Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An Agent's Inbox #20

Dear Ms. Sciuto,

Twelve-year-old black belt-in-training Luna “Harry” Coventry has a lot of theories about what happened to her missing mom and twin, Celeste. Kidnapping. Brainwashing. Murder. It’s a lifelong mystery she’s almost given up on solving, until a head injury triggers a freaky twin connection that gives Harry a glimpse of Celeste’s life.

Now that she knows Celeste and her mom are alive, Harry will do anything to recreate the twin link and figure out where they’ve been the past twelve years. But when a ritual makes her briefly switch bodies with Celeste, the truth is crazier than she could have imagined. Because Celeste’s world? Definitely not Earth.

A galaxy away, Celeste is reeling from the news that she’s an Earth Dweller--something no one bothered to tell her--but there’s a lot more at stake than her identity crisis. Because Dexelon's number one priority is hiding its existence from Earth, and thanks to her connection with Harry, Celeste just became a serious threat. One Dexelon won’t hesitate to eliminate.

Too bad Harry’s black belt training didn’t cover how to stage an intergalactic search and rescue.

Told in Harry and Celeste’s alternating viewpoints, THE DEXELON TWINCIDENT is a 47,000-word middle grade novel that will appeal to fans of Wendelin Van Draanan, James Riley, and Beth Revis. It’s like “The Parent Trap” with a science fiction element.

A member of SCBWI and the St. Louis Writer’s Guild, I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Baylor University. Although I have broken a board, my Tae Kwon Do knowledge is from my mom, who is a fourth degree black belt. My professional background is in public relations.

I’ve pasted the first 250 words below. Thanks for considering!



Mr. Hayes closed the blinds, shutting out the early afternoon sunlight. Everyone knew what that meant. Slide time. Or nap time, depending on who you asked.

“Today we’re starting a new unit,” Mr. Hayes said. “Astronomy.”

Astronomy. Harry drew in a deep breath, way too loud for Mr. Hayes to ignore.

“Is something wrong, Miss Coventry?”

“No,” she muttered, picking at a piece of tape stuck to her desk. “It’s just … that’s what my mom studied.”

Peeking up, she waited for the teacher’s mouth to droop in that you-poor-thing expression adults adopted at any mention of her mom, but all he did was cock his head. “Ah, of course. Luna means moon.”

She cringed at the reference to her given name. Mr. Hayes clicked off the lights, and a boy in the back sang out, “Loony Lovegood!”

She twisted around, scanning the darkness for the culprit who obviously didn’t understand he’d just prodded a sleeping dragon. No one called her that--not since a first grade bully dared and she performed a front kick that sent him flying onto the playground pavement. Then, her best friend, Owen, had sneered down at the bully and said, “Shows what you know. Obviously she’s Harry, not Luna.”

She’d been Harry ever since.

She shouldn’t have done it, though. Her Tae Kwon Do instructor always said you should only kick or punch someone if your life was in danger and you couldn’t run away or call for help.

But it was totally worth it.


Unknown said...

This is great. The query sets up everything very well, and makes me want to read more! Love your first 250 as well - the story about how she got her nickname is fantastic! And so's Luna's voice.

One suggestion: in the query's third paragraph, second sentence, I think you should take out "Because" to make the sentence clearer. You could also replace it with "planet" (I think Dexelon's a planet?).

That's all I've got. Good luck!

Jamie Corrigan said...

I actually really like this. Your query sets up the story perfectly and I even like Harry's name. Your last line is great in what is already a strong 250. My favorite part though is how the teacher didn't react like other adults did to her mentioning her mom. Great job & good luck!

Trellis said...

Well done. The query reads clearly and presents the characters and stakes. The opening 250 are a little 'telly' for me but still have a good voice and give a glimpse of character that's really appealing. I'd definitely keep reading.

Jamie Krakover said...

I love the changes you've made to your query. It reads so smoothly now. nice job.

I also love the first 250 which I haven't seen before. So many good lines in there. my favorite was"Slide time. Or nap time, depending on who you asked." That's such a school thing to think. I also enjoyed the HP reference.

I wish you luck with this :)

Candice said...

Can't wait to read the rest when it's published!

The query seems concise and reveals details in a way that leaves me intrigued. Your voice is apparent in both the query and first 250 which always gives me a hard time so kudos for that.

I thought you handled your backstory nicely without stopping the forward momentum.

Agent Sara Sciuto said...

I enjoyed this query! I liked all of the elements you mentioned, with the twin connection, and the missing mother and sister, and finally the alien element. Though, although I was excited by these elements individually I did worry that this sounded like there was going to be too much going on, and went into the sample pages a bit skeptical. It's one of those things were it's awesome if you have the skills to pull it off, but it's hard to do--which is why I look to the sample pages for your technical ability.

Happily, I really enjoyed the sample pages, and found them very focused and polished. I thought the voice was great and age-appropriate and I really got a strong sense of her personality in this brief sample. Sounds promising!