Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #22

Dear Agent,

London isn't referred to as the City of Love, City of Broken Promises or City of Dreams.

But for seventeen-year-old Natalie, London embodies all these names, as well as the City of Freedom.

Determined to shed her naïve skin, Natalie joins her senior class for their final rendezvous across the Atlantic, desperate to abandon her shy exterior, her nickname that's turned her into a social pariah, and her mom's constant watch. What she doesn't expect is to meet Brant--a tousled hair guy who literally wears his musical tastes on his sleeves--who appears to have it all, even, unfortunately, a girlfriend. But girlfriend aside, their attraction is magnetic. And soon Natalie will realize that the freedom she desires isn't necessarily geographical, but stems from her heart. And sometimes, the hardest thing is opening up to the one person who matters. Can Natalie, a girl who's stayed in the darkness for far too long, do what she set out to do, and manage to find true love before the sun sets on her vacation in England? The 69,000 words of my contemporary, young adult novel HERE COMES THE SUN follows Natalie's often humorous, eye-opening journey as she tries to answer this question.

I have had one short story published in a multilingual publication during my tenure at Benedictine University, where I majored in Writing and Publishing with minors in Film Studies and Communication Arts.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope I'll have the opportunity to share the complete manuscript with you soon.



Road kill.

Does it exist in the sky? Because if it does, I think my plane just hit a deer. Or an elephant, not that they're necessarily road kill. Not in Chicago, anyways. But as my stomach flies into my throat and my white knuckled hands knead the arm rest, I'm convinced we hit something. And now, before I even get to experience my week of freedom in England, we're about to plummet towards the ground. And I don't want to die in Indiana, assuming of course that's what we're flying over right now. Indiana is just such a boring state filled with corn, casinos and firework vendors. Not that there's a right place for a plane to crash, although the survivors of Lost seemed to have had a fantastic time.

And why am I the only one freaking out? We hit bumps in the sky for freaks sake. And everyone around me is jabbering on about Teen Mom and prom and some show called 1000 Ways to Die. Ug, I don't need to think of a thousand ways to die since I'm currently living out the number one crappiest way to die: plane crash.

I shut my eyes, my eyelashes tickling my cheeks, and pray that this bird stays high in the sky. Because if this plane crashes, I am responsible for the escape door, or whatever the flight attendant called it during our little one-on-one chat before we took off.


Anonymous said...


My initial thoughts are that your novel should start here:

"I shut my eyes, my eyelashes tickling my cheeks..."

It's much more of a hooking para and a fab one at that!

It's kind of similar with the query - you start a little late. You need to get right into it with the character first off - say...
"Natalie is a naive, shy *insert original descriptors here* on her way to London about to fall in love with the man of her dreams. Only, he has a girlfriend." - you get the gist. Just need to make it more original then what I've put. : )

I also think it would be great if you included the nickname in the query. Dying to know...

Anyhow, good luck - some great things in there. Just needs a little reordering.

Dana said...

This sounds like a great story and one that teen girls would enjoy reading.
You might consider shortening the long paragraph in your query. It reads a little long.
I definitely see your humor! I love your last line.
Congratulations on your short story publication! Good luck!

Write Life said...

You're sort of doubling up with the 'shed her naive skin' and 'abandon her shy exterior.' Don't think you need both.
You say this is an 'often humorous' piece of work. If that's the case, bring some of that into your query. I think it needs a bit more punch.

I like what you're trying to do with you London references, but is it the hook you need? Not sure.
I'd go for a punchy one liner right from the get go, then get into her conflict.

I hope this helps! : )

I liked your opening. Like the voice, but be careful that this scene doesn't take over, unless it's meant to.
Oh, and after reading this snippet, I'd love to hear a bit more of this voice in the query. I think that would really work! : )
Best of luck!

The Agent said...

Overall this is a nice query, but watch out for coy asides that aren't carried through (her nickname is referred to but not given, etc.).

The opening paragraphs didn't grab me as strongly, because her distress was not something I could really relate to. Since no one else is remotely alarmed, she's obviously over-dramatizing things, and since there is zero chance of an elephant or deer flying around the sky, there's definitely no way they could have hit one, and her speculating on this ends up feeling a bit juvenile. So the voice doesn't quite pull me in; you may want to consider polishing.

Also, for a fairly straightforward romance-abroad storyline, you may find that 69,000 words is longer than you need; I'd suggest trying to boil down any excess words bringing you closer to 60K.

Anonymous said...

Thanks everyone! For some reason, I'm having a hard time writing the query for this novel. It's haunting me in my sleep, I swear. And I changed the opening of the novel strictly for this contest from other feedback I received, and I know I don't like it. Oh well. I have a lot to work on this weekend. Thanks again!