Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #19

Dear Agent:

Mysty’s only wish for her sixteenth birthday is to date Eric; instead, she accidentally turns him into a frog. She knew birthdays were supposed to be magical but this wasn't what she expected. Kissing Eric would be a logical solution, if she were living in a fairy tale, but this is real life. The creepy woodshop teacher appears before she can figure out what to do and temporarily fixes Eric, leaving him mostly human.

Mysty learns she is descended from a banished princess and a long line of villains from the Enchanted Forest. The woodshop teacher was sent from there to determine if she is good or evil. Good princesses get Happily Ever After. Evil Princesses get locked in rat infested towers. If Mysty can’t undo her spell, Eric will turn into a frog forever and she’ll be deemed evil. Worse, she’ll never get to date him. Mysty would love to kiss away Eric’s amphibious problem, but she can’t risk her kiss turning him back into a frog. She’ll have to find another girl--who he hopefully won’t like too much--to kiss Eric and break the spell.

SO YOU DON’T WANT TO BE AN EVIL SORCERESS is a 77,000 word YA fantasy.

Thank you for taking the time to do this contest.

J.S.


SO YOU DON’T WANT TO BE AN EVIL SORCERESS

Mysty tied her damp hair into a ponytail as she ran down the stairs. The school bus would arrive in ten minutes. She turned the corner and crashed into the black knight. The drawstring to her sweatpants caught on the mace, upsetting her balance and slamming her shoulder into the wall.

“Mysty, is that you?” Mom called from the kitchen.

“Who moved the stupid knight?”

Mom came out of the kitchen, followed by the stench of burnt toast, hair perfect. She wiped her hands on her apron before helping Mysty shove the heavy armor back against the wall. “He’s wishing you a happy birthday.”

Mysty didn’t look in the reflective surface as she pushed the armor. She didn’t want to see the new zits pulsating on her face. “It’s an old pile of tin, Mom. It isn’t capable of wishing. It slid on the uneven floor.” She was tempted to kick it, but she didn’t. “We should move it before someone gets hurt.”

Mom propped the mace next to the armor. “Where would we put it?”

“The basement, out of sight, eBay...”

“We aren’t selling the black knight.”

“My friends don’t have knights. They have potted plants.” Mysty rubbed her sore shoulder and went in the kitchen. She ducked to avoid a bundle of smelly herbs hanging from the ceiling and sat next to her brother. A charred piece of what might have once been toast waited for her on a plate. “I don't have time for breakfast.”

7 comments:

Melanie Stanford said...

I love the premise to this, but I think the query could be stronger. Ex: In the first sentence make the semi-colon a period, it has more impact that way. And then "The creepy woodshop teacher appears..." seemed jarring. Maybe that should be the start of the next para. In the 2nd para, you don't need the words "from there".

In the writing, the "Mom came out of the kitchen" line seems weird because of the placement of "hair perfect". And then "It slid on the uneven floor"- is that supposed to be dialogue?

Other than those teeny things, I love this and would totally read this book. Oh, and LOVE your title. Hilarious.

Freya Morris said...

What a great opening to your query. It hooked me.

The second paragraph could to with tightening. Get rid of "learns" and the rest needs to be in present tense. Here's a little re-working to consider...

Mysty is descended from a banished princess and a long line of villains from the Enchanted Forest. The woodshop teacher will determine if she is good or evil. Good princesses get to live Happily Ever After. If Mysty can’t undo her spell, Eric will turn into a frog forever and she'll be locked away in a rat infested tower, forever.

I had the same issue with "hair perfect" - thought it was talking about the toast. Just change it around... Mom came out of the kitchen, hair perfect, followed by the stench of burnt toast.

Another thing I might do with the opener... is make her more positive to begin with so she's more likable and attractive.
Otherwise - love it. Just tiny things really and easy when I come at it from the outside.

Would love it if you could comment on mine - number 20!

Escape Artist said...

I loved the first line of your query! It made me giggle.

You probably have just a wee bit more than you need in this query. I'd tighten and keep the humour that's pouring out of this piece!

Good luck. It sounds like great fun!

Alexandra said...

The concept of this seems like a lot of fun. Although the second paragraph is a bit too full of exposition and less about the action. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but I'd try to match it more to the tone of the first paragraph of the query, if not cut it down a bit.

I like the opening, it's fun and strange. I might cut down on some modifiers, though. "Pulsating zits' is evocative, but almost overkill. You might also consider making the action clearer in the first paragraph. I'm not sure if you want to state it's an armor so early on, or let the reader be confused at why a knight would be attacking a regular girl, but making this clearer would either way make the opening very grabbing: it's not exactly a normal circumstance!

Overall I really like the premise and the style of this. My only other concern would be the title, but I'm aware that's me being picky.

gretchen said...

This is super cute and I think the premise is fun...I just wonder if it's more MG than YA? The voice, which I think you've totally got down, feels a bit younger to me than YA.
Otherwise, I really like it. And the title hooked me right away! :)

The Agent said...

This is cute, but I'm not quite sure what type of story I'm reading. She says she's not "living in a fairy tale, this is real life," but later we hear about the Enchanted forest and princesses and spells, etc.--so it definitely doesn't have that present-day contemporary feel. I think you need to clarify straight off what type of story you're in. Also, what does "mostly human" mean exactly?

That said, I loved the opening paragraphs. This project doesn't feel right for me but I would be happy to see other queries from this author in future.

mjh said...

Hilarious! I loved the way your voice stood out in the query and your opening hook me. Great dialogue, characterization, and tone. Great job! I'd definitely read more.