Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #14

Dear Ms. Gref,

I read that you have a "weak spot" for fairy tale retellings. I hope that my YA contemporary fantasy, THE GLASS PRINCE, is a story that will appeal to you.

Clara Knight wants nothing more than to perfect her baking skills, enjoy her seventeenth birthday party with friends, and go to prom with her super-popular boyfriend. But then Rion rolls into town, complete with golden-boy good looks and a sexy British accent. When Rion kisses her in front of her boyfriend and all her party guests, all social-hell breaks loose.

Clara flees to upstate New York, accepting her estranged Grandma’s invitation to spend the summer with her. Grandma did promise to unveil some secret family tradition, after all.  What Clara actually learns is that she shares a curse with Rion, the immortal son of Snow White, and that her family is bound to help him. Too bad he seems more interested in kissing Clara than breaking curses.

When a family heirloom and moonlight whoosh her away to the prince’s hometown of Elysia, hundreds of years in the past, Clara finds a cryptic riddle--her first clue to breaking the curse. As she digs deeper into her family’s past, she realizes that Dad’s death, always thought to be an accident, might have actually been murder. And when Grandma starts acting rather “witchy” and seems to be plotting against her, Clara realizes that working with the boy she loves to hate is her only chance for survival.

THE GLASS PRINCE is complete at 72,000 words and the first 250 words are pasted below, per the contest guidelines. I earned a BA in English from Weber State University, am a member of SCBWI, the League of Utah Writers and the Pied Pipers online critique group. I attend at least one writing conference every year and, of course, I'm always reading. I appreciate your time and consideration.



My grandma is alive. Wow. I’d said the words earlier, when I’d first opened and read her letter out loud. They’d tasted foreign on my tongue. I thought them again now, alone and safe in my bedroom. I sunk deeper into my cushy turquoise comforter as I stared at the ceiling and contemplated my not-so-dead grandma’s words. Come to New York, her letter had said. I’ve got a family secret to share. I snorted. As if the fact that she was alive wasn’t secret enough?

I picked up the letter again and held it at arm’s length in front of my face. Her words were so cold, so matter-of-fact. There were no apologies. No explanations for her absence in my life for the past seventeen years. She did wish me a happy birthday. Did she think that was enough?  Oh, yeah. The necklace. I dropped the letter and let it flutter to the edge of my bed. I felt around for a thin chain that had a silver key attached to it. When my fingers made contact with it, I held it up so I could see it. The head of the key was a red ruby apple wearing a tiny silver crown and when the sun rays filtering in from my bedroom window touched it, it twinkled.

Funny. For a grandmother I’d never known, her gift somehow seemed familiar. I let it swing like a pendulum in front of my face, dipping my hand lower and lower until the bottom of the key hit my nose.


Heather said...

Really intriguing concept. I love the idea of Snow White and the witch's descendants. Very cool!
I read the entire query and enjoyed the first 250. I do think you could punch up the first couple of sentences. My grandma is alive is good. But maybe something about how she feels about that. Questions swirling in her mind, fingertips itching to call her, etc. Instead of 'wow.'
On the first sentence of the second paragraph I think you could drop "in front of my face."
This sounds like a really fun read. Good luck!

Rebecca Santelli said...

I'm a sucker for fairy-tale retellings too, so this is definitely the kind of book I would pick up and read. I'd suggest shortening the synopsis portion of the query (possible combine the first two paragraphs into something shorter and punchier perhaps something like "After a disastrous birthday party, Clara Knight flees to upstate New York where her estranged grandmother reveals that the sexy bad-boy who destroyed her party and her life is the immortal son of Snow White and she's suppose to help him break an ancient curse." I might reveal exactly what the curse is so we know why it's worth Clara risking her life to break it. It sounds like a fun story and I enjoyed the opening page as well.

Rebecca Kagan said...

A fun story I'd like to read! I enjoyed the first 250 and would definitely turn the page. Besides the other questions you raised about her grandmother, I'm curious as to why she lowered the pendant until it hit her chin.
There are two places in here where you have in "front of my face", I'd delete one.
I agree the first paragraph of the query could be tightened and shortened. Survival is an excellent goal, you may want to let us know if that's her only goal, and if anything else drives her do discover her family history.
Good Luck!

Emily Gref said...

Hi D.W.,

This is an intriguing twist on the fairy tale retelling!

Your query is strong, although without knowing what the curse is it's difficult to know what the stakes are here. Your first 250 may also give too much away... the necklace makes me think that Grandma is the reincarnation of the Evil Queen. If that's the case, that clue would really take the wind out of the sails of that reveal.

I also don't see the appeal of Rion - all we know about him is that he wants to kiss Clara, apparently against her will, which is pretty gross.

I would suggest elaborating on the curse in the second paragraph, and then focus on the tension between Rion and Clara in the 3rd paragraph - with just a brief mention of "all is not as Grandma makes it seem".

Hope that helps! Best of luck.

All the best,