Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #14

Dear Mystery Agent,

Reddos can answer any question in the world--at least they could until seventeen-year-old Sophie Rowan’s simple question stumps them.

When Sophie helps new-boy-at-school Hugh Kedoa, Hugh reveals that he’s a Reddo, a human who possesses infinite knowledge and offers five answers to those who help him. According to Hugh, a Reddo can only access that knowledge by giving answers. But when hopeless romantic Sophie asks if she has a true love, Hugh draws a blank.

So much for infinite knowledge.

Sophie’s search for her answer leads to an unexpected friendship with Hugh’s family. They confess that a power-hungry businessman with a vendetta is hunting them. He learned how to kill Reddos and take their most dangerous ability for himself. If he tracks down the Kedoas, Sophie’s true love dilemma is going to be the least of her problems. The enemy hates other outsiders involved in the Reddos’ world more than anything.

Now Sophie has to figure out how to protect herself from a psycho, why Hugh couldn’t answer her question, all the while becoming more aware that she’s probably too involved in the Kedoas’ lives. But she would rather put herself in the enemy’s crosshairs, or even sacrifice her answers, than abandon them.

Turns those might be the only ways to save them.

UNANSWERED is my 85,000 word YA urban fantasy with strong series potential. Thank you for judging the Agent’s Inbox contest!

Best Wishes,


Sophie slipped and crashed to the ground, tucking her chin into her shoulder to save her eyes from the spray of muck. The downpour exploded puddle water into her face anyway.

All evening she had treaded the slick trails like walking a tightrope, and now because of one measly lack of concentration she was covered in mud.

She pried away a strand of damp hair plastered to her face. Her hand froze in midair, and her eyes locked on the shadow the limb cast over the trail’s edge.

Boot prints. Sophie knew better than anyone that these prints meant someone had left the clearly-marked trails at Ellery Wildlife Preserve. After all, she spent most of her day tracking down the rule-breakers, the ones that somehow couldn’t understand what the big WALK ONLY ON THE TRAILS signs meant.

But this was different. These impressions originated at the edge of the path and trailed away, disappearing into the green-tinged fog that had swallowed the forest. Sophie’s fingertips skimmed across the indents the faint zigzag tread had left. She leaned back on her knees and frowned at the mud.

Footprints couldn’t start at the edge of a trail, unless their owner had dropped out of the sky into the forest. And Sophie had personally made sure that all the visitors left an hour ago, when the preserve closed to everyone but the preservation crew.

These prints meant someone had broken the law to get into Ellery.


Janice Sperry said...

How does knowing if someone has a true love have anything to do with infinite knowledge? True love is a personal decision. If she doesn't know then the answer is no. Later on she might find one and then the answer would be yes.

That said, your premise is cute. I think you have too much background information in your query. It could be cut down a bit.

If Sophie is a teenager, why is she out tracking rule-breakers in the wild by herself?

Good luck with this.

An Agent Intern said...

This sounds a little bit like Twilight but substituting vampires with clairvoyants. Maybe tweak your query so it doesn't read like that?

Susan Fields said...

I would cut out quite a bit of the query and try to tighten it up. It seems the real story is the psycho hunting Hugh's family, so I would probably get rid of the question about true love. It may be an important part of the story, but I would leave it out of the query to avoid distracting from the main point. This sounds like a very original idea and I enjoyed your sample - I'd want to keep reading to find out who made the mysterious footprints.

Danielle DeVor said...

I like the premise of this, but as the others have said- the query feels a bit bulky. I think we need to read you getting into the main story a little earlier. Specifically, I would try to cut down the paragraph about Hugh's family- make it into a sentence to be joined with the next paragraph about her protecting herself from the psycho.

First Page:

I really like how you have her falling into a mud puddle- kind of a different way to start things off.

One big thing I noticed is that the voice of your query is completely different than the voice of your first page. I suggest maybe trying to infect your MS with some of that voice from the query. Right now, your first page reads older to me.

The Agent said...

As it stands right now, I'm not buying that Sophie is willing to put herself in harm's way just to get an answer to whether she has a true love. If she doesn't have a stronger reason, I'm not going to sympathize with her. There needs to be more at stake for her personally in order for it to be plausible that she voluntarily involves herself. Also, if it is so important for Reddos to keep their existence a secret, why does Hugh so readily reveal his secret to Sophie?

Your story's scenario, as presented by the query, needs to show more credible motives and reactions from its characters before I will want to read on. If Sophie discovers the Kedoas' secret, or if for some reason they are forced to reveal themselves to her, then I will be more curious to find out what happens.

Ben Spendlove said...

I like the way the query starts. I like that premise. I'm with you through most of it, but what does the Sophie's question have to do with the psycho? If it's a big reveal you don't want to share, at least give me something to suggest a connection. And sacrificing her answers doesn't seem to be nearly as dire as crosshairs or abandonment.

And I like the sample.