Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #50

Dear Awesome Agent,

On Annika Fitzsimmons’s eighteenth birthday, she learns she is a Traveler--someone born with the ability to move through Past Events and to change the future for the better. That explains the vivid, excruciatingly painful visions she's had since she was eight years old, but not the same blue-eyed boy she sees in each one.

When Nik arrives at the underground compound of Traveler's City for initiation, she discovers her ability to move through time without the aid of computers or coordinates is rare--the stuff of legend. Only one fellow initiate can do the same: Davis, the boy from her visions. Nik and Davis soon discover they are Bonded, born to Travel together no matter what.

But Traveling is dangerous, and sometimes people die. That’s what happened to the husband of the charismatic Director of Traveler's City--he accepted a Final Mission when he learned his death was the only thing that could convince a key witness to testify against the mob. When Nik and Davis are repeatedly pulled, against their will, into the same treacherous Events that caused his death and see the Director there every time, they realize that she’s trying to bring her husband back from the dead, and it’s their job to stop her. Now, Nik and Davis must risk their own lives to keep the Director from killing them, violating Traveler’s Law, and changing Current Events as they know it. As they discover even more about Traveler’s City, the Bond, and what they truly mean to each other, they’ll learn just how far someone with power will go to save the one they love.

THE TRAVELERS is a Young Adult light science fiction novel complete at 81,000 words and stands alone, with potential for a sequel. Thank you for taking the time to consider my submission.



Nik forced her eyes to open and flexed her jaw against the rough carpet fibers of her bedroom floor, wincing when it popped.

Ten years since her father died, and ten years since she’d been having these episodes, or visions, or whatever they were. Sometimes once in a month, sometimes twice a week.

They all had three things in common. They only happened at night. They wracked her body with piercing, all-consuming pain. And in them, she saw the boy with the blue eyes. Every single time.

She always felt his presence an instant before she saw him. A thrill ran through her, followed by a delicious warmth. No matter how terrifying the vision, when she met his gaze, she felt calm, confident, strong.

Too bad she’d never seen him in real life. In the end, he twisted, confused and distorted, together with the asphalt or dancing candlelight or sounds of police sirens, into the same thing.

Pain, stabbing at her skin from the inside and invading every inch of her body, so intense that nothing else mattered.

Nik dragged her still-pounding head from the floor and glared at the useless pile of medical textbooks that sat on her desk, mocking her cluelessness. For years, she’d been trying to figure this out. Her blood pressure and sugar tested fine. No anemia. Three separate EKGs had shown her perfectly functioning heart.

Narcolepsy could strike at any time of day, but didn’t cause pain. Epileptic seizures could be painful, but they happened any time, too. Besides, the MRI had come up with nothing.


Virginia said...

I was immediately drawn in to your query, and you held my attention throughout. I like the switch from Annika to Nik in the second paragraph: it reinforces that even in this short space, we are getting to know and care about your main character.

The language about how unusual it is to time travel without computer assistance was intriguing but left me wondering if the novel is set in the present or the future. That question then continued to nag at me.

Working in the back story about the director is challenging in such a short space, and I think you do a great job. The first sentence in that paragraph, ending with "sometimes people die," is great. It raises the stakes nicely.

I notice that you opt not to include any background about yourself in the letter. This didn't really bother me, but I know some agents expect it and might miss it.

The first 250 words were also very engaging. I found the fifth paragraph a little confusing. Is the "same thing" at the end of that paragraph the "pain" at the beginning of the next? That's the impression I'm getting.

I found the list of diagnostic tests a little dry after so many exciting images, but at the same time, I like this intrusion of reality. Even more, I like that all the tests have failed to explain what Nik is experiencing. Cool!

Just one more really picky thing: in the first paragraph, I had to look for the antecedent to "it." I assume it's the jaw that's popping, but I thought at first it was the floor.

I definitely want to keep reading. Good job!

Francesca Zappia said...

*dons pom poms*

Go Leigh Ann, go!

Roxanne said...

The part of your query that stood out to me the most was "Traveling is dangerous, and sometimes people die." What would happen if you started your query with that line? On my previous query (not saying that the current one is much better) I started by telling about the character. But then I realized that the what really draws me into a piece of writing is immediacy. I want to know why this matters-I feel like that line in your query shows the danger, and therefore the excitement.

I liked your first 250 words. I thought they were well-written. I would read more. Why did you make the choice to begin after she woke up? I wonder if we actually saw the boy with Nik, would it create an even stronger impression?

Gina Ciocca said...

Rock this contest like it's your birthday!

That's all. <3

Jenny Kaczorowski said...

I love the changes to your first 250 words! And the query is really solid. Great job!

Write Life said...

I'm thinking you could do more with that first line. Sorry, I just feel like this could have a little more impact, emotion, immediacy, to lift it off the page. It sounds wonderful, but I just think it's walking a bit, when it could be hitting right between the eyes. I love the concept, so I hope you don't mind the feedback, and queries and me, ugh! We don't have the best relationship!
Good luck!

The Agent said...

I think this query is very intriguing and feels fresh and different from other things that I've read.

The sample paragraphs were less compelling to me, as they seemed to focus more on recapping and telling me what had happened than really putting me into the moment. I would rather experience these things for myself along with Nik rather than hearing them described. Intriguing premise, though; I would probably read on a little further to see if the pace picked up.

Maggie Hall said...

As you already know, I think this is great!

The one suggestion I have for the query is that if you wanted to shorten it a bit, I think you could cut a bit of the detail from the third paragraph, and it would still make perfect sense (for instance, the part about what his Final entails could probably go for query purposes).

Yay for The Travelers!

MarcyKate said...

Fantastic query - nice and clear and gradually raised stakes. I do like the idea mentioned above about switching the first line out to something with more stakes though. That would definitely be grabbing right off the bat.

I loved the first 250 as well (the writing and voice is wonderful) though part of me wanted to be experiencing more than be told. It feels almost like you're starting a beat too late or too early. Overall, I'd definitely read on! Good luck!! :)

Leigh Ann said...

WOW! Thank you all so so so much for your comments!

SO many talented writers, my faithful crew of CPs (love you ladies) not to mention the awesome agent. All of your advice is so helpful, and I am so very grateful to EVERYONE who commented.

And, obviously, Krista - thanks for hosting all fifty of us. It's been a great round!