Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #19

Dear Ms. Smith,

Chris Chappell is doomed to life as a Norm--a normal 17-year-old, that is--until his wizard father develops an amulet that grants even the most un-magical of people wizard powers. After years of being the family pariah, Chris has the power he always wanted and his father is finally proud of him.

Since Chris is finally a wizard, he's eligible to attend Southeast Paranormal High School with his siblings and best friend, Jeremy. At Para High, popularity and power are intrinsically linked, and after Chris saves his classmates from attack by a vicious spirit, he takes his place as the most popular student at the school.

When Jeremy discovers Chris's powers are unnatural, he demands that Chris give up the amulet, because it puts Chris outside of Para law as he is technically still a Norm. But Chris will not go back to his previous life: being a reject in his own family and a second-class citizen. With the amulet he's the most powerful wizard to ever live, and he will do whatever it takes to keep his power.

After all, what's a little mind control between friends?

THE DESCENT OF CHRIS CHAPPELL, a contemporary fantasy complete at 87,000 words, is a villain origin story told from two viewpoints. It is a standalone with series potential.

Your bio stated that you once worked on a project in microgravity at NASA. I am insanely jealous. Though I’ve been inside the space shuttle (on the ground, not in space), I have never had the chance to ride the vomit comet. As an engineer with a Master’s in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, I find space and everything space related fascinating. I put myself through college by working at Kennedy Space Center, and I currently work on satellites at the Air Force Research Labs in Albuquerque, NM.

Thank you,


My shoulders hunch under the weight of my backpack as I near the front door, and I tighten my grip on my trumpet case. I shouldn’t stress. Odds are no one will notice me slipping into the house. Dad’s probably in the basement. Mom’s car isn’t even here so she must be at work. And the twins know better than to get me in trouble--especially about this.

And yet my heart beats unevenly. At this moment, I would sell my soul for the ability to know if anyone stood on the other side of the door.

I reach for the knob, but the door opens before I touch it. I stumble back. My father stares down at me with his magical, silver eyes, catching my gaze before I can look away.

At first my dad’s expression is worried, but then a scowl replaces fatherly concern. His hand shoots out, pulling me inside before I can think to protest.

“Chris! Why aren’t you wearing your contacts?” he demands, the door slamming shut magically behind me. I imagine a normal father would show concern about my bloodshot eyes, questioning whether I’m getting enough sleep, if something is stressing me, or if I’m on drugs. Not my father. His only concern is that people might have seen my normal, gray eyes. That someone might know the truth he’s so carefully hidden for over a year now.

I am not a wizard.


GSMarlene said...

I've seen this before and I loved it then. Now it's even better and I totally want to read this (would be happy to critique if you need/want more).

Love, love the final question of the query. And ok, now I'm jealous of you (shuttle, Kennedy, satellites) as well as Ms. Smith!

Your first 250 ends on the perfect sentence. I would so read on.

Sorry, I have zero advice for improvement, this is very clean.

Good luck!

Karen Clayton said...

I liked your story as well. Last line is a great ending. I also love the silver eyes. I want to read more to find out why the character has silver eyes.

Go NASA by the way. I'm from that area and love anything space.

I might leave the part about NASA out of the bio part of the query - I'm on the fence about that.

If you want to stop by our post we are #29. Good Luck and happy writing!

Anne Tedeton said...

That is one nice, clean query. But...what really stood out to me was the bit at the end about it being a villain origin story. It put everything in a totally different light. I think you could probably benefit from placing that info in your opening rather than at the end.

And the voice in your 250 is fantastic. I see hints of snark & sulk, and I love it.

Also, this totally reminds me of Dr. Horrible, aaand it reminds me of this:

Hope you get some bites.

Jennifer Eaton said...

I love that it is a villain origin story - but like someone else suggested, you might want to inch that up In Your query. Up until that I was rolling my eyes and thinking Harry Potter. My fear is an agent might not read far enough to get to your hook Best of luck to you!

Christine L. Arnold said...

I'm totally hooked. And unlike the comments above, I like the current placement of the villain thing. I was totally sucked into the story in your query and this was just icing on the cake. I worry that if you moved it up you'd ruin the awesome surprise.

Your 250 is fantastic as well!

Bridget Smith said...

I love that this is a villain origin story, and I wish I got that sense sooner in the query. The first two paragraphs don’t give the impression that it’s going to be anything so unusual or interesting, so when I got to that point I had to go back and read it over again. Of course, now it’s all clear, but I missed those hints the first time through! Wizard schools have gone out of fashion in YA, so if you can make the villain aspect of the story really shine in the query, you’ll get a much better response.