Aug 13, 2009

Query: Silver Spangles

Dear Agent,

In one world, a girl covets independence from her family. In another, a young man struggles to honor noblesse oblige while pretending to live a carefree teenaged life. Love—and an elite private school—smashes these two worlds together.

Eva, an American high school senior stuck in a new British school, chafes against her mother's constant surveillance and her classmates' unnaturally good behavior. Their blond good looks and bizarre obedience to authority, not to mention her paid stalker, lead her to suspect that the school is harboring a white supremacist group. Eva falls for the school's moody golden boy, Marcus, who reveals the truth: the students are Vikings who can travel in time until their nineteenth birthdays.

Marcus's royal angst means he doesn't tell Eva he rules as a minor king in the past. Planning on a short, romantic idyll, Marcus and Eva visit the eleventh century. The outing becomes dangerous when Marcus is attacked and drugged by a jealous Viking girl, Eva lands in prison and escapes by marrying a former classmate, and the Queen of Denmark attacks the Viking settlement. The couple barely escape to the present after Eva's mother, secretly a time-traveler herself, tips the battle in their favor and Marcus temporarily relinquishes his crown.

The completed young adult manuscript is approximately 93,000 words long.

Thanks for looking over this query. I've included the first five pages. Would you be interested in reading the full manuscript?



Thermocline said...

Your first paragraph is all Tell. Your second does a much better job of Showing what happens. By showing me how different the American high school senior and the time traveling Vikings, you don't need the first paragraph. I'll figure it out.

I'm confused by what a paid stalker and white supremacist group has to do with the story. The real tale is about the love and the conflict seems to center on the problems caused by time traveling. Keep focused on these and ditch the extraneous elements.

"The outing becomes dangerous when Marcus is attacked and drugged by a jealous Viking girl, Eva lands in prison and escapes by marrying a former classmate, and the Queen of Denmark attacks the Viking settlement."

This is a long sentence that gives me a run down of the plot points. Condense it but leave me curious as to what happens. Make me want to request more pages by tantalizing me with wondering how it will end.

Your premise is interesting so you've got a lot to work with here. Keep your focus on the core conflict as you go. Good luck!

Tara said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TLH said...

I agree the premise is *very* interesting, and pretty original too. I have a thing for Vikings, so I'm very intrigued.

However I was left a little confused by the letter, mostly for the reasons that Thermocline said. What does a stalker or a white supremacist group have to do with it?

You can probably just cut the first paragraph. In my letter I ended up just ignoring exposition. They don't care about that as much as they do what's happening in the story.

Very cool story though, I'd be interested to read more!

RCWriterGirl said...

I agree with everyone who mentioned the phrase about the stalker not fitting. While it may make sense in the novel, there's not enough time in the query to properly explain it. The white supremacist line, I'm torn about, because like the others, it does seem to stick out, making you say, "Huh?" But, it also provides the indicaction that she suspects something weird is going on. Given that others are so opposed to it, you may want to say something like she realies the "school is harboring a nasty secret." (But that doesn't work perfectly either, becuase I think it's better to be specific. The problem is being specific makes you pause a minute, and turns out totally unrelated to the truth.)

I'm not as bothered by the telling in the first paragraph. I think it's OK to set up the story. But, see what others comment on this. You and I may be in the minority.

You sorta gave away your ending at the end there. I think the norm is to leave a little more up in the air, so the agent wants to read more.

You don't need the word "long" after 93,000 words. It's acceptable to say the "manucript is 93,000 words."

Lastly, don't say thanks for "looking over this query." Say "thanks for your time and consideration."

Sounds interesting. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

This makes me think of the movie JUMPER--but not :D

I didn't get the stalker thing either but honestly, the white supremacist thing didn't bother me. YOu might test drive with a few agents and see if they pick up on it.

Far as the first paragraph goes, I can take it or leave it but I kinda feel like you need some sort of wrap-up paragraph after going from helicopter mommy to time travel mommy and Marcus temporarily relinquishing his crown. That part also doesn't quite fit. And of course, in a query letter, you don't have time to explain.

And why can they only travel in time until they are 19?

Wondering if there's a reason for it?? I mean that would kinda suck LOL

Hopefully my comments make sense and are helpful...Otherwise, your query is just solid as a rock and sounds like a fun read.