Wednesday, December 21, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #9

Dear Mystery Agent,

Rydan is the only one of his people with the ability to wield magic. He’s treated like a god, a prince, cherished for his talent to bend the fabric of the universe to his will. In the war against the Liasam, he is their ultimate weapon.

On the other side of the battlefield, Akara attempts to counter Rydan’s power with magic she knows little about. Her people hold her captive, forcing her to use a gift only she is able to command. When Akara succumbs to Rydan’s mastery, her side loses, and she is sentenced to death as a symbol of the end of war.

If there’s only one death after the slaughter on the battlefield, Rydan can live with that. Until he discovers Akara has the same symbol as he, tattooed on the back of her neck. Knowing hidden truths will die with her, he throws away his status as his people’s golden boy and saves Akara from her public execution.

Finding out who they are does more than curb curiosity. It burdens them with the responsibility of saving a world which is literally crumbling under their feet. Rydan desires to be the hero again, lofted high in praise on the shoulders of his people. He begs Akara to help him in the quest.

But Akara doesn’t believe there is anyone in the world worth saving.

FRACTION OF STONE is YA Fantasy complete at 65,000 words. Readers who relished in the lyrical writing of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone and immersed themselves in the contrasting world views of June and Day in Marie Lu’s Legend will find themselves drawn to this tale. A complete manuscript is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration and I look forward to hearing from you.



The chains around her wrists jingled, echoing off the stone walls, a cheery sound out of place. If she closed her eyes and moved her arms again it would seem as though she were listening to a wind chime, twittering in the breeze. But the cold metal was not a wind chime. It was a tether, a leash, holding her captive in the belly of her city.

She could have called it her room, for it was where she slept, where she ate. The situation would seem more bleak once the drugs wore off, sending her into a depression of why she even bothered to live.

She had no choice, that’s why. They needed her and refused to let her die. They kept her down there in an almost comatose state until it was time for her to work her magic.


The cell swayed and whirled, like a small boat in the ocean. A state she was so used to it felt more real than normal. She never smiled, that had been stolen long ago. But if she did it would be in this dreamlike existence.

Scraping of the heavy wooden door down the hall caused her head to float up, searching for the person among the sea of swirling colors. The large blur was who she expected and though she knew she should feel something, she was unable to summon emotion.

“It is time again, girl. Your people need you.”


Sharon Bayliss said...

Hi Kelley,

I just checked out your blog. I am a new follower.

This sounds like an interesting story. Is this told from the alternating perspectives of Akara & Rydan? It might be good to spell that out, because I'm confused about who the MC is. Also, it is't until "golden boy" that I get any sense that these two are teens. It might help to give it a little more YA flavor.

Good luck!

-Sharon Bayliss

Hope Roberson said...

Your query is written so clearly, I love it! So intrigued to find out how the story unravels, nicely done!

An Agent Intern said...

The query doesn't work for me, although I do get a sense of the story well enough. Focusing on Rydan, his place before the win, how he wins, and then realizing that this girl can't die would be very compelling. As is, it's written between the lines and it's pretty hazy. If you're worried because your story is in alternating POVs and believe your query should as well, don't worry; you can place a line by your word count that states your story is in alternating POVs. As is, it's very clear that the story is told this way because of your reference to LEGEND.

I like the pages. I'd keep reading.

Danielle DeVor said...

Usually, it is best to limit the query to a singular P.O.V. Jumping from Rydan to Akara seemed to stop the flow of the query for me.

What exactly is Rydan's quest? We have a general feeling that he is supposed to save the world, but what makes it different?

First Page:

I think I would like to know exactly why her people need her here. Right now - her use of magic and the need for it is vague.

The Agent said...

Right now, your opening paragraphs are much more compelling than your query, which is a problem, since agents won't necessarily read past the query itself.

I was unaware that this story was YA until you explicitly stated it at the end of your query. Either add more details earlier to make this clear, or consider whether FRACTION OF STONE is simply an epic fantasy, not necessarily geared toward young readers exclusively.

Now, while I understand Akara's character in the query, Rydan's depiction is confusing. If he truly is "a god, a prince" to his people, why would they question his actions when he saves Akara? And why does Rydan so easily toss away his prestige to learn the secret behind a shared tattoo? The plot twists currently described in the query feel arbitrary, rather than organic character actions. Give us more of a hint of the stakes, and the actions will become more believable.

I thought your story's opening was well-written and engaging, with just enough mystery to keep me reading (but not too much to make me throw up my hands in confusion). My one suggestion here is to cut the one-word paragraph "Literally." We can easily wait to learn what Akara's talent is; the fact that her people keep her imprisoned for it is intriguing enough.

Great work on that last line of your excerpt! Once you tweak your query, this will be a much stronger submission.

Ben Spendlove said...

Okay, I love that juxtaposition of the two leads. It's like they play the same role but occupy opposite positions. Very nice.

Throwing it away because of a tattoo makes me wonder. Why does he care that much about it? And is the story about trying to get Akara to help in the quest? Because I don't even know what the quest is. It's getting further and further from where the query began, and what I found so interesting.

Second para of the sample, the wording of the last clause doesn't sit right. Also, a door scraping causing her head to float up is a weird image. And consider naming Akara sooner.