Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #34

Dear Agent,

In WANDERING STAR, seventeen-year-old Evee Ciboure has given up everything for a mission she couldn't care less about. Evee’s been chosen as Earth’s first goodwill ambassador to another planet, which means she’s saying good-bye to her home, language, and Charlie, the only boy she’s ever kissed. It doesn't help that her only companion on this trip is her ambitious mother, a woman who excels at two things: discovering interstellar life and ignoring her daughter.

Evee expects to spend the next decade faking smiles for the camera while her mother gets lost in work, but the day their ship is scheduled to land, a bomb rips through the bridge, and Evee is kidnapped.

As Evee fights her way back to her mother, she gains an ally in Rem, a handsome and human-looking space pirate who doesn't mind bending a few laws to give Evee a hand. Rem’s charm sets Evee at ease, but when she discovers a king's ransom on her head and a score of hunters on her trail, she begins to doubt her new friend's intentions.

Unsure of whom to trust, Evee mines her past for answers and uncovers the greatest threat to the galaxy's survival: a code locked inside her own genes. Before her pursuers close in, Evee has to figure out the truth of what she is and decide who's out to save her--and who wants to stop her.



A blue dot. I press my finger up to the glass and when I pull it away, the dot is in the center of my print, a faded blue freckle. Earth. Everyone I've ever known or cared about or hated, there on a rapidly-shrinking point of light. I hold my gaze, focusing on the light even as my vision blurs. If I close my eyes, I think, it'll disappear, and then what am I supposed to do? I hold the image until my eyes burn, I blink, and it's gone, vanished or indistinguishable from the million other specks that surround me, and that’s when I know, I’ve made a mistake.

Adrenaline thrums through my veins, prickling my skin. I close my eyes, hold my breath, count to one hundred, but when I open my eyes again and stare out the window into black nothingness, panic floods me, fast and heavy, and I want to claw my way through the glass and kick out through space, back to my home.

My breath fogs the window as I let my air out in a rush, and I lean my sticky, sweating face against the cool glass, feeling the ship’s vibrations shake through to my brain. I breathe in and out, heaving gulps of breath, and I pull my knees close against my chest. I’m curled up like a baby against the circular window, almost inside the window, which sticks out from the side of the ship like a great glass fishbowl.


Jenilyn Collings said...

This sounds like an interesting premise. I like the descriptions in the sample pages. I'm not sure about the first line of the query with her giving up everything for something she doesn't care about. It makes me not like her as a character. You might want to consider cutting that line and moving straight into the second after the title. Also, if Charlie isn't important after this, I'd suggest leaving his name out of the query.

Suzanne Warr said...

The query is strong. I could use a few making sure we understand what she DOES want, not just what she doesn't. How would she describe herself in heroic terms, when she's not feeling sorry for herself? That might be a better way to introduce her in the query. But, anyway, the query succeeded in drawing me in and gaining my interest.

The writing started strong, with the blue dot disappearing. However, all the long sentences without a period in sight really took the energy out of the writing. It will actually read faster with more periods, fewer commas. And I think a little more to describe the setting would help--we get that she's on a spaceship, but is she alone? What kind of spaceship is it? Plush, or utilitarian? These were a few of my questions. However, I really think just adding periods would help a lot. It's a strong story with plenty of built-in sympathy, and you've got a great voice.

Best of luck!

Jess said...

Cool story that would probably be popular, considering the success of Beth Revis's Across The Universe :)

I feel like your query could be simplified or focused a tiny bit more. It started to feel a little like a synopsis, moreso than a tool to hook the agent.

I really enjoyed your page! I think if you made "I've made a mistake" its own sentence (and maybe its own paragraph), you could increase the tension even more. Again, I really enjoyed this :) Best of luck!

The Agent said...

This is a very intriguing premise, but the more exciting elements get a bit lost within the long query pitch. Can you boil the storyline down to its essence more?

The paragraphs are strong but feel a bit talky. Big blocks of text make me glaze over a little; I will read them, but what I'm looking for in the early paragraphs is to be hooked in, and the best way to do that is with sharp, quick sentences, action, and strong character.

Alexandra said...

I really like the premise, but I agree with the comment above about the first sentence: it's a little confusing and may risk alienating the reader from the character. I would break the second sentence up a little more. Combine the next two paragraphs into one... I'd say try to condense it into two paragraphs, total. It's really interesting, but it is long. I'd say pick the thread of story that's the biggest focus of moving action. Space pirates? Genetic secrets? Her relationship with her mother? Which is the most important to the plot?

Points for immediately throwing us into a fairly alien setting but too much of it might be starting in the protagonists head. Is it possible to start with a conversation indicating her disgust with her situation in spite of the obvious prestige that comes with it? I'd like to see this character in conversation. Especially if it's with her mother, who seems like an important character.

I like sci-fi concepts focused on genes and space pirates, so I think this could be really cool. :) Good luck!

Lindsey R. Loucks said...

I like that you threw in the info about Evee not being excited about her mission in the query - it adds personality and conflict in the very first sentence. Charlie doesn't seem important in the query, so consider cutting him out. The rest of the query sounds intriguing. Who doesn't love space pirates?!

I agree with the others about breaking up some of your longer sentences in your first 250, but I liked this. I feel her doubt, and I'd read on.

Best of luck to you!