Wednesday, August 20, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #26

Dear Agent,

When Mae Westaway agreed to help her friend, Brooke, hold a séance, she thought it would be like the rest of Brooke’s Wiccan rituals--a whole lot of nothing. 

She was wrong. 

Tonight’s séance is different. There’s someone on Titanic Brooke wants to meet, and she’ll do anything to make it happen. Too bad, things don’t go exactly as planned, and instead of communicating with the dead, she sends Mae back in time to the ship.

Aboard the luxurious liner, Mae is mistaken as a stowaway and brought to Danny O’Sullivan, a young seminary student who helps penniless passengers prepare for a new life in America. He’s eager to learn more about this mysterious new girl who appeared out of nowhere. But, Mae’s lips are sealed. She just wants to go home.

With the clock ticking, Mae sets off to warn the Captain about the iceberg, and prevent Titanic from sinking. She’s hoping that her knowledge of the past, will create a different the future for everyone on board, including herself.

LIFE SET SAIL is a Young Adult Fantasy complete at 54,000 words. I have a bachelor’s degree in religion, a master’s in media arts, and I am a member of SCBWI.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



I should of taken it as an omen that it was raining when school let out, but I didn’t. I just figured, this is Florida--it's always miserable.

Glancing down at my watch, I heave a sigh. The séance is not for another five hours, but I'm dreading it already. Supporting your friend's hobby is one thing, but helping her contact the dead? I should get a gold medal for this crap.

"Sure you don't want a ride?” Levin whispers in my ear, his breath warm against my skin. “It’s pouring.”

I clutch the straps of his backpack and hover under the tiny awning of the administration building. "My Mom's already on her way." Pulling him closer, I reach my lips to his. "But, thanks for the offer." 

“Get a room!” Brooke exclaims, walking up and shaking her umbrella, sprinkling us with rain. She shoves a soggy piece of paper in my face. “Here, this is for tonight.”

I quickly snatch it out of her hand. “Fine."

She glares at Levin, "And no bailing again for Mr. Ryan Gosling here." 

I fake a wide Miss. America smile. ”Wouldn't miss it for the world." 

"Practice time. Later, b******." She opens her umbrella, and sprints down the sidewalk to catch up with Oviedo High's unofficial pagan club.

"What was that about?" Levin asks. 

I unfold the paper and glance down at the chicken scratch. "She wants to try another séance." 

"Maybe if you sprinkle some fairy dust on her it'll work this time," he laughs.


Unknown said...

Interesting premise. The idea of going back to be a passenger on the Titanic is daunting!

Pen-Up Girl said...

Great query letter. Caught a little off with "I should of," also not sure of the tense, but I'm intrigued enough to want to finish the chapter. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Rework the first line of your pages. Should of? Or should have?

Mel said...

I echo the above- 'should have.'
I like the premise, but the query letter lacked a bit of flow, though not enough not to make me want to read the pages. So I read the pages and liked
them, but I needed to read a couple of things over again to follow. I want to care a bit more about the MC.

Alison said...

The beginning of the query grabbed me, but the beginning of the chapter stopped me cold. Should've instead of should of. Seems trivial but I believe an agent will take any excuse to put something down.

Laura Moe said...

Looks like I'm not the only verb nazi out there. I didn't feel the character would have misused should have with should of, but overall an interesting query. Well done.

Heather said...

Definitely a fun story idea!

Kimberly Vanderhorst said...

There's a great energy in the excerpt and a lot of intrigue in the query. A few technical gaffes that need cleaning up, but otherwise very strong. Nicely done. :)

Unknown said...

Okay, I LOVE the premise! Hurled back in time to the Titanic? I would totally want to read a book like that. It might be worth mentioning in the query why Brooke wants to speak to someone from the Titanic. Does she have someone specific in mind? I think the stakes in this story are excellent. It really makes me wonder what she’ll say to the captain that’s actually convincing.

You did a great job keeping your query brief, so kudos for that. There are a few grammatical errors that need cleaning up, but really, you’re off to a great start. Well done.

SA said...

I love this concept! The voice comes through very clearly in your query, and I was already interested, but then you mentioned the time travel/titanic= brilliant.

As for your pages, I love Mae's voice. Would definitely request more.

Secret Agent said...

Why does Brooke want to meet someone on the Titanic so badly? She a fan of the movie? Related to someone? This is important character motivation. Especially if she’s willing to do anything to make it happen. I don't get a very strong sense of who Brooke is. Can that be added to the query at all?

Also, time travel! It’s always an interesting dichotomy to have a character trying to change the past, but also trying to get home. Does she want to go home? I would like to see some of that tension in the query. Especially if she falls in love with the seminary student in the past.


Your pages were good, though I think it would be best to jump right in to the seance. I liked that about the query. Since we know she’s going to time-travel, (and presumably that’s why people are going to pick up the book) everything before that is precursory.

MR said...

Thank you for your feedback, Mystery Agent! :)

The query can absolutely be adjusted to show the additional information you'd like to know.

And actually, the seance is in the first chapter of the book. It's just a couple more pages after what you read. I wanted to get right to it as well, and not waste time. :)