Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #30

Dear Agent,

Lana is meant to be good at one thing: following orders. She joined The Program, the rebuilding project of a devastated parallel Earth, to honor her father who died discovering the parallel world.

Her job description is simple: keep the Researchers safe, even if that means having to trank a survivor or two.

When her team is sent to neutralize one of the survivors’ leaders, Lana doesn’t know whether to comply or flip her leader off. She is scared out of her camouflage panties that she won't pull through. It's not like "assassination skills wanted" was on the job application.

If being led by Alex, a survivor with a cute butt and mad fighting skills, isn't enough to distract her, discovering her father is alive sure does, big time. When she finds him hiding amongst the survivors and learns her people caused the planet's devastation in the first place, she has to choose: be loyal to her father or to her home world.

THE END WORLD is a 65,000 word young-adult science fiction novel about learning to choose between what is said to be right and what is felt to hold true. You will find the first 250 words pasted below.

Thank you very much for your consideration,


My first trip to the End World should have scared me s***less. Instead, it made me realize just how important the role of a Spinner really is. If I had been as scared as other newbies during that same trip, my butt would be sitting in one of the comfy chairs of the control room, orchestrating spins.

That’s what they called it, those same Researchers in those same control rooms, spins. I often wandered who came up with the term.

Spinning back and forth between Earth and The End World was the easy part of the job. Most of the time, we were making sure Researchers didn’t get themselves killed in the field. I guess having a high IQ didn’t gift them with common sense.

I slipped past the faded theater sign, grabbed the cement ledge, and hauled myself up. My labored breathing and sweaty back reminded me to lay off my allotted calories at dinner. I flattened myself against the hot roof and rested my rifle against the front ledge as I focused through the scope.

Across the street, Sal was already lying down, scanning the street with his NF P90.

Damn, he is fast.

His voice crackled in my earplant. “Need to lose a few pounds, girlfriend. Soon you won’t be able to climb a speedbump.”

I gave him the finger.

“Love you too, Lana.”

“Just focus on our mission, will you!” I hissed in my vocollar, taking his silence as agreement.


Janice Sperry said...

I think the voice in the query comes on a little too strong. The MC comes off as overly snarky and the number of punchlines in one query is astounding. I like the premise and your plot feels strong. Overall, it's a pretty good query.

If she has an alloted number of calories, how could she be overweight?

Alex said...

The query is intriguing and engaging. However it does from the start make me wonder why the MC sounds like a teen aged girl. It sounds like serious stuff and it's almost as if Lana joined this rebuilding project on a lark.

Does she have a military back round? How was she able to join this project which is no doubt very series as it involves an entire parallel world and all the survivors in it. Also why are those survivors seemingly being hunted right from the start?

There are allot of unanswered questions in the query.

The pages have a good tone and voice though. But it almost seems out of place compared to what's happened in the query. I need to know more back story about this whole planet thing to care.

erica and christy said...

I can see from your first page that Lana is a snarkier character, however, the query is a bit confusing because the opening sets a serious tone, yet then jumps to a lighter, more sarcastic voice.

One example of combinging the snarky and the serious is when the query introduces the "cute butt" in the same sentence as her father being alive. In the beginning, her father's death was her whole motivation, so it seemed odd to me that she'd not only make light of it, but turn on him so quickly.

That said, I feel your plot is very intriguing and strong, snarky characters with humor make for enjoyable reads! I'd read on for sure!


The Agent said...

The first two paragraphs of the query had me solidly hooked in (with the exception of "trank" which threw me a little). Then we shift into such a cutesty-snarky voice that I immediately felt like I was in a different type of book, and had to rearrange my impression of the book (to one that seemed less interesting to me personally). Your core premise feels really strong, but I think you need to smooth out your query so that your tone is reflective of the manuscript itself.

The opening paragraphs didn't pull me in as strongly as I'd wanted. World-building is a tricky thing, and there are going to be newly-invented terms, but when there are too many too quickly--and I've got Spinners, spins, NFP90, earplant, vocollar, not to mention trank--I just feel completely lost. Reading this excerpt, I just have no idea who or where I am or what I'm doing, and that pulls me right out of the story.

For the sake of the strong premise I would probably read on a little further, but only just.

Alexandra said...

Action girl! I'd love to see more stories with female protagonists like this, but I do think the tone of the query is a little too informal for what should probably be a basic summary of the premise. A little too 'in character', maybe? Too much slang that not every reader would know.

As for the words: while I'm always in favor of throwing one right into a strange world, there's too much terminology coming with not enough explanation. End World, at least, should have a perfunctory explanation in the first paragraph as to what this is: even a snarky in character one sentence description of it would work in this case. Other terminology like 'Researchers' can be implied by context (although I'm not sure the capital letter is necessary) but Spinners and End World confuse me a little. You might consider starting with the third paragraph, as that gives a much stronger idea of what's going on.

That said, I like the tension of this plot. I'd play it if it were a video game and I'd read it if it were a book. :) Best of luck!