Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #7

Dear Ms. Schafer Testerman,

At a school where Quantum Paradox 101 is a required course and history field trips are literal, sixteen year-old time traveler Bree Bennis excels…at screwing up.

After Bree botches a solo midterm to the 21st century by accidentally taking a boy hostage (a teensy snafu), she stands to lose her scholarship. But when Bree sneaks back to talk the kid into keeping his yap shut, she doesn’t go back far enough. The boy, Finn, now three years older and hot as a solar flare, is convinced he’s in love with Bree, or rather, a future version of her that doesn’t think he’s a complete pain in the arse. To make matters worse, she inadvertently transports him to the 23rd century.

Once home, Bree discovers that a recent rash of accidents at her school are anything but accidental. Someone is attacking time travelers. As Bree and her temporal tagalong uncover seemingly unconnected clues--a broken bracelet, a missing data file, the art heist of the millennium--that lead to the person responsible, she alone has the knowledge to piece the puzzle together. Knowledge only one other person has. Her future self.

But when those closest to her become the next victims, Bree realizes the attacker is willing to do anything to stop her. In the past, present, or future.

I'm a big fan of Carrie Harris's BAD TASTE IN BOYS and believe you might like my heroine's similar smart feistiness. Complete at 80K words, LOOP is a science fiction novel for young adults. I am a member of SCBWI and an active participant in our local chapter’s critique group. Thank you so much for your consideration.



Hitting the ground is the hardest part. Nine times out of ten, it’s dirt or gravel. But all it takes is that one time on concrete, or worse, asphalt, to send even the most experienced Shifter into a panic.

My feet slammed into cobblestone. Muskets cracked and echoed down the alley where I’d landed. Acrid gunpowder stung my nostrils, searing my throat as I fought back a cough. My hair caught in the warm brick wall behind me, twanging and snapping as I lowered myself into a crouch. The gunfire grew louder and louder, bouncing off both sides of the narrow passageway, so I couldn’t tell which direction it was coming from.

Where was I? Valley Freakin’ Forge?

If so, my dang transporter had missed the target by well over two centuries. Good grief. How hard was a 23rd to 21st Shift? Wyck must have set a new personal record. He would pay for this when I got back.

If I got back.

Puffs of fresh gunsmoke clouded the few rays of sun in the dim alley. I slipped behind an empty barrel and pulled out my QuantCom. A Virginia address and instructions popped up. “Bree Bennis, pre-Tricentinniel midterm. Deposit package contents on Muffy van Sloot’s grave with following message: ‘There’s no time like the past.’”

So help me, I thought, if this is for a dead cat, heads will roll.


K. L. Hallam said...

The description in Valley Forge is smoky and I can feel the gunpowder in my throat. The premise sounds like a great read. One I would certainly be picking up.
I would definitely keep reading.

Vicki Tremper said...

You hooked me, for sure! The last line made me laugh. I think you could get away with calling this a Sci-Fi Thriller (or Adventure). SF isn't really my thing, but this sounds like a lot of fun.

Good luck!

Kelley Lynn said...

I really like this!

I love the voice in your query, totally matches that in your first 250 words. I love your MC already. Someone we can relate to.

I wouldn't change anything. I'd love to turn the page :)

Stephanie Diaz said...

Wow, I love your voice, and the premise is very cool. I'd definitely keep reading. :)

Anonymous said...

I'd like to be helpful but really I think this works as it is. The query has detail enough to show it's going to be interesting and the first page drops you in the action rather nicely. Good job.

-A. L.

Maggie Hall said...

This sounds awesome! My only nitpick is that I got a little confused time-wise in the query--does she live in the 23rd century? When she transports Finn to the 23rd century then the query starts talking about being home with her tagalong it makes me think that, but I'm not sure, because then "her future self" is mentioned...

Anyway, this sounds great, and I loved the first page. Would absolutely read on!

Lindsey R. Loucks said...

Your query letter is great! I just had a few problems with your opening page: 1. Why does landing on concrete or asphalt send Shifters into a panic? Not all asphalt is in the middle of a freeway. 2. Would she be able to hear her hair breaking over the noise of the muskets?

Other than that, I'm right there with her in that alley, and I love that last line! Best of luck to you!

Don McFatridge said...

The first line in your 250 needs to be clearer because right now it doesn't make sense.

"Hitting the ground is the hardest part. Nine times out of ten, it’s dirt or gravel. But all it takes is that one time on concrete, or worse, asphalt, to send even the most experienced Shifter into a panic."

Is it the hardest part because hitting concrete or asphalt is a hard surface and can hurt the shifter or are they worried about cars?

If it's cars, remember they can also be on gravel. If the reason sifters panic is due to a hard surface, first concrete is ten times harder than asphalt and gravel would be a harder landing than asphalt as well.

The other question I have is how does she know it's Muskets and not rifles.

It sounds interesting, but the one major concern I have is whether you can pull off the suspension of disbelief in a world where it sounds like time travel is as common as cell phones.

Good luck with it.

Unknown said...

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback! This has been a lot of fun.

Kate Schafer Testerman said...

This is an intriguing query, and a strong beginning! You seem to have a lot of fun with wordplay -- "Hot as a solar flare", "temporal tagalong," and "Muffy van Sloot" for example. I actually was thinking this reminded me of Carrie Harris' work before you made the connection, so good job with that!

My one quibble would be Bree wondering if she's in Valley Forge -- which I always think of as a freezing cold camp, not an ongoing battlefield in a town with cobblestoned alleys. Could it be Boston or Williamsburg instead, or a Civil War battlefield?

But that's a minor point. Overall, this is certainly something I'd be interested in seeing more of.

Lori M. Lee said...

I loved your query, and the first page was great. Bree's voice is fun. I'd totally keep reading :D

Hope Roberson said...

Congratulations and good luck!!