Aug 17, 2010

YA query: THE PRACTICE OF WEARING SKIN

Dear agent name,

Sixteen-year-old epic loner Sofia knows she has some lingering issues from being abandoned by her mom a year ago. So when Theo, a total weirdo who calls himself a grim reaper, approaches her and says she has thirty days until she dies, well that’s just freaking awesome. At least there’s one other person in the world that needs therapy more than she does.

If she talks to anyone normal about grim reapers, they won’t remember anything at all, except that Sofia might have a couple of screws loose. They don't remember Theo's name or even what he looks like. In fact, Sofia's choice comes down to dying normally and being remembered, or becoming a grim reaper and letting everyone forget she existed at all too.

Either way, she can’t die yet! She hasn’t even lost her v-card!

Then near the end of her thirty days, Sofia uncovers evidence that her mom might never have abandoned her at all, but that she’s a grim reaper herself. Sofia takes the chance to reconcile with her mom and join Theo, whose British accent, grey eyes, and perfect boy jeans are incentive enough to continue “living” with him as a reaper, but when she makes it to the afterlife, Sofia learns the heartbreaking reason why her mom hasn’t tried to contact her in the last year.

THE PRACTICE OF WEARING SKIN, my YA paranormal romance novel, is complete at 51,000 words.

I am currently an intern for [Redacted] at [redacted]. In 2008, I completed an MA in Creative Writing from Newcastle University in Newcastle upon Tyne, England and have a short story published in Lit by New Writing North in conjunction with Newcastle University. Also, several works have been published in Blackberry Winter, an annual chapbook of Rochester College where I earned my BA in English and Professional Writing.

Thank you for your time and consideration. Per your guidelines, the first _____ pages follow.

All the best,

Cassandra Brown
Writing as C. A. Marshall

Address
phone
http://camarshall.com

8 comments:

Anonymous Author said...

I thought I'd scream if I saw another teenager-literally-dying-to-find-love story, but yours actually sounds engaging and interesting.

The query looks good. Personally I'd tend not to use college lit mags as writing credits, but it probably can't do any harm.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi. Fascinating story premise and great title. I'm intrigued.
Paragraph two doesn't follow the first smoothly, however. In the first graph, she's saying he's a nut job. But in the second, she seems to have accepted he really is a grim reaper. Some transition is needed.
Also, I don't feel any panic at the thought of dying. We need some stakes so we care about her choice. Say it without exclamation marks.

Nicole MacDonald said...

reminds me of a tv series bout grim reapers.. can't remember the name.. cept the lead was dead due to being hit by a flying dunny..

Mesmerix said...

Premise is great. Voice is good. My problem is that the conflict is disjointed, too much going on. You've got...

1) 30 days to death
2) Theo love interest
3) Choice between death and existance as a grim reaper
4) Mom's a grim reaper, maybe? Bit confused on this one

Which one is the story actually about? The main conflict seems to change as I go from paragraph 1 (dead in 30 days) to paragraph 2 (be a grim reaper choice) to paragraph 3-4 (mommy issues).

Pare down, focus on the main plot arch only. Your characters seem lovely and interesting, and the concept is brilliant, but the conflict leaves me confused.

I hope this helps. This is a very interesting premise and I'd be interesting in reading further. Best of luck!!

Scribbler to Scribe

Belinda said...

Nicole, that show was "Dead Like Me". I was interested in this query until about halfway through. I'm with Mesmerix in that it's either a) a story about this character reconnecting with her mother or b) a story about a girl pushing the "dead-line" and finding love/coming of age. If it's both, I think both storylines would be watered down and seem too busy. Otherwise, I'd go with B. It's a good hook. Good luck!

Zee Lemke said...

I agree that focusing on Theo (if this is a "YA romance") is better than confusing us with the mom. He's not popping out as sexy to me, which is my biggest turn-off from an otherwise awesome idea.

But "Dead Like Me" already did this. I never saw any episodes but a friend's summary sounded basically exactly like this premise. Read summaries of the episodes and make your idea sound different, because I kind of want to read it now.

And organize, organize, organize. I can't follow what's happening in your paragraphs and am stuck with tantalizing sentences.

N. Blank said...

I'd say the first paragraph is the strongest. I get a little confused after that.

Stacy McKitrick said...

Interesting story, but I don't see the romance. I see a story about a girl and her mother. If that's what your story really is, then you need to label it as such. If your story is a romance, then show the romance.