Post by paprlstr8tr on Feb 2, 2017 13:26:06 GMT -5
YAKONE ON TOP OF THE WORLD reimagines the story of Little Red Riding Hood as an Inuit folktale.
Yakone is a not always obedient young girl living in far northern Canada. When her grandfather becomes sick at his summer fishing grounds, Yakone must journey across the ice to bring him food. On the way she encounters a shapeshifter named Ahklut, an Inuit mythological figure who is part -orca, part-wolf. After hearing about her grandfather’s illness, Ahklut believes he will be able to pass the winter in comfort in the body of her grandfather. When the sick man is unable to cast the shapeshifter out, Yakone must call the shaman to help her get rid of Ahklut, and help heal her grandfather.
This familiar story told in a new way will appeal to children ages 4 and older. The underlying themes of family, spirituality, and dependence on our environment create a timeless tale.
YAKONE is complete at 1400 words. The accompanying illustrations will be completed in a combination of paper sculpture and scratchboard, and will reflect a color palette and style reminiscent of Inuit art.
I am originally from Canada and have been settled in Arizona for the past 20 years. I have a BFA in Illustration from Brigham Young University, and I worked for 10 years as a medical illustrator. I have recently started a new media direction in paper sculpture, and am working to build my portfolio. You can see samples of my paper work at www.joninemeth.com
MG HATCHER HOUSE Query: writeonconforums.org/thread/151/mg-hatcher-house First 250 Words: writeonconforums.org/thread/230/mg-gothic-hatcher-house First 5 Pages: writeonconforums.org/thread/287/mg-magical-realism-hatcher-house
PB O'CONNELL V. O'CONNELL Query: writeonconforums.org/thread/353/pb-oconnell First 250 Words: writeonconforums.org/thread/155/pb-oconnell
I also really like the idea of a twist on LRRH, and especially an Inuit folktale version. I agree with jesjul, 1400 words is about twice as long as standard for a PB, from what I've read; PBs based on fairy tales/folktales are expected to conform to this, too. I think it comes out to something like 35 pages? An agent might be much more hesitant to take that on. But as you said, you can certainly put it out there and there are always exceptions to the rule.
Would recommend removing the following from query: "will appeal to" -- replace with "for" (the "will appeal" part can trigger a kneejerk "I'll be the judge of that" thought in the reading agent
"create a timeless tale" -- sounds like marketing speak
"I have recently started a new media direction in paper sculpture, and am working to build my portfolio." This implies weakness/beginner-ness that you don't have to admit to. Let the work you have speak for itself. Would word this differently to be not cocky but confident.
(And I saw your 250 words -- looks good! -- one way to decrease word count would be for the illustrations and accompanying vocab words to stand alone -- so, not "she packed the bannock, etc." but just show the bannock cake illustration with the Inuit and English word underneath)
Post by paprlstr8tr on Feb 2, 2017 16:54:58 GMT -5
KMC - thanks for the suggestion on showing the inuit/english word with the illustration. I have both versions of the manuscript, english only, and with inuit, but I wanted to get other opinions. I think its fun to know the words, without having overkill, and incorporating it into the illustrations would do that.
What a wonderful concept. I can see this being a really beautiful book.
In the first sentence of your synopsis I would add hyphens to "a not always obedient" and remove "young" (Yakone is a not-always-obedient girl living in far northern Canada). Also, Yakone isn't as present in the second half of the synopsis. You mention that she must call the shaman to help her get rid of Ahklut, but this phrasing puts more emphasis on the shaman's role in the story than her's. Does calling the shaman create its own journey? Are there obstacles she has to overcome to save her father?
One thing that made me pause was the word length. Most editors don’t want picture books longer than 1,000 words and prefer ones under 750 or so these days. So I would definitely consider cutting it. If you don’t think cuts are possible, another option is to submit it to a magazine like Cricket that has a longer word count (and they are currently looking for fable submissions from now until May), but then you wouldn’t be able to submit your beautiful artwork. Or, at the very least, don’t mention the word count in the query, as a story this long will automatically disqualify you from many publishers.
I think the summary paragraph is great, I would just cut one of the “helps” in the last sentence. I agree with cutting “timeless tale.”
In the last paragraph, rather than use the passive voice (“had been settled”) I’d say “have lived in...” I’d leave out that you are working to build your portfolio, because it makes it sound like you’re inexperienced. Just include the link to your images instead.