Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #47

Dear Agent,

Getting into a car accident was the second to last thing Maggie Lyons expected on prom night. The last thing she expected? Finding out she’s part machine.

Turns out, there are a lot of things Maggie didn’t suspect. Like the fact she almost died when she was four. And her parents let a stranger replace her broken parts with technology more advanced than anything on the Syfy channel. Or that her geekoid next door neighbor, Tommy, is hiding in the backseat of her car when she runs away in the middle of the night.

But that’s just the way her weekend is going.

Now Maggie and Tommy are on the lam in a stolen car, running from the police, the doctor who might be on to her condition, and the bald dude with a seriously bad attitude tailing them. Tommy would give anything to have her newly manifested strength, but Maggie’s not so keen--even a simple tickle fight could turn deadly. All she wants is to find her Maker and get her human parts restored. As they follow clues on a cross-country road trip, Tommy totally cramps her style, but he is beginning to distract her from the guy who wrapped his car around a tree on prom night. That’s problem in itself--geek love is definitely not a part of Maggie’s plan. If only she can find her Maker, maybe, just maybe, she can go back to life as normal.

Then Maggie meets the others like her. Turns out, there’s a lot more to be afraid of than winding up under a microscope.

I’m seeking representation for CONFESSIONS OF A TEENAGE CYBORG, a YA science fiction novel complete at 71,000 words. I have a MS in Arts Administration from Boston University and as the former marketing director of a professional theatre, I can actively promote my work. Thank you so much for your time and consideration.



Weightlessness is a funny thing.

One moment ago, Dean and I were joking about the stupid, lime-green dress his ex-girlfriend wore to prom. His cheeks dimpled when he laughed.

Now his car skids over the embankment. Our bodies are a blur of pink satin and black tuxedo. My insides lurch and jerk, like knots trying to untie themselves. Dean’s face is a blank sheet of confusion and me, well, I don’t know how I look but I’m sure it isn’t pretty.

The free fall ends when we hit the tree. All that remains is pain and panic. And noise. All kinds of noise. Screams, creaks, and cracks from all sides. I can’t feel my legs or arms, but I’m standing and screaming and tugging at the crumpled car door.

Dean’s stuck. I have to get him out.

Gas fumes sting my nose and burn my chest. I tear the door off the car and nearly tear Dean’s arm off, too. He tumbles out and I drag him toward the field. The car explodes, flames consuming it in a burst of red and orange. The force throws us back from the wreck. I sit in the long grass in my tattered dress, barely aware of the hot metal in my hands or Dean unconscious at my side.

I can't tear my eyes away from my left arm.

It’s ruined.

The skin is ripped open, gaping from wrist to elbow, but I hardly bleed. I try to make sense of it, but my arm isn’t right.


Leigh Ann said...


*deep breath*


Query - As much as I love Tommy (TEAM TOMMY) and believe Geek Love should always be a part of any plan...I think you can cut all that out of the query. I think it bloats it, and distracts from the awesomeness of CYBORGS HELLO.

My only crit for your first 250 is that I really want to see something about her arm being metal. "Ruined" and "not right" isn't grabby enough - it just sounds a little gross.

Although I guess when you're pubbed, that will be somewhere in the logline, so....


Jenny Kaczorowski said...

I love this too. I've seen bits and pieces pop up all over the place and I love it all. Your query keeps getting stronger and think you've almost got it. I do think you can leave out Tommy, but otherwise great job!

Suzanne Warr said...

A very intriguing concept and plot--love it! I did have a question from the query...why does she think her Maker can help? I guess her parents explained? But, why would she think she could get back her human parts? If she was two when he operated, they really wouldn't fit anymore! lol Sorry, maybe that's just me.

I like the sample. It's a bit of a dive into the action, but it works. I guess my only quibble would be that her and the boyfriend making fun of his ex makes them both sound a little bit...jerkish. Which, maybe they are, but starting the story with a pov that makes me flinch could lose some readers.

Mandy P.S. said...

I really like your excerpt. Car accidents are something I've read a lot but yours is different and I like how it goes from laughter and fun to suddenly you're in a tree.

That being said--and maybe this is a little nitpicky--I don't like the references to weightlessness and freefall. Because unless the car is plummeting down the side of a cliff, I don't think that's really what she's experiencing. In a skidding car you're not feeling freefall or weightlessness. You're feeling your bodily inertia fight the car's movements, so you're right, its a lot of jerking and lurching.

So I'd remove the first line, make the second paragraph present tense and then remove the reference to free fall at the beginning of the fourth. I personally think it would make it stronger and a little more believable.

As for the query, I agree with Leigh Ann about cutting the Tommy portion. I would focus on Maggie and how (and why) she is trying to meet her Maker. Right now the query is a little confusing for me. I'm definitely interested in a girl who finds out she's a cyborg and you present a very interesting idea, but I'm not sure about "the bald dude" or why it matters if a doctor knows about her condition, and these are small facts that I don't need which simple distract me.

But once again, overall, I think you have a great concept and your writing excerpt is very strong. I would definitely want to keep reading!

The Agent said...

This is really strong overall. I feel like the query could stand to be boiled down a bit further, but the opening paragraphs feel just about perfect in tone and pitch.

This feels like a situation where the premise doesn't grab me strongly enough that I'd pursue it for my list, but the writing seems very strong and I'd definitely want to be on the list for seeing future works.