Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #1

Dear Mystery Agent:

Maya doesn't have a last name. In the Sprawl, no one needs a last name. No one needs an education, or electricity, or running water. No one needs a reason to live, because their only purpose is to die.

In Maya's city, a fiery barrier divides the Sprawl from the rest of the metropolis, which is a sector filled with sciences, politics, and extreme opulence. Maya isn't meant for that world across the barrier. She was born to be drafted, just another body waiting to fall in the Neverending War.

Maya's a fighter. She believes in survival, and in herself, but she doesn't dare believe in hope - hope is too dangerous. No one's ever been able to escape the Sprawl or desert the army, and Maya isn't going to be the next idiot to try.

One boy changes that. A boy who shouldn't follow Maya into the war, shouldn't fall in love with her, and shouldn't ignite the desire for revolution in her.

But he does.

With Sam by her side, Maya finds hope. At any cost, she'll escape the Sprawl. Escape the draft. Escape to a place where she's worth something.

She'll shatter the constraints that have held her for seventeen years. And in the process, she'll create a new world.

PARTITION (89,000 words) is a dystopian romance for young adults. As per the rules of this wonderful contest, I have pasted the first 250 words of my manuscript below. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.



No one sneaks into the Glass City and returns unscathed, especially not us Pewts. My best friend told me not to come. He said this was stupid and reckless, and he was probably right, but I gotta try.

I wish he was here. H***, I wish any of my friends had the guts to climb up with me.

But it’s probably less the climbing part and more the breaking-into-prison part that scared ‘em off.

As I pull myself up, my bare feet struggle to grip the glass pillar. My biceps burn like acid, and I spit a curse into the darkness, reminding myself that this pain is probably nothing next to what’s coming. If I get back without some sorta serious injury, it’ll be a g**d*** miracle.

I look down. My throat yanks shut like the neck of a drawstring bag. This height is dizzying, painful, and being so close to the top is totally unreal. I’ve seen the City my whole life from below, seen it sitting smug on these glass anchors like it’s balanced on a forest of fat crystal straws. Beautiful, especially compared to the filth of the Sprawl.

The City’s stilts are linked together by a webwork of shining metal struts, which make solid footholds. So it’s possible to climb up, but that sure as h*** doesn’t mean it’s easy. Someone told me the anchors aren’t real glass--knowing the Glass City, it’s probably some sorta special-engineered material.


Chelsey said...

Oh interesting premise! Your query feels rather long, though, with a lot of world building. Maybe focus on a brief introduction of Sprawl, introduce Maya's problem (wanting to escape and WHY she now suddenly wants to) and who/what is going to stand in her way.

I like the voice in your opening pages, but don't understand the asterisking of swears? It's probably something that makes sense later but in the first page it's kind of off-putting.

The Agent said...

The only thing I would change about your query is the last part, "She'll shatter...a new world." It's not needed. You've already established her main goal, and you've used the word revolution already so I know she's going to be part of something big.

This is a great example of a query that works. It has rhythm, it has the two main characters, and the main conflict. Also, one of the biggest mistakes I see in queries for Dystopians (or any genre that has a different world) is that I don't see enough about the world in the query, but it's one of the most important parts. I can clearly picture your world and you did it quickly. I got chills at "because their only purpose is to die."

Sample Page: Here's what worries me and might make an agent stop reading: "Glass City" reminds me of Cassandra Clare's series; sneaking into a part of the city that is off limits reminds me of the opening to The Uglies; and all of the swearing makes me worry that your world doesn't have it's own unique language. I'd probably keep reading a few pages to see if these problems persist.

Sharon Bayliss said...

I remember this query from Agent Query Connect. Congratulations! It looks like you've found your final draft.

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I really liked your query. Good job! And I thought the sample page had a unique voice. If I were an agent, I'd want to read more. :)

Best of luck!


Jessica said...

I really liked the query, I thought it was an interesting way to pull someone into the story with out giving too much away.

As for the sample page I think the voice is great and you have a lot of wonderful description.

I can't find anything to critique you on, so good luck and great job!

Sara Jane Wade said...

I really loved the query, I think it has to be one of the most engaging queries I've seen. Great voice in the sample pages, I'd definitely keep on reading!