The Writer’s Voice Entry

Author’s Name: Robin KorbImage
Title: Return To Spender
Age Category: Middle Grade
Genre: Magical Realism
Word Count: 58,000

Query:

Dear Agent,

I am seeking representation and would love for you to consider my 58,000 word Middle Grade magical realism novel, RETURN TO SPENDER. It will appeal to fans of BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX by Laurel Snyder and SEVEN WILD SISTERS by Charles de Lint.

When his grandfather dies, eleven-year-old WILLIAM JEFFREY discovers he shares two things with his ancestors: a leap year birthday that comes once every four years and a magical twenty-dollar bill that returns every time he spends it.

Not only can he buy endless candy bars, the Irish fairy magic behind the money also lets William talk to his dead relatives. While they don’t always answer William’s questions, his ancestors explain the impact the magic money had on their lives and the need for boundaries. The most important rule for this fairy enchanted money? Never tell anyone, absolutely anyone, anything about the Gift ever. When William decides to make BRIAN FLAHERTY, the new boy in town, his new best friend instead of EMMA WHITMORE, now his former best friend, he inadvertently breaks this rule. William must choose to embrace the limitations of the magic money set forth by the fairy world so he can pass the gift on to the next generation. But if he doesn’t, William could lose the bill, sever the connection to his ancestors, and destroy the family’s inheritance forever.

I am a member of SCBWI and three critique groups. I’ve spent the past four years studying my craft through the University Wisconsin Eau Claire and the University Wisconsin Madison Continuing Studies. I’ve also attended several Writer’s Workshops taught by Sarah Aronson, Lori Devoti, Robert Curry, Kathy Giorgio, and Christine Desmet.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,
Robin Korb
Chippewa Falls, WI
rkorb@qisc.com

First 250 Words:

William Jeffrey did not like secrets. They spelled Trouble. He also did not like rules. What ten-soon-to-be-eleven-year-old did? But with the mother of all secrets and its rules stuffed in the pockets of his jeans, William climbed into the back seat of the car. How had his grandfather kept this secret from Grandma for forty-five years? And how was William suppose to keep it from his mother forever?

She was driving him and his two best friends, Emma and Bryan, to the Mall for a Saturday matinee. Emma Whitmore sat in the front seat of the car with his mother. Bryan sat in the back seat with William. Usually, February’s in Michigan meant a movie because of the cold weather, but today that wasn’t the case. William had to see if having a birthday on the 29th of February would be filled with as much Irish magic as his grandfather claimed.

They drove past fields of corn and soybeans on the way to the Mall. The second the car purred into the busy parking lot, William’s fingertips moved to the buckle of his seatbelt. He searched for the large blue mailbox at the theater’s entrance and smiled when he saw it.

The instant the car stopped at the curb, William freed himself with one click. He opened the door, hopped out, and hurried toward the mailbox without waiting for his friends.

William,” his mother called out.

Yeah?” William swung around and shielded his eyes from the sun.

#MyWritingProcess

I really want to thank Jeri Baird for thinking of me when she was presented with the Writing Process blog tour. Jeri is an amazing writer, friend and critique partner. Her stories are filled with wonder and you can check out her blog at: http://barnabasandbird.blogspot.com/ or follow her on twitter at: @Jeribaird11.

The idea behind the blog tour is that we writers share things informally during workshops and at conferences, but not so much through our open-forum blogs. With the hashtag #MyWritingProcess, you can learn how writers all over the world answer the same four questions

1) What am I working on?

This can be a loaded question for a writer, but I promised myself I wouldn’t go off on any tangents. I’m working on two middle grade stories right now. They’ve both been labeled as Fantasy or Magical Realism. Personally, I prefer the latter. What child doesn’t love reading about someone who finds magic hidden in the weirdest places in their life or world.

Return To Spender

When his grandfather dies, eleven-year-old WILLIAM JEFFREY discover he shares two things with his ancestors: a leap year birthday that comes once every four years and a twenty-dollar bill that returns every time he spends it.

Not only can he buy endless candy bars, the magic money also let William talk to his dead relatives. While they don’t always answer William’s questions, his ancestors explain the impact the magic money had on their lives and the need for boundaries. The most important rule for this fairy enchanted money? You must never reveal anything to anyone ever. When William decides to make BRIAN FLAHERTY, the new boy in town, his new best friend instead of EMMA WHITMORE, now his former best friend, William breaks this rule. He must choose to embrace the limitations of the magic money so he can pass the gift on to the next generation. But if he doesn’t, William could lose the bill, sever the connection to his ancestors, and destroy the family’s inheritance forever.

Tanya and Em (the working title)

When TANYA BARTEK’S imaginary friend, EM, returns on her eleventh birthday, Tanya must deal with this figment of her imagination who insists she needs to be found. In the process of figuring out how to search for someone she made up, Tanya uncovers a family secret. One that is deep, dark and disturbing.

With the help of her best friend, STEPHEN, Tanya must dig into a past her parents tried to hide and discover the truth about the twin sister who died, or continue to live with Em, the spirit of her sister.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Boy this is a hard question. My goal as a writer is to create stories where the reader sees a main character who is smart, strong and too nice who must deal with everyday obstacles that are complicated by magical forces and family secrets.

3) Why do I write what I do?

To escape the mundane, sometimes awful world I grew up in, I dove into books. The fantasy worlds I ventured through gave me hope that I too could find happiness. These books made my sucky life bearable. I’d love to provide this opportunity to other children who need to escape the hand of life they’ve been dealt. For me, giving our readers a chance to smile, to gasp, to laugh and sometimes to yell at our characters for doing something dumb is what writing any story is all about. And if we, as writers, do our job, the readers will believe they are experiencing our story along side our character, or better yet, as one of our characters.

4) How does my writing process work?

When I first started writing, my first draft came out willy-nilly. It was from everyone’s POV so I get to know each of them. I then fleshed out my main character in my second draft in only their POV. I’d also sort out the scenes to see how well I’d plotted by storylines. But now that I have a better understanding of the process, I’m finding that I no longer need to write my stories in multiple viewpoints.

While I’ve always known how my stories begin and end, I found myself wondering all over the place to get from point A to point Z. Now, to shorten my journey, I also decide on the first and second turning-point, as well as the mid-point. I do not marry myself to any of these plot points, because while I’m writing, sometimes my characters take over my story and I go where I least expected to.

I’m happy to announce that I’ve found this is a common occurrence amongst writers, so I no longer believe I have multiple personalities. I just have lots of voices in the head that talk to me all the time. Don’t worry, this is also something that is common. And if it’s not, I won’t tell anyone if you won’t.

Now I get to introduce the writer that agreed to continue this game of blog tag.

I met Valerie Biel at several events held in Wisconsin this past year. Her novel Circle of Nine – Beltany is due out this summer, and I’m very excited to read about Brigit’s unexpected journey into her families history and all that comes with it. Valerie is a Wisconsin native who incorporates her love of writing, gardening and travel into her stories.

Her post will go up on August 8th at:

http://www.valeriebiel.com/blog

and you can connect with Valerie on twitter with:

@ValerieBiel

Writer’s Voice Blogmania

Image

Return To Spender

MG – Magical Realism

57,000 words

Query:

When his grandfather dies, eleven-year-old William Jeffrey discovers he shares two things with his ancestors; an elusive leap year birthday that comes only once every four years, and money that’s been enchanted by Irish fairy magic which returns every time he spends it.

On its way back to William, the envelope carrying his magical twenty-dollar bill travels to the hereafter, enabling him to correspond with his dead relatives. While forced to live within the confines of their four rules, the choices William makes when dealing with Emma, his former best friend, and Bogan, his fairy guide, catapults him on a path that break the most sacred rule: You must never reveal anything, absolutely anything, about the gift to anyone. The punishment is swift, but when things escalate between the trio, William must learn to stand up for himself and embrace the limitations or risk losing the bill and his connection to his ancestors. Even worse, he could destroy the family’s inheritance forever.

First 250 words:

William stared at the small white envelope in his hand one last time. While his grandfather had addressed it to Master William Jeffrey, Mason, MI, USA, it had no return address or stamp. But it did have something else—two phrases printed in black ink on the bottom left corner. The smaller of the two required a magnifying glass. By decree of King Seamus. Even after spending hours on the internet, William still had no idea who this was.

The other phrase written directly above the declaration, and bookended by green four-leaf-clovers, were what mattered. Return To Spender. The words were suppose to act like a boomerang and bring the envelope back every single time William mailed it. If they didn’t, then the magic behind them would prove to be another one Grandpa Woodman’s elaborate practical jokes. But if they did, William had a problem.

His mother.

Man, if she recognized her father’s handwriting William was screwed. How would he ever explain receiving a letter from somebody who’d been dead for almost three weeks?

A horn honked behind William. The parking lot at the mall tended to be crowded during the weekends, but more so after the sun’s rays had beckoned everyone from their homes so early in March. This included William and his two friends.

“Hey, what’s taking so long?” Emma ask, jabbing him in the back. Normally she’d get away with it, since she’d been his best friend for, like, forever. But today, William had to bite his tongue.