Dear Miss Snark:
Death is stalking thirteen-year-old Seth across the dusty plains of Texas.
It picks up his scent after he befriends T.C., the young cat who witnesses the horrific car-deer crash that kills her mother and Seth's parents. T.C. knows that Seth is a Listener–one of those mythical (mythical means not real..but clearly Seth IS real) humans who can communicate with animals. When puberty reveals this ability to Seth, he joins T.C.'s mission to stop the carnage caused by car-animal collisions.
The mission grows perilous as carrion-loving creatures become desperate to preserve their roadkill smorgasbord. Seth's adventures reach a perilous climax when coyotes, vultures, andcrows execute an ambush designed to have T.C. and Seth plunging to earth in a giant fireball. Only the teenager's new and surprising powers can bring the journey to a successful close. Butcan he master those powers in time?
The Listeners is a young adult novel of approximately 71,000 words. Not just a gripping adventure story and poignant tale of discovery, The Listeners explores issues of social justicefrom the animal point of view. I have enclosed the first page of the completed manuscript for your consideration, together with a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
Thank you for your time.
Quakin G. Snarkling
smorgasboard road kill.
Yanno...just for that alone I'd read the pages.
The young cat sniffed her mother's blood-stained face, and touched the still body with a gentle paw. Mewing sadly, she turned and trotted to the crumbled car that lay steaming and hissingagainst an aged oak tree a few yards away.
Inside the car, another mother was close to death. The man she had loved so dearly slumped lifeless beside her. Their young son was in the back seat, moaning with pain, but she could not help him. Out of the corner of her eyes, the woman saw the black cat (you've shifted POV here and it's jarring) leap through the driver's side window and onto her husband's back. Pain shot through her as the little cat crept onto her lap and into her arms.
"Please. Help my son. Help my Seth." The mother's plea pounded into the cat's thoughts.
The cat pressed softly against the mother's face. "Tell me what to do, Listener...."
Casey-the-Dog lay by the fence and watched the cars speed by. Few drivers noticed the beautiful collie as he hunkered down in the dry September grass, enjoying the cool autumn breezes that ruffled his thick coat of black, brown, and white fur.
Through the white board fence, Casey could see the two-lane road that meandered past his People's land and through the surrounding Leesburg countryside. He could also see theneighbor's farm that lay on the other side of the road. Every now and then, Casey's golden eyebrows twitched as he focused his ears and attention on the field of rustling corn stalks acrossthe road.
He could hear her getting closer.
When she was close enough, Casey rose with a shake and a stretch, crawled under the fence, and made his way to a little rise from which he could see both approaching traffic and the spot at which she would cross the road. Within minutes, Casey saw the black nose of T.C.-the-Cat peeking through the stalks, followed by her white paws, sleek black body, and long, upheld tail.
"How's the view up there this morning?" TC's thought floated into Casey's head, unaffected by the noise of the cars rushing by.
"Pretty good." Casey's thought bounced back. "Get ready to run when I give the word."
"NOW!" Casey thought and barked at the same time, as soon as the road was clear. T.C. leapt across the gully that separated the road from her People's farmland, sprinted across the road, and ran up the knoll where Casey stood waiting. Rubbing noses, the two friends congratulated each other on achieving another safe crossing, and took off down the roadway walking side-by-side. (took off and walking convey two different senses of speed)
"How are the preliminary reports looking this morning?" T.C. asked as she sidestepped a turtle.
"Not too good. The fog is cutting down on visibility in the mornings and evenings. We're losing a lot of our Rudiments because of that." Casey paused as they approached the carcass of a raccoon.
"This is the first car-Rudiment fatality in our sector, according to reports from last night. It only gets worse from here."
"How many orphans?" T.C. asked, as the pair watched a group of vultures circle overhead.
"Three fawns, two litters of kittens, and some skunks and raccoons. Fortunately, the skunk and raccoon offspring are old enough to make it on their own...."
Ok, you've got a fundamental problem of what kind of book this is. Is it meant to be funny? Roadkill smorgasboard made me think that. Yet you've got all this turgid prose about mythical humans and quests.
You've over written the part about the dog. You want this to be snappy and zippy. We don't need to know the dog is beautiful, the color of her hair or whether people stop to look at her (KY! dammit, stop biting my ankle you ungrateful..I mean beautiful white pink snouted Burberried poodle). Get into the story. And get focused.
I'd read a page or two more.