Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #18

Dear Ms. Sciuto,

Since you are seeking YA fiction in a variety of genres, I thought my manuscript would interest you.  The Shadow of Light is a YA sci-fi adventure with a romantic component.

Eighteen-year-old Kira Sinclair hates her absent father.  If he truly loved her mother, like she says he did, how could he abandon them?  It never occurred to her that he didn't have a choice--until now.

After Kira is pummeled by a burst of light from a falling star, she finds herself visiting a mysterious world whenever she falls asleep.  She realizes the dream world is not just a figment of her imagination; it's an Earth-like world--with human inhabitants--that exists inside a black hole.  Kira learns she is linked to the world through a portal of fading starlight.  When the last beams die, she will be trapped in whichever world she inhabits. 

Randomly crossing between worlds and working against time, she fights to return home until she finds out that her father is trapped within the realm of the black hole.  Risking permanent entrapment in the strange world, Kira desperately searches for her missing father.  With help from an attractive stranger, Kira uncovers the purpose of the world inside the black hole and an ancient power protected within its core.  As dark energy threatens to destroy life on planets throughout the universe, Kira must decide if she can return home, ignoring all she has learned, or use the ancient power in an attempt to save them all.  

As an MBA, my work revolves around the altogether un-literary pursuits of writing legal contracts, social marketing and website content, and business plans.  Writing, however, is my true passion.

The Shadow of Light is complete at 50,000 words and could serve as the first in a series.  I am including 250 words and would be delighted to send the full manuscript at your request.  Thank you for your time.  I look forward to hearing from you.



The greeting card fell into the campfire.  I watched as hungry flames reduced it to ash.  There was no point in reading it.

"Kira."  Fingers snapped within inches of my face.

"Sorry, Faye.  I didn't hear you," I said.

"Another fake birthday card from your mom?" she asked as she carefully roasted marshmallows for a S'mores.

Grabbing a stick near my feet, I poked the smoldering embers.  "Yea.  I don't know why she pretends he keeps in touch, let alone remembers my birthday."  

"Isn't it obvious?  She believes you think they're from your dad," Faye answered.  "Why don't you just tell her you know she writes them?"

"I don't want to hurt her feelings.  Maybe it helps her cope."

"Maybe.  Or, I don't know, maybe you guys could just talk about it."

"Yea, right," I said.  "It won't change the fact that he left and it certainly won't bring him back."

"Didn't know you wanted him to come back," Faye said, smirking.

"Very funny.  You know I don't."  I looked up to the moonlit sky.  "Only the stars know where he is.  And I hope it stays that way."

Laughter and cheering erupted on the other side of the fire.  The guys were competing to see who could fit the most marshmallows in their mouths.  Zane held the record with fifteen big ones.  He looked at me and signaled his standing victory with two thumbs up and a marshmallow-filled grin. 

I couldn't help but return a smile; he looked so silly.


Jamie Krakover said...

I really like your concept here, and I think you did a good job with the query. My one suggestion would be to ditch the first paragraph. I don't think that information is necessary for the query, and the part that really made me take notice was the second paragraph. Otherwise you did a good job of setting up the stakes.

In the first 250, I was interested, but I think the dialogue could be tightened a bit. At points it feels a tad repetitive.

I was a little jarred when I got to the marshmallow bit. You went from a somewhat serious topic of her mom trying to fake birthday cards from her dad, to teen fun. I think the marshmallow bit is fun, and interesting but I'm wondering if maybe rearranging the order a bit might help the flow.

Despite this I would keep reading looking to find out what is up with Mom covering for absent Dad, and if it affects her ability to celebrate her birthday.

I wish you luck moving forward this it sounds like a really great story.

Zainab Khan said...

Your query letter reminded me of A Wrinkle in Time and a super hero story. It does grab my attention to read the MS.

I liked the way you began the story. However, I would have used dialogue to transition from the birthday card to the marshmallow eating boys. That would be more effective.

Good luck!

Summer said...

Thanks for your comments! I added a line of dialog to my manuscript to smooth the serious to fun transition.

Agent Sara Sciuto said...

Thanks for your query! YA sci-fi adventure is up my alley, so I was excited to keep reading your query. However, when I got to the description it sounded more like a high fantasy query. You included a lot of the complexities of the world that can be pretty overwhelming to those of us who aren't at all familiar with the world. In these cases, I would keep it simple for the query, and just share enough information about the world and the central to give the agent a good sense of what the stories going to be about, without necessarily knowing all of these world details.

For the sample pages, I like that you dropped the reader right into a live scene. Though, I was missing a stronger sense of time and place--as it's almost entirely dialogue until you get to that last paragraph and we see that she's at a campfire party with a bunch of other people. Overall, a nice query!