Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #17

Dear The Agent,

The first time you fall in love can pave the way in the journey of who you were always meant to be.

When high-school freshman Arielle falls in love with Blake, the cute new boy, she never expects to have her heart broken, but that’s what happens when Blake freaks out about the future and bails. It doesn’t take long for him to come to his senses and realize he and Arielle belong together, but Arielle is leery to go back down the same path. In the end, she can’t resist him so they get back together and give their young love another try. When it comes time for Blake to move from small town Ohio back to South Carolina, Arielle is devastated when he thinks long distance can’t work and breaks up with her a second time--on the same day her father dies. 

In Young Love (57,000 words, Young Adult, Contemporary Realistic), Arielle struggles with the ups and downs of her first love, a best friend she suspects is on drugs, and the loss of a parent, but still learns to stand on her own two feet in this modern day Sixteen Candles meets Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor and Park.

This is my first Young Adult contemporary manuscript (The Loss of Innocence Series, Book One). My Young Adult fantasy series, including Above the Flames (April 2016), Surrounded by Flames (April 2017), and Conquering the Flames (to be determined) are published with Limitless Publishing. I am also active on Facebook [redacted] as well as Twitter [redacted] and on my website [redacted].

Thank you for taking the time to review my query. I hope to hear from you soon.



The bus rolled to a stop. The big, yellow, germ infested, smelly tank opened its folding doors, letting her in. Arielle hesitated, pausing with her hand on the bar she always used to pull herself up the steep steps. Her fingers trembled and her palm sweated. She should be hurrying as Mrs. O’Neil gave her the raised eyebrow, but there wasn’t a reason to hurry since the bus drivers had to wait if they could see a student. Arielle pulled her hand down and wiped her palm on her jeans, then reattached her hand to the bar and climbed the stairs this time, chalking her nerves up to first-day-of-school-jitters.

She smiled at the bus driver and Arielle could feel how lopsided it was. “Hi, Mrs. O’Neill. How was your summer?”

Mrs. O’Neill reached over, pulling the handle toward her to close the door. “Great, Arielle. It’s nice to see you again.”

Arielle nodded, stepping down the narrow aisle before her until she fell into a seat about halfway down. The seats were slippery, so she grabbed the back of the one in front of her as she slid to the window, leaning back and staring outside as the air from the brakes released from the bus and it trotted along. It didn’t take long to gain speed, and soon the bus flew along, way too fast. It was always like that. Arielle’s parents’ car never accelerated so quickly. She didn’t understand what the difference could be, since a bus was a lot bigger than a car.


The Agent said...

Sorry C.F,
This does not work for me. I don't really think this stands out, In fact, you lost me at the first sentence. I would start the query with "When high-school freshman..." and leave out the logline. Nonetheless, even with a different beginning, this just does not stand out in the marketplace.

JStryker said...

Greetings, C.F.!

Have to say, I must agree with our Agent that this query somewhat fades into a saturated trope. However, perhaps think of it as a starting point to build further.

Potential opportunities:

- Girl falls in love with boy, couple breaks up, couple gets back together - Pretty generic storyline. Consider, what makes your story unique? What aspect makes YOUNG LOVE unlike any other love narrative? You have hints of it in your third paragraph: best friend on drugs, loss of parent etc. Consider weaving what sets your book apart into the "meat" of the query.

- The paragraph centering on the story is only 123 words, so you've got some room to play and elaborate on key things that would bring this story to life. Besides love, what else does Arielle have going on with her? A good investment may be in helping the reader connect with your MC. :)

- I'd love to see you clarify stakes. If all that is at stake here is a freshman's first love... maybe I'm jaded, but how many times does a person find their soul mate at 14-15? Convey to me what is actually on the line here. I get the sense that there is more than "just a boy." What does this relationship mean to Arielle? Why is it so important? What does she have to lose?

Things I liked:

- You included several key facts very important in any query: genre and word count :) Additionally, you added social media sites and previous publication credits, definitely a plus!

- I like the idea behind the first line more than the execution. A standout line to set the tone of the query and prep for themes etc. is great, but I'd encourage you to toy with the phrasing.

- First 250, I feel, show strength in imagery. "germ infested, smelly tank" etc. Bring it into your query! :)

Best of luck to you!

C.F. said...

Thank you both for the feedback. It is so helpful!