Wednesday, February 19, 2014

An Agent's Inbox #16

Dear Ms. Gref,

Sixteen-year-old Kenzie Moriarty doesn’t believe in luck or signs. As far as she’s concerned her status as class president, girlfriend of the football star and honor roll student are a result of her actions and personality. That all changes when her Grams tells Kenzie and her two sisters they’re the immortal Fates. To determine which sister will be responsible for each job--spinning, measuring or cutting life-threads--the girls must take tests to reveal their true character. The thought of having eternity to see the world thrills her, but ending lives is an option she won’t even consider. When she meets her soulmate and discovers the only way to be with him forever is to end someone else's life early, though, she finds the life hanging by a thread isn't at all what she expects.

In interviews I’ve read that you’re interested in stories incorporating mythology and fantasy. THE CARDINAL SIGN is a 71,000 word young adult urban fantasy that will appeal to readers of Mindee Arnett’s The Nightmare Affair and The Goddess Test series by Aimee Carter.

As one of three sisters, I spent many years in the midst of sibling relationships and rivalries. I’m a member of SCBWI and received my English degree from The University of Texas at Austin.

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. 

Sincerely, 
H.R.


THE CARDINAL SIGN

The cardinal saved me. That blur of red, so out of place in a sea of metal and asphalt. I hesitated and watched him fly into the trees before I ran into the high school parking lot.

The referee’s whistle and shouts from fans echoed from the stadium. I’d gone a few steps when I heard the parking lot light creak. I looked up and threw my arms over my head just as it crashed in front of me, a spray of glass. I jumped back, shards crunching under my boots. Had I been a couple of steps ahead the light would’ve crushed me.

But Fate had other plans.

Running through the lot I kept clear of the other towering lights, not that two could break in one night. But I had a job to do at half-time and I intended to be there for it.

When I got to the stadium I climbed the steps, my boots clanging on the metal. My friends had saved me a spot in our usual place.

I leaned against the rail and let out a whoop. Of course, where I stood I knew my backside would get some attention. Not everyone goes to games for the football. The crowd rose to its feet, stamping the bleachers when my boyfriend, Dylan, ran the ball in for a touchdown. I waited for him to blow me a kiss or wave or something, but he just high-fived his teammates. Typical.

“Kenzie, he’s awesome. You're so lucky.”

5 comments:

MeriAnn said...

I love the story idea here and read the entire query and 250 words. I did stumble and have to read again, the last sentence in the first paragraph, so you may want to rework that one somehow! Just an idea. Sounds like a great story!

Donea Lee said...

Hi ~

Ok, so this was one of those "Dangit!" moments for me. :) Only because I had the same idea for a story about the three Fates and a competition between 3 girls (although they were frenemies, not sisters). Great minds ~ I guess. :) So, obviously, I like the concept!

The query was a bit sparse for me, however. I wanted to know a bit more. Who is the grandmother? Was she one of the Fates? I think it would be interesting to know what kinds of tests they have to face, also. Something specific and quirky to make the story really stand out.

The first 250 are pretty good. I did think Kenzie seemed a little too detached from what happens (the light almost crushing her) and think the scene warranted a bigger emotional reaction from her. Also - the line about "Fate had other plans" didn't quite mesh with your introduction to Kenzie in the query - saying that she doesn't believe in signs or luck. I'd maybe ditch that and focus on her reaction to almost dying, imho.

Best of luck to you!! :)

Martha Mayberry said...


Query: I love the premise of this! I think you could split up your last sentence for more impact.

First 250: I like that you start with action, the light falling, but I felt detached from the MC. Maybe give us a few more internal thoughts. For example, when the light falls, she runs off, more worried about her half-time job. I’d love to feel a little of the fear she must have felt, maybe shock, questions as to how this could happen. The part about her backside getting attention threw me a little. It came across as conceited, which may be your intention, but it didn’t make me like the MC much.

That said, this sounds like a fun story. All the best with it!

L.L.M. said...

Query: The first sentence pulled me in, honestly, because of the girl's last name. I thought this was going to be a story about the descendants of Holmes and the Professor. Some names, because they're so strongly associated with other characters, should be avoided. While Moriarty isn't as popular as Bella, Potter, etc, it might be worth a second look and opinions.

That said, the first line works, but I'm wondering what part signs have to lay in everything. I totally see where she doesn't think she's lucky, instead she believes she worked hard. Where I lose the connection is how all of that would be seen as a sign of something. Outside of luck.

I'd split this first paragraph into two, after Grams spills the beans. The only other thing I would change is adjust one of the "ending lives" or "end someone else's life" so it's not repetitive.

First 250: What's going through the protagonists mind those first few paragraphs? What's she feeling? It reads more like a series of events, synopsis-y, rather than the opening to a book. I get no sense of the character's voice or inner workings. How does she feel after nearly being crushed? Was she surprised? Was she scared? Was she relieved afterwards? It happens, she doesn't react.

Outside of wanting to get a better feel for the MC, I'd keep reading.

Good job, and good luck!

Emily Gref said...

Hi H.R.,

I love this concept! As others have mentioned, the last sentence in the first paragraph is a little confusing - you might want to chop it into two.

The first 250 left me a little perplexed, though. Kenzie nearly dies, and then immediately goes on to cheer her boyfriend and sulk about how he's ignoring her. The two moments clash against each other - maybe the cardinal saving her should come later, after we get to know her a bit better and care about her fate?

Hope that helps, and best of luck!

All the best,
Emily