Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #1



Leigh Ann said...

First: I love love love the premise. I'm heartbroken for this kid already and I haven't even read the book.

I worry that you spend the entire query letter just setting up the problem: Guy has crush on girl, she flirts back, but she's using him. Because the premise is so interesting, I want to hear about the story in the query letter.

I stopped reading after the first couple of paragraphs, because I it seems to me this voice could use either less complicated sentences or more strategic punctuation. The reading didn't flow naturally for me.

kfillius said...

I find paragraph 3 of the query a bit confusing. There are 2 "that is, until"s that you might want to edit. But more importantly, I feel slightly confused as to Emma's role.

Nonetheless, I did read on and enjoy the first page.

Princess L said...

This entry has a "John Green" feel that I really like-that awkward, straightforward, guy perspective with the unattainable dream-girl. The storyline is cute and funny, too.

The query and sample could use a little tightening and polishing, but the bones of this story are great!!!

Mim said...

The pitch of the story is interesting. The play of him not caring about losing his virginity, and another girl wanting to lose hers against the interest in the other girl is interesting.

I felt a little too thrown into the scene. I get what's going on, but I'd like a little bit more to connect me to the characters. I want to like the main character, and I do from the query, but from the opening alone I don't know that I would. I'd also like more description of the girl, since she's going to be the love interest for the novel.

Overall good job. Good luck!

Jeanne said...

I really like the idea of this story, but I wonder if it's too thin to carry a full-length book. It might be nice to see more complications and higher stakes for Rube in the query itself. If he's duped into deflowering the other girl, what are the real consequences for him?

Opening a novel with a sex scene is tricky--especially with YA from the male POV. In general, there seems to be a fair amount of distancing here. Some of this is due to the formality of the language. Some of it is also a result of little sensory detail. In this case, I agree with the other comments. I'd like to know these characters a little more before I'm thrown into the scene. Give us a sense of their personalities.

Great premise and potential. Just needs a little more development.

Suzanne said...

Some pluses: You know your way around the guy world, and have built up a likeable geek guy character that I want to follow. You've also avoided the cliches about all guys being ready to hook up casually, etc. I'm also intrigued by the juxtaposition of the two friends.

Some issues: The voice felt off in some parts, and was absent in others. This was especially true of the query. Also, was this the first pages? Because I felt dumped into the middle of a scene, unsure of the setting or even the timeframe, given that the character was almost immediately discussing the future and past. I'm also not crazy about a character speaking directly to the reader in this way, but that's probably personal taste.

Keep in mind, story writing is subjective--even if that is the phrase we hear too often on the query trail--and you did draw me in enough to comment, which is saying something right there. Good luck!

The Agent said...

A.H. - For me, the premise of this is very much like an '80s teen movie. While those movies are classics and brilliant in their own way, for the most part they'd be quite tame by today's standards. I felt like I've seen these characters before, and I wanted a more complex plot to draw in a modern audience.

Melissa said...

I like the idea and I love YA books from the guy POV. I'm not sure about one part - if she did all this dragging and seducing, knowing it was his 'first time', I'm wondering if he really had to warn her how it would be? That part felt a little like there was something you were trying to say instead. I think - judging from how you set the girl up - she'd be quite experienced compared to him. I don't know, that just seemed strange...that last line in your 250 words. I agree- the idea is good and if you are looking to please someone who reads cont YA, that, I would have read more. I don't care about openers that include sex as long as it is not just gratuitous - if it sets up the premise, it's ok with me. I like seeing the first time as awkward from a guy's POV (it's rare, usually we read about it from the girl) but I, too, felt a little dumped into the middle of the scene. Perhaps just clean up the scene a little as the opener using what you have - to clarify a little. (One caveat for me, I HATE the word retarded. I understand your meaning completely and I understand teens use it, I just don't like it). Nice job! I'd read it. I kinda want to.