Sunday, February 23, 2014

Entry #25 - TRAVELER


Middle Grade/Fantasy


Twelve-year-old Tommy has but one desire: to find his father who mysteriously vanished when he was a baby. With his best friend, Nick, he discovers that his father is actually a time-traveler from England during the reign of the famously temperamental Henry VIII! Together, they use the magical amulet they find in his mother’s forbidden box to travel to the year 1540 in search of him, but their plans are thwarted when they’re immediately captured and held in the infamous Tower of London as spies. Rescued by none other than their history teacher, Mr. Barnhart, they soon find themselves pursued by another time-traveler, the evil Abraham, who wants the amulet in order to change history and take over the world. Desperately, the three heroes race across Tudor England in search of the one man who can help them set everything to rights and get them home to 2013: Tommy’s father.

First Line:

William grabbed his sword and sat up, waiting for the source of the noise to show itself.


  1. This pitch is tight. Time travel stories can be a tough sell as there's a lot of them.

    Best of luck.

  2. I think this sounds like tremendous fun, but for me the pitch feels a little too busy. I want to streamline it a bit. Get rid of superfluous adjectives and try to shorten the sentences. Also, it's unclear what needs to "set to rights" - how has history been disrupted? I'd also drop the exclamation point. I can't put my finger on why I dislike the exclamation point, but I really do. Also, I noticed that your first sentence seems to start with a character who isn't mentioned in the query (or maybe it's Tommy's dad). Either way, I wonder if you'd be better off starting with Tommy. I have the same issue with my manuscript - I have a prologue that I love, but several people encouraged me to drop it and 1 agent told me that when you create sympathy for a character in the opening and then jump to the main character later you have to win the reader's sympathy all over again (usually under less dramatic circumstances). She told me not to hobble myself!

  3. Thanks for the feedback! I really appreciate it.

  4. Judge comment: Amulets and time travel are well-used MG elements, so I need to see more of what makes this story truly unique. I would revise to streamline the plot summary and insert more voice. Also, there are a lot of pronoun reference problems: In the third sentence, for example, it's unclear if the father is included in "they," "his mother's" would technically refer to Henry VIII's mom, and "in search of him" sounds like they're looking for Henry VIII as well. With Mr. Barnhart and Abraham thrown into the mix, it's hard to keep track of Tommy, and he's the character that matters most.

  5. Judge comment: The time travel adventure is a fun premise, but I get thrown off when the mother and her box is introduced. Then the teacher is suddenly part of this. I think you need to set up the characters who come into play so it doesn't feel like they're thrown in. You may not need them all in the pitch. Pick the most important parts of the main plot line. Then you have more time to insert voice.

  6. His father is a time traveller from Henry the VIII's time? Oh my goodness I LOVE THIS PREMISE. But a couple specific details from this time period would get us more connected. Possibly drop the reference to the teacher which doesn't seem to fit. Great last line to your pitch, but the first sentence confused me. Who is William???

    1. Thank you for your feedback. William is the character in the prologue, which explains how the time-traveling starts. Perhaps I should have just started with the first sentence of Chapter One. Thank you so much for the encouraging words!


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