Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #28

Dear Agent,

After 18 year old King Zuku successfully defends his planet against the attack of the High Lord Sultan, he doesn’t want anything more to do with the Sultan or the Sultan’s family. So when Zuku sees the broadwave requesting help to save the Sultan’s daughters, Zuku ignores it. He tells himself he doesn’t care about the 12 princesses trapped in a malfunctioning starship, and he certainly doesn’t want to marry one of them as a reward.

But…Zuku is an engineer at heart, not a politician, and he can’t resist looking--just a little--into the problem. The more he researches, the more involved he gets, and the more he thinks that a marriage alliance with the Sultan, and its accompanying peace treaty, might not be a bad idea. Zuku refuses to admit it has anything to do with to the Sultan’s feisty daughter, Rana.

He enters the contest only to find out he’s last on a long list of men wanting a closer connection to the Sultan. He’s told to wait for his turn, but the longer Zuku waits, the worse the effects of dimensional slippage will be for the princesses. Fortunately, Zuku’s a king and not used to taking orders from anyone, not even High Lord Sultans.

Told from the point of view of both Zuku and Rana, SLIPPERAGE is a YA science fiction retelling of “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” complete at 67,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,
J.M.T.


SLIPPERAGE

The sky turned pink and Rana’s head jerked up in surprise. She squinted at the sky, but no matter how she looked at it, it remained blindingly neon pink. The sky only changed to that particular shade during the noon hour when the sun’s rays hit the palace shields directly, which meant Rana was late for lunch. Again. Someday, she thought, she’d be on time and get to eat something normal for a change instead of being stuck with the chef’s experiments. There was never anything else left after her family went through the buffet lines in the dining hall. Yesterday, the chef had experimented with watermelon and okra wrapped inside a pita with a side serving of eggplant yogurt. Neither had been very edible.

Even knowing she was late, Rana paused to look at what she’d drawn on her tablet. She’d been doodling absently and ended up drawing a self-portrait. Her smiling face was surrounded by her mother, her father, and several of her sisters, all of them beaming and obviously happy to be together. Rana snorted and deleted the picture. As if that would ever happen.

She shoved her tablet and stylus into her bag, slung it over her head and shoulder, and hurried back toward the palace for lunch. Rana passed through a pagoda leading from the serene Oriental Gardens and into the squared symmetry of the terraced Persian Gardens.

The pinkness disappeared.

7 comments:

Kimmy said...

Hi! Good luck with your writing. About your query, I would suggest cutting down on the use of commas as it drags some sentences out. Also, its a little confusing and when you mention him entering the contest in the third paragraph, I don't know which contest you mean. I also don't get a good feel for the stakes and think a stronger hook would help a lot.
The first page honestly does not draw me in - the entire first paragraph discusses the color of the sky and lunch. The second paragraph shows there is trouble with her family, which sets up conflict - I think it might be better to start there. Watch repeating words too much such as sky and pink. More conflict at the start would make this page shine! Best of luck to you!

Janice Sperry said...

I like your premise. The query drew me in. It is a little long, but it read clear. But your first page didn't. The previous commenter already said why. Maybe if you start with her arriving late for lunch?

Janice Sperry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Agent said...

Since the story is told in rotating POVs, maybe better to reflect that in the query? Especially since the novel opens with Rana's POV, when she is hardly featured at all in the query.

For such an exciting story, I think you could pick a more dynamic opening scene--can you put us right in the middle of some form of action, tension, or sharply-drawn character exchange?

MarcyKate said...

This is such a great premise! I liked the query, but I would've liked to see more about Rana since she's the second MC.

Ditto what the others said about the first page. Starting with conflict or action of some kind would be much more effective. Good luck!

mjh said...

I like the premise and also think it would be a good idea to show the two POVs in the query somehow. That makes the query stand out. I wasn't drawn in with the first paragraph, but I liked the voice and would read on for at least another couple of pages. Good luck!

Jenna Wallace said...

I think the story sounds interesting, but the query reads a bit too much like synopsis for me. I'd like to see more what's at stake.

As for the first 250, the writing is solid, but you would do better to open at a more critical point. The color of the sky or what Rana had for dinner is not important enough for me to want to read on.

Good luck!