Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #5

Dear Agent,

My project THE HOUSE OF MAREN is a YA Urban fantasy of 87,851 words. It is my attempt to bring Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RING’S elves into the modern world. Think GAME OF THRONES meets HOUSE OF CARDS with Elves. 

Ruby Miller has been living the last 17 years of her life inside of a carefully crafted lie, but even the darkest of family secrets cannot stay hidden forever. As the lies that her father has raised her to believe all begin to crack he realizes that there is nothing he can do to keep his daughter from the truth of who she really is.

Luke, son of Adam, of the House of Maren introduces Ruby to the world of powerful immortal beings that have been hiding in plain sight all of her life. As Luke’s feelings for Ruby grow he is forced to face the fact that their families are at war. Luke must chose whether he will fight to bring the two families back together or let family honor tear them apart. At the same time Ruby must figure out who she trusts and where it is she truly belongs. 

I’ve previously worked in publishing in the sales departments at Macmillan and HarperCollins Children’s books so I’m familiar with the YA/ Teen market through that. I’ve written feature articles for my college magazine/newspaper and copy for countless YA/Teen newsletters for HarperCollins. I would consider “Red Queen” by Victoria Aveyard and “Wicked Lovely” by Melissa Marr to be excellent comp titles. It is part of a planned duology. THE HOUSE OF MAREN is my first novel and I would be thrilled to work on it with you!




The first day back is always the hardest. I know it gets better but for some reason every year I forget.

“Ruby are you sure you don’t want me to drop you off at the gate?” my father asked. 

I knew he meant well but declined. “No thanks.” I said nibbling on some toast and checking my watch every five minutes to make sure I didn’t miss the train. 

I’m not the biggest fan of public transit but it would be far more embarrassing to arrive in my dad’s old Volkswagen. Nearly everyone else at my school has their own Mercedes, and a chauffer. 

I go to a very selective all girls’ school in south London. My father has worked very hard to get me into the school and even harder to pay for it, so I’ve never said a word against it. However if I am perfectly honest, I detest the place. 

It isn’t the quality of my education the bothers me. My teachers are top notch and my marks have improved loads. The only problem with Lady Alleyn’s School For Girls is, rather ironically the girls themselves. My classmates are government minister’s daughters and high profile celebrities’ children. 

“I get a lot of reading done on the train.” I told my dad. 

My father sighed. “It’s a new year you know.” I wasn’t sure who he was trying to cheer up more himself or me. 

“Maybe things will be different?”


Adrianne said...

This is totally subjective, but I'm not sure the "LofR elves into the modern world" really sells the idea you're going for. Love the hook of the meat of the query, though. I think you might need to explain how Luke, son of Adam, meets Ruby and what these "pwerful immortal beings" are. I'd like more specifics on the conflict, stakes, and goals of Ruby and Luke.

I think you're missing some commas in your 250. But I do like her internal struggle with not liking her classmates/wanting to protect her dad/wanting to fit in. And reading on the train is always nice.

The Agent said...

Hmmm, I am not sure I connect to the "is my attempt to bring Tolkien’s LORD OF THE RING’S elves into the modern world. Think GAME OF THRONES meets HOUSE OF CARDS with Elves." That just does nothing for me. The "Ruby Miller has been living..." sentence reads also so generic to me that I would stop right there. It's a subjective business, this one just isn't for me.

W. Tomczyk said...

The "Ruby Miller has been living..." line I think is very engaging. I liked the hook in the query. The actual opening lines held a bit too much exposition for me, and I wasn't immediately drawn in when the query made it sound really exciting. Maybe this could be moved or sprinkled throughout? Just my thoughts! Best of luck to you!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the thoughts and comments here.. keep em comin! I objectively know this kind of story isn't gonna be for all but for those who like it I want to make it the best it can be! And I think that starts with a major overhaul of the 1st chapters to start off a little more exciting.. please keep the constructive feedback coming :)


So I had some similar reactions to your opening Lord of the Rings/House of Cards pitch. These are big outliers as is Red Queen, so you might want to consider finding some lesser known though still successful titles to compare yours to.

Also on a line level, something I noticed with your writing in the sample - be careful of redundancies. For example: I knew he meant well but declined. “No thanks.” Saying your protag is declining and then having them verbally do so is redundant, so I'd recommend cutting one or the other (probably keep the dialog). I'd also suggest trying to work a bit more tension into your opening to really hook your readers. Hope that helps!