Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #19

Dear Agent,

With her homemade hairstyles, lack of hand-eye coordination, and cheeks that turn scarlet at the very idea of talking to the perfectly sculpted socialites at her Southern California high school, seventeen-year-old Cassidy Richards is the ideal canvas for bullies to use to perfect their art. So Cassidy’s loyal friend since middle school creates a 12-Step Confidence Intervention Program to start her senior year fresh and give Cassidy the confidence boost she needs.

As Cassidy stumbles through the steps of the program, she accidentally flashes a group of guys from her school, gets called out in class for crying during a reading of her ex's poem, and goes on a horrendous date that lands her in jail.When things finally seem like they're getting better, Cassidy makes the stupidest bet of her life with her biggest bully, Cadee. If Cassidy can't get the attention of her crush, who is dating Cadee, she'll lose the bet, resulting in Cadee picking Cassidy's date to Homecoming and wearing a 'loser' sign that would clash with any dress.

AWKWARD ANONYMOUS is a YA contemporary novel, complete at 75,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.



As I stood in a pool of my own vomit, I realized it was entirely Veronica's fault. She told me to break up with Seth. It was number one on her stupid 12-Step Confidence Intervention Program. In theory, yeah, it made sense as she explained it to me. Seth and I had reached Act III in our relationship and it was starting to feel like more of a tragedy than a fairytale.

When we first started dating, we couldn't keep our hands and eyes off each other. An infatuation induced filter covered our eyes so that we viewed the other as a perfect specimen.

Now when we kissed, my mind kept wandering, wondering if I put the cap back on the toothpaste or if there were any movies out that I wanted to see.

So I could understand Veronica's point that Seth and I needed to break up.

But standing on my front porch, staring at the puke covering our legs and shoes, maybe I picked a bad night. Maybe Veronica was wrong. Maybe we should stay together. Maybe...

"Son of a..." A string of swear words tumbled from Seth's mouth. A caring boyfriend would be concerned about my health, not freaking out about how gross it was. As if I couldn't see that. Or smell it.

"Sorry." I covered my mouth with my hand and took a gulp, letting the nastiness ooze back down.

"Sorry?" Seth kept swearing. I'd never heard him drop so many f-bombs in one sentence. "Disgusting, Cassidy. What's wrong with you?"


Kathleen said...

I liked your page. I'm a bit confused about the query. Why would she let someone tell her to break up with her boyfriend, it seems like she's being passive to follow the "rules" for the 12 step confidence path, I mean unless that's your character arc, passive at the beginning and able to make her own choices later on. I'd change on of their names because Cadee and Cassidy are too much alike. I might look at chapter one if I were an agent just to see where the story is going. Good luck!

Mike M said...

Your page could use work. It isn't clean.

It is Veronica's fault, and at first I think it is Veronica in the vomit with MC. I don't realize boyfriend is there until later.

Love the vomit line to open, but it goes downhill from there.

Rosalyn said...

The list of mishaps in the query made me laugh, and I enjoyed the voice in the excerpt. I was a little confused at first as to who the vomit belonged to. The first sentence of the query was just a little long and I had to read it twice. Maybe trim?

Heather said...

Oh, poor sweet Cassidy! I think you have really likable main character here.

Laura Moe said...

Poor Cassidy. Love the premise. She seems a bit immature for seventeen. She sounded more like fourteen, but perhaps that's why she's a bully target .

Your opening is confusing. A lot of characters in that small space of text. Keep it in Cassidy's POV for a few more lines.

Consider changing Cadee's name. Cassidy-Cadee could lead to reader confusion.

CherylAnne Ham said...

I got a very strong sense of Cassidy's character from this query and opening pages. I also like that your query sets up the conflict and stakes in a way that's easy to follow. And "wearing a 'loser' sign that would clash with any dress" is a great line!

This could just be me, I was confused by the reason for the vomit in the first sentence. Is it just nerves that causes her to throw up? If I were in Cassidy's head a bit more before this opening line, I may have felt more grounded through your opening page.

logansrun161 said...

I liked your first page a lot. Poor Cassidy, and what a "lovely" boyfriend, he sure is a keeper :) About the query, I really liked the first paragraph, but was a little confused by the second. It feels a bit like a synopsis. It might be better to skip telling some of the troubles she gets into in the twelve step program, and to go straight to the main conflict with the bully, and the stakes. Other than that this is great, and a really cool story concept!

Heather Ezell said...

As someone who tripped and failed through Southern CA social life, I love what you having going here!

That said, I was confused by your query on the first sentence. I'd recommend trimming it. Because there are so many awesome details to start with, by the time I read "the ideal canvas for bullies to use to perfect their art" I was slightly overloaded and wasn't able to get what you meant until I reread the line a few times. In this case, simpler might be best.

Love the idea of a 12-Step Confidence Intervention Program and intrigued by the dynamics between Cassidy and her loyal friend. Is her loyal friend Miss Popular somehow or is she also down on the totem poll or what?

I like the list of plot events, but they didn't really tell me what to actually anticipate and I'm confused by who Cadee is and where the bet came in. Is it a part of the program? Why did Cassidy agree? Just some points that need clarifying.

I think you can open your pages with a stronger bam of a sentence. Put Cassidy in an active roll, not in pile of vomit that's another girl's fault. I also found the first paragraph off putting. It's hard to root for Cassidy already, because she's seemingly just broke up with a guy for superficial reasons. So let's get more into her heart and motive asap! And I'm not sure why she puked. I'm assuming she's drink, but that's probably something you don't want left for interpretation.

That aside, I'm really compelled by this and would keep reading to see how things played out!

Secret Agent said...

Sometimes it’s refreshing to read a query about a girl who doesn’t have it all together. She isn’t snarky or sassy. I like that. However, I would be interested to know, in your query why Cassidy is so socially awkward. Was she raised by awkward people? Live in a foreign country? Yes, there are awkward teens in every school, but I’d love to know a little bit more of her backstory in this query.

I would like to know a little bit more about the best friend. Why is she qualified to set up this program? Does she ooze self-confidence even though she's off-beat? Is she popular? Why is she helping Cassidy with this? Because she's a good friend?

Also, the only characters you mention by name in the query have very similar names. I found it very confusing and couldn’t really keep Cadee and Cassidy straight.

That said, you set the stakes very well and Cassidy’s journey is a compelling one.


Cassidy makes quite the impression in these opening pages. Poor girl. She puked because she broke up with Seth, correct? It’s almost entirely clear. :)