Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #3

Dear Agent,

Kat Clark used to be your average, everyday seventeen year-old. That is, until her dead uncle Jack appeared one morning in her bathroom to spring a dirty little family secret on her. According to section 645-64-E of the Clark family curse, Kat is destined to become a Grim Reaper. Now, while balancing school, drama club and trying to survive her mom’s tofu loaf, she follows her uncle around town greeting confused dead people as she trains for a daunting career in the afterlife.

Kat reluctantly accepts her fate (even though she looks totally pasty in black) until she has a chance run in with painfully cute senior, Jason Scott, and accidentally saves his life. Now powers beyond Kat’s control are coming after Jason to collect the death he owes. Ignoring the warnings from her uncle, Kat shirks her Reaper responsibilities to help Jason stay alive. Together they race against time with legions of reapers and soul scavengers at their heels, trying to find a loophole in death’s plan.

At 60,000 words, my young adult novel, The Grim Life of Kat Clark, is a mix of quirky characters and dark humor, told from the point of view of a very unlikely heroine. I’d be delighted to send you the manuscript for review. Thank you for your time and consideration.



I knew I should’ve stayed home sick.

I should’ve come up with a dramatic story about a luke-warm hot pocket, stumbled into my mom’s room mumbling about a stomachache, dry heaves and a wicked case of the shakes. I could’ve spent the day on the couch watching bad reality TV and picking tufts of matted hair off my cat, Wedgey. But instead, there I was, standing in my third period P.E. class, listening to Ms. Raskin and The B**** Squad give us the ins and outs of being a Foothill Ridge cheerleader, which, so far, seemed to entail useless hair flips and a copious amount of cleavage.

“Focus. Technique. Precision. Confidence. Charm.” With each motivational poster cliché Ms. Raskin delivered, her eyes fell on a different part of the class, reaching the back where my best friend Maggie and I were standing on the word “confidence”.

Maggie leaned toward me, pretending to fiddle with the hem of her shorts. “Ignorance. Brassy highlights. Constipation.”

There was a wave of snickers behind us. Samantha Stewart’s head whipped around in our direction, her glare landing right on me. I inched to the left, ducking behind Melissa Emery’s enormous poof of curly hair.


I had given myself one simple task in the fifty-two minutes I was in P.E. that day. One measly goal that your average, run-of-the-mill junior year lemming like myself could easily attain. Go unnoticed by the school’s head cheerleader. That was it. By the next day, it wouldn’t matter anymore.


Roxanne said...

Love this. You hooked me with "section 645-64-E of the Clark family curse." Your writing in both your query and your first page are both funny, and the tone matches well between them. I already have a sense of what's coming in terms of tone and voice from the query. The title's also great. I think you do a nice job of not giving too much information in your query. It's just enough that I'm interested, but not bored. The details in the first page are also great. I love that the cat's name is Wedgey.

Well, this was a big lovefest. But I'm a sucker for a sarcastic narrator and I really like the premise.

The Agent said...

Hmmm. I'll be honest and say that "grim reaper" premises shut me right down; I feel like I've seen a LOT of those and they just feel overdone.

The opening paragraphs feel strong, with just the right mix of sarcastic humor that doesn't take itself too seriously. Until the last few paragraphs, when I'm left really confused about what's going on. Firstly, I think Maggie's comment is awesome, so when Kat hides from the repercussions I like her less. And the very last paragraph left me unclear on what was going on. It probably fits in context, but as it is I'm not sure what to make of it.

Leigh Ann said...

Query - Love the voice even in the query! Nitpicks - I'd love for it to be clear in that first sentence of paragraph 2 that Jason is supposed to die. It's not really 100% clear till sentence 2.

LOVE your first sentence. Just love it. And the characterization in your first paragraph is great.

I'm a little confused about why the cheerleading demo is going on in gym class, but maybe that doesn't matter. Also confused as to why she is afraid of being noticed. Does she want to avoid being on the squad? Why would they want her?

Hard to do on a 1st page, I know. Great work.

So much luck to you!

Maria Mainero said...

Very funny. I think you might want to bring Jason into the query a little more quickly.

I thought the beginning of the story was intriging, I wanted to read more about why she was hiding.

Shanika L. Bynum said...

Omg, this is very similar to my concept! My story is about a female grim reaper too. My post number is 31 if you want to have a look at it. The agent says he/she has seen a lot of 'grim reaper' premises, but I've hardly heard of any published fiction books with one as a main character. Even so, maybe grim reaper novels could make it big. I mean, look at vampire novels!

Anyway, I love the voice of your query. You never put what genre this novel is, but it sounds like it could be paranormal romance, or just paranormal. Also, the first sentence is pretty basic; it might give your query more kick if you combined it with the next sentence.

The first page really conveys the character's personality and voice. Nice job.

By the way, your concept reminds me of the old TV show, "Dead Like Me" which is about reapers. Don't know if you've ever seen it or not.