Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #12

Dear Mr. Taylor,

I read in an interview that you enjoyed young adult fantasy. As such, I thought you might enjoy my 85,000 word novel, THE KINGDOM OF AISSUR.

He came from a distant world on the brink of war to bring home the one person who can save them all. But his biggest challenge will be convincing her who she really is.

Chesney lost her parents several years ago and has never gotten over their loss. With no one else to lean on, she has closed herself off from everyone and everything. That all changes when a man, dressed as if he belongs in another century, steps into the diner where she works and sits down in front of her. This man is mysterious and cryptic, yet she feels immediately drawn to him. For the first time since losing her parents, Chesney starts to feel again.

Ivan has come a long way to find Chesney. The King of Aissur sent Ivan to find the infant daughter he hid away in another world for her protection. But now with their world on the eve of war, it is time to bring that child home. Ivan knows Chesney is the key to help them fight an enemy that threatens to destroy their world.

Before Ivan can tell Chesney who she really is, they are attacked by something that followed him from Aissur. His only option to save her is to bring her with him to a world she knows nothing about. After she finally learns the truth and is forced to face off against a dragon, Chesney must decide if she will help fight for a world she barely knows against an unthinkable evil. Or will she let down the people who have quickly become her family?

Though KINGDOM OF AISSUR has been written as a trilogy, it can stand alone. It is my first novel and I am currently working on the sequel. I have pasted the first 250 words below, and would be delighted to send the full manuscript at your request. Thank you very much for your time and consideration.



Chesney never took much notice of the world around her. If she had, she might have noticed the man that had been watching her for three days. And when he walked into Bogey’s Diner where she was working very late one night, she could have been properly alarmed.

Chesney had worked the graveyard shift at Bogey’s for just over six years. She liked the late night hours, and she especially liked never having to deal with the lunch crowds. Chesney was not a fan of large crowds, or large groups, and there were far too many people during the dayshift for her liking. At night the groups were small and sparse. Business was slower at night, but it was also quieter and Bogey’s night time patrons preferred a server who was quiet as well. Chesney was more than happy to oblige them.

The diner had been built in the 60’s and had not been upgraded once in all the years. It looked like any other dinner to come out of that era, rounded corners, lots of windows and aluminum. A neon sign above the door flashed ‘Bogey’s’ orange lights. Inside, booths with faded orange vinyl lined three of the walls and a U-shaped counter stood in the center of the room with matching orange barstools. The counters and floors were dingy from years of stains and cigarette smoke, no matter how many times the place was cleaned. Overall the diner was dingy and dull, but people didn’t come here for the atmosphere, they came for the food, especially the coffee and pie. Which was displayed prominently in glass cases along the bar top.


Jan Fosse said...

I love your concept. It's a really interesting story and I'd love to see how it plays out. I had a little trouble getting into the narrative, mostly because I felt kind of removed from the story because of all the "telling" going on. If you took some time to rework this, you would have a very snappy intro.

For example, instead of telling us that she likes working late, have her walk into the diner, put her purse under the u-shaped counter and share a conversation with a fellow waitress - maybe the other girl has wilted hair and a weary look, unused to the graveyard shift. Chesney could describe the perks of late night waitressing in dialog as she goes around the diner, cleaning up the remains of someone's dinner and checking the pie case. This would give you the chance to show the reader the setting without outright telling them.

You've set up quite a world in your query - let the reader step into it from the very first sentence and you'll be on your way. Good luck!!!

Spring Paul said...

This has the vibe of Jupiter Ascending, which I loved! Awesome concept.

I think you could rework the query to build the tension a bit more. The way it reads now is more travel log than teaser.

I agree with the other comment that there is a lot of telling in your first 250. Following his suggestions could really make the story pop.

Good luck!

C.E. said...

Your story sounds super interesting, however I was a little confused about what world Chesney lives in. I figured from your first 250 that it's present day earth, but it might be good to find a way to work this into your query. I also feel like you could delete the sentence in your query about how the man dresses; this kind of description isn't needed in a query letter. I agree with the others about too much telling in the first 250, it makes it hard to get engaged with the story. You might want to consider working in some of Chesney's internal thoughts, or saving the description of the diner for later as it sort of slows down the story. You start out with a sentence with a lot of potential for action, but then remove us from that scene with the description in between. Take the reader from the first paragraph to the confrontation between Chesney and Ivan, and then after that you can include the description of the diner.
Good luck!

Brent Taylor said...

If this were in my inbox I'd probably defer to the greater interest, because portal fantasy just isn't well aligned with my personal taste (nor is it performing well in the current YA marketplace). I tend to be leery of writers working on sequels to unpublished novels; in fact, I encourage my own clients to avoid working on them and start something fresh instead. In terms of the writing, I didn't connect to the narrative voice -- it felt a bit too detailed. For example, "...they came for the food, especially the coffee and pie. Which was displayed prominently in glass cases along the bar top." Even though this is only a 250 word sample, it's hard for me to believe that details like this move the story with a forward momentum.