Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #41

Dear [Agent],

When seventeen-year-old Amity Hager unwillingly becomes host to an alien known as the Watcher, the Government tells her she’s the only one on Earth who can kill the infamously bloodthirsty, immortal pirate captain Damien Faust. Faust killed Dirt, the boy she loved, and she would gladly return the favor if it weren’t for the fact that in looks, Faust and Dirt are nearly identical.

Damien’s immortality comes from his own alien weapon, the Scarecrow. The Scarecrow and the Watcher are anti-matter twins--polar opposites--and because of this, Amity and Damien cannot be harmed by anything but each other. The Government offers her Dirt, who may still be alive, in exchange for Damien’s death. A simple task, Amity thinks: Damien’s looks don’t negate her stockpile of hatred for him. But Damien isn’t the murderer the Government made him out to be. He does everything in his power to keep her safe, even though she’s the one obstacle in his path to defeating the Government once and for all.

Amity must choose who to trust in the oncoming war--the Government that promises her the past, or the pirates that promise everyone a future. Damien has to decide if protecting her is worth risking everything he’s ever worked for. And the Scarecrow and the Watcher will do whatever it takes to remain together.

THE NOCTURNIAN is a YA science fiction novel complete at 90,000 words. A full manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your time and consideration.



If they give awards for raging paranoia, I should win them all.

Amity forced the thought to the back of her mind and focused on where she was putting her feet. Indulging her paranoia wasn’t worth a twisted ankle. The ruptured flagstones flew beneath her. Running like this, one dark-haired boy in front of her, one behind her, she almost felt free of the feeling of being watched. The dilapidated houses on either side of the street shrank away from the stark orange glow of the midday sun at Amity’s back. The thick cables strung across the rooftops glowed as if on fire.

“You guys still there?” Dirt called over his shoulder to them.

“Unfortunately,” said Splash, behind her.

Amity laughed breathlessly as she narrowly dodged a wide hole in the street.

“C’mon, Splashy, you know you like the hunt,” Dirt said playfully. As he said it, he spun around and began running backwards, a maneuver that always set Amity on edge. But Dirt never got hurt, never fell through the street. Even with his rusty sawblade-sword strapped to his back, he kept his balance and his pace, and had enough time to flash Amity a smile before he spun around again and ducked behind a mountain of supply crates stacked on the side of the street. Amity and Splash huddled behind him.

“Almost there,” Dirt said. The sun’s dull light washed out his already white-blue eyes. His whole face lit up with exhilaration.


Roxanne said...

I really enjoyed your first page, but I was totally confused by the query. I love the first line, and the pacing was great. I would read more of this novel based on the first page. But there's too much going on for me in the query right now. Amity is a host to an alien. The alien is known at The Watcher (why?). Why is she then the only person on Earth who can defeat Damien Faust, and why does it matter that he a pirate? Pirate? Then there's Dirt and he's dead and he and Faust look identical. Whoa. I realize that you have a very complex story here. Is all of this necessary to know in order to want to know more....?

Leigh Ann said...

Critique Partner, just here to cheerlead. Go Chessie Go! Wooot!

Jenny Kaczorowski said...

I love your work. Everything I've read from you grabs my interest. I remember reading more of this somewhere (prob. WriteOnCon?) and it still sticks in my head. Great job.

Lori M. Lee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lori M. Lee said...

I love the first page. I want to read on. WHERE IS MORE?

Er. Right. But your query was a bit confusing. It needs to be streamlined. I love the premise though and how being hosts to these aliens inside them sort of give them special abilities? At least that's the impression I got.

I'm afraid I'm going to be useless and just say you need to make your query clearer and more concise, but your writing is wonderful and I'd request on that alone. You wouldn't happen to be looking for beta readers, would you? *cough*

Gina Ciocca said...

I already read TN and I'd read it all over again based on that query. For real, great job.

The Agent said...

I'm a big sf fan, but I have to say that based on the query I could not hold the story premise within my head. I just don't understand what it's about, and it feels so complex that I'm almost afraid to try. So my advice would be to streamline your pitch down to the essential elements, and let the more complex issues come out within the story, where they will be explained and unfold naturally, rather than trying to pack them all in here.

The opening paragraphs also give me a very different feel from the query pitch. Perhaps, based on the fact that Dirt is still alive, the characters are younger at this point? To me, this whole thing feels like something I want to like and therefore would try to read on a little further, but it would need to grab me quickly as it's right on the edge for me.

Maggie Hall said...

I remember seeing this elsewhere, and it sounded great there, too! The first pages, especially, are really nicely written, and make me want to read on.

I have to admit that the query took me a couple read-throughs to understand what was going on, just because it involves so many unfamiliar elements at once. Don't get me wrong, it sounds awesome once I understand it, but I wonder if it could be slightly simplified in the query, and allow more of the cool story elements to come through in the MS?