Wednesday, July 24, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #6

Dear Ms. Smith:

I was happy to discover your interest in anthropology and archaeology, the two passions of my protagonist in DARKSIDE SUN, and I hope you will consider representing it.

University student, Addison Beckett, exists in a state of denial.  Reality isn’t really unraveling around her.  Professor Green isn’t really a recruiter for a secret society responsible for keeping another reality’s dead from crossing over to Earth.  And over her plaid-loving corpse will she join him.

Right.

Addison fights her induction...at first.  Her gravitational attraction to Professor Green, and unique ability to see the dead, begin to crack her delusions of normalcy.  When she learns of a traitor planning to create heaven on Earth for the dead, her denial comes to an end.  If she doesn’t grow a backbone and do something, people could die.

In theory, finding the scheming jerk and keeping humankind off of the endangered species list should be simple, according to a boy in the mirror.  Addison only has to embrace the part of herself she’s been running from since childhood and become who she’s fated to be--the key to ending a centuries-old war.

Easy peasy...or not.

DARKSIDE SUN is a romantic urban fantasy complete at 100,000 words.  I’m a member of the RWA, with five published novels.  For two years running, I’ve been a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers’ Association Literary Contest.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
J.A. 


DARKSIDE SUN

My dorm room wall began to unravel as if someone had found a loose thread on the fabric of reality and sped off with it like a kid with a kite string.  It happened a lot around me.  I didn’t know what might be on the other side and what it wanted.  Maybe me.  I wasn’t about to stick around to find out.

Once upon a time I’d have bolted, but I’d trained myself out of advertising my insanity.  I just had to get my stuff and leave calmly, like a normal person.  Easy peasy.  Right.

A nervous laugh gurgled out of me as I gathered the chaos of books from my bed and stuffed them into my backpack.  There was not a black hole in my wall.  Nothing would come through it and eat me for breakfast.  Denial was a wonderful thing, like a rain slicker to keep the deluge of crazy from soaking too deep into my skin.  Necessary, since Dad had mortgaged the cabin to send me to Waterloo University, and I didn’t want to lose my ever-loving mind before graduation.

Nothing would keep me from class today, even if the devil himself spilled out of my wall.  Only one thing scared me more than whatever waited out there on the dark side of the wall, and he taught my ancient civilizations class.  I’d witnessed first-hand what Professor Green did to people who arrived late to his lecture.  I’d rather have taken a hammer to my knuckles.

9 comments:

Janelle said...

First off, um, WOW on your publishing and professional background. It definitely shows in the ease and finesse of your writing. This premise sounds fun & smart--a winning combination for me, personally.

The only things that jumped out at me:

* The 4th para (the one after "Right.") in your query seems to repeat the info in the 2nd para somewhat. It goes back to MC's denial/resistance, whereas the natural progression would seem to be to get to the inciting incident--the traitor. Which is phrased passively ("learned of") for being such a big deal. I would love to hear *how* she learns of the traitor here.

* First 250, besides being incredibly deft and intriguing, made me think Professor Green was someone she feared, not someone she has a "gravitational attraction" to. Maybe this attraction is something that grows over time? Or maybe the next sentence sheds light on this seeming contradiction?

Bottom line, I would read on. This feels fun in a Laurie Notaro "Spooky Little Girl" way, with the anthropology element a definite hook.

meredithmansfield said...

Sounds like an interesting premise.

I tripped up at this sentence:

"And over her plaid-loving corpse will she join him."

It's awkward.

Megan Reyes said...

“plaid-loving corpse.” I love it. I really like your first paragraph. The voice is great, and it clearly demonstrated Addison’s state of disbelief.

Overall, this query gives a great picture of the overlying conflict.
I was wondering about when she “learns of a traitor.” I’m not sure what you mean by it. Traitor to humanity? Or something more specific? The word “traitor” doesn’t seem significant enough when that person (…or creature?...) is trying to allow zombies to run wild (you didn’t use the word zombies… that just what I picture when you said “dead people”). That sounds like an evil-psychopath more than just a “traitor.” I would like to know a bit more about the villain in your story.

Also… the “boy in the mirror” was a bit abrupt. Perhaps we could learn a bit more about him?

I noticed you pitched this as part romance, which doesn’t really come out in the query very much (other than her gravitational attraction to the professor) so perhaps highlight that aspect a bit more.

Overall, I LOVE your voice and Addison seems like a fun and believable character! Sounds like a fun story!

emaginette said...

Very professional.

jennifermeaton.com said...

I love the voice in this query, and it spills right on over into the first page.

The idea seems original and interesting, and the main character is someone I'd like to see more of.

Julie Reece said...

Ooh, intriguing opening scene. Coupled with the tease of the query, I would love to read more!

Melinda said...

Unique premise. And I like the title.

The query seemed a little repetitive to me. You've already laid out the problem when you mentioned her denial about it, so when you mention the 'traitor' and 'scheming jerk,' I assume this is all just referring to Professor Green. If he's not actually the villain, this needs to be made more clear. And the 'boy in the mirror' comes out of nowhere. He either needs to be explained or left out of the query.

Mandy P. said...

Your first 250 are great. I can definitely sense her denial and the crazy that she's barely holding back. the only sentence that really tripped me up was the first one. This is super nitpicky and probably more of a style thing than anything but I would end the sentence as "sped off with it." I don't think the "like a kid with a kite string" adds much.

In your query I'm not sure the single paragraph "Right" is necessary. I think the "And over her plaid-loving corpse will she join him" gets across the message and voice well enough. So I think you could cut the "right" and go straight to "Addison fights..."

Your concept reminds me of Peter F. Hamilton's The Night's Dawn Trilogy and Will McIntosh's Hitchers, but your story seems sufficiently unique from both that I think it stands out!

I would definitely read this. :)

Bridget Smith said...

I really like the style here, but it’s making it a little difficult to parse out what actually happens in this book. I can get glimpses of some very cool ideas – love the secret society that keeps the dead out – but I’m not sure what the plot is. Why is Addison so firmly in denial when she seems to have been living with these weird elements for long time? What exactly would be the problem with this “heaven on Earth for the dead”? Who’s the boy in the mirror, and why is he relevant? I think the query could be made clearer, and that would make it more compelling.

As a side note, one of my little grammar pet peeves: “University student, Addison Beckett, exists in a state of denial.” This is a restrictive appositive, so you don’t need the commas here. :) This is not a dealbreaker, FYI, just a common error that I have made it my mission to eradicate from the world!