Wednesday, June 29, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #13

Dear Secret Agent,

Hello, my name is T.P. and after looking into your clients and tastes, I feel that my manuscript would fit in with you and am excited to tell you about it. BLOOD OF THE GODS is a 80,000 word Urban Fantasy novel. (FYI none of my characters are vampires or werewolves. Sorry!)

Eighteen-year-old Julia Jane knows from personal experience that being kidnapped is not as exciting as it sounds. It doesn’t matter if the kidnapper is a totally hot, super charged, mythical being, like let’s say, the ancient Persian god of darkness.

Abduction = un-fun.

It completely screws with the boyfriend situation. Really, because what boy can look good next to a god in all his…godliness? Talk about major Stockholm syndrome. Furthermore, consider the effects on the work situation; forget about it, you’re totally fired. You can’t just not show up. Dead or kidnapped. And let us not forget how this predicament reaffirms to the parents what a totally screw up you are. Like, “How dare you get abducted!”

Julia’s recommendations for avoidance…anyone?

1. Obviously, try not get kidnapped in the first place. 2. If you do get kidnapped just understand that there’s a reason. There’s always a reason and knowing it can give you power. 3. Learn the truth about your ancestry--as strange as that sounds. In truth, it could spare you the aggravation of six-million-year-old gods trying to steal your blood so they can use it for some flesh ripping, soul transplanting, world domination ploy.

Just sayin’.

The Ancient Persians have a rich mythology which has yet to be explored in fantasy. Wanting to utilize this resource yet add my own twist, I have, in BLOOD OF THE GODS, created a new generation of Persian gods who are the grandchildren of those ancient ones. Conscientious of the lack of general information on these gods and desiring not to info dump on my readers, I decided to twist two stories together. The first is a brief, yet rather vague third person omnipresent storyline, which creatively informs the reader about the history of the gods, their goals and their purpose. The second is Julia Jane’s first person narrative.

I have a degree in history and it was in college that I found I had a passion for writing fantasy. Though I have been writing for ten years, I am a novice in this business. I am looking for a hands-on agent that welcomes a wide variety of fantasy.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.



Why on earth were my hands shaking so much?

I remembered a book my guidance counselor had forced me to read about fear and how human bodies react instinctually in dangerous situations.

Situations like the one I was in right now, perhaps?

My hands continued to shuffle around in one of the cabinets as I pretended to search but my mind was trying to remember what I should do.

It was then that a strange, bright purple canister caught my eye. It gave me a freak out. I had opened this cupboard five minutes ago and not seen it. I knew I hadn’t. I picked it up and read, Yerba Mate: tea of the gods, written in orange letters across the front.

A little stunned, I stood and went to the window. Confusion colored my voice, “Yes, actually, we do have that tea sir.”

The man sat looking forward as if he expected as much. Then in a aggravating, gravely, blasé way he said, “The water needs to be 160 degrees, and I’ll take a bit of sugarcane, if you have it.”

A shiver came as he spoke. It was such a strong reaction that I openly examined him--well, the bit I could see of him--and narrowed my eyes even as my body continued to respond. I wondered if he was dangerous or just superhumanly annoying. Perhaps his voice was on the exact wrong frequency for my ears--like one of those whistles that torture dogs.


Melodie said...

Hi TP:

A few comments on your query, and remember, these are all IMHO and should be taken with salt! :): Your voice is good but I have no idea what your plot is other than the kidnapping. Past your first graph, I'd like to know specifics - does Julia have a boyfriend? Which god is abducting her? Where do they take her - do you build a world or is this a Rick Riordan-type world-within-world?
Also, it doesn't help you to say 'brief yet rather vague third person...' rather vague does not sound complimentary. Just say third person tomnipresent storyline. Tha cuts down on your word count, too.
In your bio, only list published writing credits. If you don't have any, keep this graph very short.
I like your opening scene but would appreciate knowing the setting more clearly. I thought she was in a private kitchen, now I think she's working in a tea shop? One of our goals is to keep an agent hooked so cutting down on unnecessary confusion will surely help.
Good luck!!

The Agent said...

One in ten queries make some comment about vampires and werewolves; it's not original anymore and it's borderline making fun of the genre (not in a good way). Also, your entire first sentence isn't needed. You're trying to prove that you know something about the agent, but you have no specifics, so the agent will skip right over it. Either use specifics or launch right into the query.

You've sacrificed telling me the basic plot for voice.

Your large paragraph (right before your bio) needs to be taken out. this is the number one reason why queries get rejected. Don't tell us what we should already know (lack of Persian mythology). And never talk about your writing style or POVs. Also, your bio gives us nothing, no specifics, no reason to take a chance on you.

Scrap this query and start again.

Sample Page: has the same problem as your query; you're too vague. I get no sense of what is going on, who the characters are, or the setting.

Theresa Pocock said...

thanks so much for the feedback. you rock!

Emily said...

Great voice! Keep the second paragraph but scrap everything else. Then write what Julia does about her situation. Does she take action to get out of it? What's the story arc? Where do her actions lead? Include the consequence of this at the end.

Then at the very end have:
BLOOD OF THE GODS is a 80,000 word Urban Fantasy novel. Thank you for your consideration.

I like your beginning but there are a few grammatical errors.

Dorothy Dreyer said...

I had the same problem with my last ms, in that I overcompensated voice. Don't get me wrong, voice is great, but you have to find the right blend (I'm still trying) so that the plot, the flow, the pace, and the story as a whole feels better. Good luck!

Sara Jane Wade said...


I have to admit that while I really loved the voice, I felt lost about everything else. The query was not only too long, but didn't give me any idea about your plot, beside the fact that Julie gets kidnapped. I love the idea of using Persian mythology, but I don't think you need to mention in your bio paragraph. Also no need to mention you're a novice(if you don't cite any publishing credit, the agent assumes it's your first novel anyway). All in all, lovely voice, I think your query could be fantastic if you could blend the voice with the plot!

Melinda said...

I really have nothing to add. Everything I was thinking was said.

LOVED your voice. Have no idea what the book is really about. But guess what. Having a great voice and being told that over and over is AWESOME so congrats.

The first page really had me confused on the setting too. Keep up the good work with some new changes! :)

A.E. Martin said...

Your query gives me a sense of the MCs voice, but other than the last sentence about her blood and world domination, I don't get enough of what's at stake here, I think you should cut back on much Jane talking about boyfriends and showing up for work and work more on showcasing what these Gods are about and how she fits in.

You excerpt is not badly written, but it did not draw me in.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Your query needs to focus more on the plot and the stakes. You have a wonderful sense of voice though.

I think it would help if your opening scene was grounded a bit more. How exactly is the situation dangerous? Go into more detail about that.

Maybe you should have her look in the cabinet, not see the canister, look around, go back and then find the canister. Just a suggestion.