12.21.2006

HH Com 291 (290)

Times are tough in Crabapple Valley. The moat stinks, the castle is a mess, and the royal wizard is cooking dinner. Worst of all, there's no heir to the throne, and not an eligible orphan in sight until the King and Queen are miraculously saddled with two potential princesses within a week. Miggin is sweet and kind, but dull and timid. Druzilla is bold and brilliant, but filled with malicious magical mischief.

Who will be the next Princess of Crabapple Valley? The King and Queen can't decide, and soon it's orphan against orphan in a vicious battle for the crown, complicated by panicking servants, mysterious monsters, collapsing mountains, misspelled spells and amorous swineherds, until the girls finally put aside their rivalry to fight the true threat to the kingdom, the mad schemer behind Druzilla’s bid for the throne.

What unspeakable monsters lurk the mountains at night? Will Ruffles Muckchucker ever find true love? What is the record time for an enchantress to unchicken herself? Will the girls really ‘Influence’ each other? And perhaps most importantly, do the royal robes make Aunt Fume look fat? Find out in The Witches of Castle Crabapple, a 47,000 word comic fairy tale for upper middle grades (and adults who haven’t quite grown up.)

I thought Jessica Fletcher was the Princess of Crabapple...oh wait...different orchard.

this works. It's going to have to be very very funny to carry off the old as the hills motif, but what the heck, why not.

I like the vivid writing, the energy and things like "miraculously saddled" "misspelled spells" and Ruffles Muckchucker of course. Who wouldn't love a name like that.

And for the purse lipped, clenched cheek, nose twitchers who say things like "well sure over look the mistakes in that hook Snark for Brains, I'll look for an agent elsewhere" let's all just remember this isn't the damn spelling bee or convention of copy editors. This is the Happy Hooker COM (sound of clue gun) and the job here is to hook my interest.

I've long said "it's the writing" and surprise...it's the writing! I can fix your spelling, I can fix your grammar, I can even fact check if I have to. If you write well, with verve and energy, and you seem to have a compelling idea, I want to read your work.

Now back to our regularly scheduled snarking

19 comments:

Zuleme said...

Sounds a bit like Eva Ibbotson and I love her work. I'd pick it up and read it.

Anonymous said...

Druzilla? Isn't that Cindarella's sister?

MY niece and nephew can't get enough of this kind of stuff, and the crazier the ambiance, the better. Good luck with this.

Anonymous said...

I'm too old but I'd read it anyway.

Virginia Miss said...

I love the opening two lines, and "What is the record time for an enchantress to unchicken herself?" and "And perhaps most importantly, do the royal robes make Aunt Fume look fat?"

I love the humor here, and I think kids will two. Good luck.

Angus Weeks said...

"What is the record time for an enchantress to unchicken herself"

I have read EVERY crapometer entry as it comes out. This marks the first time I have been amused.

Normally I am amused at nothing. I am crotchety and decrepit. And I hate female protagonists cos too often they're FEMALE rather than people.

So, most emphatically, your breaking-the-rules hook works. I'll look out for your pages and hope they're as enticing.

December Quinn said...

You had me at:

The moat stinks, the castle is a mess, and the royal wizard is cooking dinner.

Very cute, can't wait to see the pages!

Divine Bird said...

"unchicken" is officially my favorite word of the day. :D

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I liked some of the quirky images -- "unchicken" has got to be the best new verb of the year-- but I do have this question: How does a moat sink?... I mean, what does it sink into? Hmmm.

j.c.

Anonymous said...

*Lower* middle grades, not upper.

Anonymous said...

All of the above + "amorous swineherds" lead me to believe the author will be able to follow through on this promising hook.

skybluepinkrose said...

I love it.

But I also thought of the Disney Cinderella movie with "Druzilla." I'd change that.

Anonymous said...

Love this hook. Very funny. But I'm more interested in this:

I can fix your spelling, I can fix your grammar, I can even fact check if I have to.

From what I've read on other agents' blogs, bad spelling and grammar can be used as a way to eliminate manuscripts. I'm sure that Miss Snark is right and that great writing will trump mechanics. Still, why take chances? If you're weak on spelling and grammar, have someone edit your query and novel.

I Said said...

Yep, I like the voice. The writer obviously has a way with words and I'd like to read the story.

Inkwolf said...

I've never read Eva Ibbotson, and now I have a new name to check out! Thanks, Zuleme!

Yeah, one of the Disney evil stepsisters is named Drusilla...what worries me more is that there's also apparently a nasty young witch named Druzilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (See, you pay for it when you play hooky from major pop culture!) But Druzilla is a real name, and has just that right whiff of dangerous magic, and I'm very used to it now. So until I come across something else that really suits the character, Druzilla she is.

Thanks for the comments, all of you!

dana p said...

You had me at "soon it's orphan against orphan in a vicious battle for the crown".

And let me just point out that although Miss Snark used this opportunity to make a disclaimer about writing mechanics (spelling, grammar) not being automatic disqualifiers -- THIS entry is in fact exquisitely well-written. There are no clunkers or wince-inducing constructions here; quite the opposite.

And I can't see "Druzilla" as being problematic. It's a name with an ancient and honorable pedigree; the fact that some Disney character bore it hardly disqualifies it from all further fictional use. Shall "Mickey" and "Donald" be banned from fiction too?

Hoyt Peterson said...

For the blogger wondering how a moat sinks, if you read it, and I am sure you have by now, the word is "Stinks."


As far as Miss Snarks comment, "it is surely a righteous MO Fo statement."

December Quinn said...

what worries me more is that there's also apparently a nasty young witch named Druzilla in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. (See, you pay for it when you play hooky from major pop culture!)

Inkwolf, Buffy's Drusilla is a vampire, not a witch. She's also basically insane.

Anonymous said...

I read slush for a while. For me, anyway, what made the difference wasn't the grammar and punctuation themselves. What made the difference was the ear.

Some people have an ear for language. Others are just plain tone-deaf, and nothing will ever fix that. Every single sentence can be technically perfect, but if the writer has no ear, it's like riding a car with square wheels.

A lot of the time, an ear for language and an understanding of the nuances of grammar and punctuation go together - which is why it's better to polish material before you send it out - but not always. This writer has a great ear. He or she may well make mistakes along the way, but those can be fixed, because the underlying flow of the writing works beautifully.

Inkwolf said...

Ah, I'm blushing now. :p

December, thank for the info! That's quite a relief, and quite a difference in character. (And now I don't have to order Buffy from the library to check out the damages. Whew! Nothing against Buffy, it's probably lots of fun, but some stubborn part of me is resisting watching it.)

And thanks again, everyone.