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The Ghosts of Cratchit Castle


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#1 Loves the Written Word

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 07:01 PM

This is my query for a chapter book I wrote: 

Ten year-old Nate Cameron’s has life completely changed. After his parents’ divorce he must leave his hometown in America and move with his mom to England to live with Great-uncle Fred and cousin Bertram at the historic Cratchit Manor. But London life is more interesting than he expected. Nate discovers he is a direct descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge. When an old gypsy woman gives Nate and Bertram a gift that allows them to travel back in time, the boys become embroiled in a mystery with five children from the past who are also connected to the Scrooge tale.

A treasure map prompts the group to go on an adventure through Victorian London as they try to solve the mystery of Cratchit Castle. With the help of an eccentric psychic named Mrs. Chattoway and an orphaned chimney sweep, they conjure ghosts, finds pirates’ gold, execute a daring rescue and foil the plot of a wicked miser who plans to seize the manor.

THE GHOSTS OF CRATCHIT CASTLE (25k/MG) will appeal to readers of Laura Amy Schlitz’s SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS and Gordon McAlpine's THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLAN POE. This book could be a standalone project or the start of a series. 

I am journalist for the Lehigh Valley Press in Pennsylvania. I've written for Pocono Parent magazine, Pocono Living and The Valley Beat. Per your submission guidelines -----

Thank you for taking the time to consider this project.



#2 RosieSkye

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Posted 04 May 2018 - 07:31 PM

 

This is my query for a chapter book I wrote: 

Ten year-old Nate Cameron’s has life completely changed. After his parents’ divorce he must leave his hometown in America and move with his mom to England to live with Great-uncle Fred and cousin Bertram at the historic Cratchit Manor. But London life is more interesting than he expected. (I'd cut to the chase faster here, since the kid-moves-to-England-to-live-in-a-mansion/castle scenario has been done a million times.  Your next sentence is where it gets unique, so try to incorporate the Scrooge angle immediately.) Nate discovers he is a direct descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge. When an old gypsy woman gives Nate and Bertram a gift that allows them to travel back in time, the boys become embroiled in a mystery with five children from the past who are also connected to the Scrooge tale. (I'd give a brief explanation of who these other kids are, and why they're important.)

 

A treasure map prompts the group to go on an adventure through Victorian London as they try to solve the mystery of Cratchit Castle. With the help of an eccentric psychic named Mrs. Chattoway and an orphaned chimney sweep, they conjure ghosts, finds pirates’ gold, execute a daring rescue and foil the plot of a wicked miser who plans to seize the manor.  (You give away your ending here, when you need to end with a cliffhanger.  What's at stake for Nate?  What happens if he can't foil the plot?  Otherwise, this sounds like a fun story!)

 

THE GHOSTS OF CRATCHIT CASTLE (25k/MG) will appeal to readers of Laura Amy Schlitz’s SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS (comp titles in italics) and Gordon McAlpine's THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLAN POE. This book could be a standalone project or the start of a series. 

 

I am journalist for the Lehigh Valley Press in Pennsylvania. I've written for Pocono Parent magazine, Pocono Living and The Valley Beat. Per your submission guidelines -----

Thank you for taking the time to consider this project.

 

 

 

Good luck!



#3 Loves the Written Word

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 03:15 PM

Thank you so much! I'll incorporate those suggestions :biggrin:



#4 IndusiumGriseum

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 05:01 PM

 

This is my query for a chapter book I wrote: 

Ten year-old Nate Cameron’s has life completely changed. (This is really vague and not that interesting. How did it change?) After his parents’ divorce (Comma) he must leave his hometown in America and move with his mom to England to live with Great-uncle Fred and cousin Bertram at the historic Cratchit Manor. (How does Nate feel about this?) But London life is more interesting than he expected. Nate discovers he is a direct descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge. When an old gypsy (Yikes! This is a derogatory and racist term. Go with Romani or Sinti) woman gives Nate and Bertram a gift that allows them to travel back in time, the boys become embroiled in a mystery with five children from the past who are also connected to the Scrooge tale.

 

A treasure map prompts the group to go on an adventure through Victorian London as they try to solve the mystery of Cratchit Castle. (I don't know anything about this mystery that needs to be solved) With the help of an eccentric psychic named Mrs. Chattoway and an orphaned chimney sweep, they conjure ghosts, finds pirates’ gold, execute a daring rescue and foil the plot of a wicked miser who plans to seize the manor.

 

THE GHOSTS OF CRATCHIT CASTLE (25k/MG) will appeal to readers of Laura Amy Schlitz’s SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS and Gordon McAlpine's THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLAN POE. This book could be a standalone project or the start of a series. 

 

I am journalist for the Lehigh Valley Press in Pennsylvania. I've written for Pocono Parent magazine, Pocono Living and The Valley Beat. Per your submission guidelines -----

Thank you for taking the time to consider this project.

 

 

This sounds really great! I put your summary in a word counter and it came out to only 161 words--you can definitely beef up this query with some more explaining. How does Nate feel about the divorce and moving? What's his relationship with Bertram like? What is the mystery that needs to be solved about the castle? I also want to know what's at stake if they DON'T solve the mystery. All in all, you have a great setup, but it's currently really vague.


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#5 smithgirl

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Posted 06 May 2018 - 06:43 PM

This is my query for a chapter book I wrote: A chapter book? Not sure what you mean by that.

[Start your query with a snappy, 1-2-sentence hook.]

Ten year-old Nate Cameron’s life has completely changed. Avoid vague statements like this. After his parents’ divorce he must leave his hometown in America hometown and move with his mom to England comma to live with Great-uncle Fred and his cousin Bertram at the historic Cratchit Manor. But London life is more interesting than he expected. He expected it to be dull? Nate discovers he is a direct descendant of Ebenezer Scrooge. When an old gypsy woman gives Nate and Bertram a gift that allows them to travel back in time, the boys become embroiled in a mystery with five children from the past I'm confused. So these children are actually contemporary to the past the Nate and Betram visit? Or from some other past? Also, what time do they go back to? Scrooge's time? If so, how can the other boys be descendantswho are also connected to the Scrooge tale.

A treasure map prompts the group to go on an adventure What kind of adventure? through Victorian London as they try to solve the mystery of Cratchit Castle. Is the Cratchit Castle mystery related to the Scrooge thing? With the help of an eccentric psychic named Mrs. Chattoway and an orphaned chimney sweep, they conjure ghosts, finds pirates’ gold, execute a daring rescue and foil the plot of a wicked miser who plans to seize the manor. Your query should end with a cliffhanger -- the stakes. Also avoid lists like this. Tell us only the most important elements of the plot and the most important characters. Then tell us exactly what happens.

 

THE GHOSTS OF CRATCHIT CASTLE (25k/MG) will appeal to readers of Laura Amy Schlitz’s SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS and Gordon McAlpine's THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLAN POE. This book could be a standalone project or the start of a series. 

 

I am journalist for the Lehigh Valley Press in Pennsylvania. I've written for Pocono Parent magazine, Pocono Living and The Valley Beat. Per your submission guidelines -----

Thank you for taking the time to consider this project.

Your book sounds fun; the Ebenezer Scrooge thing is unique and interesting. Unfortunately, right now the overall query is too vague. It's vital to make your query specific, so we can see exactly what happens. Avoid statements like they go on an adventure, become embroiled in a mystery, his life changed. You need to show the adventure, the mystery, how his life changed. Also be sure you don't have too many characters. Your query should include a maximum of three named characters.

Go back and make your query very specific, only mention the most essential elements of the story but then be very specific. It's essential that your story does not sound like something generic, like any other adventure story.

But this is a great start, so good job there! Good luck! Can you please look at my query when you have a chance? Thanks! http://agentquerycon...ery-in-post-26/



#6 Loves the Written Word

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Posted 06 June 2018 - 05:41 PM

Keeping in mind all of your suggestions. Here is a revision:

 

 

When ten-year old Nate moves to Cratchit Castle in London with his mother, he discovers he is a direct descendent of Ebenezer Scrooge. Nate is thrilled to be a part the historic tale and he finds a good friend in his cousin Bertram who lives there with their eccentric uncle. After an old woman gives Nate and Bert a gift that allows time travel, the boys venture back to 1875 where they meet Tiny Tim's children, Michael and Charlotte, and Scrooge's great-niece and great-nephew, Fan and Will.

 

Nate and Bert learn that Cratchit Castle, rumored to be haunted, has a mysterious past. There is pirates' gold is hidden there and an evil banker, Gaston Whittock, who was betrayed by Scrooge in a business deal in 1843, plans to steal it and take ownership of the manor. An orphaned chimney sweep, Albert, tries to help his friends by taking Whittock's copy of the treasure map, but it results in his being banished to a dreadful workhouse. 

 

Nate and his cousin travel with the children through Victorian London to find a renowned psychic who can conjure the ghosts of Cratchit Castle and reveal the treasure, but time is running out. The group must rescue young Albert from his fate, find the gold before Christmas Day and foil Whittock's wicked plot to seize the manor.

 

THE GHOSTS OF CRATCHIT CASTLE (25k/MG) will appeal to readers of Laura Amy Schlitz’s SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS and Gordon McAlpine's THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLAN POE. This book could be a standalone project or the start of a series. 

 

I am journalist for the Lehigh Valley Press in Pennsylvania. I've written for Pocono Parent magazine, Pocono Living and The Valley Beat. Per your submission guidelines ...

Thank you for taking time to consider this project.



#7 RosieSkye

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Posted 07 June 2018 - 02:33 PM

Keeping in mind all of your suggestions. Here is a revision:

 

 

When ten-year old Nate moves to Cratchit Castle in London with his mother, he discovers he is a direct descendent of Ebenezer Scrooge. (Love it!) Nate is thrilled to be a part the historic tale and he finds a good friend in his cousin Bertram who lives there with their eccentric uncle. After an old woman gives Nate and Bert a gift that allows time travel, the boys venture back to 1875 where they meet Tiny Tim's children, Michael and Charlotte, and Scrooge's great-niece and great-nephew, Fan and Will. (I love the development, but there are too many names here.  See if you can encapsulate the literary descendants into one group without listing them all out.)

 

Nate and Bert learn that Cratchit Castle, rumored to be haunted, has a mysterious past. There is pirates' gold is hidden there and an evil banker, Gaston Whittock, who was betrayed by Scrooge in a business deal in 1843, plans to steal it and take ownership of the manor. An orphaned chimney sweep, Albert, tries to help his friends by taking Whittock's copy of the treasure map, but it results in his being banished to a dreadful workhouse. 

 

Nate and his cousin travel with the other children through Victorian London to find a renowned psychic who can conjure the ghosts of Cratchit Castle and reveal the treasure, but time is running out. The group must rescue young Albert from his fate, find the gold before Christmas Day and foil Whittock's wicked plot to seize the manor. (Why before Christmas Day?  And what's at stake for Nate if Whittock ends up seizing the manor?)

 

THE GHOSTS OF CRATCHIT CASTLE (25k/MG) will appeal to readers of Laura Amy Schlitz’s SPLENDORS AND GLOOMS (comp titles in italics, and not all caps) and Gordon McAlpine's THE MISADVENTURES OF EDGAR AND ALLAN POE. This book could be a standalone project or the start of a series. 

 

I am journalist for the Lehigh Valley Press in Pennsylvania. I've written for Pocono Parent magazine, Pocono Living and The Valley Beat. Per your submission guidelines ...

Thank you for taking time to consider this project.

 

 

I think this story sounds fantastic!  However, right now your query is bogged down with far too many characters.  You have Nate, his mother, Scrooge (not as an actual character, but as a name to process,) Bertram, the eccentric uncle, an old woman, Tiny Tim (name to process,) Michael, Charlotte, Fan, Will, Gaston Whittock, Albert, and the renowned psychic.  That's fourteen people!  Your query should contain two or three main characters, tops.  You may naturally have a couple more by having the Scrooge/Tiny Tim references in there as well.  But Albert feels like a complete subplot, and should be eliminated from your query.  Streamline your main plot line, and clarify the stakes.

 

Good luck!






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