Friday, November 28, 2014

(40) MG Light Fantasy: THE LAPRAN LINK

TITLE: The Lapran Link
GENRE: MG Light Fantasy

PITCH: Eleven-year-old Jennifer accepts a mysterious neighbor’s invitation to time travel, hoping to meet her father, who died when she was a baby, and possibly prevent his death. But when the two friends inadvertently alter history, erasing their world, Jennifer must risk her life trying to save both her world and her dad – if she can find him.

From the front gate, you couldn’t see the house, just the long driveway winding through the trees. But when you stepped in a bit and followed the drive, as Jennifer did every day on her way home from school, you caught sight of the mansion, proud and glistening white against the hillside.

The Randolph estate, it was called. Raa-an-dolph. Jennifer loved the way the sound rolled over the roof of her mouth. Lord and Lady Randolph, she fancied. Except they didn’t have lords and ladies in California.

As far as Jennifer knew, no one had ever seen the occupant of the house, but there was lots of speculation in her neighborhood of modest homes. Some said it was a young woman who had been deformed in a terrible accident and didn’t want to be seen. Others swore it was a notorious criminal in hiding. Kids, whispering of ghosts, shunned the house. All except Jennifer.

She’d often climbed the back wall of the estate to watch the swans there. And she’d wandered the rooms countless times in her mind, imagining Persian carpets…crystal chandeliers…winding staircases…and a life of infinite possibilities far removed from her own. But she had only ventured up the driveway in the past month when she’d started sixth grade. Her walk home took her by the main entrance where the towering gates always stood open, inviting her in. It wasn’t really trespassing. After all, they were practically neighbors.


  1. I love a good time-travel story, especially ones where the future can be altered (seriously, back to the future is my jam)
    Though i do think time travel is considered sci-fi, not fantasy, in almost all cases.

    I feel this beginning could be kicked up a notch. It's a bit slow. I'm also not a fan of the second person in the first paragraph (you couldn't see the house, you caught sight of the mansion, etc)
    The beginning might stand better if you start by her going up the driveway, instead of starting with a description.

    Good luck in the auction!

  2. I love the second paragraph. It gives me a feel for the MC, tells me a lot about her, and I want to know more about her in the very beginning than about the house.

    Good luck on the auction!

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  4. For me, there was too much exposition in this opening, too much being offered up front that I'd want to get as I am invested in a character and a situation. The pitch, too, felt like something I'd heard too often.

    I would suggest starting with more conflict and incorporating more of this background later and in bits and pieces. In terms of the pitch, I'd like to get more of a sense of how surprising this neighbor may be by offering time travel (do people offer time travel all the time?) and to see something more surprising than the go-back-in-time=alter-history situation.

  5. I found your pitch so intriguing, especially the part of Jennifer's desire to know her father. That really tugged at me. I loved the voice. I'm a big sucker for stories with mysterious houses and this one got me. The use of second-person made me think of The Greenglass House, which I thought had a fantastic beginning, and I thought it worked here as well. Great use of specificity here -- really loved the image of her watching the swans! Good luck!

  6. This is slow and steady for an intro, and at first I read and was like man for YA this is slow and we need more action sooner, then, as I read, I was like... wait, this feels like MG and rechecked then saw, of course, that it is.

    Point being, I think this slower pacing is fine for MG, and is often what happens, and your voice is unique enough that not only did I get it was MG just from reading, but I think it holds on its own.

    Just be careful, I hope we get some action sooner than later since you have so much exposition here in the beginning.

  7. Ooh, love the pitch, sounds like a lot of fun. (Tho I think you mean Light Sci-Fi, not fantasy, unless the time travel is powered by magic.)

    The content of your first page is interesting - spooky abandoned mansions are a bit cliched, but personally I like them - but it's all narrative, which makes it rather stodgy and less compelling to start with. I'd suggest turning it into an active scene, with Jen actually going into the mansion in real time, perhaps for the first time? Then it would come alive much more.

    Also I'd like to see more of Jen in here. At the moment this is all about the house, and I know nothing at all about her, apart from her being brave enough to venture in there alone.

    Good luck :)

  8. First off, I love the premise for this.

    The opening: I think it could be much stronger. The use of omniscient narration to "you" mixed with the third person slows it down and impedes the voice.

    Also on the whole, I worry we have a LOT of exposition for the first page of a MG fantasy. The writing is very solid, but I found myself wanting something to interrupt the information, be it dialogue, movement, etc. Instead I feel like Jennifer is just standing there musing. This feels like something that could happen a couple chapters in, but I think you'd really be benefited by a more ACTIVE opening page.


  9. I love the pitch. I love time travel stories, and the idea of erasing everything is great. Talk having a big problem to solve.

    I agree with others about the opening. If the house or the people in it have something to do with time travel, you could say something like: "I never knew then that they had the power to change the world." Or, "It was as if the house was from another era, trapped in time." Or some such to give us some foreshadowing.

    I'd meld the first and second paragraphs to avoid a first paragraph description of the house. The idea of Jennifer going there every day is intriguing. But then it makes me want to know why, personally, she wants to do that. Conflict at school? Home? Etc.

    Or you may want to start further into your novel a bit.

  10. I thought it was okay to start with the house since that is where the adventure begins, but it does go on a bit long. Perhaps after the first parg. you could follow that up with her actually going down the drive, rather than talking about it.

    You could also eliminate the 'you's' in the first parg, and replace them with Jennifer and she.

    And where you talk about who the occupant is, perhaps after you tell us what everyone else thinks, you could follow it with what she thinks. Show us her curiosity.

  11. I LOVE anything to do with time travel, so I'm super-intrigued by this. I'd love to see how the time-traveling works in this world. Some of the descriptions were so clever - I especially liked the section about the theories of who lives in the house. That really fleshes out the world.

    Though I like the writing a lot, I agree that I wish this opener was more active instead of just explanation of this mysterious house. Perhaps you can balance some of your great descriptions with more descriptions of Jennifer interacting with her surroundings. I also want to get a better sense of Jennifer's personality and feelings - she sounds like a curious, fun character, and I wanted her voice to come through a little more in this opening passage.

    I also agree that the second-person narration in the first paragraph is a bit jarring, especially since you quickly move on to third person. If the majority of the story is third person, than I would cut out all of the "you"s, as this will keep the story flowing better.

    Very intriguing start, and there's lots of potential here. Good luck!

  12. 20 pages please

  13. CLOSED! The full goes to Stefanie Lieberman.

  14. Congratulations, Carol!!!