Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #2

Dear Mr. Taylor:

The Last Dreamer is a 52,000 word upper middle grade fantasy. Similar to Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander, The Last Dreamer is a fantasy novel that shows the war between good and evil as it truly is, not some glorious experience, but something destructive and full of loss.

Fourteen-year-old Ivy Wilson feels more connected to the stories she writes than to the people around her so when she’s asked to travel to Yazmine, another world, she leaps at the chance. When Ivy arrives, she is taken in by one of Yazmine’s clans who care for and protect her. Ivy is in awe of this new world and her naivety keeps her ignorant of a terrible war going on around her.

All that changes when she is captured and psychologically tortured by Malum, a sorcerer fueled by revenge for one of his clan’s past wrongdoings. Malum plans to use his powers of fire to raze Yazmine to the ground. Ivy is rescued by the clan that took her in, but she is traumatized from her experience and can’t stand to stay in this strange land any longer.

However, her love for her new home and its inhabitants and the effects of the war on them convince her to change her mind. Ivy decides to do whatever she can to bring about an end to the war that’s threatening Yazmine. She eventually enlists in the battle to protect her newfound home, friends, and her own future. But the price of war is heavy and, if any are going to survive, it must be paid.

The Last Dreamer is my second novel. For my poetry, I won a silver key in the 2015 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards and an honorable mention in the 2016 Scholastic Art and Writing Awards.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
J.S.


THE LAST DREAMER

I had always believed in unicorns, even when the rest of the world no longer did.

“What you writing there, Ivy?” I jumped and spun around to see Blair looking over my shoulder. I slammed my notebook closed. I wouldn’t even show my friends what I wrote, why would I show her? The fact that she had teased me last time I tried didn’t help her case either.

“Nothing,” I said in a shrill voice. At least half the class turned around and looked at me. My cheeks burned. I ducked my head and looked at the carpet. Why couldn’t they just leave me alone?

The bell rang and I jumped again. Perfect timing. I slung it over my shoulder and raced out of the classroom. At long last, it was time for lunch.

I hurried into the cafeteria and over to my table of friends, bumping into a few chairs in the process. I sat down and tried to pay attention and contribute to what they were gossiping about. Nothing important, just complaining about different teachers and classmates.

I started to zone out and ignore the conversation going on around me. I looked around the school cafeteria. Four grades full of students eating their food in unison. Just like every day. We were like a cow herd. The bell rang, we came to school. The bell rang, we went home. We slept, ate, and followed the same pattern we had our entire lives. It was all one boring routine.

6 comments:

RC Hancock said...

My daughter's name is Ivy so I love your MC already. :)
And awesome job with the poetry accolades.
Your query reads more like a synopsis. I'd shorten it and focus on the character, conflict, and stakes rather than a blow by blow of plot points.
Also try to highlight ways your story is different from all the other bajillion enter a new world and get caught up in an age old war story.
Good luck!

Spring Paul said...

I LOVED Gregor the Overlander, so if I were an agent, I would jump at a chance to read something like that!

The voice is really strong in your first 250. I'd like to see some of that voice in your query - it seems to just hit the plot points methodically.

I especially love the first line of your 250 and the bit about the students being like a cow heard. Your writing is very easy to read and flows well. Good job!

Sarai Henderson said...

I really like your concept and 250 words. In your query though, you compare your story a Suzanne Collins book. I've heard that you never want to use a well known author or title to compare yourself too, just because it implies that your manuscript is on the same level. Is there another comp title you can use?

All together though, I loved the story and hope you catch an agents eye with this one.

Brent Taylor said...

I love the opening paragraph here: you get straight to the point and give a real sense of the novel in a few short sentences. The comp title felt accurate, as well. I probably wouldn't continue reading here, however, just because I typically go for character-driven stories and in your query it was difficult for me to get a really nice sense of your protagonist. Why is this new home so important to her? It seems like protecting it is what's most important to her, but does she have any other goals? I would try to hone in on her character more in the query letter.

Lm Hersch said...

Wow... I'm not going to go into much because Brent already gave his two cents, but... please know your genre. Middle Grade is NOT appropriate for "psychological torture" that makes the MC "traumatized." MG is characterized by light-heartedness and innocence, even when dealing with "darker" topics like death. Even for upper MG, this sounds like it's very dark and emotional and would be better worked in as a YA.

Jeannie Alford Hagy said...

I have to say I agree with Lm Hersch. This doesn't sound like a MG. I like the writing, but I suggest writing it as a YA.