#17-Curse of the Granville Fortune (REVISED)

>Dear Secret Agent:

Twelve-year-old J.B. is plagued with visions of a blinding white light that seems to burn into his skull. He can sense people around him, though all he sees is the light. But he hears the voice of an old woman, screeching and accusing and calling down a curse on him for stealing. And the strangest thing of all? He’s never stolen anything.

The visions leave him sweaty, lightheaded and certain he’s turning into some kind of freak. But when he sneaks a peek at his dad’s journal, he discovers his family really is cursed, thanks to an ancestor who stole the massive Granville fortune. Now J.B.’s life is one disaster after another.

To break the curse, J.B. and his sister must find and return the Granville’s stolen property. But the fortune is hidden inside an enchanted forest that brings intruders worst fears to life. The forest is also home to the vicious Grimault thieves who will stop at nothing to claim the Granville fortune for their own. On a dangerous journey through the woods, J.B. meets two others who share his visions and suffer from the same curse. Now they must work together to break the curse that has plagued three households for hundreds of years.

My middle grade fantasy, CURSE OF THE GRANVILLE FORTUNE, is complete at 47,000 words. While the novel stands alone, it is the first book in a proposed series entitled The Three. As a former Middle School Language Arts teacher, I have a great understanding of the 10-14 age group. I have had eleven short stories accepted and/or published previously in various children’s magazines. I am also a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

I would be happy to send you a complete manuscript of CURSE OF THE GRANVILLE FORTUNE for your review, in hopes that you will consider representing me. Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you.


            I was about to climb the biggest bike ramp at the park when the vision hit me. Some people might think having visions was cool, but for me it was a curse.
            I clutched the handlebars, trying to steady the bike. But my hands and arms tingled with a warmth that made me sweat like a freak. Not now! I couldn’t have a vision here. Holly would think I was having a fit or something.
            “J.B., what’s wrong?” Holly asked, as my bike swerved.
            I’d never told anyone about the visions. I didn’t want to be labeled a head case and forced to see some shrink. But I felt Holly’s eyes on me as my body shook. I didn’t have a choice. I purposely missed the bike ramp and crashed into a bush, hoping the accident would cover up the strange things that were about to happen to me.
            My eyes shut at the exact moment of the collision, and the vision flooded my brain.
            “You three who bring disgrace to your families shall suffer great misfortune. Your lives shall be cursed until you return what was taken this night.”
            The old woman’s voice thundered in my ears, but I couldn’t see her anywhere. In fact, I couldn’t see anything except the brilliant white light surrounding my body. A warm electric current pulsed through my veins. I felt like I was floating, but something weighed me down by my shoulders. Something familiar. I wasn’t alone.

6 Responses to “#17-Curse of the Granville Fortune (REVISED)”

  1. Kelly Hashway says:

    >Just so everyone knows, the final line was supposed to be in italics. It's the beginning of the curse, not the MC narrating.

  2. Michelle says:

    >Query–It's well written, but too lengthy and synopsis-like, imo. I would aim for the voice you use in your sample. Condense the info about the curse, for example. I do like the opening two paragraphs, but I found myself skimming. It's an interesting premise, I just don't think you need to go into so much detail.

    Sample–Good middle-grade voice. I like the opening line, action mixed with curse info and would definitely read on.

    I think this entry should advance with query revisions.

  3. Laura Pauling says:

    >I love stories with curses, so you've got me right there.

    Query: I like your opening hook but I'd rewrite with stronger verbs than "is". The second paragraph seems like mostly backstory. I'd start with the fact that he looks in his dad's book and finds out about the curse. That's all we need to know.

    Sec. paragraph – enchanted forest that brings one's worst fears to life – this is vague. Maybe give some examples of their obstacles in the forest beside the thieves? Plus your second sentence has two weak verbs, both "is". I like the last sentence.

    I enjoyed the voice overall.
    The opening sentence feels purposefully hooky b/c we then don't hear about this crazy guy again and you go into a backflash that has nothing to do with this guy. For a starting line, I like – Some people think having vision is cool, but for me it was a curse. Esp. since you then go on to talk about the curse.

    I like how he purposefully crashes his bike to hide his vision.

    I see this story going on. Good job!

  4. Dorothy Dreyer says:

    >This sounds like it would be a fun, exciting read. Your query could use some tightening, but you're headed in the right direction.

  5. Kate Larkindale says:

    >I like the first line of your query, but it doesn't seem to tie in with anything in the body. The old woman is not mentioned again. Also, you use the word 'visions' repeatedly. Try to change it up.

    It's best to pitch your first book as a stand alone novel, and make sure that it can stand alone even if it is part of a series.

    The excerpt is okay, but feels a little rushed to me. Maybe try starting with the vision, then jolting back into the real world with the bike crashing into the bushes.

    Also, watch your tenses. You say "I've never told anyone", but your next sentence is past tense. And by writing about them, you've told someone….

    But that said, I would probably read on a little further.

  6. Hanna C. Howard says:

    >Query: Like others have said, it feels a little information-heavy. Maybe condense it a bit more, and highlight just the crucial stuff. Also, "in hopes that you will consider representing me" might not be necessary. I'd say they already know that's why you're querying. 🙂

    Sample: I like the voice. The fact that he'd rather wreck than admit that he has a weakness is very adolescent boy. (Actually, very boy in general…) I also like your opening line hook, despite the fact that you immediately veer away from it… just as long as you tie it back in to the story quickly and seamlessly.

    Well done.