May 1, 2012


Dear Agent:

I thought you might be interested in DAMSEL TO THE RESCUE, a gender-role-bending YA fantasy adventure.

Terrilyn Darkhorse comes from a long line of successful, prince-rescuing damsels. Now that she’s sixteen, she’s expected to uphold the family tradition. But Terri dreams of being a gardener and would rather remain at home, tending her garden, perfecting her plant magic, and staying far away from the highly competitive world of damsels.

Then the local prince is kidnapped and Terri’s mother makes her an offer: Beat the other damsels and be the one to rescue the prince, and Terri can have the family’s second estate, Trellis, to turn into her own gardens. Terri has wanted Trellis since she was a little girl, so she sets out with her best friend Rune as her official sidekick, hoping to avoid the other damsels altogether.

Before long, Terri and Rune are set upon by hordes of trolls and find themselves rescuing rival damsels from man-eating trees. As the onslaught of enemies grows, Terri learns to rely on her magic and an unexpected source of aid—her rivals—to conquer each challenge. Because she is determined to succeed, even if it means coping with snotty elf princesses, chainmail bikinis, and the most powerful Dark Lord the world has seen in five-hundred years.

DAMSEL TO THE RESCUE is complete at 83,000 words. It will appeal to readers who appreciate Tamora Pierce’s strong heroines and Patricia C. Wrede’s quirky sense of humor.

Included are the materials you request in your submission guidelines. Thank you very much for your time.



Rick Daley said...

You had me at the title, the anti-cliche got my attention, but you almost lost me at gender-role-bending...While I knew what you meant, it still made me go, "Huh?" and it stalled the flow of my reading.

But aside from that, I think you did a good job showing what the manuscript has in store for the reader. I get a good feel for the story and challenges, and I feel a witty voice as I read this. It got my attention because it seems clever and original.

I don't know if the two comparisons you make are needed. Your best bet is to make your story stand out as unique.

Good luck!

Lulu said...

Man, this is CUTE. Really good idea and well-executed query. I did squirm a little at the mention of the Dark Lord - it's a cliche, and doesn't do much for the query, so I'd leave it out.

I'm wondering if there's anything about the kidnapped prince you could bring in instead? Who has him, and too what end? Just some things to consider!


Anonymous Author said...

This sounds great. Like Rick, I was a bit derailed by "gender-role-bending". And there are really no remaining gender roles that haven't been bent, so you don't need that. Swashbuckling females have been around for a while.

Looks terrific otherwise, though. I like the idea of a Damsel rat-race, your tone suits the story perfectly, and you do an excellent job setting up the situation.

Maybe just lose the first paragraph altogether. When I cut my querying teeth a generation ago, "I thought you might be interested" was an okay way to begin, but today it just invites a cynical agent to think "well, I'm not."

So just move the title and wordcount to the end. Send it out. Good luck. You will probably get some requests.

gj said...

I love this too.

Only nitpick -- it seems a little long. I'm not sure the last substantive paragraph ("Before long ...) is needed. Maybe cut that down to a single line -- the previous paragraph has them setting out, which is probably all you need to establish that there's a story -- and then a short, punchy line to establish that it things are going to get worse.