Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #26

Dear Ms. Smith:

A seemingly familiar tale: a demi-god, Pegasus, Medusa’s severed head--but legend is vastly different from the truth. Perseus isn’t exactly the son of Zeus; in fact, he doesn’t even believe the gods exist. If they do, they certainly don’t care that Perseus’ mother has fallen into the clutches of a greedy king. On the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, Princess Andromeda refuses to be monster bait to appease a vengeful goddess after a wedding-turned-nightmare. When their paths cross, Perseus and Andromeda find they must work together to change their fates--all while the Egyptian gods attempt to use them in their scheme to destroy the Greek pantheon forever.

“God Haunted” is a YA retelling of the Perseus myth, set in the ancient world, and complete at 80,000 words. Though the basic tale will be familiar to many readers, they’ll find there is much more to the story than the original myth records.




Today is my sixteenth birthday. It’s also the day of my husband’s funeral.

Two young men, clothed in mourning colors, lower the bundle that contains Xenres’ body into the small grave. I feel like a part of me is being lowered into that dark hole with him, but it’s a part of me I’m glad to lose.

My late husband’s brothers, sisters and children from his first wife glower at me through their tears, as if they blame me for their loved one’s sudden death. They probably do. But fishermen found Xenres lying face down in the mud near the eastern banks of the Nile just a few days ago without a mark on him. I had nothing to do with it. Though I may or may not have prayed to the gods to take him away--every day since our marriage three years ago.

Not that I think his death had anything to do with that. The gods never paid me much mind before, at least when it comes to giving me things I want. Xenres’ death had been because of a bad heart, most likely. He had been old. Of course our age difference had not been an issue when my parents agreed to ship me off to Egypt to be his bride. I was a bribe. Here, take our daughter and keep your Persian armies away from our country. I just wish I had gotten sent off to a breathtakingly handsome prince instead of a military man long past his prime.


Christine L. Arnold said...

I really like your first page. You open right in the moment, and we're already getting a sense of who she is.

I think you're query needs a bit of work, though. The beginning was good, we get a sense of the characters, you place us in the time period, etc. but there are no specifics about the characters conflicts or what brings them together. Even if these are well-known stories, we still need you to tell us what they're up against, and what will happen if they don't win.

Based off your first page though, I'd keep reading.

Eric Steinberg said...

I agree with Christine. I like the first page and it's voice. I would take a look at the tenses in last paragraph. You have a lot of "had been"s. Try changing it all to past tense and I think it'll read easier. i.e. "He was old. Of course our age different wasn't an issue when..."

As for the query, I'd try re-writing with the usual query form, hook, characters, synopsis, problem as if this were any other book. If necessary, you can say in another paragraph it's it's a retelling/alternate version of a myth. Here we aren't getting any sense of the characters or what happens to them.

Karen Clayton said...

My 13 year old co-author and I liked your story. He thought the voice was strong.

Since so many kids his age like the Percy Jackson series, we think there would be a nice market for your tale.

If you'd like to check out our story, we are post #29. Good luck. My son and I would love to see more of your story.

Kathleen said...

I love retelling of Greek myths and have done a couple myself. I'm not sure this is set in the same time frame as Greek myths or not. It would be awesome to set it in today's world. I'd read it.

Anne Tedeton said...

Great premise with a lot of promise, *and* your first page grabbed me.

I agree with everyone who's commented so far--expanding the first paragraph of your query couldn't hurt. I was curious as to what Perseus and Andromeda are like in this retelling. I got a feel for Andromeda's character in your first 250, but it was something I was curious about with your query.

I agree about the "had beens" in your last paragraph. It's the repetition: "had been because had been old....had not been an issue..." They're all so close together that it needs a little changing up. But otherwise, I got nothing.

I wish you luck with this. I'd definitely read more.

Bridget Smith said...

I find this myth particularly intriguing, so I’m glad to see a reinterpretation of it! However, once you’ve removed the part where Andromeda is bait for the sea-monster, I’m not sure what the story is. I think this query needs to explore a bit more of where the novel will take the reader. How exactly is it different from the myth we know? I’d love to see a more active version of Andromeda, though, so you’re on the right track!