Apr 28, 2009

Middle-Grades Novel Submission Query: The Mighty Pickles

Dear [Agent],

Fourth-grader Reece is determined to join her friends on the local softball team. She has no experience hitting, or catching, or throwing a ball, but that isn’t going to stop her any more than her rapid discovery that she has no ability, either. Still, she makes the team – after all, the league has a no-cut policy.

Calling themselves the Firebolts, the team starts practicing. They begin a season that promises more losses than wins. But the Firebolts have three good infielders, a few solid hitters, an unflappable coach – and Reece. What can Reece contribute besides her fear at bat, her clumsiness in right field, and her tart sense of humor?

A sense of humor, it turns out, is a significant asset. She renames the team the Pickles, and somehow the silly name, along with the building camaraderie among the girls, starts the team on a winning streak. Reece gradually gains confidence by encouraging her teammates. She learns to make the most of what she has, her sense of humor and honesty, and of what she lacks – height, as her small strike zone leads to walks.

The Pickles squeak by into the league playoffs... and the team falls apart under the pressure. It’s up to Reece to pull the team together again by standing up for a disliked teammate, using everything she’s learned during the season. She can’t make a difference with her bat or her glove, but she discovers she has inner resources at least as important.

Join Reece and the Mighty Pickles on their improbable march toward the championship game.

The completed manuscript is about 42,500 words.

I am a first-time fiction author, although I have written a number of professional trade-journal articles. I recently (semi-)retired after 25+ years in the high-tech industry; I continue to do some consulting and technical writing in addition to authoring middle-grades fiction.

Thank you in advance for considering this proposal.

Steven B. Levy (writing as Steven Brant)

[The first few pages will be posted at http://TheMightyPickles.com.]

Query - Quest Support (Second Revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.

Dear (Agent),

Gilbert Gaberlunzie thinks most Heroes are morons. They’d be nothing without his help, because he works at Quest Support, a tech support hotline for people on Quests. Even though Gilbert knows the adventuring routine better than any of the idiots who call him, he’s satisfied where he is. He loves…well, tolerates his job, and wants nothing more than to sit in his cubicle and drink coffee.

Things don’t quite work out that way. When Gilbert accidentally gets the Hero killed during the Final Battle with the Dark Lord, he puts the whole world in peril and loses his job to boot. Since his knowledge of fantasy clich├ęs isn’t good for much else, Gilbert sets out on a journey to defeat the Dark Lord himself and set things right. His feet may hurt and he may be hopeless with a sword, but Gilbert is sure he’s ready for anything the genre throws at him, whether it’s elves, goblins, an oracle, or those giant spiders that always live in caves. But can he handle the inevitable Plot Twist?

Complete at 94,000 words, QUEST SUPPORT will appeal to readers looking for a quirky spin on the familiar fantasy formula, or anyone who’s ever wondered when Heroes wash their socks.

Thank you for your consideration,

Paul