Wednesday, September 24, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #9

Dear Ms. Jeglinski,

Six years ago, Georgia Bowen started seeing the future instead of her reflection.

Five years ago, she vowed never to look again.

Four days ago, that promise was broken.

Now, she’s being hunted.

Focused on her summer job and matchmaking for her best friend, eighteen-year-old Georgia doesn’t know she’s almost out of time. The Guardians of Righteousness, a cult-turned-criminal-enterprise, wants to use her to build their empire. Before they can find her, however, Georgia is kidnapped by Galen, a day laborer on the farm where she works. Georgia hasn’t known Galen for very long, but she knows what he can do--knock her unconscious from twenty feet away--should be impossible. She soon learns something else: Galen isn’t really her co-worker. He’s an emissary, part of a resistance group that escaped the Guardians years ago and wants to harness Georgia’s ability in their fight.

While Georgia is grateful to be saved from the Guardians, she’s no damsel in distress…and she has no intention of becoming a pawn in someone else’s war. Spurred by the knowledge that her parents are the Guardian’s captives and that the resistance is doing nothing to help them, Georgia resolves to escape both Galen and her Guardian pursuers. But when she discovers a cryptic verse that might connect her grandparents--and possibly her Aztec heritage--to the resistance, Georgia must make a choice: escape in time to protect her parents, or join the fight against the organization that threatens them all.

Looking Glass Darkly is a 82,000 word YA fantasy set in the rural South. I hope it will appeal to fans of Bethany Wiggins’ Shifting and Mark Frost’s The Paladin Prophecy. As per your submission guidelines, I have pasted the first 250 words below.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
T.C.


LOOKING GLASS DARKLY

I’ve spent thirty-six months in therapy for “body image issues.” The funny thing is I haven’t looked in the mirror in six years so, when you think about it, it’d be almost impossible for me to hate the way I look. I don’t have a problem with my body. I have a problem with mirrors, which isn’t the same thing.

I see strange things when I look in the mirror. I know what you’re thinking and, no, my face isn’t one of them. I mean crazy, awful things, like earthquakes and people dying.

I’ll be honest: it was terrifying at first. I would start shaking whenever I saw a mirror, half expecting something to leap out and grab me. But now that I’ve trained myself not to look, it’s fine. I’m almost oblivious these days.

There’s no mirror in my room. I had to put my foot down about that; I needed a place where I could relax. That’s when my mom decided I had problems and stuck me in therapy.

I didn’t even try to correct her. Even a twelve-year-old can figure out that seeing death in the mirror isn’t something you can bring up with your parents--or anyone else--unless you want them to think you’re bats*** crazy. So therapy turned out to be a good thing, a convenient excuse for why I was acting weird. And, as an added bonus, now I feel great about my body.

8 comments:

rochelledeans said...

I love your voice in the first 250. I read the beginning of your query (until "now she's being hunted") and it reminded me (intentionally?) of the query for "Premeditated."

But the first 250 are killer, er, no pun intended. I love everything about her voice, why she doesn't have a mirror in her room, and the quip at the end about how she feels great about her body now as a side effect of the therapy she didn't need.

I'm not thrilled about the "secret society wants her" premise (yes, I did go back to read the rest of the query, but I skimmed it), but based on the sample alone, I'd keep reading.

Julie C said...

I was definitely intrigued by your opening in both the query and the first 250.

The writing is incredibly strong.

I saw one typo in the query: The Guardians of Righteousness want rather than wants.

Best of Luck!

Laura Moe said...

Your query is just great. Really sets up the story. And the title rocks. Almost an anti- fairy tale.

The premise is intriguing as w ell. The only problem I had was the voice in your sample sounded more like an older adult than a teenager. Perhaps she IS more world weary, which gives her an adult perspective.

Good luck to you.
Laura

Ann Noser said...

Well done!

I only had trouble with this sentence: " Georgia hasn’t known Galen for very long, but she knows what he can do--knock her unconscious from twenty feet away--should be impossible"

I had to reread it. Perhaps ask around if others have this trouble, then consider revision if they do.

Otherwise, I have no complaints.

Best of luck-
Ann Noser

Ann Noser said...

Also should say:
1) loved the voice and reasoning in the 250
and
2) LOVED the first few lines of your query--really sounded like the back of a book.

Carry on,
Ann Noser

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

The first line--I'm not sure what it means. It almost works, but it's too unfocused. You are comparing an image with something that is not an image, but more of a concept.
The main paragraph left me confused as to what her ability was. Also, it read like a synopsis. Give us more of an emotional connection, an urgency.
The next paragraph, I would cut some and begin with "While Georgia is grateful to be saved from the Guardians, she has no intention of becoming a pawn in someone else’s war."

At the end, we get the hook--but too late: "Georgia must make a choice: escape in time to protect her parents, or join the fight against the organization that threatens them all."

You need to get to this right away.

SAMPLE:
Cut the first 3 sentences, and use these as your first lines: "I don’t have a problem with my body. I have a problem with mirrors, which isn’t the same thing."

Right away, I'm intrigued!
Then : "I see strange things when I look in the mirror. I mean crazy, awful things, like earthquakes and people dying."
The query needs work, but good sample, a lot to work with here. You can cut some, rearrange for better impact. This is the bones of a good story.
Best of luck,
Spike (aka M.P.)

Kara said...

I think this is a pretty strong query and 250. I second the opinion that the opening of the query feels like it's channeling the query for PREMEDITATED (which all Query Shark readers are familiar with!) but I think it's still very effective for you. This is an extremely nitpicky comment, but I would suggest adding "in the mirror" to the first sentence just so it is perfectly clear how she is seeing the future. Something like "Six years ago, Georgia Bowen started seeing the future in the mirror instead of her reflection." But again, that's super nitpicky.
Nice work! Good luck!

Melissa Jeglinski said...

Query: I like the "countdown" concept of the query set up. I think the full paragraphs are a little information heavy and can trimmed--focus on main elements, be less wordy.

Page: I agree with the post above about cutting first three lines and starting with her issues with mirrors; that's immediately inviting. And I like your voice. But you broke my personal rule about first person; you speak to the reader. Does your MC know she's in a book? No. So why put the "I know what you're thinking" in there? You don't need it. :)

Overall: I like the premise and the voice of your MC so I'd continue reading.