Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #11

Dear Agent,

I was made aware that you're looking for New Adult in this years Agents Inbox contest and I believe you would be pleased with my novel, Autumn Fire. It's a Fantasy complete at 75,000 words.

All Naomi Holmes wanted to do after her father died was to leave. Not just from her less than loving mother and sister, but the killings.

On one night, she decided to go on her daily jog just before city curfew. Not only does she find the source of the slaughters, but thanks to Nate Selly, she's brought into a war between 2 species: One is a 6' green, scaled demon with pitch black eyes, and tiny fangs for teeth. The other is a group of people Nate is involved with that apparently has 'magical powers' that calls themselves Warriors. After she joins the Warriors--though not without fighting and yelling at them--she has to travel around the globe with them to gather crystals for more strength.

For these people, they're pleased to have found their savior. As for Naomi, all she wants to do is to go back home. However, as time passes, it comes to her attention that there's another threat that the warriors know about yet haven't told her. After demanding an answer, one of them is abducted as bait for her. Because she's the only one who can use the crystals, Isaac Silverman wants her dead. Even though part of her was yelling to get out now, she was convinced the other Warriors would rather continue to find the crystals rather than rescue their friend. So, Naomi has to take it into her own hands to save one of her own kidnappers.

There are a few parts where Naomi has to fight hand-to-hand frequently. As someone who's taking Krav Maga classes, I feel I'm suited to write this book.

Thank you for the chance and your time.



It was around 8:30pm that the local news had another broadcast about another slain body. They didn't show the corpse out of respect for the loved ones, but described it as a young Latino female. This had been going on for about 12 years: a body would be found with wide, deep gashes or strange bite marks. After an hour, the body disappeared. Some families had been furious and demanded to see the hospital footage, and from what aired on the news, there were pitch black pits where the eyes used to be and 2 rows of fangs before the screen went out.

Some people have freaked out and started screaming that the zombie apocalypse had started, but Naomi Holmes didn't believe that. If that were the case, the "zombies" would attack the first people it would find which would usually be the doctors and nurses. However, even so, Naomi found herself gripping her kneecaps in her hands tightly, sitting on the couch, as she watched the broadcast unfold. When a picture of the deceased girl showed up, she had light brown eyes, a wide grin, and wavy black hair flowing past her shoulders. She didn't look much older than Naomi.

"Naomi, are you going to eat or what?" her mom barked from the kitchen.

After flinching, Naomi looked out of the living room door. She wasn't planning to since she ate a late lunch today, but knew if she tried protesting, her mom would start on how important it is to eat three meals a day. As if she didn't get that enough from her old Health teacher in school.


Unknown said...

This sounds like it will have a lot of great action in it! The query left me wondering a little bit about:
What killings?
How does Nate bring her into the War?
Why is she the saviour?
What is at stake?
That being said, this story sounds full of excitement and intrigue and I wish you luck in your writing!

Mike M said...

Opening your query in the passive voice is a red flag.

And don't say 'I believe you would be pleased.' She will either be pleased or she won't.

Personally I would not put Krav Maga classes in my bio, but that might just be me.

I quit your words after one sentence. Weak prose. Sorry.

KRwriter said...

The query should be in present tense, and it's too long. You should cut all the extraneous info and focus on what the main character wants, what's motivating them, and what are the stakes if they don't achieve their goal?

The excerpt has a lot of awkward sentences, passive voice and unnecessary words. It was difficult to get through. Have you read act books on craft? The Fire in Fiction is a good one. Keep writing!

Heather said...

I think you're off to a good start but I would work on eliminating the passivity in your query ("I was made aware" etc) and tighten up your sentences in the writing sample.

Laura Moe said...

Sorry, but this one is not ready yet. Work on strengthening the prose in the query and the sample. And what writing credentials do you have!

Typos in the manuscript. It may be a matter of technology not transmitting your mss correctly, but and agent won't read a sample loaded with typos.

Secret Agent said...


If you write your query in present tense it helps add immediacy to it. Even if your book is in past tense. This also helps eliminate passive voice—which is always a red flag for agents.

You say that this is fantasy, but I’m guessing maybe urban fantasy? Paranormal? I’m having a hard time nailing down the constraints of your world. There’s a city curfew, which sounds dystopian, but there are demons and people who practice magic, which sounds like urban fantasy/paranormal. A little clarification about your world would elevate the query.

I’m also confused how Naomi enters this group and immediately becomes the “savior”. Does she have a special ability? Why on earth is she “fighting and yelling” at them? Without context, this makes her seem a bit unlikeable. What do they do to make her feel threatened?

The crystals are confusing, also. There’s no context or reason for Naomi to go after them. I would suggest adding the reason they’re important or deleting the mention altogether.

Could you take some space in the fourth paragraph to explain the nature of the war Naomi finds herself in. What side is she on? Why are they fighting? How does her father’s death figure into this? There is a lot of general language around the abduction, Isaac Silverman (not mentioned before...) and the Warriors which immediately causes me to lose interest. Concise specifics here would be helpful.


Unfortunately, the opening page didn’t grab me at all. The language is too generic and your sentence structure is too weak. I would rather immediately know how these killings affect Naomi since she’s dealing with her own grief.