Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #25

Dear Agent,

In the kingdom of Orkeia, a birthmark on your shoulder marks you for death--it is the mark of a witch. But Kenna’s mark is anything but ordinary; from its placement on her thigh to its peculiar heart shape, its true meaning remains a mystery to her. What power does it represent? Is she truly a white witch, someone who can communicate with spirits, as she’s grown to believe?

But there’s no time to dwell on these questions. While she’s out gathering, her clan is murdered by the bloodthirsty knights. Kenna has no choice but to search for a new family. She’s convinced she can never find ‘home’ as she did with her previous clan, but Gideon Grison proves her wrong. Their friendship blossoms into something she can’t ignore, no matter how hard she tries.

He too has a peculiar mark--a circle--and is convinced he will never amount to anything as a sorcerer. Together they search for answers, discovering that Gideon is not only extremely gifted, but he has the rarest gift of all: power over the planets.

But when the captain of the knights invades their home and Kenna is captured, it seems they will be separated forever. The placement of her mark allows her to disguise herself as a citizen of the kingdom, however suspicious Captain Lewin might be. To her surprise, she finds herself in the king’s castle, a member of his royal court--and the woman he intends to marry.

Maybe it would be better if she was dead.

A story of war, acceptance, and a whirlwind romance, OPEN EYES is a young adult epic fantasy complete at 98,000 words. It is the first book in the VICTIM OF PROPHECY series, and only the beginning of Kenna’s heart-breaking adventure.

Thank you for your consideration and I hope to hear from you.



My feet flew across the ground, oblivious to the sand and rocks beneath them. Ahead of me, my clan’s stone shelter caved in on itself, in ruins. Bodies scattered the ground outside the entrance, cold bodies of the knights who’d attacked my clan. No visible movement came from inside the shelter, and my heartbeat quickened at the stillness. I prayed silently to God as the scene grew steadily closer, pleading that my clan family was all right--

I stumbled through the door, tripping over a knight’s arm. My bag fell to my side and I stopped short.

They were all dead.

A sob escaped my throat and I collapsed to the ground. No, no, no…

Elizabeth. The woman who’d raised me as her own daughter lay a few feet away, a victim of the king’s ‘Great War’--the Slaughters. Her eyes stared blankly into the stars through the fallen ceiling. I crawled over the bodies separating us and took her lifeless body in my shaking arms. Not Elizabeth

A seal barked on the beach, but my wails drowned the noise. Though Elizabeth’s dress was stained red, my skirt remained free of blood. It was dry--she’d been dead at least a day. A whole day. And I hadn’t been here.

I took a deep breath and glanced around the room. Everything was gone. Our cauldrons, candles, talismans, even our cooking pots. What was once a home was now a burial chamber--four thick, crumbling stone walls surrounding this massacre. Their deaths wouldn’t be remembered, forgotten, or even noticed. All we’d had was each other.

But now I was alone.


Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hey TG,

I'm sorry, but I found the entire query confusing. I think part of the problem is length. You're at nearly 300 words, when you should aim for 250. As well, though, you seem to be trying to fit in everything that's cool about the book, and as such you don't have time to explain any of it.

Here's my recommendation. Forget writing a query. That's long. Instead, write a logline. (I know, loglines are harder, but once they're done, you can expand and do the rest). Write a single sentence that addresses the central plot. When INCITING INCIDENT happens, MAIN CHARACTER must overcome OBSTACLE so she can GOAL before STAKES happens. Don't worry about making it pretty. Just figure out the single main goal and plot. Then expand that into the query. Don't try to fit other plot details. Don't try to explain every cool thing. Just focus on that.

I wish you luck on this. Just try to consolidate, and you'll do fine. Your writing is good. The query just needs work.

The Agent said...

I think you need to make it clear from the opening what time period we are in; in lack of other information, I assume present-day (or alternate/timeless world). By the end of the query you talk about kings and kingdoms and castles so it's obvious we are in some sort of medieval period, but that should come right up front. There are other logic questions: a birthmark on the shoulder means someone is a witch, so why does the one on her thigh also indicate witchcraft? Who is Gideon and where does he come from? The last line about the king and marriage comes completely out of the blue. I would focus on distilling the story more strongly, boiling it down to its essence; you've got an interesting premise here and just need to hone its presentation.

Mandy P.S. said...

I really like your excerpt. It's filled with emotion, it's compelling. It's descriptive. It's great. You did a good job.

But I completely agree with the others that your query is confusing. You're telling us too much. It feels like your trying to cram a whole story into it. By the end I was incredibly confused. You don't need to cram a whole story into your query. You just need to show us enough to hook us. And from the query I have no idea what the story is even supposed to be. Is it her relationship with Gideon? Is it her search for a new home? Is it a revolution against the nights imprisoning her? Or is she going to marry the king and pull an Esther to save her people?

Also, think I would leave out the part about it being just one of a series. Mainly because the title of the series "Victim of Prophecy" is incredibly similar to David Eddings' "Pawn of Prophecy", so it just sort of gives me an uneasy feeling.

So in short, based on your excerpt I'd keep reading. Based on your query, I wouldn't.

Suzanne Warr said...

Let me add to your excellent query advice that while I liked the first pages--they were very powerfully written--I would put down a book that started here. Carnage, death, despair, these are heavy things for a reader to willingly dive into when just meeting a character, and I would pass on the book rather than go there. Of course, I'm not everyone and some people search out books that will make them cry...but I wonder if you could start just a little farther back and establish your character before you strip everything away from her. This might also give you a chance to better establish what your book is about--because right now it seems to be about finding a new family, but I suspect that's only a subplot.

Either way, you have a very powerful style of writing and strong voice--I wish you luck!