Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #21

Dear Agent,

Life loses its erection--oops, direction for fourteen-year-old Mike, when the girl he promised himself to one day marry, Teagan, starts high school. Then to top it off, her girlfriend Rachel nicknames him MGM--middle-grade Mike. Too bad his parents didn’t drink that bottle of wine two years earlier.

But, things appear brighter after Teagan visits her twin sister in the hospital and returns with a key she hopes will unlock a mystery surrounding the collection of ventriloquists dolls in Grandma’s study. Brighter, because Grandma’s away and Teagan needs help performing a candle séance she once promised her sister. Unfortunately, Mike’s thoughts of scented candles and holding hands, take a frightening turn when Rachel’s face makes it a threesome.

Inside the forbidden room, Mike submits to curtain duty as the ritual’s finale requires sunlight. He flings them open, ready to practice his stand up routine, but the girls are already asleep. Unable to awaken them, Mike discovers Teagan’s journal and the fact that three years earlier she found her sibling in the study--lying in a coma. The writing also reveals Teagan believes her sister’s trapped in a subconscious, where Grandma’s not so dumb dummies come alive. Now Mike must decide, call 911 and risk losing the future Mrs Michel Grabczyński forever, or light a candle to rescue the twin sleeping beauties. Oh, and maybe Rachel too.

THE CANDLE DARK WICKED is a 85,000-word young adult fantasy. I was the founder and president of Strategy First, a worldwide publisher of entertainment software for twenty years. Our franchise titles, Disciples, a fantasy, and Jagged Alliance, an adventure role-playing release, sold over one million copies worldwide respectively and were geared to a young adult audience.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



The girl Mike promised himself to one day marry, cared about pitching first, being a girl second, maybe that explained why Teagan’s boobs remained straight A’s, just like her marks in high school. She claimed they allowed her to whip a softball fast.

Almost as fast as the punch Mike received for kissing her after she tossed a shutout today. He winced, rubbing his shoulder. Darn bruise hurt more than his pride. The reason she fouled his romantic play. Simple as 1-2-3. One year, two months and three days. Their age difference. Too bad his parents didn’t drink that bottle of wine two years earlier.

Inside Mike’s chest a hamster pounded on a treadmill, while he waited on her porch to see the future Mrs Michel Grabczyński in a dress. Her hair combed and not hidden under a cap. She decked out to visit her twin sister, AKA Sleeping Beauty in the hospital, knowing somehow it made her happy.

Well, she didn’t make Mike happy because she stepped off the bus with her dress tucked into jogging pants. The baseball cap, along with her girlfriend, Rachel, whose nickname for him, MGM--middle-grade-Mike, completed the disappointment.

He placed his backpack on the railing, pretending to admire the home’s decorative trim. “Why we messing with voodoo dolls?”

Teagan sighed. “I promised my sister and they’re not voodoo dolls.”

Mike shoved his pack. Thump. Rachel jumped as it missed her foot.

“Good, because I forgot to defrost my chicken.”


Janice Sperry said...

The humor and voice feel more middle grade than YA. The first paragraph in your query doesn't make any sense. But I do like your premise. The story itself sounds interesting. But your attempts at sexual jokes fall flat - both the query and the MS. The query is also too long. Cut it down to two paragraphs.

Write Life said...

Not appropriate first line for a query. I'd stop reading right there. Sorry.

Begin with the seance. That is what your story is about, so start there.

That first paragraph too was pretty jumbled. I had trouble reading it. Try reading it out loud.

Fourteen? You sure?

The Agent said...

The first line of the query made me laugh, but while it might have led into a YA query, it seems off for what is more of a MG story. You do say YA below, and it is 85K (long even for YA), but both the storyline and the character age are solidly MG. The emphasis on marriage also feels a bit off to me for a 14-year-old character.

RR said...

Sorry, this didn't work for me as written. I agree with the other comments above. Your query might be more effective if you lead with the seance. The marriage idea could be humorous but the other 'jokes' fell flat.

MarcyKate said...

I agree with what the others have said, but what really struck me was that when I read the first page, I almost felt like I was reading another iteration of the query. Some of it is word for word. While voice is all well and good in a query, lifting several lines from your first page is probably not the best idea.

Since the book seems to start right at the seance, I think you could get away with cutting most of the beginning of the query. A quick line about the awkward love triangle, then go right for the seance and perhaps elaborate on how lighting the candle could save Teagan.

It's a good start, just needs some tweaking! Good luck!