Monday, March 25, 2013

Become an Agent #8

Title: A Dance of River and Tree
Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Word Count: WIP. Expected word count ~ 75,000

Thuja is a 136-year-old Western Redcedar: anchored to the earth, holding up the sky, and always looking to the horizon. Then a boy speaks to her in the forest’s language – something humans can’t do – and acknowledges her wanderlust. From him Thuja learns the truth: she is dryad, a tree spirit, and can choose human form, just as the boy’s mother did. 

River has returned to his mother’s birthplace in order to find a way to put down his roots – quite literally.  He’s done with wandering without connection, and knows there must be some way to access that half-dryad part of him that would allow him to anchor to the earth and hold up the sky. 

They strike a bargain: River will show Thuja the world, and in return she will speak to the eldest dryads on earth on River's behalf.  A simple, mutual partnership. Except that Thuja already knows males can’t be dryad, and River knows the, um, particular difficulties of a dryad in human form. 

With a relationship born on deception by omission, Thuja and River travel from Oregon to Serbia, and finally to India, working to ensure their futures are apart. Each deception takes them closer to their goal, and further from what they truly need – a world together. 

I am an active member of SCBWI.  Thank you for your time and consideration.  


  1. No. I think this is a really cool concept, but there's something about the query that just isn't pulling me in. I know that's horribly unhelpful. I think I'm just not getting enough of a sense of the world. It seems like these dryads can speak to each other if she's going to speak to them on River's behalf, but then how did she not know what she was? And then in that last paragraph, why do they want to ensure that their futures are apart? I think just a little more tightening and this query will be there, though!

  2. Yes. This is a really cool concept, and although it seems pretty clear that Thuja and river will end up together in the end, I would love to read the whole thing to see how it happens. I also like the locations you used, and I love the idea of them travelling together while keeping secrets from one another. The title did put me off at first, though. maybe just "River and Tree" would be enough?

  3. No but very reluctantly. Unique premise. I had to re-read much of this to understand. The first paragraph was fantastic but I got lost in the second paragraph until I realized River was the boy.

    Possibly cutting the words down to tighten it will help. I’d look for unnecessary words that gum up the story. For instance, I liked the last paragraph. But maybe leave out plot twists like ‘…finally to India…’ There is a lot to grasp in this query but I think it is worth my while to ask for more pages. (if I were an agent!)

    CD Coffelt ponders at Spirit Called
    And critiques at UnicornBell

  4. This says paranormal romance, but I'm not really getting a sense of romance from it. I'm a little concerned about the type of chemistry that would exist between a 136 year old tree woman and a boy. The query gave me the impression Thuja is an adult and River is a boy.

    Also, on a lesser note, how the heck do they manage to travel the world like that? Where do they get the money/transportation?

    I love the concept but have to vote no.

  5. No. I had to reread a number of sentences. I especially thought starting the second paragraph with "River has returned" was really confusing, at least for me. Again, more rereading to figure out how he was related to the first paragraph. I was interested overall because it seems like there's a lot of fun stuff going on, but also because of that I was too confused to understand exactly what the story would be like.

  6. Yes! This one has an interesting premise that hasn't been overdone. While a small part of the query needs some polish, if I were an agent, I'd jump on this by unique premise alone.

    I like the conflict going on for both of them and the promise of an interesting relationship.

    "With a relationship born on deception by omission, Thuja and River travel from Oregon to Serbia, and finally to India, working to ensure their futures are apart. Each deception takes them closer to their goal, and further from what they truly need – a world together." This paragraph needs some tweaking. The first part of the first sentence needs rewording. It would help to know why they are traveling to those places and what they hope to gain. Not sure what you mean by "each deception takes them closer to their goal." Some detail would help out here and prove you have a solid middle and rising conflict. The last part of that second sentence is a head scratcher.

  7. Yes, although I think it needs to be tightened up a bit before the story seems clear, I find it very intriguing.

  8. Yes. I adore your idea and premise overall, and the query is just about perfect. The only part that didn't work for me was this line, " working to ensure their futures are apart." It's pretty vague and lacks emotion. Spice that up a bit and you will totally be getting real requests. I just love the idea of a tree (cute name, Thuja, too) having wanderlust. There is a lot of irony in the query, which leads me to believe that there is a lot of depth to this story.