Wednesday, October 26, 2016

An Agent's Inbox #7

Dear Agent, 

Please consider my YA fantasy The Forest of Lily, the first in a possible fantasy series. 

Being a princess in her kingdom does not give her the freedom of choice, who to marry, who to love and most of all, how an old prophecy takes over her life.

Princess Lily of Sakura-Nan, never had a choice on who her husband would be or if she would ever love him but she accepted it. What she couldn't accept was her best friend’s betrayal with said betrothed, so she did the most rational thing a sheltered princess could do, run away. What she expected when running away was freedom, freedom to chose her next move outside the castle, at least for a short time. She didn't expect running away would include being told by a talking bird, that meeting all the royalty in the forest was polite, and if she didn't, he would alert everyone to her location. Not to mention being told she's a reincarnation of a powerful queen that was to rule for ten thousand years, she couldn’t even live that long! 

Meanwhile, an ancient king awakens from sleep, wanting revenge against the fairies and to take his place as king of all humans. Lily trains to defeat this formidable king because if she didn't, the kingdom she loved would be destroyed. Lily has no other other choice.

My name is D.S., an Air Force Veteran, I enjoy anime, reading and writing. I wanted a diverse adventure where there are all types of skin colors and backgrounds. I wanted a book for young adults that they can relate to and easily be captured into a world where anything is possible.

The Forest of Lily is complete at 64,000 words and ready for your review upon request. Thank you for taking the time and consideration.



Lily took a deep breath and opened the door to the balcony, her dark auburn curls were striking against the white of her robe. She saw him on the balcony beckoning to her, his long bleach blond hair almost as long as hers. He raised her hand to the sky and the crowd below yelled their name; it's a new beginning.

Chapter 1

12 years earlier

“Princess! Come Princess Lily!”

Lily’s three maid servants chased the five year old around the courtyard until she ran into Prince Kai. Prince Kai was a year older than Lily; his bleach blond hair and a stiff demeanor made him look older than his years.

“Princess..” Kai said frowning.

He was dressed in a miniature red and black silken robe but with little silk pants underneath. His shiny blonde hair, bright in the sun, was pulled atop his head with a bun holder that bolstered a giant red ruby. He fiercely looked at Lily, who was wearing a light blue sleeveless dress with silver trim that touched the ground. The silver trim was now dirty and Lily’s hair was in an auburn tangled mess, falling out of its bun bounds. Lily smiled like nothing was wrong, wiping her hands across her dress.

“Well hello, Prince Kai, what brings you here today?” She tried to sound regal, even curtsying slightly; the maid servants marveled at the instant change in the little princess’s behavior.

“I am here to see my future bride, you look...” Kai looked her up and down “Lovely..."


Adrianne said...

It sounds like you have a great story, and even a decent query, but I think some of the uniqueness and specifics get lost in some of the query. If you focus more on stakes, goals, and motivations, that will make your query stronger (in my opinion). And 64k for a YA fantasy seems a tad on the short side...but I'm not an expert in genre word counts.

I like the opening 250. I think it could be made stronger, perhaps, by a little bit of line editing, just parsing down description to bare minimum at the moment. It sounds like a great story.

The Agent said...

This query does not stand out to me. It's fine, but... As an agent, while I am always looking for a great new project, I simultaneously look to reject due to the volume of queries. So, that sometimes leads me to become a bit of a stickler, and even snarky which is not the querying writer's fault, I am just being honest. So for instance: " Being a princess in her kingdom does not give her the freedom of choice, who to marry, who to love and most of all, how an old prophecy takes over her life.
Princess Lily of Sakura-Nan, never had a choice on who her husband..."

mentions not "having a choice" twice in quick succession, so that becomes a reason for me to stop reading. Again, it is not your fault, but it just makes me lose interest.

JStryker said...

Hi, D.S.!

I think you have some strong ideas in your query! I would tend to agree with Adrianne that you can bring it to the next level by focusing just a bit more on specific stakes.

Potential opportunities:

- I'd consider starting your query with Lily running away, and not spend your "hook" on the freedom piece. "Princess doesn't have a lot of freedom" is a well-worn idea. What makes YOUR princess unique is that she takes the situation into her own hands and does something about it. I'd start with what makes your MC stand out - her strength and independence.

- Stakes wise there does seem to be a bit of a jumble and it almost reads "list like." X happens, and then X happens, and then X happens. What is the main story problem? All those other sidelines may be important in a 64K book, but are they absolutely necessary in a 250-300 word query? Try focusing your target a bit :)

- The little paragraph you start the 250 with is a bit confusing to me. Not in the actual content, but in a value-add sense. How important is this moment that it MUST be mentioned before we start the story at "present," 12 years after? It's a gear switch that I'm not sure needs to happen. Just consider asking yourself if it truly adds value when all is said and done.

- I'd highly suggest plugging this into an text to speech e-reader or program. I can tell that you've put thought into voice by the way you've arranged some of your words; however, as the reader, I'm not reading this with your inflection and how you have it ingrained in your mind. If you run this through text to speech, I think several things will pop out at you - tweaks for clarity, typos, and grammar :)

Things I liked:

- There is a shortage of strong, female heroines (++++ diversity!!!). Kudos to you - definitely a strength of your entire concept.

- Placed under a potential opportunity, but also something I liked was your voice in this. It's obvious that you're passionate for your book and you ENJOYED writing it :) Do the text to speech and bring it to the next level!

Best of luck to you!

Unknown said...

Thank you all so much! You have no idea how much this helps me, I will follow the advice given.