Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Entry #17: THE UNBELIEVABLE MISADVENTURES OF AVERY MANN


Title: The Unbelievable Misadventures of Avery Mann


Genre: MG Contemporary Fantasy

Pitch:

Before Avery Mann’s eleventh birthday, his biggest worry was avoiding an atomic wedgie from Max "The Wild Thing" Lovell, but that changes when he gets entangled in a magical plot to remake the world. Into what? Avery has no clue. What he does know is he has become a pawn in a supernatural game of chess between wise-guy magi, scheming witches, calculating monsters, and storybook villains come to life. Needless to say, this has thrown a flying monkey wrench into his summer plans, which did not include: magically bonding himself to a murderous raven, breaking his leg, discovering his ability to alter reality, having a wheelchair race with a gigantic fire salamander, making fishy deals with Long John Silver, or being attacked by ghosts, ghouls, and Stymphalian birds. Worse yet, Avery's only chance to save his family and friends is to free the Wicked Witch of the East… from Hell.

First Line:

The walled garden in Kensington Park might not be as impenetrable as Superman’s Fortress of Solitude or high-tech as the Batcave, but it made the perfect hideout.

18 comments:

  1. The humour woven into your pitch and first line is delightful. You've got "voice" practically oozing out of your entry and I found it delightful. Some pitches left me frowning in confusion, this one left me grinning. Hope I get to see the whole first page in the next round. This is definitely a literary serving that calls for second helpings!

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  2. Oh, I love this! It sounds like such a fun read! I would totally buy it for my kids! Good luck!

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  3. Kimberly and C.H.,

    Thanks a lot! I'm glad you liked the pitch. I was having a lot of trouble with it, but then I decided to write the pitch in 1st person in my character's voice and then translate it to 3rd person. I wasn't sure if it worked for anyone but me... so I'm glad to hear you both liked it ;)

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  4. Great voice and humor! This would fit perfectly into the MG world!

    The thing that is troubling me is there's way too much going on. You've got Long John Silver, A handicapped Fire Salamander, and The Wicked Witch of the East all thrown in and my head is spinning.

    I'd recommend pairing things way back and getting to the basics of the story.


    1) What is really going on?

    Saying Avery has no clue what the world is supposed to change into is jarring. As a reader, I want to know straight away what the MC's conflict is. Is he saving the world from bad magic? An alternate reality? Make this clear up front.

    2) Outline his obstacles - but only use one or two examples to illustrate the point

    3) Make it clear what's at stake if Avery fails - You say family & friends but from what? Death? A life in another world?


    Good luck with this great entry! Would love to see on the shelves one day!

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  5. What a fun premise! I enjoyed your humor and creativity. I was a little confused with "remake the world." I think the conflict can be stronger. But you did grab me with the first half of the pitch but lost me with the second. I loved the line about throwing a monkey wrench into his summer plans. (Every kid can relate to that.) But then it got confusing. I think it would help to pare it down a bit.

    A few tweaks and this is an awesome pitch.
    I loved the first line, too.

    Good luck.

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  6. Thanks Amy and Twin,

    I'll work on the areas you pointed out. Sometime less is more. As for what's really going on... that's one thing I don't plan on giving away in this book. I've never liked the whole villain explains their plans thing and so one of the scenes involve the villain declining to reveal things. There are hints, but nothing definite. As for the stakes, I'll make them clearer. This first book is really about survival and not victory so it's a bit tricky to hammer out that last bit. It is a sort of Treasure Island ending where the bad guy gets away with things. Not the perfect getaway, but enough where it feels like more of a draw than a victory. Does that make sense? Anyway, thanks for your comments, they'll be helpful as I revise my pitch.

    Best Wishes,
    Joseph

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  7. This is actually really good, I think you could tighten it a bit by removing some bits that are unnecessary to the main plot, for example Max's nickname. And unless Max is a major character you can simplify it further by just referring to him as a bully.

    The laundry list of things Avery could be doing in the summer is long and wordy; maybe shorten it to two or three things, or cut it entirely. We already know this is fantasy from the first few sentences.

    I love your first sentence. It has a punchy hook and is pure fun. I honestly don't think you need to change it. Good luck!

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  8. Thanks KRWriter ;)

    I waffled back and forth on naming the bully or not. I may just go back to unnamed.

    Best Wishes,
    Joseph

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  9. What I like: A lot of fun, unique elements.

    What I would like: The list at the end was too long for me – perhaps shorten it so we stay with you to the end.

    Great work!

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  10. Hah! This sounds like so much fun! I agree with the above about the list of events being too long. You could cut that back and add more interesting hooks and obstacles. But besides that this seems like a fun and funny book :)

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  11. Eliza and Ellie,

    Thanks, cutting down the list is something I'll definitely do.

    Best Wishes,
    Joseph

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  12. I love the humor in here--it sounds like such a fun book that boys (and girls) will love.

    I agree with the other comments, and found a couple things that you might want to tweak.

    *In the first sentence, what about changing 'might not be' to 'wasn't' just to pick up the pace a bit?

    *I think you can hook readers even faster with the pitch if you start with the atomic wedgie instead of the birthday (but definitely work his age in somewhere). Maybe something like this: Avery Mann’s biggest worry is avoiding an atomic wedgie from Max "The Wild Thing" Lovell...until he's entangled in a magical plot to remake the world. (I'm not exactly sure what 'remake the world' means though--can it be a bit clearer?)

    *Shorter and snappier is best in a query, and asking questions in a chatty way might actually take away from your awesome plot. Consider nixing parts like: Into what? Avery has no clue.

    And now that I see who you are, I want to thank you for posting about the contest on the SCBWI Blueboards. I knew there was one coming up, but couldn't remember how to find it, until I saw your post. So grateful that I saw it on time and was able to enter. :)

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  13. Mindy,

    Thanks for your comments, I'm glad to see you here ;)

    Best Wishes on your entry!

    Joseph

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  14. Hey All,

    How is this revised pitch? Good? Bad? Ugly?

    Avery Mann’s biggest worry before his eleventh birthday was avoiding atomic wedgies from the school bully. However, his fear of overstretched underwear fades when he becomes a pawn in a supernatural game of four-way chess between wise-guy magi, scheming witches, calculating monsters, and storybook villains come to life. Needless to say, getting caught up in an inter-dimensional conspiracy throws a flying monkey wrench into his summer plans, which did not include: magically bonding himself to a murderous raven, making fishy deals with Long John Silver, or being chased around by ghosts, ghouls, and assassins. Worse yet, Avery's only chance to get out of this tangled web of wackiness is to free the Wicked Witch of the East… from Hell. And if he fails, his family will remain a bunch of Rip Van Winkles, his new-found friends will be imprisoned or enslaved, and he'll never finish reading his Ultimate Spider-Man collection.

    Thanks,
    Joseph

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  15. Rena,

    Thanks! I'm glad you like the pitch ;)

    Best Wishes,
    Joseph

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  16. Cracked me up-great! Best of luck!

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  17. Noel,

    Thanks! I'm glad you liked the pitch ;)

    Best Wishes,
    Joseph

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