Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #10

Dear Ms. Sara Sciuto,

Making a wish isn’t a bad thing, until the wrong one comes true.

It isn’t fair Case has to miss out on her basketball tournament because her sister moved up her wedding date. Did anyone even think to ask Case if she wanted to play princess bridesmaid?

No way.

Wishing she could get away from all the lace, cake and blah, blah, blah, twelve-year-old Case hides in her room, sneaking her father’s prized book of fairy tales with her. That’s when all kinds of rose petal crazy blows up. There’s even a creepy voice calling for someone named Fable Ranger. When it all clears, Case still has the book, but she’s far--very far--from everything she knows.

Case finds she’s trapped in the land of Lorealia, a place where make-believe comes to life, Robin Hood can be cranky and worse, there’s no basketball. And in a world where the prince always saves the day, there’s no room for a girl to be a hero…chosen or not. Only one way Case can escape: fix the stories the evil Dovetail’s magic mixed up so she can wish her way back home.

Easy peasy, except for the beady-eyed doves following her. Dovetail’s bounty on her head and a hungry tiger don’t help either as Case tries to save an Arabian Nights legend close to disappearing and a sleepy fairy tale about to end in a never ever after.

ONE WISH ASTRAY is a 30,000 word middle grade fairy tale mash up with series potential.

I look forward to hearing back from you and appreciate you taking the time to consider my novel as you work toward building your MG list.



Mom always told me to check before I answered the door. I really should have listened. Darius and Wynton stood on my porch, eyes wide with surprise.

“Case?” Darius tucked a basketball between his arm and side, snickering.

“In a dress? You’re not turning princess on us, are you?” Wynton added. His forehead wrinkled when he lifted his eyebrows, more confused than curious.

My neck and ears tingled. My freckles probably spelled e-m-b-a-r-r-a-s-s-e-d across my cheeks and nose. Swearing my best friends to a “Don’t you dare tell anyone about this!” was a must.

Mom called out from her studio instead. “Case! Close that door before bugs get in here.”

“Look, guys.” My hands dangled at my sides. I balled them into fists and gave Wynton and Darius my best evil eye. I hoped. “I have to get back so mom can finish the hem on this, ugh, thing, for next weekend.”

“That’s why we stopped by,” Darius said. “We thought you’d want to get in some hoops since, well, you know.”

I knew, alright, but I couldn’t help staring at the basketball, as if the worn leather called to me, tempting me like mom’s fresh baked cookies left unguarded on the cooling rack.


Anonymous said...

I really like the first 250, but I think the query could be tighter. When I first started reading, I assumed it was YA because of the mention of the sister's wedding, even though the voice sounded younger. You could easily move her age up to that first paragraph to take care of that. I'm also not sure about the very first line. It's a good line, but I didn't connect that she'd actually wished herself away until I read it a second time. I think it's because of the structure of that sentence when she makes the wish. With the wish being part of the opening clause, I skimmed over it a bit. I also stumbled over the mention of her being chosen since that hadn't been established. And there's a lot going on in those paragraphs while she's trapped in the fairy tales. You have some really great phrases in this query, like the one about ending in a "never ever after." I think if you just tie it all together a bit more it will be fantastic. The voice in the 250 is great. Good luck!

R.F. said...

The 250 are really wonderful. It feels authentic. I agree with the above comment, though, the query meanders a bit. HOWEVER, I still wanted to read the 250 after reading it. I could tell the concept was one I'd like, and then your 250 really drew me in.

I think you could start with the paragraph about getting away from her sisters wedding, maybe working in the part about the basketball tournament somehow. I also think you could streamline the information you give us about the fairy tale world. Focus on the Case's goal, not all the little details.

I am not an expert query writer, so these are just my opinions, but I would hate to see this miss opportunities because the query isn't streamlined enough. Your voice in your 250, and your concept, are both engaging.

Thanks for sharing and best of luck!

Karen lee Hallam said...

Ooo, love the query! I choke-laughed at "all kinds of rose petal crazy blows up." She has to fix the fairy tales--this is going to be FUN! That first sentence is a good hook.

I like how the first page sets up Darius' mood.(her balled up fists, evil eye, etc.) Her tension hits you up front. Nice work. And best of luck!

Candice said...

You've got some wonderful lines! The "all kinds of rose petal crazy" also made me smile and that first line of your query is going to look great on your book cover :).

And the line "in a world where the prince always saves the day" made me sincerely hope that Case will prove this fairy tale different.

Great job on voice, especially in the query.

Agent Sara Sciuto said...

I enjoyed this query! I like the idea of a fairy tale mash-up and thought the juxtaposition of a tomboy girl in a fairy tale world made for an interesting premise. Market-wise, there have been A LOT of fairy tale retellings of late, so that gave me some concern but I think by doing a mash-up it gives you a bit more leeway to create a unique story. While the query held my interest, the description was a bit long, and I think you could get across the important elements in half the words.

For the sample pages, I enjoyed them, but it feels like there's room to create more interest in this crucial first page. Is there a more compelling live scene to start with, rather than her opening the door to her friends in a dress? Overall though, I enjoyed this one!

Angela Brown said...

Thanks so much for the comments. The suggestions and ideas shared are wonderful nuggets of feedback for me to marinate and act on :-)