Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #20

Dear agent,

Eleven-year-old Rose wakes up in hospital. She’s had another seizure, but that doesn’t explain why she can see pain, growth, love and hate, as beings.

With the sight of Emet, Rose is surrounded by creatures and monsters. She is in the middle of an age-old war between Adonai and Molech, love and hate. The people on earth have to choose who they want to rule their lives, but Molech will break ancient law to steal your right to decide.

Rose’s best friend Pete is cursed by Molech, tricked by a new age cult, Seudology. He is robbed of his choice, tortured by Molech’s minions and imprisoned with his fate. Desperate to save him and change his destiny, Rose agrees to infiltrate the cult.

The Seudologist’s surveying practice is a cover up. The EOM machine is extracting people’s souls and creating the undead around her, as she sees them for the slaves they’ve become. It’s too late, being able to see monsters won’t stop her from walking into a trap. Seudologists have been watching since the beginning, and she might just lose herself and Pete, forever.

THE LIGHT OF EMET is a 47,000-word MG fantasy novel. This book will appeal to those who loved the magical realism in Horowitz’ Raven’s Gate and the vibrant fantasy of Diane Wynne Jones’ novels. I have had my flash fiction published with the Pygmy Giant and in the book Sixty Six Sentence Stories. I currently work for the University of Bristol as a Communications Officer writing content for their Alumni department.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Best wishes,


The red plastic chair dug into her palms as she gripped the chair beneath her. She told herself that if anything were to happen today then she must remember that she sensed it. Nothing usually did, and Rose would feel a twinge of regret that she didn’t have some secret, psychic ability. But today was different. Today was heavy.

It was the last day of school, and the chairs were lined up in rows like a cinema. Mrs Callow sat at her metal desk studying the back of a DVD case; her forehead gathered together like ripples in a pond.

“Rose, I’m a bit worried about letting you watch this film. I think it’ll be better to set you up with something gelse,” she said, and started to walk to the back of the room.

Rose’s insides felt as if they were going around in a blender. She stood up and followed Mrs Callow, her eyes looking down at the floor.

“Spazzer,” said a girl.

The class giggled. Rose kept her eyes on the floor.

“Spazmoid!” A boy shouted, disguised in a cough.

More giggling followed. She hurried to the back of the class, where Mrs. Callow waited for her with the door held open. Rose stared at her, but Mrs Callow smiled back with glazed and unfocused eyes. Rose made it to the back row where Dan, the class clown, sat on the end. She clenched her teeth.

“Don’t forget your crazy medication,” said Dan. He rolled his eyes back into his head, to show the whites of his eyes and jolted himself in his chair.


Janice Sperry said...

Your query is too long. Start with your main character. Rose. then name her goal. She wants ?
What's keeping her from her goal? The monsters. Then what she plans to do about it. I think you'll have a great query if you can cut a lot of information out. I'd start with Rose is surrounded by monsters no one else can see.

You have chair in your first sentence twice. Your second para also has chair in the first sentence. The beginning is a little typical of beginnings. I think you should introduce the monsters right off to get the readers interest. I wanted to see them after reading your query.

Write Life said...

Hi! For me, I wanted that one line, 'POW' right off the top - a hook line, and with the concept of this story, you should be able to pull one together easily enough!
Janice gave a good suggestion I think.
It felt a little long, like you were trying to explain too much. Set up the hook, the MC, the conflict, and the result if not met. Everything else could go.

Now on to the writing snippet. Yes, you've got chair in there twice, and in the third paragraph a little typo. Damn nasty things, just when you think you've got them all! : )
There are two things that hit me though. One - it felt like an older voice, especially in that first paragraph, but I'm not an expert on MG, so take it with a grain of salt.
I'm not a big fan of name calling as a means to convey tension between something. I think there are other ways that would make the work stronger.
I also think, a better sense of what might be going to happen would go a long way here. At the moment, I know Rose is being separated, but maybe the reader needs to know why.
I hope this helps. I'll pop in again after I've had my morning coffee!! : )

The Agent said...

I have to say that I'm a little lost here. The query starts off strong (except for Emet--who is Emet?), but then things get so dire so quickly and in such a seemingly random way that I lost credibility for the story. If all of these occurrences are actually happening and being taken care face value--torture, cults, soul extractions--then your 11-year-old character is 5-6 years too young and this should be a YA novel. I suggest a reworking and finetuning of this query to harness the backbone of the story and present it more cohesively.

Louisa said...

This sounds like an intriguing premise, but the query was a bit jumbled and jumped all over the place so I didn’t know who was what or where the story was going. I concur that the themes sound very heavy for an MG book.

Firstly, you have way too many characters listed in your query (5 including the Seudologist’s) and listing Love and Hate and then giving them other names is confusing too. Try to keep it to 2-3 maximum otherwise it gets confusing between who is who.

Secondly, I totally agree with Janice and Escape Artist’s comments on what to include in the query. Keep it to: 1. Who is your protagonist and how old are they, 2. What is the protagonist’s conflict (Rose must infiltrate the cult to save her friend because she is the only one who can see monsters or something like that), 3. What is standing in the way of Rose’s goal? Love and Hate? 4. What is at stake? Will the cult kill Rose for snooping and trying to save her friend, or will Love and Hate kill her for interfering?

What do the Seudologists have to do with the story and where do they fit in? Are they the antagonist or is that Love and Hate’s job. Keep one or the other out of the query as it confuses things, especially if one is a subplot and not the major plot (e.g. Rose saving her friend from the cult – major plot and the war between love and hate – subplot).

Besides a few minor typos and repetition, you write well. I won’t repeat what the others have said. In your sample, you mention lines in a forehead like ripples in a pond. Ripples in a pond are round. Lines in a forehead have roundness to them, perhaps more like a crescent moon. Just watch your analogies. When the kids call Rose names, I’d like to see how she feels. Does she go red? Does she tuck her head and look at the ground. I second Escape’s comment and I’d like to know why the teacher feels it necessary to separate Rose from the class and why she would be so sensitive to the film. Is it a horror film or does it contain something that might trigger a sad memory for her?

Best of luck!

Karen Denise said...

Hi, F.M.!

I thought the query started off a bit awkwardly, but I started to understand the plot by paragraph three. Some of the sentences could use some shortening, or tightening, but others have touched on that so I won't be redundant.

I think this is a very interesting concept, but I do feel like the plot sounds more for a teen. I am not so familiar with MG, so feel free to ignore me:-). I just felt like a 10-12 yr old being allowed to join a cult is not too realistic, but I don't know the context. Are her parents joining too?

I don't necessarily think you need to open with a supernatural/paranormal event (like you mentioned you might need when you commented on my entry #42). For mine I thought about opening with something that would show my mc's abilities, but as she has psychic dreams, I thought opening with a dream would hurt me more than not opening with a paranormal event. So I think only you can weigh that for yourself at this point. I wish you luck with it. It really sounds interesting!