Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #16

Dear Awesome Agent,

It’s present-day America, and after being weakened by countless natural disasters, our country opens its airspace for aid. Instead of the much-needed salvation from our allies, what is left of the devastated west coast finds itself nearly obliterated from above. No one knows how or why, but America is under attack.

Following the first round of air raids, Dr. Rachel Parker loses her beloved husband, Andy, in a house fire as they escape with their children to the nearby Rocky Mountains. In refuge, she’s thrust into depending on her husband’s best friend, Joshua Hughes for comfort and protection. Amidst her pain, Rachel can’t face Josh’s ill-harbored feelings for her, nor her own confused desires.

High school senior, Tom Mason has spent the last few years terror free, thanks to Dr. Parker. Between his skill at HAM radio and after having been raised by conspiracy theorists, Tom is prepared to hide from these faceless attackers, and even manages to save the teenaged Jenny, who captures his attention for more than just being the lone survivor at a campsite.

Rachel’s sister, Brenda Krous escapes a fallen city with nothing but the clothes on her back, and is quickly captured by the unnamed enemies. Terrified and alone, Brenda is protected by the enigmatic Daniel Bastian even while he helps to hold her captive. Brenda soon discovers information about her sister’s psychology work for the government that could spin the free world into a tumultuous frenzy where the unknown is safer than reality.

Into the End is a heart-pumping, action packed apocalyptic romance I can provide to you in full, per your request. It boasts 90K words, and is the first in a three book series that is sure to capture not only your heart, but also poses the question: Can love survive the end of the world as we know it?



The end of the world had come.


Rachel hadn’t had a solid night’s sleep in twenty-three months, three weeks and two days. An hour, maybe two a night for the last two years. Twenty-four hour news flickered on the TV.

Crisp May air breezed through the open windows. Rachel tucked the blanket tighter under her chin and readjusted her legs on the couch cushions. Restless leg syndrome would be a perfect excuse for her sleeplessness, but couldn’t be further from the truth. Her legs weren’t restless. She was.

The news anchor returned from commercial. Rachel turned up the volume. A squared picture flashed of burning buildings and gaping crevices. The older woman on screen sighed, weariness covering her lack of surprise. “Another earthquake in the string of disasters to the west coast struck an hour ago in Ellensburg, Washington. The Washington coastline has now been decimated to the middle of the state. Experts project a following tsunami to the new islands created from the Cascade mountains should manifest in the next few hours.”

Ellensburg? Mere hours away. Andy had been right.

The camera shifted to the man who shuffled paper. Lifting eyes desensitized to the horrors from recent days, he continued below a new popup screen. “In other news, after almost ten years of closed, high security airspace, the president has released a statement declaring that the airspace over the States is now open. He has asked for requested assistance from other countries.


Dee said...

You're work here is solid- the premise, the characters, the writing, but I would recommend looking at the query line by line and seeing what you can tighten up-I only say that because the idea of short queries seems to be the predominant preference. And although, you offered an eternal question at the end of the query, I didn't get a hook in the beginning. So maybe try to set the character, mood and setting in one sentence...Sounds like an interesting story though!!
Best wishes.

Janice Sperry said...

Your query...
1- What is the genre? Is this YA or Adult? You start out talking about an adult woman and then move on to teenagers. Who is your audience?
2- Who is your main character? Your query focuses on too many people.
3- Why are all these characters so important you have to put them all in your query? Focus on your main character and conflict.
4- Don't use the term heart-pumping in a query. Agents can determine what makes their hearts pump. (the same would go for boasts and capture your heart.)
5- Rhetorical questions rarely get the answer you think it will.
6- I can see you have something different here. Most books focus on the world long after the current society has been replaced by a dystopian society. Different is good.
7- I think the main thing missing in your query is a goal. What is your main character trying to get and what will she sacrifice to get it? You may have it in there somewhere but there were so many names I couldn't find it.

The story itself does sound intriguing. I hope this helps.

Rebecca said...

I like the premise of this - seems kind of like The Stand with all the different characters. I'm assuming they all meet up at some point and the different threads are tied together? Maybe mention when and why that happens.

Good luck! :)

Susan Fields said...

This is a very intriguing query and I really liked your sample as well. I would agree with an earlier comment that there are too many characters in the query - I would try to focus on just one. Also, you tell us each character's situation, but not what they're trying to accomplish. This sounds like a fascinating story - best of luck with this!

Sharon Bayliss said...

It sounds exciting, although I'm a little confused about the premise. You would assume that "present-day" America would be exactly like it is, not post-apocalyptic. So, it would have to be the future (even the near future would work) or in an alternative timeline with disasters that didn't occur in our reality. I suggest removing, "heart-pumping, action packed apocalyptic romance" and "that is sure to capture not only your heart, but also poses the question: Can love survive the end of the world as we know it?". A lot of agents don't like to see subjective descriptions like this.

Good luck!
-Sharon Bayliss

Tricia said...

I agree with Janice on all seven points. In addition I would take out "No one knows how or why, but..." and simply say America is under attack. We know how. We opened our airspace. And I could give a laundry list of reasons why America would be a target, but I won't get political here.

That said, I would read this.

Brooklyn Ann said...

I agree with the above advice. As for tightening up your query, is there a way you can tighten it up where it's narrowed down to one or 2 characters? I want to read the back cover blurb for THE STAND to see how King handled that.

The Agent said...

Your query is suffering from a condition that a colleague of mine has termed "character soup." There are simply too many names popping up in your query for me to focus on. Who is your main character? I think it's Dr. Rachel Parker, since her name appears most often, but that's a guess. (Also, present-day America is today. We haven't yet been weakened by countless natural disasters or an airspace attack on our west coast. You are talking about an America in the near future.)

Since you feature so many people, each with their own unique conflicts and stories, it is difficult to get a handle on where your story is heading. Yes, you've established that America has been attacked and invaded... but what happens now? Why are we following these characters? What are they fighting for?

I would probably not read past this query in its current incarnation, because the story sounds too muddled. Figure out which are the essential characters of your story -- the ones around whom everything else revolves -- and focus on their story.