Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Query #46: "The Ill-Advised Adventures of El Halston" by Anonymous

This query is from an anonymous author for the YA novel The Ill-Advised Adventures of El Halston. Thank you, Anonymous, for the honour of allowing me to work on and post this!


The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders sat in a pile of broken binding on El Halston’s bedroom floor. After scanning chapter six, “Symptoms of Functional Psychosis,” she’d launched the book across the room and watched it fall with a guilty satisfaction, a satisfaction immediately replaced by fear. El knew what the head librarian was capable of. And she had all the symptoms.

Exhibit A: Hallucinations. Seeing a five-hundred-year old oak tree decked out in pink neon on her morning bus ride probably qualified.

Exhibit B: Erratic Behavior. Asking the kid who’d appeared on her dead-end country road, the one who saved her from death by garden hose, the one whose story added up to not much, if he could see said glowing tree. She was sure that qualified.

Exhibit C: Delusional Thinking. Assuming she could clear her friend Alex of a crime he didn’t commit, involving nine hundred bucks he didn’t steal, based on some mysterious directive from a girl named Samantha Beacon whom she’d never meet. Yep, one hundred percent certifiable. She’d give the psych ward a call in the morning.

Exhibit D: Anxiety. Heck yeah she was anxious. She had to call the psych ward in the morning. And she had no idea how to categorize the madness of her dreams, or the fact that her best friend Jess was dreaming them too.

THE ILL-ADVISED ADVENTURES OF EL HALSTON is my debut YA novel, word count 101,000. Wrapped inside the story is the transcription of a Civil War era diary written by a girl with ties to Halston family land. The diary fills in a few blanks about El’s recurring dreams and the odd talents of the oak tree.


On her bus ride to school, El Halston sees a five-hundred-year-old oak tree glowing, but that's just the start of the weirdness.

Soon, she's saved from death-by-garden-hose by a boy whose story doesn't add up to much, and then El starts getting advice from a dead girl on how to clear her friend of a crime. When El learns that she and her pal Jess are sharing the same crazy dreams, El decides it's time to get to the bottom of the mystery.

El [chooses to do something.] [Something goes wrong with her plan, making things worse.] [She attempts a new plan.] [Something goes wrong with the new plan, making things worse again.] [Repeat the plan/obstacle/stakes-rise progression as necessary.]

[To fix her life,] El [must make a choice between two courses of action, both of which pose grave threats to either herself or something she loves.]

THE ILL-ADVISED ADVENTURES OF EL HALSTON is a 101,000-word YA novel. Thank you for your consideration; I look forward to hearing from you.

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