Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #8

Dear Ms. Testerman,

As you represent strong authors such as Thomas E. Sniegoski and Maureen Johnson, I hoped you might be interested in my YA book of fiction, MIRANDA DEPAYENS AND THE SPEAR OF DESTINY.

MAD. That’s what friends call sixteen-year-old Miranda Depayens. It may be Miranda’s initials, but lately she wonders if it’s not her mental status. The haunting vision that plagues her sanity now comes more frequent and violent.

Never having met her biological father, Miranda lives with a neglectful mother and step-father, and longs for the day she graduates high school. She has but two and half more years of hell to survive, and Miranda can start living.

Within the blink of any eye, her plans are changed...

by the note...

by the ring...

by the Templars, and most of all...

by the Solomon Priest.

Raised an atheist, Miranda soon comes to question all she has ever believed, when learning of her family’s legacy. Miranda takes an emotional, spiritual, and magical journey, as she finally lets down her guard, and allows herself to trust those around her.

Now, Miranda must risk losing the love and acceptance that she has found, in order to help the Templars and the Solomon Priest recover the Spear of Destiny from the evil demon, and send him back to hell, before he changes the course of history.

MIRANDA DEPAYENS AND THE SPEAR OF DESTINY is book one of the Solomon Priest Series. The novel is complete at around 77,000 words, and I have begun writing the second book of this series, as well as, compiling a book from the diary entries of the Solomon Priest's battles against evil.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



The forest was ominously silent, but for the pounding of her running feet, and the occasional snap of a twig. Every so often, a thorn would catch, and rip at her clothes or delicate skin. Her heart was beating so hard that she expected, at any moment, her chest to burst. Now, with every breath, air stung her lungs, but she dare not stop, for fear of loosing this battle. She didn't hear the beast, but felt him--felt his presence like a sharp icicle scratching and stabbing at her back. Right on her heels, he lingered. At any second of his choosing, all he had to do was reach-out, grab her, and her young life would be extinguished. He toyed with her, but there remained a chance she could out-smart him.

Terror and Adrenaline carried her on legs of an athlete. Sweat that moments ago ran down her forehead, now stung her eyes, and threatened an escape. The woods stood dense, dark, and humid. If not for the moonlight that trickled in from between the trees, she would have been completely blind. A person could easily get lost in here, and never find civilization, but finding her way out was not a concern. All concentration had to be on looking for obstacles in her path, and staying alive. One slip and she knew she would be dead.

Giving up was not in her nature.


Kelley Lynn said...

I think you've got a good story in here somewhere. Problem is we really don't get to hear much about it until the last paragraph in the query. You could probably cut the first two paragraphs to two lines. I LOVE the one about MAD. SO funny. Great voice.

The list doesn't need to be set up that way. It makes it hard to read.

The third and fourth paragraphs are too vague. 'Raised an atheist...' You want to leave us asking some questions but this leaves us with a lot! Family legacy? Lets down her guard (why is it up?) Must risk losing love and acceptance she's found (found where?)

Then you hit us with the meat. 'help the Templars and Solomon Priest recover the Spear of Destiny...' this is the story. You want to get to this as fast as you can. Set it up using a little of what you have, and then expand on that.

As for the first 250 words, I had to stop after the tenth comma. The words are good but there are a number of grammatical mistakes that through me and I had to stop.

I love the premise and would totally love to critique it, just so I can see what happens :)

But in my opinion it needs work grammatically.

K. L. Hallam said...

I like the query. The is drama leading me into it. And I like the spacing of the sounds--that space around the words allowing me to breath the idea.

The first paragraph of the story could be a tad sharper leaving say, ominously- out. It may be more silent to say silent alone. (?)
I like the action pulling me in. And maybe take out "so" in "so hard". more description or you can say, "harder than expected".
The part, "carried her on legs of an athlete", is just a little confusing.
I really like the premise and I'd be very eager to read more. Good-luck!

Melodie Wright said...

Your query is intriguing but I think your pacing could be switched around. The mention of the vision in the first graph could be moved to later to after 'trust those around her.' Try moving it, then read aloud to see if it works better. Am wondering why you don't mention the specific YA genre - is this paranormal or fantasy?

Your excerpt did not grab me. There's too much description and in 250 words, your MC is still frozen in a running stance in my mind. Too many words for too little forward momentum. Since you mention the 'vision' in your query, I'm thinking you're starting with a dream sequence, which makes me wince a bit. But I'm hoping I'm wrong.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Ah, commas. You can remove a lot of the ones you've got both in the query and in the sample. Funky commas are fun, I know, but too many make prose feel less smooth.

For the query:

-You got some info that doesn't seem pertinent. Is it important that she's never met her biological father if he's not in the story? Saying she lives miserably with her mother and step-father already implies her real father is out of her life. How's being raised an atheist important to the plot? Try to focus on the central issues.

-More specifics please. What's the vision about? What's 'all she has ever believed?' Atheist just means 'does not believe god exist'. Is that 'all she has ever believed?' How is the journey emotional? Why would she lose love/acceptance by doing a good thing?

A tighter query would help I think. Good luck.

-A. L.

Hope Roberson said...

You have a great idea here and I enjoyed reading your first 250 words. I liked the intensity. Your query has a lot of good description and voice, but sort of jumps around a bit. If you can cut it down to the main conflict, you will have a great query (not sure if the first two paragraphs are needed, you may not need the sentence 'Miranda takes an emotional...' either, or possibly move it to the end of your query.
Good job and good luck!

Kate Schafer Testerman said...

To be frank, this sounds like a dozen other queries I see in my inbox every day. A teen who feels disconnected with her family, seeking an escape, who discovers or is told that she has a destiny to do something big.

Without a strong connection to the characters, or an immediate pull to the writing and the voice, this is a no for me.

And when I do look down at the opening sample, and can guess right off that it's a dream sequence, I'm even more sure about my decision.