Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #8

Dear Agent,

Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night. The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine.

Turns out, there are a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. Like the fact she almost died when she was four. And her parents let a stranger replace her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is hiding in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night.

But that’s just the way her weekend is going.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam in a stolen car, running from the police, the doctor who might be on to her condition, and the bald dude with a seriously bad attitude tailing them. Tommy would give anything to have her newly manifested strength, but Maggie’s not so keen--even a simple tickle fight could turn deadly. All she wants is to find her Maker and get her human parts restored.  As they follow clues on a cross-country road trip, Tommy totally cramps her style, but he is beginning to distract her from the guy who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s problem in itself--geek love is definitely not a part of Maggie’s plan. If only she can find her Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to life as normal.

Then Maggie meets the others like her. Turns out, there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.

I’m seeking representation for CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG, a YA science fiction novel complete at 71,000 words. I have a MS in Arts Administration from Boston University and as the former marketing director of a professional theatre, I can actively promote my work.

I understand you’re looking for young adult projects, including science fiction. Per the submission guidelines, the first 250 words of CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG are enclosed below. I would be happy to supply additional sample chapters or a full manuscript upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



Weightlessness is a funny thing.

One moment ago, Dean and I were joking about the stupid, lime-green dress his ex-girlfriend wore to prom. His cheeks dimpled when he laughed.

Now his car skids over the embankment. Our bodies are a blur of pink satin and black tuxedo. My insides lurch and jerk, like knots trying to untie themselves. Dean's face is a blank sheet of confusion and me, well, I don't know how I look but I'm sure it isn't pretty. The freefall ends when we hit the tree. All that remains is pain and panic. And noise. All kinds of noise. Screams, creaks, and cracks from all sides. I can't feel my legs or arms, but I'm standing and screaming and tugging at the crumpled car door.

Dean's stuck. I have to get him out.

Gas fumes sting my nose and burn my chest. I tear the door off the car and nearly tear Dean's arm off, too. He tumbles out and I drag him toward the field. The car explodes, flames consuming it in a burst of red and orange. The force throws us back from the wreck. I sit in the long grass in my tattered dress, barely aware of the hot metal in my hands or Dean unconscious at my side. I can't tear my eyes off my left arm.

It's ruined.

The skin's ripped open, gaping from wrist to elbow, but I hardly bleed. I try to make sense of it, but my arm isn't right...


Leigh Ann said...

Love love love love LOVE the premise. So awesome. I bow to your concept awesomeness.

Query is great. I'm a little confused by the first mention of the guy wrapping his car around a tree in the third paragraph after prom night is already over. For some reason it wasn't immediately apparent that it was the same car crash where she found out she is a ROBOT (awesome awesome.)

I love first page.

Lastly: I am on Team Tommy. Someone get me a t-shirt.

amber said...

Huh. That was unexpected. I think you're query is too long, but other than that, the story excerpt is totally fun. I mean, in a car-accident-finding-out-your-a-cyborg kind of way.

Princess L said...

I loved the exerpt and think this is an awesome story! I've noticed an increasing demand for this kind of story on some of the agent blogs. I'm not sure your query does it justice. The first, third and fifth paragaraphs are great! I'd just tighten the second and fourth. This is too good a story to hide it under words and extra words you don't need. Good luck!!

Princess L said...

Oops- comment should have read "too good a story to hide it under extra words and info you don't need."

Melanie Stanford said...

Love the concept and LOVE the geek-love. I am a little confused about her almost dying when she was four. That's when she gets the robot parts? So is the accident when she finds out she has the robot parts for the first time? I hope that's what you're going for because if not, I missed something.

Laura C. said...

Despite the fact I think the cyborg/bionic premise is rather old, I think you've breathed new life into it by nailing the voice. You do a fantastic job of inserting the voice into the query, and I loved the first 250 words.

For some reason I pictured Tommy as younger than she was, so I didn't understand the geekoid-love reference. Other than just mentioning he's a neighbor, you should indicate he's in her class or something 'cause, to me, 'Tommy' sounded like a ten-year-old.

Awesome - Good luck!!

scubasteve4 said...

Very strong query. Great job there.

I see what you're trying to do with opening pages by starting fast. I wonder if it's too fast. I'd set up the accident scene a little more with some details of them traveling in the car, mentioning where they are, brief dialogue. Bring the reader there, then hit them with accident. You get to character intro to accident to cyborg part in lightening speed. It's good and kept my attention, so maybe you have it right. I'm just suggesting what I'd do. Good luck with this story!! It sounds like a great read.

Jeanne said...

Great voice in this query, and I love the concept! It sounds like a fun read. I did have some trouble with the first sentence of your third paragraph:

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam in a stolen car, running from the police, [from] the doctor who might be on to her condition, and [from] the bald dude with a seriously bad attitude tailing them. [This sounds like the bad attitude is tailing them! :-)]Take a look at breaking this up or shortening those descriptive phrases.

The opening scene is solid.

Ann Bedichek Braden said...

I also love the premise and would like to order one of those "Team Tommy" t-shirts! Awesome query!

As for the first page, I have just a couple nitpicks:
- I would change "skids" to "is skidding"
- Would she really be looking to see what Dean looks like when the car is about to crash? I would think she'd be looking pretty intently on the tree they're crashing into.
- Also, the car blowing up seemed a bit extreme for my tastes but that's more of a personal thing.

But I really like that you got to the awesome cyborg part as quickly as you did. Great job!

erica and christy said...

I agree with most of the comments said. Good idea and good explanation in your query (although I'm left wondering how robot parts could grow as she aged, but maybe that's part of the advanced tech. part).

As Ann said, car crashes go really fast and I can't believe she would wonder how he looked and that she didn't look pretty (especially in present tense, for some reason). One time I was involved in a big accident - a semi came to a sudden stop on an on-ramp and a few of us crashed into eachother domino-style. Completely destroyed 3 cars, but no explosions (so I'm not sure yours would, either - although they do in the movies...) Good luck!

The Agent said...

M.C. - The first line of your query immediately drew me in. Throw in some geek love, and I'm hooked on the premise too! Two slight things: I tend to groan when I see "Confessions of a..." titles because they are very overdone. Second, I think the query itself is a bit long. You can probably cut "Then Maggie meets others like her..." It offers the twist that her Maker might not be a good guy, but I'm fine with discovering that as I read. The final full paragraph can also be deleted for space. No need to remind me of my tastes or submission guidelines; I already know them, and assume that you sending me this query means you know them too :)

jamieayres said...

Always draws me in when there's a car crash at the start--very well done. Loved your query too:) Good luck!!