Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #14

Dear Agent's Inbox,

Seventeen-year-old Jerome Harold Prewitt III is not the first to fall from the pillars, but he is the first to survive.

To protect identities, everyone has a title. Jerome’s is “The Boy,” which does not convey much importance. But from age twelve, he has suspected that someone is out to get him. It could be nothing, but when a jungle cat attacks him in a suburban cemetery, he panics. He’s fortunate the girl with brown eyes he just met (sitting on her own headstone, no less) knows how to handle wild animals.

Over the years, she returns again and again to save him as attempts on his life continue. That is until the latest assailant takes her by mistake, leaving Jerome falling from the pillars--the massive structures that support whole neighborhoods miles above the polluted surface.

Now Jerome is stuck in the Underworld, a debtors’ work camp, with no one to rely on but himself. As he searches for answers as to why anyone would want to kill him, or save him for that matter, he learns the Brown-Eyed Girl has her own secret--one that could lead to the end of the world if discovered by her abductors. She's a time-traveller. All Jerome has to do now is find his answers, stop the attacks, rescue the damsel, get home, and save the world. No big deal.

THE GIRL WITH BROWN EYES is an 84,000-word YA fantasy. I have included the first page. The full manuscript is available upon request.  Thank you for your consideration.



"You shouldn’t do that.” The Boy narrowed his eyes and glared with all the indignation called for in such a situation.

"Do what?" The target of his fury, a girl no older than he, swung her legs back and forth.

At twelve and not old enough for a title, the Boy kept his focus on himself, but he had stopped his daily walk through the cemetery at a sight even he could not ignore.

The girl had brown eyes, but as for her other features, he had not taken the time to notice them. He found something else far more interesting. "What you’re doing, sitting on that headstone there."

"And why shouldn’t I?" Her question seemed genuine, but the Boy could not fathom how she could not see the issue with her actions.

"Because. Someone died there."

The Brown-Eyed Girl brushed an orange leaf from the headstone. "No they didn’t. Not one of these people died here. They all died at home in their beds, or abroad in the world, or wherever it suited the world best to have them die."

The Boy paused in surprise at her response, but could not deny she was right. Few people died in cemeteries, and even fewer died in the spot they were to be buried--the rare exceptions being people who were buried alive of course. "Well, I’m sure that person doesn’t want you sitting on his headstone.”

"Oh, I’m quite certain she doesn’t mind."

The Boy jolted. Who did she think she was? He puffed up his chest. "And how can you be so certain?"

She ran her fingers through her hair and shook it loose. "Because,” she said, “this headstone is mine.”


amber said...

I really liked this whole package. Sure, there are some little nit-picky grammar issues, but overall I tink you did a great job.

I do, however, think you can totally cut that she's a time-traveller. Really – it's almost more intrguing without it. I'm more intersted in The Boy and his world. Leave her to be a bit of the mystery. (And, then, having revealed it i nthe first 250 words, it feels more jarring and BRILLIANT.)

Tatum said...

Just a small note on the query:

I'd move the title, word count, and genre to the first part of your query. Knowingly that info from the onset helps the reader to conceptualize the project faster.

Leigh Ann said...

Completely. In. Love.

Serious. I second everything Amber said.

I certainly hope there are some good kissing scenes. Just sayin.'

Watching for you to get agented! This is great. :)

Tracy said...

I prefer the business stuff at the end, because of Query Shark and Just get straight into the book, and let that stuff come later. That's my preference on it. Thank you for the kind words.

MarcyKate said...

This is a great query and the zinger at the end of the first page would definitely have me reading on!

The only thing I didn't like was the first few lines - as a reader, I need more grounding in the scene. Without it, the boy and girl feel kind of like talking heads. I think this could be easily solved by moving the paragraph starting with "At twelve..." to the top.

Really great start! Good luck! :)

Kate Larkindale said...

Sounds like an interesting read!

I think you should focus the query more on The Boy since it's clearly his story. The girl is important, but you don't need to tell us everything in the query. It felt a little dense to me.

Perri said...

Lots of interesting stuff here! I like the tone, which is unusual, somewhat distant and formal in a neat sort of way (now there's a precise description for ya)

I was really confused by the query, thrown first by the question of titles. Then again when I realized that I didn't understand the novel's world. Perhaps it'd be good to describe the world a little more and the title thing will fall into place?

The page is interesting too. I'd keep reading, though there are several places that could be pared. Esp when the narrator tells what the boy is feeling. Here are a few examples:

"The Boy jolted. Who did she think she was?"

"Her question seemed genuine, but the Boy could not fathom how she could not see the issue with her actions."

and "He found something else far more interesting. "

The reader should be able to tell from the dialogue-- and in this case, we can, easily!

Jeanne said...

The opening sentence of the query was a little confusing for me because I had no grounding in place or time. Once you move into the story, it starts to make sense. I don't know if you need to tell us the girl is a time traveler. It's more intriguing if we don't know.

The opening page is really strong. Good dialog and a great zinger at the end.

Melanie Stanford said...

I thought it sounded great. And I disagree, the fact that she's a time-traveller doubled my interest on the spot, although I see what they're saying about leaving it out since the query is really only supposed to be a teaser. I was a little confused about the world as well- why the titles? What kind of world is this? And the end of the query- he's dead, so how can he go back home? Loved the "No big deal" at the end. I agree with some nit-picking in the writing. The first line for sure- I'd cut "with all the indignation called for in such a situation." Or shorten it. It's a bit much for the very first line. But in general, I was totally intrigued by this and want to read more.

Melissa said...

I love the story. I would read it for sure. I love male POV's and third person's that focus on the male. This reminds me of: Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler. While I really like your query, it made me want to read more - I wasn't sure about the line "To protect identities, everyone has a title." to protect whose identities? it felt added - do you need that line? sounds small but it made me stop and say ??. the rest was cool. it sounds like a cool adventure with a cute little relationship thrown in (whether they be friends or more). Good luck. I hope to see more.

The Agent said...

T.J. - There was a lot happening in this query and underneath it I think there's a really interesting plot. I'd prefer if the query was a little tighter because I was confused about some of the plot points. I think it should begin right with "Since Jerome was 12, he has suspected someone is out to get him." I don't want to know "it might be nothing." I want it to be something. Your current 1st sentence is fine, but since I don't know what the pillars are, it loses its intended impact. By the way, the image of the girl sitting on her own headstone is terrific. I'm immediately interested in her! The 2nd paragraph loses some punch with less confident phrases like "over the years" and a clunky definition of the pillars. Plus "debtors' work camp" doesn't sound as exciting as just "The Underworld," so it's not as enticing to request. I think with more focused language this can be really good.

Tracy N. Jorgensen said...

Thank you so much for your comments, especially from "The Agent." I've enjoyed reading all the comments (and found them very helpful), but I've also enjoyed reading what everyone else has written.