Friday, January 31, 2014

Become an Agent #9 - ESSENCE

Title: Essence
Genre: NA Fantasy
Word Count: 75,000

Dear Agent,

Emma wakes up to a man with monster’s teeth hovering over her. But that's not her biggest problem. She doesn’t even know how she got into that bed, where she is or even who she is. All she knows is she doesn’t belong here, that this world isn’t hers.

The only choice she has is to trust the tenants of the strange house, let them help her remember. Easier said than done with the monster-man, a sink like a bottomless pit, an oven that likes to shoot its racks at unsuspecting victims, and the very owner of the house being a dark magician with a dark history. As if the inside of the house wasn’t bad enough, outside, the town of Wyndham is protected great ward, that turns the open, country landscape into a dark wall to attempt to keep back the Eaters – soul-sucking “zombies.”
On top of that, the townsfolk blame her for the Eaters. They swarmed the town only after she came. And the magician of the house seems to know more about it than he leads on.
He knows Emma’s past.

First 250:

I open my eyes.

There’s a man hovering above me.

A stranger.

My legs are tangled in sweat and blankets as I scramble back against a headboard.

He’s ridiculously tall, his unnaturally, bright red hair contrasting sharp black eyes set above high cheekbones. “Well, good to see you’re finally awake.” He gives a wide grin. All his teeth are long, curved, pointed.

A scream chokes up my throat and I throw myself out of the bed. The sheets fall with me, binding my legs. They don’t give no matter how much I worm around or rip at them.

Whoa, whoa.” The man jumps over the bed, squatting in front of me with his arms raised. “I won’t touch you. Calm down, please, you could hurt yourself.”

My fingers hesitate. If he wanted to hurt me, he could have. For God’s sake, he was hovering over me while I slept. A shiver spikes up my spine. “What are you?”

“What am I?” He blinks. “I’m Bob. And you are?”

Bob’s a name, not a thing. Is he hiding it from me, whatever he is?

And I…

“I don’t know.”

“What don’t you know?” An odd accent lilts across his words.

What do I say? Hey monster, thanks for hovering over me and all, but I have no idea who I am. I don’t even know my name.

“Come on now, I won’t bite.”

Hysterical laughter bubbles in my stomach, and I clamp my teeth shut against it. He sure as hell has the teeth for biting.


  1. No.

    How does someone have "monster's teeth"? Maybe describe them instead of just saying they are monster teeth. The query hook didn't work for me. The query itself was too confusing, and chunked together. What are the stakes?

  2. No.

    I'm still not sure what the book is about. Does she need to defeat the Eaters? Does she just need to get home?
    And a monster named Bob reads like a cartoon to me.

  3. (Entry #13)
    You need to get the details of your story in a more understandable order. I honestly have no idea what is going on in your manuscript or what your main character is dealing with.

  4. No. I honestly don't know what's going on, and the voice in the first 250 feels forced. It may not be, but that's how it reads to my ears.

  5. No.

    The third sentence in the second paragraph lost me. I read it several times, and I'm still not sure what's going on. An agent would read it once.

    I don't really connect with the voice in the first 250.

  6. I really like your first 250 words. Her panic coupled with the calm of the "monster" is intriguing, and I feel there's going to be great chemistry between these two characters. I don't see the monster man as cartoonish - if someone is picking up a fantasy, they are going to expect strange characters.

    I have to agree with the other posters that the query is off, though. It reads more like a synopsis: this happens, then this, then this, without fully telling us anything. Try focusing on the conflict between her and the fact that she doesn't know what's going on, and what she needs to do to get herself out of this. The first paragraph starts strong in this vein, but then the second just gets too muddled too quickly for us to know what to expect.

    Best of luck with this!

    Jeannette (#6)

  7. No. I had to reread your query a few times to make sure I understood it. I still don't think I follow everything.

  8. No. I'm confused about the monster teeth. Is that the way she knew she was in another world? The first 250 moved a little slow for me and seemed a little clunky. I think the story aounds fun, but I lost interest.

  9. You've written a good summary of events. For your query you need to answer the following questions:

    Who is your main character? (Species, age, special powers, remarkable characteristic/or BAD characteristic.) What does she want? (To save the world? Get home? Revenge?) Who or what is stopping her from achieving her want/goal? (Herself? a villain? a disease? She's stuck in time? She's lost her memory?) Now grab the reader's attention with what will happen if she doesn't do what she wants/craves. (She'll lose her life, a planet will blow up, her family dies, the balance of humanity will be lost, or she'll never get home again)

    Also, be sure to include a brief description of where/when the story takes place. Earth in 3482, for example. Or when earth is ruled by apes. Or monsters.

    You've got a good opening for the 250.

    Good luck!

  10. No. A few thoughts about your query: 1) The description of the magic house almost sounds MG -- bottomless sink and oven shooting racks is funny in a more childlike way than NA, I think. 2) You use overused phrases ""easier said than done", "as if that wasn't bad enough", "on top of that".
    I think your query would be stronger if you opened with your second paragraph, which is where part of you hook is. Emma's in a house with a dark magician who knows her past better than she does -a nd why she seems to be the one who drew soul-sucking zombies to a town that now hates her. Also - what are the stakes? Is she trying to get home? To banish the zombies?
    Interesting idea - good luck!

  11. I'm really sorry, I wanted to be your "yes", but I'm just not totally sold. I think the query is a a little confusing, but the first 250 isn't bad. Your writing is solid and I like the voice. I do agree that you should let us know where/when this is. There is some world building that is obviously taking place in your novel and it couldn't hurt to add that into your query. I hope this helps! Good luck with querying!! I like to say to fellow queryers that you just have to find the agent that believes in your work and I'm sure that agent is out there for you!


  12. Query:
    First thought: Then how does she know her name is Emma? How does she know this world isn’t hers if she doesn’t remember anything? Also, I think waking up to a guy with monster teeth hovering over me would quickly become my #1 problem.

    You give us a good description of the house and the setting, but I don’t know what the conflict of the story is. Just Emma trying to remember? Is there going to be an epic battle against the zombies? Is there any romance?

    Overall, I don’t have enough information to know what’s happening.

    First 250:
    The first 250’s not too bad. You jump right into the action described in the query. There are some awkward sentences, though. The sentence describing Bob needs to be cut into two sentences (“He’s ridiculously tall. His bright red hair is a sharp contrast…”).

    I don’t know why Bob replies “What don’t you know?” when he just asked Emma her name. She was answering his question.

    I think I would have to continue reading to make a better judgement of your writing and Emma’s voice. But I’m willing to keep reading, so that’s not a bad sign.

    Verdict: No.

    The query needs more work and the first 250 didn’t draw me in enough.

    Good luck!
    -Tiff (#3)

  13. This is a no, sorry. The writing feels stunted and I'm having trouble connecting to it.