Wednesday, March 22, 2017

An Agent's Inbox #7

Dear Agent,

Please consider my middle grade science fiction novel, ‘The Last Energy Seeker’, which has the adventurous feel of Lee Bacon’s Legendtopia, combined with the intrigue of Matthew Kirby’s Icefall.

For Aiden--the youngest in a family of Earth refugees, a misfit and tinkerer--the weirdest, and possibly worst, day in his life is the day his Grandfather disappears. On that day, he is no longer an outcast from Cowan, he is the last Energy Seeker and the only one who can help the Empress. 

She needs Aiden to track down a rogue group, the Turncoats, who are intent on starting war on their planet, Gemina. After a lifetime of forced poverty, Aiden has no loyalty to the Empress or High Counselors. Only to his family. Still, with the help of his St. Bernard--aka slobbery best friend and side-kick, Greer--and a Royal outcast, the Empress’ sister Wilhelmina, Aiden agrees to help find and stop the Turncoats. Not to be a hero and save the planet, but to give his family a better life, and hopefully, find his Grandfather and bring him home.

As he, Wilhelmina and Greer Echo-jump to escape an arctic boom, nearly drown in an underwater world and are trapped between a fire-breathing dragon and a mob of angry Vikings, Aiden starts to uncover secrets. Half-lies that challenge everything people in their country believe. Broken truths that will tear his family apart. 

The closer they are to finding the Turncoat’s Grid, the more Aiden fears he must re-learn his reality and maybe re-think his loyalties. The only truths he can depend on, are knowing Greer will always be on his side, and understanding that, when he finds the Turncoats, his life will never be the same again.

I am an active member of SCBWI and continue to work on my craft through the Mid City Lights Writers & Illustrators monthly critique group. ‘The Last Energy Seeker,’ a light science fiction middle grade novel, is complete at 55,000 words and available for review. I included the first 250 words below. Thank you for considering this project.



Old Tech Meets New World – Chapter 1

Aiden reached up as tall as he could, gaining another two inches in height and stretched out his middle. Sucking his stomach in until it scraped his spine, he waited, holding his breath, until it happened. Finally, a whiny moan belched out.

His brother, Neil, gave him an appreciative nod. “Not bad, bro. But, I can do better.”

Aiden flashed Neil a grin and waved his brother on. They could be at this game for hours, he thought. This time of year, when food got scarce their stomachs gassed, whined, groaned and belched all on their own. When Gavin, one of Aiden’s other brothers, figured out they could make particularly disgusting noises by stretching and moving certain ways, they had made a game of it. Starvasion.

Maybe this year, they would finally declare a winner, Aiden thought. His grin widened when Neil squatted down. Then up. Then down. Neil’s stomach punched out a loud staccato grunt.

“Impressive,” Aiden conceded with a nod, taking time to plan his next move. Yet, even with the game to distract him, he couldn’t stop the tape playing in his head: FEED ME. FEED ME. In a few weeks, when his body adjusted to half-portions for breakfast and dinner, and no mid-day meal, it would get better. Until then, their game was the only thing keeping him from a trip to Crazy Town.

Aiden executed his next move, then glanced down to the Salvage Fields, where his parents and older siblings worked.


Dustin A. said...

This is an intriguing concept. It is sci-fi but has elements of fantasy (dragons and vikings).

- I read through the whole query but never really got a sense of who Aiden is. I don't see his personality, nor Wilhelmina.
- The stakes aren't specific or urgent enough. Who/what is the antagonist? What does Aiden really want and what is standing in his way to stop that?
- The last paragraph you can remove Greer from it.
- What does it mean to relearn his reality?
- Remove Maybe from "Maybe rethink"

1st page
- A fun look at brothers
- Some words might be too high level (Executed, staccato)
- Hunger is more than whining stomachs, it is painful. Sometimes it can make a person want to vomit.

Good luck!

alexandraovery said...

I like the concept you have, and you've obviously really developed your worldbuilding. But the problem I had with the query was that we got a lot of proper nouns thrown in, but little about the protagonist and what he wants.
The proper nouns made it a little hard to follow, as I glazed over some of them. I think if you cut them down, it'd be easier to follow. Then maybe try to put in more personal stakes for Aiden. Why is he doing this if he has no loyalty to the Empress?

I think the idea is fun though, with great elements of sci-fi and fantasy woven in.
Good luck!

Rachel Berros said...

Overall I find the story intriguing, but the query felt a bit full to me. One, checked the proper formatting for novel titles. Two, there's a few places pronouns got me confused. Three, I think the fourth paragraph isn't needed at all. And four, The fifth paragraph felt very cliche filled, without a lot of helpful information-I'd consider getting rid of those last 2 and incorporating any short, pertinent details into the first three. The bio paragraph seemed to work though.

The sample sounds pretty good, but doesn't draw me in like magic. Nothing pushes me away either, though, so that's good. :)
Good luck.

The Agent said...

Great first sentence and great comp titles. I'm already interested.

I like the first paragraph and I love tinkerers, so I continue to be intrigued.

I love the idea of a slobbery St. Bernard but I'm curious what their life might be like in space...I'm glad you bring the grandfather back at the end of the paragraph - that's important so we don't lose the thread of that story.

I still like the next paragraph but am a bit confused by what a fire breathing dragon and angry vikings are doing in space.

55,000 words is a bit long for Middle Grade but I'm certainly intrigued enough to keep reading.

The text:

I want to know where Aiden is - what is surrounding him? What room is he in? Where? I feel like I'm missing a sense of place here.

I'm also unsure if a "whiny moan" is a burp? Is a burping contest happening here? It's unclear.

"Starvasion" is cute but I'm wondering why they are so hungry?

I do like the concept of a burping contest and I think that kids will too - but I'm still missing a sense of place. It feels like we're about to get into it with the last sentence, but I'd want it earlier.

I'd still read on to see what happens next, but definitely try to give us a sense of place earlier.

Jennifer K. said...

I think this would be a really fun read, and the world building sounds well developed. I struggled with staying focused on the query - I felt like a lot of characters were introduced and got a little confused. I wanted to know more about Aiden. I liked how it opened with the fun interaction between the brothers, I just needed a little more to ground me in their place. Maybe that comes in the next few words? Good luck!