Wednesday, September 19, 2012

An Agent's Inbox #6

Dear Ms. Marini,

I was excited to see on your website that you're looking for dark/edgy YA and truly original tales like Graceling. I love Kristin Cashore, too, and I just completed a revision to make my own YA novel darker. (I'll let you decide if it's edgy.)

A week before graduation, sixteen-year-old Bruno Nazaire murders someone outside his seventh period class. Even if the guy deserved it, now Bruno must become someone else to avoid being identified as the killer. That means a haircut, a change of wardrobe, and most important, getting rid of his once cherished Blue.

In Télesphore, the glowing color of a person’s palm determines their place in society, and touching hands with another mixes the colors permanently. Once a member of the Blue elite, now Bruno must do the unthinkable and dilute his color to stay one step ahead of the investigators. Suddenly he’s visiting parts town he never new existed, and making friends with people he would’ve crossed the street to avoid only weeks ago.

But the officials hunting him are getting smarter, and in a city enclosed by jagged iron fences, there are only so many places to hide. At the last minute, Bruno’s parents arrange a deal to clear his name and get his life back. All Bruno has to do turn his back on those in the Red slums that look to him as a leader, dump his new smoking-hot girlfriend, and let a Green boy die in his place.

Yeah right.
Complete at 94,000 words, AN UNCOMMON BLUE is a YA sci-fi with a colorful twist. My previous publications include a collection of comedy sketches by Meriwether Publishing, and various other skits for Brand X Comedy, a university performance troupe. I have a BS degree in Youth Leadership, which provides me with insight into adolescent trends and struggles. I am also a member of SCBWI.
Thank you for your time. I've included the fist page of my manuscript for your consideration.
There are three unspoken rules in high school rugby.
1. Your team members are family.
2. You support your family.
3. This support must be shown periodically with an affectionate slap on the backside.
After four years as the starting right winger, I had almost gotten used to this. Almost. At least I no longer felt the urge to bloody my teammate’s nose when they tried it.
But in the middle of the hall? No way. During school hours my glutes were off limits.
I whirled around to explain this to whichever of my idiotic team members was behind me, only to find myself face to face with an attractive redhead.
“Hey, Bruno,” Drea said with a smirk. “Ready for the test?”
I opened my mouth but no sound came out.
Even with her super-short hair, Drea was stunning. Before last summer she’d often been mistaken for a boy, but that all ended when puberty hit. With both fists.
I recovered from my embarrassment enough to nod.
She leaned against the lockers. Her pale white skin reflected the light from her blue palm.
“History should be a breeze compared to pre-calc. I wanted to stab myself in the eye when I got to that section on antiderivatives.”
I mumbled something incoherent and fumbled with my lock.
Without warning she came up close and spoke in a half-whisper. Her hair smelled like coconut. “I know someone that likes you. If you hurry, we might have time to talk before the final.”


Unknown said...

I love your first 250. Great voice, and I love seeing a male protag in YA.

You open the query with a bang, but I think it could use a little more information. I want to be able to relate to Bruno, and I feel like I need to know why he murdered someone (more than that the other guy "deserved it"). Second paragraph is fantastic! I'm confused by the jump between the second and third. Becoming a leader of the Red slums sounds interesting -- maybe move that earlier, possibly to the second paragraph?
This may be a personal preference, but I don't know if the "yeah right" fits the tone of the rest of the query.

Overall, I think the premise is so unique and you have some great material here!

Unknown said...

I love this! The query clearly explains what the stakes are and what the MC wants. It also sets up the scene without getting in to too much detail. The voice in the first 250 makes me want to read more. It flows nice, great humor and the MC's personality is coming through. Great job!

Carla Luna Cullen said...

Wow - this is a fantastic new query! I already like the first 250 (since I've read your first four chapters), but this query is great. I think it's improved a lot since I've seen it, and starting off with the murder gives it an immediate hook.

SM said...

Love the color coded palm idea, very "Logan's Run" like. Rugby can be a rough and tumble sport, so Bruno might be tougher than your average high school student but a bit more on why he killed a guy outside his seventh period class would be great in the query.
Really liked your first page, I would keep reading.

Danielle La Paglia said...

I like the query, but as someone mentioned above, the jump from second to third paragraph was a little confusing. There was no hint at him becoming a leader and I can see how love would keep him on the "wrong side of the tracks" I don't think a smoking-hot girl is quite enough motivation for me.

I did love voice in the first 250 and I would keep reading.

Anonymous said...

A #TeamKrista entry in An Agent's Inbox! How exciting!

This sounds like a totally different story from the last time I saw it. I agree with others that I'd like to know why the other guy deserved to be killed. It doesn't make him very sympathetic if we don't know why. Aside from that, though, I still love this concept and the first 250. Good luck!

Carmen said...

Sounds like a great premise! Love the voice and the writing is strong.

Good luck!

S.S. #20 said...

Sounds like an interesting premise, with a lot of opportunity to amp up the tension and really pull the reader in.

However, the second sentence of your second paragraph. I don't know if it's the phrase "Even if", which made me think Bruno wasn't entirely sure he deserved to die, but killed him any, rather than something like "Even though", which makes me think the guy had it coming or if it's the lingering question, "What did a high school kid do to deserve getting killed?"

And was it premeditated or was it an accident... I think that would help me decide how I feel about Bruno and the journey he's about to go on.

Love the palm color mixing slant. I see his hand looking like a finger painting when it's all over with.

Victoria Marini said...

I remember seeing this one before, and it had a lot of promise. I like the premise a lot and the voice is working. I'd keep reading.

All my best, Victoria