Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Agent's Inbox #3

(Redacted)

10 comments:

Anna said...

I haven't read a lot in this genre, and this premise of a soundcatcher is new to me. I think it is a unique power and I'm quite curious. I have to say that I read the query several times before I understood what was going on. Nevertheless, you did make the stakes very clear and I think that's really important. I like the darkness of it all.

Kelley said...

I too have not read a lot in this genre and I must say that while the writing seems beautiful, I couldn't understand what was going on from the query.

While you want the voice to come across in your query letter, you also have to make sure that the idea of the story comes across the first time around, because that's all you get.

Again, maybe someone who reads this genre totally gets it, but I was left confused.

The first 250 words were really well done. I like your writing style. But I'm still left totally confused. I think I would turn the page because confusion usually makes me do that :) but if I was still confused after the second and third page then I'd have to stop.

Marie Rearden said...

Love this idea. Dead and broken, and both being able to be fixed. Lovely.

The idea of a sound catcher is also new to me. Is he magical (the boy next door), because that makes your premise all the more sweet. :)

As always, your descriptions dip and sway like a perfect symphony. Thanks for sharing!

Karen lee Hallam said...

I loved this query. This story idea is something I can believe in and may even know about. It's clear to me what the stakes are and I'm hooked with this query alone. reading the first page is quite lovely the bird flapping and sad. I feel there is hope for this bird and his sound listener. Definitely would read on and on.

Karen Akins said...

I don't read a lot of magical realism, so I'm not sure if a "sound catcher" is something an agent would have heard of. If not, you need to probably explain it a little better. The query was very ethereal, so when you compared it to The Bodyfinder, I was a little thrown. You might also consider taking out the "slash" in your genre. I'd pick one and go with it. An agent might see that slash and say, "If the author doesn't know which it is, how will I sell it?" Just based on what it seems to be about, I'd probably go with paranormal thriller.

I like the voice of your mc. Not sure what this line means: "I tried to tell him I was an invitation-only kind of offer."

I'd keep reading.

Anonymous said...

I don't think the query is specific enough. I'd cut out the whole first paragraph, start with 'Kristy McMullen(...)'. I also don't understand what the 'safe bet' bit is supposed to mean.

Third paragraph is nice. The 'broken things' is intriguing and fourth paragraph ups the interest. Now we've got talking dead people.

But then what's the message? What's she trying to do? What's standing in her way and why is it going to kill her? You do answer the why (needs to believe broken things can be fixed) but not much else.

In short, the query shows a good setup but not much about the plot. I would read sample pages if there were any attached because I'm intrigued but otherwise I'd just move on.

After reading the sample page I'm still intrigued enough to want to read more.

-A. L.

Hope Roberson said...

Great idea, I would read more about this!
The query is confusing to me a bit, could be because I'm unfamiliar with this. If you could be a little more specific in paragraph three (Kristy McMullen), is she a soundcather too? What exactly does a soundcatcher do? The way you write it does make me curious and want to find out more though, good hooks.
Great beginning to your story too. Another possible suggestion that goes with style is pare down your repeats of phrases a tiny bit if you can. I think you have enough voice in your writing you may not need as many. Great job and good luck!

Alison Stevens said...

I am intrigued by this. I think the first 250 words have terrific voice, and that voice comes through beautifully in the query.

I do, however, think the query could be tightened, particularly the first three paragraphs. The idea of a sound catcher is intriguing, and I love the opening line. The second paragraph leaves me wondering what about the relationship between the sound catcher and the MC. If he catches sounds, why is he sending them out to her? Does she also catch sounds? If so, why is he the only one you refer to as a sound catcher? The third paragraph continues to give the sense that Kristy might also be a sound catcher (why else would she be still and quiet?), yet I get the sense from the rest of the query that she is not. And this results in a bit of confusion. I think paring these three paragraphs down to the essentials would help clarify quite a bit.

From "But when one of those broken things..." on, the pitch is fabulous! I want to read on to see how she fixes the broken things.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully written, and a very intriguing concept.

This is quite a unique idea for a story, and it instantly draws me in.

I would love to read more.

Kate Schafer Testerman said...

L.M., I have to admit you lost me right at the beginning -- "A broken life. A broken wing. A broken boy catching sounds. But catching sounds, you never know what you might hear. You never know who wants to be heard." I have no idea what you're talking about, and that's not a question you answer in the query. You don't even answer what a sound catcher is. Without these details, I'm afraid this query sounds somewhat generic, and it isn't something I'm interested in pursuing.