Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #20

Dear Melissa:

Lis Fairchild is excited to meet her sister’s boyfriend, right up until she recognizes him as the random stranger she hooked up with the last time she was home. When Lis tells her sister what happened, she locks herself in her room and refuses to speak to Lis. 

To assuage her guilt, Lis joins The Hallowell Agency, a group of women devoted to exposing cheating husbands and boyfriends. She might have broken her sister’s heart, but at least she can help make sure no other girl has to feel that way. 

She is assigned to investigate Will Stratford, who looks exactly like a young Captain Kirk--on whom Lis has had a crush since her dad introduced her to Star Trek at thirteen. Lis falls hard for Will, but if he responds to her advances…then he’s the kind of guy she can’t fall for.

Lis is ready to leave the Agency and its deceptions behind, until they take on a new client: Lis’s mom. Lis can’t believe that her geeky dad would get his Kling-on with another woman. It’s up to her to find the truth and keep her family together.

BOLDLY GO is a 70,000 word work of Women’s Fiction. Lis volunteers at a vet clinic, which I think will appeal to your love of animals (although I will admit Lis is more of a “dog person”).

Thank you for your consideration, and for participating in An Agent’s Inbox.



It was Nick's fault, really. If he hadn't broken up with me, then lied about leaving Fort Collins, I wouldn't have driven home to Laramie. I wouldn't have missed a shift at work and gotten fired. And then I wouldn't have tried to cheer myself up by going to the second dirtiest bar in Laramie and hooking up with the first guy who showed any interest. Which was how I met Wyatt the first time.

The second time I met Wyatt, he was late for dinner.

Mom and Dad were both glaring at Adele. I felt bad for my little sister, withering under their combined stares, so I tried to help her out by lightening the mood.

"There's a guy in my Biochem class who looks just like a young William Shatner."

They completely ignored me, even Mom, who had been harping on me to get over Nick ever since the "incident" in July. But instead of asking whether I knew his name (I didn't), they started in on Adele.

"Did you tell your boyfriend that we'd be eating dinner promptly at six?" Dad asked. Adele nodded meekly.

"Did he tell you he was going to be late?" Mom that time. Adele shook her head.

I pulled my phone out from its hiding place under my leg. Mom is very strict about not having our phones at the dinner table, but she was too preoccupied with Adele's boyfriend being ten minutes late to notice me checking my e-mail.    


Laurie Dennison said...

Hi! I really love the voice in both the query and the first page. I think you've set up nice stakes as well.

My main question was with the age of the protagonist. I assume she's in college based on the hints, but I can't tell if she's closer to nineteen or young twenties. I'm also curious about the age of her sister. It feels a bit NA to me, and I personally think of women's fiction as having a slightly older protagonist.

I did really enjoy it either way. Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

I agree that this sounds more like a NA story. And I think you'll do better finding an agent for it in that niche. The complications you present are great: sleeping with her sister's boyfriend, her mom showing up for the Agency she works for...

There are a few things that left me confused, though: 1) was Wyatt already dating Adele with Lis sleeps with him? 2) It took me three read-throughs to understand your third paragraph. 3) how will Lis find the truth about her dad? It's not like she could flirt with him, which it sounds like is what the Agency does to expose the cheaters in the first place.

Good luck with this! I loved the voice in the pages, and think your concept (and title) is awesome.

Elizabeth said...

I really like your premise with this secret society of sorts. Do they have a name? I like the love-conflict going on here too, but I feel like it's sort of left hanging. With her mother as a client, is there something that brings Will back into the picture?

Your voice in the first 250 is really strong! Good job!

Jaime said...

Great premise and voice!

I agree with the others in that we need the query to be a little bit clearer. I'd state her age, and whether or not Adele had been dating the cheater when Lis hooked up with him.

The query wanders just a little, so consider going over it again, highlighting what's important, and then condense down to that.

Best of luck!

Katrina S. Forest said...

I enjoy Star Trek, but the references seemed to more dress up the query rather than be a part of it. (It's almost as if someone previously suggested you just had to mention Star Trek in this query, because of your title.) I also was unclear how Lis joining the agency is going to help make things any better between her and her sister.

I agree with the previous comments that the age of the protagonist is unclear in the sample; she sounds like she's in high school to me. (Of course, I read and write YA, so maybe I'm just in that mentality.) I really felt for Adele in this opening, so that's always a good sign.

I hope this is useful.

Julie C said...

I was interested to read your entry and found the premise interesting.

In the first 250 I really enjoyed the opening and the line :
The second time I met Wyatt, he was late for dinner. is really intriguing.

I agree with some of the other comments that the query is good but could be tightened further.

Best of luck!

Spike Taterman (M.P.) said...

I liked the query overall, and was never tempted to stop reading. Your first sentence is a good hook. Beyond that, the writing flows well for the most part.
There were a few glitches (for me, at least), that you may want to consider.
First, it seems the story has an agenda--one that is too obvious. It makes me wary the writer has one too, but that could just be because I'm male.
Second, I tripped up on the "Kling-on" statement for a couple of reasons--it's a little too odd here, and it's too clever and cutesy. Is this a serious story or not? It gave me doubt--which until then I didn't have.
Lastly, the bio paragraph confused me. Here you want to talk about yourself, not your character! Tell us about any writing experience that might let us know how serious you are about your craft. And 70K seems a bit short for a novel.
Good luck,

Heather said...

This sounds like a fascinating story and I think you set it up nicely. I enjoyed the writing sample as well. My only question was whether Adele not speaking (merely nodding and shaking her head) was intentional. Maybe she will speak soon after the part you've posted? Best of luck to you.

Laura Moe said...

I agree with the others that your premise sounds good, and your writing reflects a lively voice. Work on the order of your paragraphs in your query. That might clear up some of the confusion.

Be careful addressing the agent by her first name unless you have had previous contact with her.
Good luck. Nice job.

Patrick said...

Just wanted to say, not my genre but I think the query rocks! Good job.

Unknown said...

Being a closet trekkie, I love the premise. With it being in first person, I think you have an opportunity to really help us get to know your protagonist a little better in the opening paragraph. Is she snarky? Clever? Mopey? She felt generic to me. Granted, I only had 250 words to get to know her.

Melissa Jeglinski said...

Query thoughts: great start off to MC discovering she slept with her sister's boyfriend. But then getting involved in an agency that uncovers cheaters didn't feel so natural; she wasn't really hurt so what's the emotional reason?

Opening thoughts: I thought it was just a little too confusing of an information dump and your MC voice felt VERY young. The situation felt very young.

Overall: I honestly felt this was a YA or NA project when I read both the query and pages. The character seemed young, the set up was young. Using terms such as "hook up" say YA/NA not WF to me. You may want to really examine where your project is best suited and the audience you are most appealing to.

TS Liard said...

I love how you wove in Star Trek in both imagery and wording. Great twist on the stakes. At first I thought it was going to be about her falling in love with Will until I read about her father. You have two stakes but then I thought about The Vow and how there were two sets of stakes there and how family conflict is something that can draw more people in and help connect to the character more then a love story.

I get that geeky vibe which I love.

My only suggestions are in the first paragraph to fix the word flow a little in the second paragraph. It throws me a little.

Also, I must concur that this seems more like NA. She would have to be closer to teenage years to have hooked up with her sister's boyfriend. So a little more about the age might help.

Kara Reynolds said...

Many thanks to all of you who commented. I've gone back and forth on the NA vs WF thing for this MS, and it seems like you all came down solidly on the NA line. Thanks for the feedback! I will definitely use it.
And of course, a special thank you to Melissa. Having an agent's honest opinion on a query is very valuable. Thank you for taking the time to give a thoughtful reply to each of us!