Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #32

Dear Ms. Super Secret Agent,

Sixteen-year old Megan Benson never considered herself a con artist. More like a con doodler. After all, her antics are nowhere near the calibers of her mother’s heists. But even she has to pat herself on the back when she lands them a place living at the Keller mansion. All Megan has to do now is play big sister to Cammy, while her mother works her magic on Mr. Keller, the wealthy owner (and widower) of a successful catering company. Then they’ll be set for life.

Easier said than done. Mr. Keller not only seems immune to her mother’s charms (and curves), he spends all his time doting on Cammy, his only daughter. In turn, she hero worships Megan, making her feel like scum for using them. The guilt grows stronger when she is confronted by Ian MacMillian, the Keller’s cousin, who sees right through her act. Yet strangely enough, despite his sarcastic comments, he's the only one who understands Megan. Even better then she understands herself.

But with an empty bank account and nowhere else to go, Megan has no choice but to continue the con despite her feelings for the family--especially Ian. Even if it means everything she does and says is a lie. It was either go big or go to the homeless shelter.

JUST A CON is a YA contemporary romance (55K words) that is a standalone with a sequel potential. The first page is below. Thank you again for your time and I look forward to your response.



Alex Harper was going to catch h*** from Coach today.

After glancing at his watch for the twentieth time, he studied the burger menu above him, mentally urging the middle-aged cashier to hurry up with the orders. G**, he was starving.

If he were late for soccer practice again, he’d get kicked off the team. Or at least that’s what Coach Wilkins threatened every other week. It was the coach’s fault though, for having practice so early. Didn’t he know that teenagers weren’t supposed to get up before twelve in the summer? It was practically a law of nature.

A smirk crossed his face. Still, he knew Coach would never actually kick him off the team. Not if they wanted to keep winning. Alex was the best sprinter on the field. No lie.

He could also mention that he knew Coach was sleeping with his stepmother whenever his dad was out of town. He knew she brought more than just snacks to practice.

Thank G** for adultery.

Looking away, Alex noticed the girl in front of him, wiping her eyes on a Kleenex every few seconds like her rabbit had been run over right in front of her.

Wondering if she was sick or just plain crazy, Alex started to back away when she reached into her pocket and pulled out a silver cell phone. She swept her dark hair over her shoulder and held the mobile to her ear.

“Hello? Damon?” Her voice cracked and she held the phone closer to her face as though she couldn’t hear very well. “Where have you been? You haven’t been returning any of my calls and--” She paused and looked over her shoulder. Alex immediately looked away, pretending to be absorbed in the menu again. “--I thought that after that night we would be officially a couple,” the girl continued in a softer tone. Another pause. “What do you mean you don’t have those feelings for me? But we--no, I don’t want to talk later! I want to talk now! Hello?” She slammed the closed and glared at screen. “S***.”


Kaitlin Adams said...

I love, love, love the query. The concept of the story sounds riveting! "Go big or go to the homeless shelter" is my favorite line- great way to end it! In just a couple of paragraphs, you've given us a clear understanding of the story without giving too much away, and displayed at least three intriguing relationships (Megan with her mom, Megan with Ian, and Megan with Cammy).

I am not so much a fan of the first page. I was hoping to read about Megan Benson, not Alex (whoever that is). The query already got me invested in her, so when it was from the point of view of a male character, I was a little confused and had to read the first part of the query again to make sure I read it right. I would recommend starting the novel from the point of view of your main character.

Also, if 16 year olds are going to be reading this, no need to put *** instead of just using the real cuss word. You might have just done that for this submission, though.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Kaitlin. I wasn't sure this query went with your first page and I had to read it again. I suggest changing one of them (query or first page) to match the other one. I'd like to hear more about Megan earlier in the story. I love the concept of the "con"! Good luck!

Louisa said...

LOL! How do you know the Agent is a Ms? Could be a Mr Super Agent ;-)

Jenn said...

Oh no! 'm so sorry Super COOL agent! :) Thanks for your input! The story is in 3rd person subjective so it starts off with one of the other characters. Although it's mainly in Megan's POV, there are certain scenes that jump to the others.

I know it's a matter of taste as I've had conflicting opinions about the first page. Usually the first five pages would make clearer. I've been debating whether to include the POV info in the query. Would this help make it clearer? Thanks again!

The Agent said...

Intriguing premise, but I'm left with logic questions after reading the query. It's never stated what they are doing in the Keller house, what their "con" consists of and why, if Mr. K is immune to his mother's charms, they are even there. Ian sees right through her act--to what? And why doesn't he say anything? Are they doing something actually wrong or...? I guess I'm not clear on what hard action is actually going on.

As to the opening paragraphs, Alex completely threw me for a loop. If you have secondary POVs, they shouldn't be the one to start the story. You need to begin with your strongest character; that's who we're looking to get hooked on and connect with. Reading about Alex when he is not even a character in the query will make me think I have the wrong pages and I probably would not keep reading (though the paragraphs for themselves are very nicely done).

Shanika L. Bynum said...

I like your query, but I agree with the agent that a few specifics are missing. But try not to make the query too long cause it's already pretty long as it is.

I also agree with everyone else that the first pages confused me. After reading the query, no agent will know who Alex is, and he doesn't seem to be important enough to start your novel with. I would've loved to see the story start with Megan. That would be exciting and get an agent's attention better.

But keep working at this because I LOVE the concept! :)