Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Agent's Inbox #38

An Agents Inbox,

Thank you for the opportunity to submit an entry. I know your time is valuable so I’ll get right to it.

KING is a glossy, modern retelling of the story of Israel’s King David where instead of a throne at stake, the battle ensues for the heart of Abrianna King and the company her grandfather, Samuel, has left behind.

Bria has been raised by her grandparents in the shelter of Brooklyn. When her grandfather has a heart attack, she is forced to move with her mother to the Upper East Side. Here she meets Jon and they quickly become a couple, their bond formed on friendship, racial ambiguity and parental obligation. When she meets David on the beach, she is forced to confront the stagnancy of her relationship with Jon and her quick attraction to someone else. Once it’s revealed that David is Jon’s adopted brother and that he too has ties to her grandfather and the company he left behind, her world is upended. Bodyguards, mercenaries and a life on the run become her new normal. Previously one to hide behind others, she finds her voice and an ability to fight those twice her size with a set of gifts bestowed by her grandfather upon her creation. He, after all, is the one that set it all in motion, who put music in her heart, fire in her soul and breathed life into her genes.

A Young Adult Romance with a twist of Sci-Fi, KING has a word count of 118,000. While it is easily a stand-alone novel, I have begun book two of the series and intend for there to be four total over time.

Most of my professional experience has been in business and behind the scenes of the beauty industry. I began working towards a professional writing career two years ago and have every plan to pursue it long term and continue to learn and grow as a writer. 

I welcome your response and appreciate your time. 

Thank you,



“In that book which is my memory,
on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you,
appear the words, ‘Here begins a new life’.”

--Dante Alighieri, La Vita Nuova

Color flooded into view as I lifted my sunglasses, surveying the helicopter that hovered in the distance. Relentless blades marred the perfect horizon, cloudless sky now split from cerulean sea. Palms dotting the edges of the white sand shore waved in response, beckoning me forward. I shifted my backpack onto my shoulder and walked from the room, the edges of my bandanna whipping around my head, threatening to release my mass my curls. I breathed in deeply, the salt, the sunshine heavy on the wind. I knew my mother would be lecturing me about my posture; about my bag, my hair, my clothes. I smiled to myself. My mother wasn’t here. 

Having visited this beach since childhood, I made my way easily through the maze of resort pools. My dated swimsuit and cut-offs a curious contrast to the half-clothed spring breakers writhing to the music pulsing overhead. I felt buoyant and light, could hear my grandmother urging me forward. Go, be free while you can. This brought another smile to my lips as I twirled and danced my way through the crowd, enjoying their energy as I headed down the path. 

It drove my mother crazy that I visited here so often. Every time I returned to Mexico, she marked it as a lost opportunity to further my exposure to different parts of the world--correction--her self-designated and pre-approved parts of the world.


Erin Craig said...

Really interesting plot!

I would cut the entire first paragraph of your query out. By acknowledging their time is limited, you've already made them take up more time before getting to the meat of the query. There are a couple of filler words throughout that I would scrap to make for stronger sentences. I also spotted a typo in the first page- "release my mass OF curls." Make sure everything is totally clean before hitting send!

I'd love to hear more!

Jean said...

I was intrigued by the opening (The King David reference) and I would like to see more explanation on that (for those that may not be familiar to it - for there was more than just the throne at stake). 1118K seems long for a YA romance/Sci Fi. I think the query could be sharpened up more. What business is this? And the bodyguard/mercenaries on the run thing seems cliche. I had to go back and re-read a few parts. But there is potential here. I would like a bit more elaboration on the "gift" or SCI-FI elements, too. Lure me in with what's different.

As for the intro to the book - there is a bit of over-description and I found myself skimming. There is no hook or twist here that would lure me in, as much I would like there to be one (walking on the beach - meh, not much of a hook). You could start with her grandmother's urging, "Go, be free, while you can" first. Then with a comment about her mother. Or hook us with the SCI FI element right away!

TM said...

Erin - I agree. The first query paragraph can go. And yes about the typo. My first was actually my second word. "Agents" should read "Agent's". My rookie excitement about getting this turned in on time clearly shows. I appreciate your feedback and I'm glad you found the plot interesting. Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!

Jean - Good point on elaborating the King David reference. I will try to consider how to do that concisely. The word count IS long. While all the parts are in place to move forward, I continue to narrow it down as much as possible. I do know it will be an immediate pass for most agents at this length. Great suggestions on the query and the opening. Gets me thinking for sure! Thank you.

Carrie Scott said...

Query: I liked your opening paragraph comparing KING to Israel's King David story. It's a great hook!

Your second paragraph got a little wordy for me. I recommend tightening that up. Maybe researching the back covers of comp titles might help? I know that always helps me.

Also in your last paragraph when you mention working on your writing career. It would help to add specifics. If you are in a writing group, have attended writing workshops, or are an active SCBWI member, I would add that.

Writing Sample: In your opening, you have some wonderful descriptions that I really liked. There is a lot of potential here. I would consider a different start to your book, though. Show us what makes Bria unique. Or different. Does she love her 'gifts' or hate them? That would really draw us into this story and characters.

Best of luck to you!

Unrepentant Escapist said...

Which part of the David story are you retelling? His fight with Goliath? His famous adultery?

I don't understand what the battle ensues for abrianna King line is trying to say. Probably because I didn't realize king was a surname until my third read through. I thought king was a position.

What does it mean to fond a relationship based on racial ambiguity? It sounds interesting.

I'd like to see more about the corporation woven into the query. I feel like it kind of comes out of nowhere. I'd like to see the sci fi twist included in the query. I see the reference to her grandfather breathing life into her genes, but I'm not sure what that means.

Your word count is high for YA.

I like your character's voice, especially the bit about her pre-approved world. There are a couple of typos. "My mass my curls". The second sentence of paragraph 2 is a fragment with no verb. I'm not sure curious contrast is the emotional note you want to strike anyway. Dos she feel ashamed her clothes, superior because she doesn't need to show off? Why does your character specifically find it curious?

The Agent said...

Super intrigued by this concept but I would like to know genre and word count.

Your middle paragraph is way too long and I found myself a bit lost halfway through it. Break it up and try to clarify things.

This is why stating genre up front is really important - I didn't think this was YA until the second to last paragraph. But I am interested enough to keep reading.

The text:

I like your Dante quote here!

Try to avoid extra descriptions like: "relentless" and "cerulean" - this makes the text feel overwritten.

I wanted so badly to love this text because your concept intrigued me so much. I might read on to see if this picks up, but I'm not sure the story starts in the right place because it didn't hold my interest. Is there a place with more action that you could start with instead?

TM said...

Thank you to all that replied - your feedback is much appreciated and advice well taken.

To The Agent - Thank you for your input. I'm so glad that the concept was intriguing. I will make sure to move the genre and word count to the top. I have also already worked on breaking up the main paragraph of the query.

The chapter can be changed to begin in a different part. As that seems to be the main theme of responses, I have already begun to outline that flip. I hope it will work better and move the store along more quickly. Thank you again!