Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #17

Dear Agent,

Please consider representing FIXING SHELBY, a YA contemporary novel that is complete at 52,000 words.

For seventeen-year-old Shelby, change seems like more of a hassle than being unhappy. So, even though her friends of seven years turned into The Terrible Trio somewhere along the way, she sticks by them.

However, when she’s invited to join a running club, she decides to escape her safe, yet miserable circle of friends. After only a short time, she’s thankful to have conversations that revolve around more than the weekend party and how drab her clothing is. She finds herself with girls who seem to like her regardless of what she wears, how much make-up she doesn’t wear, or what her hair looks like.

Almost as soon as she starts to feel comfortable with her new life, The Terrible Trio takes pictures of the running club--minus Shelby--showering after practice, posts them on the Internet, and makes it look like Shelby did it. Suspended and facing legal trouble, Shelby is more of an outcast than ever. Her new boyfriend ditches her and her new friends hate her. Happiness seems more fragile and irreparable than she imagined.

She needs to clear her name and save the first real friendships she’s ever had. However, through the loyalty of Dane, the annoying boy whose locker neighbors hers, and an out-of-the-blue bond with her overly critical mother, Shelby discovers the only happiness that lasts is the kind she finds within herself.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Below are the first 250 words, as per your request.



“Seriously, Shelby Honey, you could put on a little more make-up. You look pale.” Mom held the steering wheel with one hand and grabbed her purse with the other. She plopped the large leather bag on my lap. “I know I have several shades of blush in there. Help yourself.”

I glared at the purse for a moment before setting it at my feet. I’d rather be home cleaning the toilet bowl with my toothbrush or ripping out my fingernails than primping in the car on the way to a basketball game. “You didn’t have to drive me, Mom. You’ll be late.”

She glanced at the clock. “It’s only two minutes out of my way. Besides, it was nice of Ashleigh to call and invite you.”

I rolled my eyes. Yes, how nice of Ashleigh to call me at the last minute.

“You should be a little more grateful.”

Whatever. Ashleigh knew I wouldn’t want to go. She should have realized my mom would jump at the chance for me to be social. Of course, that would have required Ash to put more than one thought together at a time. A little too complicated for my “best” friend.

“I don’t know why you gave her such a hard time about going.”

I sighed and tapped my fingers on the door handle. “I don’t know, either, Mom.”

“You’ll have a blast, I’m sure.”

“Yeah.” I counted the houses that passed outside my window. Mom had gushed over Ashleigh for years.


Kim said...

Hi! About your query, I had to reread the first sentence to understand it about change and unhappy. Consider clarifying it. Also, consider a bit of a stronger hook at the start. I like the rest of it, but be careful of repeating However.
About your page, I don't think you should capitalize Honey unless that is her last name. I like the voice of the sample and can feel the teenager dripping out of her pores! Good job. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kimmy. I had trouble understanding what you were trying to say in your second sentence.
I think readers could definitely relate to "feeling left out", "not fitting in", and "critical mother" themes.
Your first 250 words move a little slowly. I liked your "rather be cleaning the toilet with a toothbrush" line. Good luck!!

Write Life said...

Okay, so I believe your query begins with the shower shots! Everything else is unimportant. You need that hook line and that's a good place to begin to work that hook.
Give it a go. I'm sure you'll come with something. We don't need too much information about the MC in the query, just a tiny bit to get a feel for her. Hit us with the hook, reel us in with the conflict, and make us squirm thinking of the outcome!

Your pages. I don't like beginning with dialogue. I know there are quite a few that follow me with that, so think about grounding us before you start that scene. Let us get to know Shelby through Shelby.
: )

Good luck!

The Agent said...

Your query has a nice smooth flow, but it's far too detailed; get right to the heart of the story in as succinct a manner as possible. Don't give away the whole story--this should be a teaser to get me to the sample pages, so you want information about the story, but not to reveal how it all ends.

The opening page feels true to the character, but make sure there is enough positive in her character that she is likeable and we are hooked in to keep reading about her.

Rebecca said...

I agree with the above. I really like the query, but with the sample pages, I wish I had more sense of the character. You need to make us like her immediately to really pull us in, and from where you start, there's not too much going on.

On that note, I really like the premise for your story and look forward to reading it someday!:)