Wednesday, March 16, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #8

Dear Mr. Brent Taylor,

Sixteen-year-old Evelyn Wolfsfeld always dreamed of traveling to England, but becoming entangled in the decades-old curse her father recently died for wasn’t what she envisioned. As a Curse Artisan herself, Evelyn always knew her father held a wicked power, but she never thought him capable of enacting a blood curse.

Throwing scandal and propriety to the wind, she delves into an investigation of her father's mysterious murder. Even if it means sneaking out of her house armed only with a small bag and the tailor’s son, Connor.

Following clues that lead her to the darkest parts of London, she begins her search for the only killer she's aware of: The London Assassins. But they're not her biggest threat. Deep in the shadows hides a group of cursed ruffians intent on revenge.

When a mysterious connection between Evelyn and the leader of the assassins arises, they offer their help, but she has doubts about trusting killers for hire. From London’s East End to Newgate Prison, Evelyn and the assassins must scour the city for a different cure before she becomes the curse’s next victim.

A CURSE MOST WICKED is a Young Adult Fantasy set in 1858, complete at 75,000 words. Though written as a standalone, it has series potential. Thank you for your time and consideration.



London, 1858

I should feel guilty, but I don’t. People send curious glances my way, taking in my solemn appearance and lack of a chaperon. It doesn't bother me. When they turn into whispers as they realize there is a boy with me, and I’m not wearing a wedding ring, I couldn't care less. Leaving my mother in New York City bothers me, but not for the reasons it should. My reputation is the last thing I’m concerned about. Not when I’m here to find a killer.

“Evelyn, we’re nearly there," my friend, Connor, says as he stares at the approaching docks. Pent up with anticipation, my fellow passengers move towards the railing, pushing him closer to me. “Too bad your powers can’t pinpoint where they’re hiding.”

I flash him a wry smile. "You know my magic doesn't work like that.” However, I am tempted to curse the crowd into thinking there’s a sudden rat infestation so they’ll stop jostling Connor and I around, threatening to separate us. On second thought, I’d prefer not to be trampled. I only have one gown.

“People hire them all the time, right?” Connor says, bumping into my shoulder. He flashes an apologetic smile after stepping on my skirts. “I mean, they’re assassins. I know you’re desperate to find his killer, but they can’t be too hard to find.”

That’s only half the battle. They may be the true murderers, but they're not the ones who wanted my father dead. To them it’s simply business.


JMWeibel said...

I really like it, but the first paragraph little offputting. Is it supposed to be he died "for" the curse or should it be he died "of" the curse? I would say you could remove the last line of that first paragraph all together and it flows better. Otherwise it brings up questions that don't go into any further detail in the query. What is a Cusre Artisan? What about this blood curse?

I'm interested though, drew me in.

Spring Paul said...

I think your query does a great job of starting at the spark of the action and increasing the stakes as it goes on. I did have to re-read a few things - like her her dad dying "for" a curse and the sentence starting with "when a mysterious connection", which I think could be shortened.

I have concerns about a 16 year old crossing an ocean, visiting London for the first time and being able to manage on her own. I traveled to Europe at 16, and I was culture shocked as it was running around in a tour group. But maybe there's good reason why she's able to handle herself, and we just haven't seen that in the first 250.

Your first 250 does a fabulous job of dropping us into the story. We get details that hint at what she's doing, but no chunky backstory bogging it down. I'd definitely read this book if I found it on a shelf. Good job!

Lm Hersch said...

THIS IS FANTASTIC. Your query is long, and this usually annoys me, but it's got so much punch, tension, and intrigue that if I were an agent, I'd ask for more. Great work! Good luck to you!

Kristina Ruth said...

Thank you for the feedback!

It is supposed to be "died for" so I suppose I should make that (and other things) clearer.

Lm: You're not the first person today to say it needs to be shorter, so I will definitely work on cutting that word count down. I too am a fan of a shorter query =)

Thanks again =D

Brent Taylor said...

If this query were in my inbox, I'd probably jump straight into the pages to make my decision. The query gave me the impression that the plot of the novel was very episodic, and my personal taste is to gravitate toward singular, over-arching plot threads over smaller episodic ones.