Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #23

Dear Agent, 

The last of her ancient order, Rapunzel refuses to sit in her tower and be hunted for the magic that now lives in her golden hair alone. Betraying the extraordinary abilities gifted to her through that very magic, she takes up arms and strikes back at those responsible for murdering her family as an assassin like no other. An assassin that won’t stop until the King burns. 

After a botched attempt on the life of the King’s one and only heir, Rapunzel unexpectedly finds herself squirming under the focus of the annoyingly charismatic leader of a growing rebellion group. Every task she undertakes for them forces her to delve deeper in to her past and pushes her towards a decision she hoped to ignore forever; embrace her magic and become the Light Keeper she was destined to be, or let the blood that stains her broken soul pull her completely in to darkness.

Light Keeper, a YA fantasy manuscript geared towards older readers and complete at 60,000 words, is a fairytale twist that will appeal to fans of Sarah J. Maas, Rosamund Hodge and Maria V. Snyder.

When my kids let me, I'm a writer, wanderluster, book nerd, Reiki Master and connoisseur of comfy sweaters and London Fogs. I’ve previously worked as a journalist for Alaska Highway News in Northern British Columbia and have published a motherhood column with them weekly for the past four years. 

As per your submission guidelines, please find the first 250 words of Light Keeper pasted below. The full manuscript is available upon request. Thank-you for your time and consideration. 



I am a shadow. 

Lurking. Waiting. My knife is cold against the flesh in my worn boot, my bow silent across my back. The patrons of the tavern slowly trickle from dulling their minds and senses with cheap brew and whores without even noticing me standing not three feet from them.

He emerges, loud and boisterous in his drunken state. Three barmaids support his weight out to the street and he rewards them with a firm hand on their bottom, a tongue to their turning cheeks and a casted eye to their chests that have been practically inflated with the pressure exerted by their girdles. They drop him in a heap and turn, giggling, back to the tavern that is still filled with men waiting for their turn. 

He lays alone in the street, sputtering and gagging on his own filth. I step away from the shadows, peeling them from my body like a film from a glass. My hand grasps the thick handle of my dagger, pausing as the swinging doors fly open once more and three men join my target. 

I return to the dark maw of the alley and scale the cobbled wall before swinging myself on to the unevenly tiled roof of the tavern, the gentle slope vibrating with music and voices below. Creeping to the edge of the roof, I peer down at the four men. They laugh and slap each other’s backs before thrusting their hips back and forth, igniting another round of obnoxious guffawing.


Ben Langhinrichs said...

The concept sounds awesome. I imagine an agent might want to read based on that alone. That said, you might be able to tighten up the query a bit. The last part of the second paragraph gets a little too abstract and flowery without spelling out stakes quite enough. Like, what does "pull her completely in to (should be into) darkness" actually mean. Into death or evil or something else. You don't want to give everything away, but your stakes need to be just a bit more clear.

As for the first 250, I like them as is, except that I think you might be missing a word after trickle or something. Maybe "the patrons of the tavern slowly trickle out after dulling" or something. It just doesn't scan right.

The Agent said...

I love folktales, Rapunzel and who can resist a Reiki master? I would definitely request this.

This comment has been removed by the author.

I loved your opening page - so strong and voicey - nice work! The query was solid too, though one line in particular stood out as something that could use a bit more specificity: 'for them forces her to delve deeper in to her past and pushes her towards a decision she hoped to ignore forever'. You do go on to give a little more insight into her past in the final line, but I think you could add a bit more here to illuminate and make it clearer. Other than that though, great job!

winkchii said...

I absolutely LOVE the concept and I was all over it in the first paragraph. Then second confused me, much like Ben Langhinrichs said I need more clear stakes.
I enjoyed the opening, it gave me a clear picture of what's happening immediately pulling me into that world.
Truly great, I hope I can see it in stores on day!

Anonymous said...

Hi! I love the concept... after all, who doesn't love folktales? First sentences should grab the reader and I LOVE your opening. Right away, I was hooked. Great job. I look forward to seeing this in a bookstore one day!

Lauri JB Corkum said...

Hi! I love the concept... after all, who doesn't love folktales? First sentences should grab the reader and I LOVE your opening. Right away, I was hooked. Great job. I look forward to seeing this in a bookstore one day!

(Sorry this posted twice... my google login failed miserably. Yay computers.)

Jessica Gorbet said...


Love love love this concept. I would read this and then probably listen to it on Audible.

Your query grabs my attention and I love your author bio paragraph. Just a few suggestions:

First, would you hunt someone in a tower or would someone in a tower already be captive? How about "harvested for the magic..."?

Second, her attempt on the life of the King's one and only heir. Would it help us to know who the heir was? Maybe, maybe not. But I'd pose the question for you to consider.

Third, that last sentence that begins with "Every task..." is beautifully written (like the rest of your query), but doesn't tell me anything. I think you can get more specific and tell us about that noose that's tightening around Rapunzel's neck (the King is really after her now, right? She went after his heir and if I'm reading the subtext here, she's shacked up with the rebellion of some sort. Her choice or did she have nowhere else to go?)

Great opening page. You have a great grasp of action words, particularly in that last paragraph (scaling, swinging, creeping...I can see her).

Just a couple of finesse points to consider:

First, all threes (three feet away, three barmaids, three drunken men). Was this intentional? This is a lot of threes.

Second regarding those barmaids, I think you could tighten up "a firm hand on their bottom" to maybe "a shaky hand swiping across their bottoms" or something. I raise this because there's three of them and it seems like there is just one bottom, while there are multiple cheeks and chests.

Third, this is picky, but I don't know if you need obnoxious guffawing. I think guffawing, by its nature, is obnoxious. Just a thought to make every word count. Otherwise, really tight writing.

I would read this in a heartbeat. Love this title too.

Good luck, B.Z.!