Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Agent's Inbox #29

Dear Agent:

I offer for your consideration Tarrowburn, a YA alternate world fantasy featuring a mystery of otherworldly proportions and a headstrong female protagonist with the power to solve it.

At 18, Moreina di Bianco is perhaps the youngest of small town village healers and nothing more…or at least that’s what she’d like to believe, but visions that plague only her serve to remind her on a regular basis that she’ll always be different. Despite her second sight, Reina is one of the few citizens in the kingdom of Castilles who doesn’t believe in the thousand-year-old White Sorceress Prophecy. How could a talisman and a lone woman save the kingdom from a war that has raged on for the last two years, a war whose borders creep closer with each passing day? So, when ironically unforeseen circumstances declare Reina the White Sorceress with the ability to rescue the kingdom from the grasp of a power-hungry General, she’s forced to accept the truth within the prophecy’s words and must take fate into her own hands. 

Reluctant to accept help, Reina’s only company on her journey is her estranged and mysterious childhood friend, Quinn D’Arturio, and a dashing captain who claims to be her protector. There’s just one problem with her new companions. They, too, are featured in the prophecy. But what woman wants a suitor, let alone two, when she’s faced with ending a war, finding the true king, and rightfully seating him on the throne?

Tarrowburn, a 100,000 word, “chosen one” fantasy is the second novel I’ve completed, but the first I’ve written with the intention of doing something other than stashing in a desk drawer. Though it is a stand-alone novel, it is intended to be the first of a trilogy. Growing up, I was strongly influenced by the world-building talents of Anne McCaffrey and C.S. Friedman and quickly fell in love with both dragons and magic. Comparable titles for Tarrowburn might include Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass, White Hart by Sarah Dalton, or The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron. I have an undergraduate degree in Marine Science and a Master’s in Business Administration, but writing has long been my true passion. After working in a variety of roles in pharmaceuticals and in animal welfare, I currently work as a freelance writer and am actively pursuing novel-writing as a full-time career. As requested, I have included the first 250 words below. I would be happy to provide you with a partial or full manuscript at your request. Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from you soon.

Best Regards,



The problem with magic, I’d quickly discovered, is that just because you have it, everyone assumes that surely you must know how to use it. Naturally, that was how I’d ended up in this situation, tied to a molding, wooden chair in a leaking tent, while men just the other side of the weathered canvas flap discussed my impending execution with near childlike excitement.

For my adversaries, my abilities symbolized the kingdom’s single hope of all that could possibly defeat them and the power-hungry tyrant they stood for. My use of magic epitomized the heart of the Resistance movement, representing all too well exactly how they could be conquered. I only wished the solution I needed were as defined to me as that fear which drove my enemies.

For those who would call me a savior, even now I was still quite certain that I represented a hope that I couldn’t possibly ever live up to. I was a beacon of light in a very dark time, a flickering torch, a symbol of radiance for all on Liron. And yet, none were so acutely aware as I of just how quickly a flame could be diminished. A single breath, a puff of air, and the flame? Extinguished forever. Such would be the case for me if I could not manage to piece together the maddening riddle that continued to elude me. It was a puzzle I must solve...and soon.


hashtagwrite said...

You're first sentence is really different from what I usually see in queries and I really like that! (All Caps the first time your introduce your title)

The next sentence, the first of the big paragraph seems a bit wordy. I'd take out the last part, stopping at that's what she'd like to believe. Then "She's also one of the few..."

New paragraph - Reina is declared White Sorceress....

In your bio - I'd remove "chosen one." SImply saying Tarrowburn is a 100,000 word fantasy in the vein of Throne of Glass....

The voice is established from your very first sentence and I love how you've set the story up. But I'd keep us in that scene for a few more paragraphs. Action first, backstory later.

Great stuff!

Carol ElederEllis said...

I enjoyed your query and the thought you put into simplifying what seems like a complicated plot. I am intrigued that the MC doesn't believe in the prophecy yet then must face it head on. Your sample really sets the voice of the MC nicely and the reader is able to identify early. Good job and good luck! #22

Anonymous said...

Your query shouldn't have as many words about you as the story. If they want to work with you, they can ask the rest of your history. Otherwise, I see agents moan about long bios a lot.

TARROWBURN is a 100,000-word (adult?) Fantasy which stands alone, but can be the first of a planned trilogy. Comparable titles are Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Mass, White Hart by Sarah Dalton, or The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron. I currently work as a freelance writer. As requested, I have included the first 250 words below.

Thank you for your consideration,
name and every way they can track you down

The rest of the query is tight and succinct.

The Agent said...

I like the sound of a YA alternate word fantasy and it's great that you've stated right away the genre, age range and told me what it's about.

I like the name of your main character - it is distinctive and tells me that this might be set somewhere unusual or be an "ownvoices" story and I like the sound of that. In general though this is a long paragraph, it basically tells me everything I need to know and I'm definitely interested.

I like your comp titles - I'm eager to read more.

The text:

I like the setup here but I think it could be written with more urgency and immediacy. I am less interested in your main character telling us about her abilities and more interested in reading about how she got herself into her predicament to begin with. There's too much narration here and not enough action.

I really felt like I was too much in your main character's head here and not enough in the reality of the fact that she's tied to a wooden chair in a leaking tent - that was way more interesting to me than hearing the history of her abilities and her use of magic. Consider re-writing this opening.

I would likely read more to see where this goes and if the tone continues, but if it does, I might stop reading soon, which is unfortunate because I like the premise.

L.Ryan Storms said...

Thanks, everyone! I VERY much appreciate your thoughts and comments, and will take them all to heart in revisions as I move forward. And a special thank you, of course, to The Agent. Your feedback is invaluable and I greatly appreciate your gifting us with your time and expertise!