Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #7

Dear Agent:

Seventeen-year-old Ciera Fulbright is a Huntress. Just not a very good one.

At least, that’s what she’s always believed. She has all the innate abilities of a Huntress (heightened senses, speed, and agility), but her parents have never really taken the time to train her (or pay much attention to her at all, really). Hunters are the judge, jury, and executioners of the supernatural world, bringing justice to any supernatural who kills a human. Ciera dreads every summer spent in Ireland because it has the highest rate of lawless supernatural activity in the world. With everything from kelpies to the fae, being untrained amongst so many super-powered criminals can be a death sentence.

Ciera dreams of being free from the supernatural world--until she saves the mysterious Altair de la Rosa from a dangerous group of ex-Hunters. Altair’s an Avian, a being who uses the blood of other supernaturals as his power source. The rest of the supernatural world looks down on them and are afraid of their strange abilities, but Ciera doesn’t care. Altair’s confidence in her allows her to tap into her powers like never before. She’s drawn to him--almost supernaturally so--but the air of mystery he comes with could be more dangerous than enticing.

But there are worse things brewing than her love life. Her parents are not who they seem and may even be part of the group of ex-Hunters who nearly killed Altair. When hints of her parents’ betrayal surface, Ciera and Altair are forced to escape across Ireland.

On the run and hunted by Altair’s enemies and her own parents, Ciera must embrace who she was born to be. Or die trying.

HUNTER & HUNTED, a young adult paranormal/romance is complete at 74,000 words with a sequel planned.

Thank you for your consideration of my work.

Sincerely,
J.L.


HUNTER & HUNTED

I hated hunting. Especially with my parents, who looked forward to each outing with disturbing anticipation.

I only wished I was talking about hunting animals.

Ireland was the one place where there were more supernatural creatures than humans. Today, we got the lucky job of tracking two merrows who had lured a few too many humans into the sea. Merrows were the Irish version of sea people, or mermaids, but these two had gone Feral.

Usually I loved being anywhere near the ocean, but this wasn’t the place to go for a casual swim. Craggy limestone rocks scraped against the thin t-shirt on my back as spray from the ocean rained down over me. The smell of sea and salt was so strong, my eyes burned with it. Huge walls of rock were against my back, dark and shiny from the water. The Atlantic was to my left, great swells of white-capped waves crashed over and over, so loud it was difficult to hear anything else. The shore stretched out in front of me, the sand pale but rocky.

I told myself I chose the spot because it was a good vantage point, but the truth was I was hiding. Another wave crashed as I shifted my attention back to the tense scene before me.

My parents, suited up in their leather battle gear, stalked toward their prey. My mother’s katana, with its long, curved blade, glinted in the sun. My father’s claymore was still sheathed across his back.

6 comments:

The Agent said...

Intriguing premise, though the query pitch feels very long. Try to distill this down to the main elements with a maximum of two paragraphs. With an inbox full of queries, I'm skimming over these to get the gist, and if there is too much text I tend to just skip.

The opening paragraphs feel a bit talky to me. They are setting the scene by telling me what's happening rather than putting me right into the action. I would try to find a more dynamic opening and establish a stronger connection with the main character.

Emily S said...

Yeah, the query feels wordy. You could tighten it up a bit. Here's an example of the two paragraphs cut down to half the size but including most of the same info:

Even though she has the abilities of a Huntress (heightened senses, speed, and agility) her out-to-lunch parents never take the time to train her. They’re too busy being the judge, jury, and executioners of the supernatural world.

When her parents drag her to Ireland, the crime capital, Ciera wants out. That is until she saves an Avian named Altair from a group of ex-Hunters. They might not like that he drinks the blood of supernatural creatures, but Ciera's not complaining. Altair’s confidence in her allows her to tap into her powers like never before.

Now that the set up is shorter you can give us the plot arc of what happens. Does she fight back against the ex-Hunters? Why does she go on the run? are they after her too?

Personally I don't like the spoiler about her parents but others might disagree.

sample: It seems like her parents are training her by just bringing her along. also, if they're going into saltwater why are they wearing leather? I imagined them in scuba gear.

It sounds very intriguing, the first page, and I'm interested about what will happen next.

Krista V. said...

Emily has some good suggestions for cutting out extraneous details. If you take those ideas and put your own spin on them, I think your query could really work. (And personally, I kind of like the bit about her parents. It explains why they've been so inattentive all these years and also sets your manuscript apart from, say, PARANORMALCY.)

As for the first page, I thought the first few lines fell a little flat. I got what you were trying to say; it just seemed like there's probably a better way to say it. Also, some of the scene-building elements in the third and fourth paragraphs dragged the story down a bit. This doesn't feel as urgent as it could because Ciera's taking the time to describe the rocks and ocean.

Good luck with this!

draeves said...

Most of my comments echo what's been said. I also felt like the query letter was too long. I like the opening line about Ciera not being a good Huntress, but I wanted to know almost immediately what that was, and didn't get any explanation until the middle of the next paragraph. I'd like to see the second and third paragraphs condensed to their essentials so that you can get to the stakes sooner. The fourth paragraph was the one that really piqued my interest, so I'd like to see the query get to it sooner.

With the first page, I liked the voice of the reluctant hunter dragged along by her parents, but I wanted a little more drama and a little less explanation. I agree that focusing on the details about the rocks (while vivid descriptions) makes the scene feel less urgent. Personally, I'd like to see the detail about her parents and their swords come up even earlier--maybe even in the first paragraph when she first mentions her parents love of hunting.

Good luck!

Lori M. Lee said...

I like the query although, as others said, it's too long. But the premise is great.

As to the opening, throw us right into the scene. Show us what's happening as opposed to telling us.

Jessica Leake said...

Thanks for all the great comments and suggestions! :)