Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #19

Dear Ms. Gref:
Dee Diller writes lists, mostly about her unsatisfactory fourth grade life. When her mom accidentally flashes the entire class at Parent PE Day, Dee’s humiliated. She figures this is the worst thing that could happen to her. Unfortunately for Dee, school gets worse. Way, way worse. A popularity book lands on her desk and Dee is shocked. People don’t think she’s Funny, or Pretty, or Athletic. Nope, Dee Diller is the Messiest kid at school. There’s an excellent chance Dee won’t ever overcome this awful title. She turns to her secret lists, hoping they’ll save her from a fate of social ruin.
THE DEE LIST is complete at 20,000 words and will appeal to fans of Lauren Child’s CLARICE BEAN series. I’m a member of SCBWI and a Most Promising Middle Grade SCBWI Award Winner.
I understand you’re looking for all genres of MG fiction and while I was reading your well-written blog, sky lavender and cornerless, I discovered you’re a list maker. With this in mind, I thought you might connect with Dee. Thank you for your time and consideration.
My very best,


Facts about my Name
I’m named after my great aunt who I never met and she’s dead now.
That’s really bad luck.
One of the nicknames for my name is Desi.
I do not let people call me Desi.
Desi sounds like someone who likes to drink pickle juice.
My middle name ends with the word man.
Which is weird because I’m a girl.
Desdemona Hillman Diller.
Most people call me Dee.
As if being born with the name Desdemona wasn’t horrible enough, my school had to go and create something called Parent PE Day. God help me. If my mom shows up, school will go from bad to one hundred percent unbearable. She’s the worst athlete I’ve ever seen. When she moves quickly her toes point in towards each other and she flaps her arms all over the place like a bird. 
“Sweetheart!” Mom shouts across the field. "Sweetheart, it's me!"
It's as if she knew I was just thinking about her, except I'm sure she thinks I want her to come, the exact opposite of the truth. I sink my head towards my lap. When I look back up, Mom stands next to Mr. B.
“Hahahahaha,” she laughs.
“Hahahahaha,” he responds.
“Mom,” I interrupt the giggling, on purpose.
“Darling!” Mom says. “Your teacher was just telling me we’re going to be tied together for some sort of race. What fun for us!”

I’d love to dig a hole and hide myself inside it.


Tiffany Garner said...

I love this! My only concern is that I'm not really sure what the plot of the book is from the query - turning to her secret lists doesn't tell me anything about what's going to happen. Also, the voice of your first 250 words might be just a tad too old if she's supposed to be in fourth grade. I could believe sixth, but not quite fourth.

That being said, I really like it :)

Jenni Enzor said...

I agree with Tiffany. I think you need to make the stakes clearer in your query and tell us why the list is going to help. I think the reason her voice sounded a little bit older is that a fourth grader might not be so self-conscious about her mom yet. (But that's just me.)
My other concern was your word count. 20,000 seems too short for MG, unless this is a chapter book. But you do have an interesting character, here, which makes me want to see where you're going with this!

MeriAnn said...

Such fun! I really like the idea behind this book. I think she may seem a little older than 4th grade, and I wonder if that age may be a little young for the middle grade readers to relate to anyway, that being said-I want to read it!

Donea Lee said...

I agree with many of the comments already here - adorable concept, but the voice does sound older. I'm not sure kids in 4th grade are at a point where they are that embarrassed about their parents. Quite the opposite, really. For special school events, it seems like the younger the child, the more excited they are for their parents to show up and embarrassed if they don't. Just my humble opinion, of course. It might be more plausible to have Dee excited for her mom to be there, but that excitement wanes as her mom starts (in Dee's opinion, anyhow) making a fool of herself.

I love the clever title ~ working in her name, her hobby, and her social standing in school all into one. Great! :) Best of luck to you!

GSMarlene said...

This sounds really cute. I like the lists and want to see more of them. I'm not sure how they'll help her - just in a comforting way, or something tangible that makes the other kids see her differently?

Zainab Khan said...

I agree with everyone else. Dee does sound like an older child. I enjoyed reading your first 250 words. I was engaged and didn't want your word count to end. Thanks for sharing! :)

Jennifer Park said...

I thought your query was very effective and to the point. I did have to go back and check her age once I started the first 250, and I have to agree that she does sound older, more of a middle school voice instead of fourth grade. Otherwise, this sounds like a really entertaining story. Good luck!

Emily Gref said...

Hi A.T.S,

This was cute! Dee's voice comes through loud and clear in the sample, which is always the hardest thing about writing in the 1st person.

Your query is strong, but while the hook is there I'm not entirely sure what the overarching plot is supposed to be. Does she meet new people? Does someone find her lists? I need to know a bit more.

Hope this helps, and best of luck!

All the best,