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MULCH CITY (MG)

Middle Grade

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#1 Kirk39

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 05:21 PM

GO TO POST #5

 

Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old door-to-door salesman Manuel decides at the start of summer he won’t go home until he visits every house in his cursed hometown of Mulch City. What better way to live summer to the fullest than by meeting new people and sleeping under the stars?

 

At the start of his journey, an old lady gives Manuel a watch that keeps memories rather than time. The watch shows him the sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary memories embedded in the neighborhoods. He uses the watch to unravel the mystery of Mulch City’s curse—the curse responsible for decades of economic woes, disastrous sports teams, and devastating personal tragedies.

 

Throughout the summer, Manuel also wins a hotdog eating contest, skins his knees in the Great Downhill Race, celebrates Birthankstermas, and more. The suburban odyssey is both a farewell to his youth and a test for his entry into manhood. He’ll really be a man if he visits the last house on his schedule—the house where the ghost who cursed Mulch City lives.

 

MULCH CITY is a 38,000 word middle grade novel with shades of sci-fi and magical realism. Thank you for your consideration.



#2 Timejockey

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Posted 07 December 2017 - 09:34 PM

Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old door-to-door salesman Manuel decides at the start of summer he won’t go home until he visits every house in his cursed hometown of Mulch City. What better way to live summer to the fullest than by meeting new people and sleeping under the stars? (I really like this)

 

At the start of his journey, an old lady gives Manuel a watch that keeps memories rather than time. The watch (sometimes) shows him the sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary memories embedded in the neighborhoods. He uses the watch to unravel the mystery of Mulch City’s curse—the curse responsible for decades of economic woes, disastrous sports teams, and devastating personal tragedies. 

 

Throughout the summer, Manuel also wins a hotdog eating contest, skins his knees in the Great Downhill Race, celebrates Birthankstermas, and more. The suburban odyssey is both a farewell to his youth and a test for his entry into manhood. He’ll really be a man if he visits the last house on his schedule—the house where the ghost who cursed Mulch City lives.

 

MULCH CITY is a 38,000 word middle grade novel with shades of sci-fi and magical realism. Thank you for your consideration.

I think this story sounds very unique and has a good hook, but it almost feels like you need to add a bit more. It also feels like you need to focus on the mysterious elements, including the watch and the curse, more and less on the more mundane aspects of his summer. While those add some flavor, its the mystery that really draws someone in.



#3 ThatDan

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Posted 11 December 2017 - 03:05 AM

Hope the following is helpful. The main issue I have is with the jumping between serious and light-hearted tones. I'm not quite sure how much of either the story actually is, but its hard to tell from the query.

Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old door-to-door salesman Manuel decides at the start of summer he won’t go home until he visits every house in his cursed hometown of Mulch City. What better way to live summer to the fullest than by meeting new people and sleeping under the stars? <i like this intro, but (i think) there is a disconnect with the word "cursed." You talk of  summer,sleeping under the stars, and meeting people, all of  which dont promise to be enjoyable in a cursed town/city.

 

At the start of his journey, an old lady gives Manuel a watch that keeps memories rather than time. The watch shows him the sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary memories embedded in the neighborhoods. He uses the watch to unravel the mystery of Mulch City’s curse—the curse responsible for decades of economic woes, disastrous sports teams, and devastating personal tragedies. < now we go back to a more serious tone, with the curse and the tragedies

 

Throughout the summer, Manuel also wins a hotdog eating contest, skins his knees in the Great Downhill Race, celebrates Birthankstermas, and more. <jumps back to light-hearted The suburban odyssey is both a farewell to his youth and a test for his entry into manhood. He’ll really be a man if he visits the last house on his schedule—the house where the ghost who cursed Mulch City lives. <and back to serious

 

MULCH CITY is a 38,000 word middle grade novel with shades of sci-fi and magical realism. Thank you for your consideration.

 

Another thing to note,is that I'm unsure if there is a stronger plot than what is mentioned here. To me, it seems as if the story is mostly just an "adventures of Manuel" type of thing. If there is something stronger, perhaps Manuel trying to prove his manhood by solving the mystery surrounding the ghost and the curse, then I think you should include it. But if not, then thats fine too.


My query, your critiques >>> http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=349578


#4 robbyidol

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Posted 12 December 2017 - 10:19 PM

This is a clever sounding story, and I like some of your lighthearted touches in an otherwise ghostly/depressing town.  But the main thing that is lacking in this query is mention of the stakes - what is at risk (if anything) should Manuel fail at his goal of visiting every house?  What happens if he skips out on the last scary house in the end?  Other than not "becoming a man," what's at risk?

It sounds like the town continues on its normal (if cursed) trajectory whether or not Manuel goes on his adventure for himself.  If the story has a larger through-line and threat of pending doom (for either Manuel or his town), I would make sure to close the query with that.  If your story does not currently have any larger danger at hand, I would consider a revision and working something like that in.  Otherwise it's just a cute "day in the life of Manuel" type story without any real stakes.

You have a good foundation!  I hope this helps.



#5 Kirk39

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Posted 13 December 2017 - 03:18 PM

Thanks, everyone. I added a sentence at the end to give a clearer picture of the stakes. Is this a good addition? I know it’s rather vague, but I don’t want to explain everything in detail and have the query be too long.

 

Agent,

 

Twelve-year-old door-to-door salesman Manuel decides at the start of summer he won’t go home until he visits every house in his cursed hometown of Mulch City. What better way to live summer to the fullest than by meeting new people and sleeping under the stars?

 

At the start of his journey, an old lady gives Manuel a watch that keeps memories rather than time. The watch shows him the sometimes ordinary, sometimes extraordinary memories embedded in the neighborhoods. He uses the watch to unravel the mystery of Mulch City’s curse—the curse responsible for decades of economic woes, disastrous sports teams, and devastating personal tragedies.

 

Throughout the summer, Manuel also wins a hot dog eating contest, skins his knees in the Great Downhill Race, celebrates Birthankstermas, and more. The suburban odyssey is both a farewell to his youth and a test for his entry into manhood. He’ll really be a man if he visits the last house on his schedule—the house where the ghost who cursed Mulch City lives. With what he learns from the watch, Manuel has a chance at breaking his city’s bad luck curse.

 

MULCH CITY is a 38,000 word middle grade novel with shades of sci-fi and magical realism. Thank you for your consideration.

 







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