposing a mane of bright green hair.


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!

Katharina Gerlach said...

This sounds like a fun read, but I had to look up "primogeniture". Are you sure it's a word everybody is familiar with? Next, the wordcount seems awfully low, maybe closer to a chapter book.

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.)

This story sounds very cute, and I love the idea of Kris taking a break in Barbados. What a fun twist on a Christmas story!

That being said, I struggled with the word "primogeniture" in your query. I actually had to Google it, so I would suggest considering a rephrase there. (The query is obviously written for adults, but I think it should better reflect your MG voice. And if Kris actually uses words like "primogenture," perhaps you could explain that in the query.)

My other concern is your word count. Even under the best of circumstances, I believe most MG novels should be around 25,000 words.

Is there any way you could expand this story or compile it into a collection for publication? Just something to consider...

Eileen Rhoadarmer said...

Thanks folks. My husband raised an eyebrow at primogeniture and I should've paid better attention. Good point that I need the younger voice in the query, and I'll do that next time.

As to the word count, this is very much a Christmas story and not a novel. It also ought to appeal to kids starting around age seven and going up into young middle grade, so perhaps I should be marketing it as an easy reader? Or even a really long picture book? There aren't many books with a format similar to what I'm hoping for (and I realize that'll work against me.) The closest I've found is an older book, The Story of Holly and Ivy by Rumer Godden. That book has a large picture on every spread, but also has text completely filling the space opposite. I'd love to see some pictures with this.

I probably should have addressed this in the query, and I guess I took providing just the "meat" of the query a little too seriously.

Thanks for your feedback, and if I make it to the next round I'll see if Deana will let me revise a little. I do appreciate your thoughts!

The Rooster said...

I don't have much to critique. Christmas story's are fun but need to be really unique because they've been done so much. I thought your idea was really great. and Kris sounds like a great character.

Good luck in the future!

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