Wednesday, April 10, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #24

Ms. Melissa Sarver,

Lexy’s not the type of girl to stand by and watch a fight--after all she’s been training all of her life to fight the infected. In her world there are two simple rules 1. Zombies are bad. 2. Werewolves are worse. But when a rogue zombie breaks into her family’s compound it sets off a series of events that challenge everything Lexy’s ever been taught.

Then Lexy learns her boyfriend Jason has become infected. Stunned and reeling from the news Lexy runs away straight into a trap. She’s abducted by a kickass werewolf clan--turns out that they’ve been genetically engineered to combat zombies and protect humanity. Kaden, their leader, promises Lexy that they can save Jason if she’ll join them in their fight. The only catch is she has to change. Lexy has to choose between following what her family has taught her or following Kaden, a werewolf, for a chance to save Jason, the boy--I mean zombie of her dreams.

NIGHTFALLEN, a young adult thriller complete at 72,000 words, will appeal to readers who loved the pace and intrigue of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth and the twist and turns of THE MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner. I am querying you because of your interest in thrillers. The manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
M.C.


NIGHTFALLEN

The men in the clearing look lost, far away from home knowing they will never go back. My father takes us out on purifying missions every week. We put the infected to rest and burn their bodies in hopes of washing them clean again.

The light filters through the trees casting green shadows on the ground. It should smell clean out in the middle of nowhere, but instead there is an overwhelming stench of decay. My father stands in front of the group, signaling men to move around the clearing.

I step next to him. With his hand on my shoulder, he leans in next to my ear. “Lexy, there are twelve in the clearing. They may have reinforcements.”

I nod, and grab my sword in one hand, my knife in another. I peer through the trees. A group is gathered around a small fire. The infected look tired. A few have the gray bubbles spreading up along their faces. They shouldn’t be able to fight back as quickly as the others. I watch as each man from our group steps into place, blocking any escape path.

At my dad’s signal, I step into the clearing alone. I walk until the talking stops and everyone in the group is staring at me. Twelve sets of eyes, and still no one moves. I wait. “Are you lost?” one of the infected asks. His voice is rough.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I loved the opening of your query and I wonder if you can cut "Lexy's not the type of girl...the infected" and start with "In Lexy's world, there are two simple rules: Zombies and bad and werewolves are even worse. She's been training her whole life to fight them."

Also, in your second paragraph of your query you need a comma. "Stunned and reeling from the news [comma], Lexy runs away straight into a trap." I think you can cut the word "kickass werewolf clan" because in the first paragraph we learn Lexy is not too fond of werewolves ;) (I'd take out 'kickass').

Your query really grabbed me though and I am not a big paranormal fan, but I'd totally read this :)

As for your first 250:

I'd love some more voice here. Lexy seems passive in this opening whereas in her query she seems almost like a Buffy-meets-Tris character. Add some more punch and I'd be good to read this one :)

Good luck!

-R.S.
Entry #29

Ru said...

This cracked me up, and I was kind of over the paranormal thing.

I would shorten your first line (agree with the first commenter) and smooth the transition between your first and second paragraphs in the query. ("Series of events" is always kind of vague.)

Suggested edit (take with a grain of salt):

In Lexy's world there are two simple rules 1. Zombies are bad. 2. Werewolves are worse. But when a rogue zombie breaks into her family’s compound and infects her boyfriend Jason, the stunned Lexy runs away--and straight into a trap.

Lexy, who has trained her whole life to fight the infected, finds herself abducted by a kickass werewolf clan who have been genetically engineered to combat zombies and protect humanity. Their leader Kaden promises Lexy that they can save Jason if she’ll join them in their fight. The only catch is she has to change (into a werewolf? Maybe hit that line harder/funnier). Lexy has to choose between following what her family has taught her or following Kaden, a werewolf, for a chance to save Jason, the boy--err, zombie -- of her dreams.


You MS sounds awesome, good luck!!

S.M. #12 said...

Hi M.C.- I loved your first 250! I felt immersed in the scene instantly, especially with details like the smell of decay in a clearing in the woods. Nicely done!

I agree with the above poster who suggested starting your query with "In Lexy's world, there are two rules." I think it makes for a punchier opening that better reflects what an awesome story you have to tell. I would also remove the word 'kickass'- it seemed odd and made me pause. Definitely keep the line "zombie of her dreams" though. That was fantastic.

Good luck with your submission! I'd definitely read this book.

-S.M. #12

Jessica Peterson said...

I have to agree with the other comments, starting with 'In Lexy's world..' is a more captivating hook. Your query is good, it seems to outline all the important information and I have a good feel for your story. My only qualm is that there were a few sentences that I felt needed a bit of cleaning up.

I enjoyed your 250. I'd keep reading to find out what's going to happen. However, I do think you could inject a bit more voice into it.

Best of luck.

Jessica Montgomery said...

Hi!

So I was a little nervous reading this as soon as I saw that there were both zombies AND werewolves. However, I think it does sound interesting and in the same category as the forest of hands and teeth. That being said, I think your query is a bit vague. The phrase "sets of a series of events" doesn't raise the stakes enough for it to seem very dire. Other than that, I thought your query was solid and had great voice! In your 250, I was super surprised the zombies could talk, I was expecting them to just moan. I kinda got the idea from the query and your first 250 that her dad was sort of the crazy preacher type, which made me want to read on!

Good luck!
Jess #3

Leiann Bynum said...

Your query is almost perfect. I would be interested in reading the novel based on it, but as soon as agents get to the word "zombies" and especially "werewolves", they might be turned off. There are way too many books out there about these supernatural creatures. I still wish you luck though, because I would love to see this novel on bookshelves.

The only thing I have to say about your first 250 is the first paragraph. Do you really need the last two sentences, the "My father...clean again" part? They seem like background info that isn't needed in this first chapter. Other than that, great opening!

-L.B. #21

Melissa Sarver said...

I, too, initially thought, "Oh no, Zombies AND Werewolves?" but I think you make a good case for the conflict between both. Instead of the rogue zombie setting off a series of events, be more specific - including that it causes Jason to become infected. And if there is a larger conflict, a threat to her world, mention that, too.

The opening paragraph of your sample felt unfocused - the first sentence mentions men standing in a clearing looking confused. Continue with that picture if that's where you are going to start. To switch the focal point in the second sentence (My father takes US) is confusing - she's clearly not "one of the men."
Some commas missing in places; also, I wonder if "kickass" is the best word to describe this strong tribe of werewolves.
I am curious to know why she's stepped into the clearing alone, as bait. I'm not really a zombie/werewolf reader but this story did intrigue me.