Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #14

Dear Ms. Martindale,

I read that you're looking for light sci-fi, and thought you might be interested in my YA science fiction novel ALTERNATE, complete at 80,000 words.

Sixteen year old Sara Morgan is thrust into a war between parallel universes when she meets Elira Black, an alternate version of herself from another dimension.

The two girls have the same DNA, but couldn't be more different. Sara is more comfortable hacking into unsecured networks than making friends, while Elira leads a resistance against an empire determined to conquer all the worlds of the multiverse.

Elira is a prime, a unique version of Sara with the power to manipulate dark energy to move objects and open portals into parallel worlds. Primes draw strength from their alternates, and Sara is the last one alive--and Elira’s enemies are coming to kill her.

When Elira dies in the attack and makes Sara a prime, Sara gives up her old life to protect her family, and pretends to be Elira. Now she must learn to control her powers and become a leader, while struggling with her feelings for Elira’s boyfriend, to stop the empire from conquering their next target--Earth.

I'm a member of SCBWI and a researcher for a law firm in Los Angeles.

Thank you for your consideration.



The fire alarm blared to life right when I got past the proxy server. Just my luck. It took me all lunch to hack into the school’sr ecord system, and now this.

My fingers flew across the keyboard while the alarm pierced my ears without any hint of giving up. Just another drill. Maybe I could finish this before I had to leave. If not, I'd have to start all over again tomorrow. Cracking the system wasn't hard, but it took a long time to make sure no one could trace it back to me.

Mr. Wilson, my calculus teacher, stuck his head inside the door to the computer lab. “Everyone out. Fire drill.”

The other students grabbed their things and rushed out, but I couldn't leave yet. My brother wasn't adjusting well to our latest move, this time to Los Angeles, and now his grades were too low to get on the school’s soccer team. With tryouts next week, there was no way he’d have time to improve them. Normally I wouldn't condone something like changing grades, but it wasn't my brother's fault he couldn't keep up with school.

Plus, breaking in was fun.

A screen popped up asking for the student's name. I was so close now. I just needed a few more minutes.

“Sara, come on,” Mr. Wilson said, waiting for me at the door.

“I'll be just a minute, sir,” I said, giving him my sweetest smile. “I have to save my English essay and print it out. It's due next period.”


Theresa said...

I've never been a fan of science fiction but after reading your query I'm intrigued. It is an interesting premise and something that I would read. You don't overwhelm with too much information. You get to the point.

And after reading your first 250 words I would definitely keep reading.

Anonymous said...

This is a very interesting and unique premise! I think you do a good job laying it out in your query. One thing that you could do is to explain why it is that Sara's alternate selves are important relative to those of other people (assuming that doesn't give away too much of the plot).

I like the way you introduce Sara's personality in the 250. I can tell you had a lot of fun writing her perspective.

Good job!

--B.C. (#18)

Tamara said...

I hate to be the bearer of awful news (things like this always have me in tears), but have you seen THE ONE with Jet Li? The premise is very similar to this story:

A sheriff's deputy fights an alternate universe version of himself who grows stronger with each alternate self he kills. (From IMDb)

Sorry :( Is it different enough from your novel, do you think?

Melissa said...

Well, I had a nice long post and then blogger ate it. Here's the short version:

It's a strong query but I think there's a bit too much going on. Can you streamline it a bit?

As for the opening, I really liked it. The query talks about intergalactic rebellion, alternate selves and portals, but you immediately ground us in the everyday world and make your character relateable. Maybe it's because I'm a big sister and I'm still protective of my li'l bro, even after all these years, but in 250 words you made me love your main character, and that's powerful stuff.

Robin Weeks said...

Very fun, and I'd love to read on. I love hackers, twins, and romantic mistaken identities, so I'm hooked. :)

I do agree with Melissa about the length. Try maybe telling us about Sara, meeting Elira, their connection, Elira's death, then what Sara has to learn and why? Just a thought.

Good luck!

Taylor Martindale said...

This concept sounds unique, but I unfortunately just didn’t connect with it. The query itself is well-written and well-paced, but it didn’t click for me. Part of the reason, I think, is that it’s described as light YA, but seems more like a sci-fi fantasy so I’m a little thrown off regarding setup/genre. I wish I had more feedback here, but regretfully this is just one that’s not a fit for me.
Thank you for participating in this Agent’s Inbox!
Taylor Martindale
Full Circle Literary