Posted by: Kathy Temean | February 23, 2018

February Agent of the Month – Scott Treimel – Results

S©ott Treimel NY is a full-service boutique agency representing the intellectual property rights in the work of authors and illustrators of books for children and teens, only: Picture books – Chapter books – Middle Grade books – Young Adult novels – Non-fiction and fiction – all genres. He also represents selected children’s illustrators.

STNY’s client list includes well-known talent and novice creators they believe can sustain long-term careers and are especially proud of the original talent they’ve discovered and the careers they’ve launched.

As members of the Association of Authors Representatives, the Authors Guild, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, they adhere to the principle that our clients’ interest is always paramount. Our chief responsibility is to maximize the value of our clients’ work and protect their fiduciary interests. They maneuver their clients’ careers within the context of the quickly shifting book market. 

HERE ARE THE FIRST PAGE RESULTS:

 FAMILY MATTERS by Rosi Hollinbeck— Middle Grade Novel

The bat sliced through the air and the ball slammed into the pocket of Nick’s worn catcher’s mitt, stinging his palm.

“Steee-rike!” the umpire shouted behind him. Nick glanced at the scoreboard – ninth inning, two out, 1-0. He held up his hand, turned, and said, “Time, Blue?” The ump nodded.

Nick jogged to the mound. He put his glove in front of his mouth and spoke as quietly as he could. “Listen, Snake, I think the guy on second is stealing signs. I’m going to signal for a curveball high and outside. I’m going to set up outside, but throw it low and in. I’ll be ready.”

Snake nodded. “Got it. Low and in.”

The Wildcats had played together since T-ball and would start high school soon. The Warriors had always beaten them. But now the Cats finally had a chance to beat them. All they had to do was hold this lead.

Snake shrugged to loosen his muscles, wound up tight, kicked high, and let the ball go. His release was early and the ball floated a little, right over the center of the plate, belt high.

The runner on second took off before the batter swung and missed, but the ball came in hot. Nick slammed his hand shut, but not before the ball popped out and rolled toward third base.

The batter took off for first. Nick dove for the ball but bumped it with his mitt, sending it farther up the baseline. He scrambled forward, reaching for the ball. The runner from second headed right for him. Nick snagged the ball and swept his mitt at the runner’s leg, catching his flapping uniform pants, and the runner stepped way out of the baseline. He heard the ump yell,

“Yer OUT!” as the runner hit home plate.

Nick looked up into the stands to see his father standing hunched over, hands shoved deep into his pants pockets, his face twisted into a snarl of disgust. Yeah, Nick had screwed up. Big time.

HERE’S SCOTT:

I want to comment on the open and closing.

On a first page, we need a more immediate hook than a play-by-play device can supply, although I appreciate the clarity of the sports writing. For a sports-minded readership, which the title does not signal, the details will be welcome; but they still need trimming right here.

The final sentences are excellent intrigue: Nick’s dad is introduced with the info that not only can his son “disgust” him but also for no more than fumbling— because in fact he makes the play.


 

MASHA MUNCHING by Amalia Hoffman – Picturebook

Masha was tired of eating hay for breakfast, hay for lunch and hay for dinner.

She dreamed of munching on fancy food.

So when she heard Farmer Finny and his wife talk about the new restaurants in town, Masha had an idea.

Masha dressed up, said goodbye to her goat friends and left the farm.

Walking up the road, she noticed a lit-up sign.

Le Bistro Magnifique. That’s a fancy name, Masha thought as she stepped in. I bet the food is fancy too.

On the table, Masha spotted something white and fluffy. She took a big bite.

“Sir, what do you call this delicious dish?” she asked.

The waiter laughed, “That is a napkin mademoiselle, for wiping your mouth.”

Why would I wipe my mouth with such delicacy? Masha wondered.

After gobbling up her napkin, the waiter served the biggest meal Masha had ever seen. At first, it was a bit too crisp. But, after munching and crunching, chewing and chomping, Masha loved its tart flavor which was very different from fluffy napkin.

“Mon dieu,” the waiter gasped. “You ate the menu!”

“It was divine,” Masha replied,”but sir, may I also sample your other signature dishes?”

The waiter piled platters on the table.

Masha stuffed herself.

Burrrrrrrrrrrrp.

“Mademoiselle, it is not polite to be loud at a restaurant,“ whispered the waiter.

HERE’S SCOTT:

I love when Amerlia Bedelia mix-ups happen because animal and human cultures clash. But the ms is flawed, fatally, because Masha’s horse-ness vs. human-ness manifest arbitrary.

Masha 1) dresses up; 2) appreciates that a restaurant is “new”— and even knows about such things as a “signature dish”; 3) talks, reads signs, and is savvy enough declare Le Bistro Magnifique a “fancy name”; and, finally, her vocabulary stretches to “divine” and “delicious”. Q: how can she mistake a napkin for food? 

Separate is Masha off on a lark or starting a new life? Saying “good-bye” to her goat friends, suggesting her leaving is permanent— in which case the emotional ‘reality’ of the situation is ignored.


 

TIEN LEARNS TO WRITE by Terry Lim Diefenbach – Middle Grade

It was Mahk’s idea for me to teach Tien how to write. Tien likes to watch me while I practice the fancy letters that Mother makes me do. Not that I really need to, but she says it will keep me from forgetting how to now that schools are closed. Writing is good for my hands and my head.

“Ledigheid is des Duivels oorkussen, idle hands are the devil’s workshop,” Mother loves to mention proverbs.
Mahk, Tien’s grandma says the earlier a child starts learning a skill, the better.

“I learned to embroider with beads when I was Tien’s age. I barely could hold a needle correctly then,” Mahk told me once. “But it was a good skill for girls to know.”

Mahk can’t teach letters to Tien herself as Mahk can’t read or write. Not everyone her age knows how to, especially women. Mahk said that her father told her no one was going to marry her if she was too educated.

“That’s the old way,” Mahk said. “Of course, no one told me that reading would be a good skill to know, like for reading newspapers if the radio doesn’t work.”

“There are no papers, and no radio,” I reminded her – all the radios had to be handed in at the police station when Japanese soldiers arrived almost three years ago now. The only broadcasts we hear these days are the morning exercises in Japanese, called taiso, through the loudspeakers on our street corner. Sometimes there are Malay announcements and songs that say that Holland, America and England are bad countries. We used to hear sirens for air raids too, but those have stopped, now that the Japanese soldiers are everywhere. No worry about attacks from the air any more. We have no weapons and the Japanese wouldn’t bomb themselves.

HERE’S SCOTT:

I would be crazy for a story set in this time and place because they are largely ignored in m-g fiction and could be fascinating. Alas, this writing is disappointing. The dialog serves expositional rather than emotional objectives: it precludes the reader’s becoming immersed in the story and invested in the characters. The novel instantly feels didactic. Separately, sigh: the narrator does not come alive, at least yet. I would not forward to experiencing a life, only reading an account of one.


 

JUNE BOONE SUMMER CAMP AND OTHER NATUAL DISASTERS by Sally Spratt – Middle Grade

This is not what I had planned for my summer vacation. But no one asked me if I wanted to go to summer camp. Dad clenches the steering wheel of Esmerelda, our Army Surplus Jeep, so tight; his knuckles are white. Mom sniffles and wipes a tear from her cheek with the back of her hand.

“If you two are that upset, you don’t have to drop me off,” I venture. “You can keep on driving to the airport and take me along with you. I have my passport with me. I’ve had all the required shots, even though I don’t get human diseases…” I stop.

Dad’s eyebrows go up in the mirror. “June, you’re not supposed to talk about that,” he frowns.

“Sorry,” I mumble and slide down the seat out of his view, the backs of my legs making a strange wet squeak as they peel away from the cracked vinyl. I run my thumb along the piece of smooth metal I wear around my neck on a leather cord, a remnant of my arrival on earth. Mom gives dad a knowing look and turns back to me.

“You should put that beneath your shirt,” Mom says, eyeing the necklace. I slip it back under my Camp Wah-See-Wa-Gah t-shirt with a frown. “We don’t need anyone asking questions. I wish we could take you. It’s just not possible this time.”

“I thought we’d settled this. This expedition is for professors and teachers only, no students,” Dad says. He pushes his hair back off his forehead and goes back to clenching the wheel.

I gulp down the lump in my throat. “You take me every year. I’m not exactly a student. You know I can take care of myself,” my voice cracks. “And who’s going to keep track of Dad?”

HERE’S SCOTT: 

Although it is not the freshest scenario, I am happy the story opens with an argument in the car, rather than lots of exposition— although I wish the dialog were less expositional.

On the first page, the reader learns June 1) is not from Earth, 2) wears “a remnant” of her “arrival” beneath her shirt, which minimal cover is to prevent “anyone asking questions”, 3) is en route to summer camp but wishes she could travel elsewhere with her parents, and 4) is immune to human diseases. Items 1, 2, and 4 are provocative; Item 3 is standard issue.

Where is June from? Is June human? What are the parameters of her differentness, besides immunity to “human” disease? Is she vulnerable to non-human diseases? What would happen if June’s “origin” was discovered? How did the “family” come to be? I want to read to answer these questions.

Because June says “You know I can take care of myself” I suspect the strictures of camp supervision will be a hitch in the story, perhaps become the principal plot.

I would be willing to read one or two more pages before deciding to consider the whole.


 

Still a few days to submit:

Scott Treimel is closed to unsolicited submissions, but if you are a follower of my Writing and Illustrating blog you can submit a full picture book manuscript or a query with the first three pages of a chapter book, middle grade, or young adult novel in the month of February.

To take advantage of this opportunity, please use this email address: kathy(.)temean@gmail(.)com. You MUST put SCOTT TREIMEL FEBRUARY SPECIAL SUBMISSION in the subject box and note you are a follower (you automatically receive a daily email).

Of course format your submission using one inch margins, 12 point New Times Roman font, double spaced, plus don’t forget your name, address, and contact information. Please include genre, word count, and paste text into the body of the email.

DEADLINE: February 28th. 

Thank you Scott for sharing your expertise with us. Your help is really appreciated.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Thanks Scott for reading and commenting. Looks like my piece needs LOTS of reworking! Glad to know its weak points. Am now taking a course to help narrators come to life.

    Like

  2. As always, Scott is very direct and spot on with his assessments of manuscripts!

    Like

  3. Hi Kathy,
    I submitted a query to your email for Scott. Did you receive it?
    Thanks,
    Chris Behrens

    Like

    • Chris,

      I did and I sent it off. Scott is pretty swamped, so don’t expect a fast response.

      Kathy

      Like

  4. Okay…thank you!

    Like


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