Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #10

Dear Agent,

THE BETTER MAN, a YA science fiction novel complete at 63,000 words offers something of a YA twist on FIGHT CLUB in that the alternate (and more stable) personality attempts to keep the weaker original personality suppressed instead of sharing time in the body.

Jared’s headaches are getting worse. Bystanders might point to his purging, Pedialyte-based diet, or the stress of being a seventeen-year-old prescription drug dealer as likely causes, but Jared knows the truth.

Adam, the original personality, is pushing his way back.

When Adam ejects him from the body, Jared finds himself on the outside looking in for the first time in four years. Adam complains he never expected to be gone for four years when he gave up control of the body. Before he couldn’t handle the world due to his paralyzing depression and anxiety, but now Adam’s on a mission to regain his life.

As far as Jared's concerned, Adam isn't a viable option, as he’s already tried to kill the body more than once. However, seeking help from Adam’s family and friends is a risk – if they discover Jared’s only the alter, they may choose to keep the original and destroy him in the process.



Jared struggled to focus through the worst headache he’d ever experienced. It’d been two days of feeling the combustion engine in his head rev and watching the tachometer needle jump. Upshift, downshift--it didn’t matter. Nothing helped. The RPM continued to skyrocket, and he was about to redline thanks to the stream of garbage that spewed from his girlfriend’s mouth.

“So I was telling Taji how I have the water cold when I brush my teeth. But she has it warm, and that’s so nasty.” Candice yammered as the car idled at the traffic light. 

Jared drummed his fingertips on the steering wheel and blocked out the discussion of ideal water temperatures. He filtered most of the stupid things Candice said. He didn’t care how beautiful she was, how intelligent she wasn’t, or that he could sleep with her if he wanted. She was considered a prize among his friends. They wanted her, and he was always the better man.

Prize or not, what I wouldn’t give for silence. The pain in his head disintegrated his bulls*** sifter and her nonsense sailed through to further gum the engine.

“Amber sided with me about the cold water. But it can’t be like ice cold--”

“Babe, do you have any Codeine?” He ran his hand across his face. The pressure was overwhelming. Mixing the Codeine was dangerous, but what was the greater risk? If he chewed the pill, it might enter his system quickly and he’d be able to drive home.


Jonathan Mitchell said...

I think the premise sounds really interesting, and I love the idea of the battling psyches. I am a touch confused about the mention of Adam "ejecting" Jared from the body. Is he now some kind of disembodied spirit? I think some clarity on that matter would help. The stakes sound great though, both for Jared and Adam.

The 250, while well-written, doesn't endear me quite as much. I like the comparisons to the RPM, but Jared comes across as pretty unlikeable here if his only reason for staying with a girl he considers vapid and intolerable is to appear a better man than his friends. I'd probably still keep reading, but it doesn't set me in the most favorable frame of mind.

The Agent said...

The first paragraph in the query does not draw me in, but the rest of the query read well. I don't like the imagery in the first paragraph of the sample at all, which is why I stopped reading there. Mea culpa.

C.F. said...

I think the idea behind this novel is great, but you lost me at the first paragraph. My thought would be to move that paragraph to the end of query and start with the beef of the novel. That is where I got interested. Hooe that helps. The 259 words is very well done, I think.

Angela D'Ambrosio said...

The first line of your query I wouldn't go into the explanation of the personalities. Consider leaving it as YA Fight Club. The following paragraphs explain further and it gives the opening line a bit of a punch.

The begging of your 250 words I re-read a few time. I like the car analogy, but then he is actually driving a car so I thought maybe it wasn't an analogy. This could be a something that is specific to me.