Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Agent's Inbox #35

Dear Agent:

YA Fantasy
68,000 words

When a heist gone wrong costs Reis her humanity, she must decide what's more important--the relic keeping her alive or her best friend's life.

Shrewd thief Reis has survived the last two years on Honolulu’s streets thanks to Dex. All grown up, she’s no longer the fragile little girl who needs his help, she’s a brazen girl who knows what she wants: him. So, when the perfect job presents itself--swiping a relic for a huge reward--she seizes the chance to match Dex’s whims and crafty thinking, and maybe even catch his eye.

Together they go to Maui, but stealing the enchanted gem is more troublesome than Reis ever imagined. First, she gets robbed of her humanity. Second, a spell binds her to the Akaiman, an enchanted tribe of ancestral beings. Then she’s held in a cavern tucked beneath the waters of the Pacific Ocean. That’s when she discovers that the relic is extraordinary and she wasn’t the only one sent to capture it. 

Upon learning that the Akaiman’s lives and civilization will be destroyed if the relic’s power is harnessed incorrectly, Reis seeks out Dex to convince him not to go through with the heist, but when he can’t be found, she’s plagued with doubts over his loyalty. Amidst the chaos, Reis’ search leads her to someone much more dangerous who gives her the most brutal ultimatum.



I’m going to die. Not even kidding. The stench of sun-softened ahi is all around me, melding into every breath I take, and I’m convinced if this sweltering humidity doesn’t kill me, the reeking fumes will. Glamorous, right? It wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t have to plant myself next to the fishmonger’s stall, but this is the densest area of the street market and ergo the best outpost. To my great misfortune. 

I shield my nose and search the sea of faces that bob around me--ah, there’s a good one. I lunge onto the street and follow him. He’s walking so fast he doesn’t even notice who’s behind him. Me, short enough to be under his direct line of sight, skin that blends against the backdrop of tan wooden stalls.

I count thirty-five paces as I weave through the crowd and not once does he look back. I don’t expect him to. He’s an absent target, someone whose attention is focused elsewhere. As for me, my attention cannot be absent. I keep a dual focus, with eyes on him and the chaos surrounding us. 

The sun has only begun its fall into the horizon, but already there’s a strange mix of silhouettes and synergy. As daylight slips away, magic rises like wisps from the dust, breeding adventure and mischief, sorcery and mayhem. In this part of town nighttime brings on a certain type of hunger. Gaggles of young partygoers have hit the streets.


Carol ElederEllis said...

Great job on the query, I was definitely interested in reading more! The sample pages place you right in the scene and I love your use of description. I also thought it was clever to let the reader figure out what predicament the MC is in right off the bat. Good luck! #22

CMiller61408 said...

I'm definitely intrigued by this story. I love that your opening immediately gives the stakes.

I would be careful with the verb usage after the first paragraph; it becomes passive instead of active. What I would do is combine the list of everything that happens in one sentence:
Over the course of ____, she is robbed, bound by spells, and locked in a cave... (something like that).

Your first 250 have EXCELLENT voice, and I loved your opening line. Good world-building as well!

Good luck!

LT Shade said...

What an awesome query! The only suggestion I have is changing brazen 'woman' instead of saying 'all grown up she's a brazen girl'. Outside of that, you've done an amazing job. And that last sentences?

250 words

I have no complaints here. Your descriptions are gorgeous and the voice is great. Already I think I'm going to like Reis. If I were a literary agent, this would be a full request.

Unrepentant Escapist said...

I like your query. I really like the first paragraph. I wonder if you're including too much plot later, though? I'm not sure why being bound to the akaiman are bad, and I'm not sure what losing her humanity means. Maybe focus on the worst thing and go with that.

If this is own voices, you might want to specify that. Is this set in modern-day Hawaii? The wooden stalls description in the sample makes me wonder.

On the sample, I like the voice a lot. Why does she pick the face she does? What makes it interesting to her? I'd like to see more description about it. What's he so focused on?

I wonder why you start your book with the fish stall if she's going to leave it immediately. I also wonder if she had a specific reason for putting herself there.

I don't like the bit about what magic breeds. I feel like the details about what the magic do are kind of telling as opposed to showing and it really isn't specific enough to tell me anything useful. I like the description of it rising from the dust though.

I would read on.

bcw said...

I was immediately drawn in and loved that there were so many sensory details that gave a good sense of the setting. I would want to read more.

The Agent said...

Great first line and I like that I know word count and genre up-front. In a real query you should make sure that those are mentioned.

Love the idea that this is set in Hawaii and I like a good relic adventure, so I'm definitely intrigued.

I wasn't sure about the "robbed of her humanity" bit - not sure what that means, but I was with you up until that line. I would consider combining the last two paragraphs - you lost my a bit in the last one.

And I'd prefer your last paragraph to be more of a bio paragraph - tell me a little about yourself!

However, I've definitely read enough to know that I want to read on.

The text:

Great set up - you give a fantastic sense of place (and scent!) I'm hooked.

Your next two paragraphs are also well written and intriguing.

I found the last paragraph here harder to connected to: "silhouettes and synergy" - I'm not sure what that means, it feels a bit abstract, as does: "magic rises like wisps from the dust, breeding adventure and mischief, sorcery and mayhem"

Keep us in the moment, which was strong moment, don't take us out of it...

However, since your concept and voice are strong, I would definitely read on.