Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #4

The Agent:

Thea Renly, aspiring marine biologist and nerd extraordinaire, wants only three things from her junior year of high school: to get her driver’s license, hang out with her geeky friends, and win the heart of ├╝ber-goth Alan Merkel. 

Unfortunately, she can’t seem to master her mom’s manual-transmission car, Alan barely knows she exists, and her best friend is suddenly ditching her to hang out with her worst enemy. It’s enough to make a girl want to hide out in her room, reading comics and talking to her pet jellyfish.

As if all that weren’t enough, she’s stuck tutoring the new guy in school, Derek Finch, who has the body of a god and a love of horror movies. More than that, he seems keen on being her friend, but his attention is making Thea question a lot about herself. Junior year is about to get more complicated than explaining emotions to a Vulcan.

VERY CAREFULLY AND NOT ALL AT ONCE is a 50,000-word contemporary young adult novel.

I have included 250 words below this email, per your submission guidelines.

Thank you for your time and consideration.



There were some things in life I would never understand. How some people thought you could like either Star Wars or Star Trek, but not both. Why chocolate milk gave me the hiccups. And most importantly, how to get Alan Merkel to fall hopelessly in love with me.

The last of these had been on my mind for months, haunting my dreams and waking moments. It crept in at the most inconvenient times--like, say, when I was trying to make important purchase decisions in the back of Cool Comix.

“I don’t get it,” I said for what had to be the fourteen-thousandth time. “We have similar tastes, we go to the same school, I see him in the halls every once in a while. What do I have to do to cast a spell on him?”

“Actually talk to him, maybe?” Madison said as she browsed through the shelf of new releases.

“Ha ha, very funny.”

“Wasn’t a joke.”

I stuck my bottom lip out in an exaggerated pout. “You’re supposed to be my best friend.”

“What are best friends for if not for bursting all hope and destroying all dreams?”

I stuck my tongue out at her.

“I don’t know what I could do to make him love me,” I said, rifling through the back catalogue of manga sitting in boxes on the floor. I couldn’t find anything I hadn’t read before and that added to my frustrations.

“You can’t make him love you, Thea,” she said.


Adrianne said...

I think your query has a nice set up, and the prose is clean and understandable. But I'm not sure where the stakes/conflict are. Like, what's amaking junior year so rough? Why should I care about it? What makes her junior year so different than everyone else's?

Very introspective, chit-chatty opening lines (which I like!) Though I'm not sure about the opening scene being two girls talking about one pining after a boy. I'm sure it's great and well-developed in the plot, but maybe the first 250 isn't the best place for it? Just my thoughts, so take with a grain of salt.

The Agent said...

I love this query. It's the kind of book I gravitate towards. My concern is that it may be a tad too short at 50K. I'd probably still reject it, because I have similar kinds of books on my list, but yes, this is my cup of tea!

Staci said...

I love the voice of your MC. She sounds fun and clever. I like how you "show" her nerdiness with the Star Wars/Star Trek line and the subtle fact that she's read all the manga comics.

The query is sharp and to the point, but I was a little unclear on why this new guy is a bad thing. Is it his love of horror movies? Does the MC think hot guys and horror movies are bad?? I might tighten that connection a bit. Otherwise, you seem like you are off to the races.

Great job!

W. Tomczyk said...

I really enjoyed this query! Concise and to the point with some quirkiness. The opening lines I thought were decent, but the banter felt a little bit forced to me. Just my thoughts! Best of luck!

Elissa Hunter said...

Thank you all for the very helpful comments!