Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #20

Dear Ms. Gref,

My previous agent left the business, so I'm querying again. Because of your listing in #MSWL for a story containing fantasy world building with a contemporary voice, I'm hoping to pique your interest with my latest work.

While the world sleeps, Alice Kingston spends her nights fighting creatures known as Nightmares. Without someone to stop them, these fugly beasts threaten to plunge the world into chaos and misery. When the tall, dark, and annoying Addison Hatta charmed Alice into this life, she expected things to be less guts more glory. Instead, the battles grow bloodier, the days darker, and Hatta a little mad…der.

When his mental state deteriorates into fits and rages, Alice crosses into his home world of Wonderland to find out what the fel is going on. She’s intercepted by The Black Knight, whose sharp wit and sly compliments disarm her better than any weapon despite the fact he's an a**. He’s the one controlling the Nightmares, using them to spread his darkness and destruction. Once his power reaches far enough the bastard will unleash a cataclysm, warping Wonderland from the inside and Hatta along with it. Alice’s world is next. Countering the Black Knight’s spell will save Hatta’s life, but the backlash could shatter the bridge between worlds, throwing them off balance and casting both into eternal terror.

DREAMWALKER is a young adult fantasy with series potential complete at 86,000 words, where the whimsy of Alice in Wonderland meets the unadulterated a**-kickery of Buffy. Per the contest guidelines the first 250 words are posted below. I thank you for your time and consideration.



This is stupid, Alice decided. If someone Googled stupid they’d find a picture of her sitting in the dirt waiting to be attacked. Hatta and his dumb ideas. Try live bait, he said. Won’t take long, he said. A**.

The cold of the ground seeped into her jeans and numbed her skin. A shiver shook her and she wrapped her arms around herself to ward off the nighttime chill.

As time stretched, shadows filled the forest. Tangled branches, leaves and vines choked the canopy, keeping the moonlight at bay. The smell of damp earth mingled with the sharp scent of moss and fresh water. Creatures chittered, calling to one another, no doubt mocking her. She felt incredibly mockable.

This wasn’t just stupid, it was crazy, but after trudging through the woods for hours, exhausted and starving, who wouldn’t be somewhat unhinged?

Something croaked a low moooooooron.

“Oh, come on!” Alice’s shout swept outward in echoing waves, silencing the forest save the whispering wind. “Fine. Fine! S’fine.” She pushed to her feet and dusted off her butt. “Guess we’ll do this the hard way.”

She’d backtrack to the Gateway. Hopefully the trail hadn’t gone cold. As she walked, an odd sort of pressure slid along her limbs. Goose bumps prickled her flesh. She paused. 

Everything remained still, quiet enough for her to hear to the wind more clearly as it became a low, heavy pulsing rush. Whuush. Whuush.

Not wind. Breathing.

This plan was stupid, but it worked.


Tiffany Garner said...

Per the contest, we're supposed to comment on two of the other entries, correct? Well, here's one of them!

I think your story sounds interesting, but the query itself didn't grab me. There was too much telling and not enough showing. I felt like I was reading an outline - bulletpoints of what happens - instead of a hook to grab my attention.

That being said, I think you have an interesting story here!

Donea Lee said...

I loved your first 250 - lush descriptions, humor and a tense ending that makes me want to know what happens next. Great job! (the groaning moron and "incredibly mockable" were faves).

And while I like the twist on Alice in Wonderland...while I read the query, I kept asking myself, "Why?" Why Alice? And why would she agree to that kind of life? The "more glory than guts" reasoning didn't quite do it for me. And what does she personally have to risk or gain, when all's said and done? Like the concept, but I did have questions. Just my humble two cents ~ :)

MeriAnn said...

Sounds like a really great story. I felt that the query was maybe a little too long. I want to be intrigued, without knowing the entire story. At the end of the query, I felt a little confused by what the story was actually about, but I enjoyed the first 250 of the book!

Tizzy Potts said...

This sounds like a really interesting read. I love anything to do with Alice in Wonderland, so that alone is enough to draw me in, but I enjoyed your dark twist on the tale. I love the title and the idea of a Buffy-esque Alice battling Nightmares. The only thing that put me off a little was some of the language-particularly the words 'fugly' and 'fel'. I'm not against profanity in fiction, but these slang words felt a little forced to me, as if they were stuck in there to sound 'cool' or something. I understand that you're trying to appeal to a YA audience, but personally I think the query would seem more dramatic without these in. Just a thought. Overall it's still a book I would pick up off the shelf.

Martha Mayberry said...

I really enjoyed your first 250; your writing is lovely.

Your query confused me. It comes across as MG in places, yet YA-A in others. I think it's the words fugly and fel. They sound too cute to me. Also, I'm not sure if you elude to love interests, or not, with the tall, dark and annoying comment; for me, guts and glory don't tie with the romantic implication, so I'm left wondering.

That said, it sounds like a fun story; all the best with it!

Rebecca Kagan said...

I liked the 250 and would read on. I liked Alice's character and her questioning of herself as she goes. I would like to see more of her goal in the first page.
Good job on the query. It has major stakes for both the world and her.

Emily Gref said...

Hi L.L.M.,

Well, I have to say that normally I do not go in for Alice in Wonderland retellings, but I loved your first 250, so good job. ;)

Your query could use some polish - the third paragraph gets a little muddy. Is the main conflict saving Hatta, or saving Alice's world? Why doesn't countering the Black Knight's spell do both?

Otherwise, very strong!

All the best,