Friday, March 05, 2010

Lauren's Slush Week entry

by Lauren

(For details on Slush Week, see Chasya's introduction.)

Dear (Agent's name),

Cleopatra Giancarlo is different from your average twenty-something career girl. For one thing, she knows when people lie because she can see the truth in their shadows. For another, she doesn't use her power for good. Or evil. After repeated failures to help others, she mostly just uses it to get deals at Bloomingdale's. She fears what the government would do if they discovered her ability, yet she longs to find out if there are people like her out there. If there's anything more she could be.

She gets her wish when two strangers whisk her away from her old life and introduce her to the world of suprasensors. John Arlin and Samantha Grooms represent an organization called YuriCorp, one of many privately-owned firms that employ supras like Cleo to increase their profit margin. Any of these firms would be thrilled to have Cleo on staff, and their methods of recruitment aren't always friendly.

But even in the world of supras, Cleo doesn't get to be normal. Her new boss wants her to go undercover and seek traitors in the company ranks. Her new friends know what she can do and how to work around it. And her new assignment might end up with her in a coma--or worse.

The Whole Truth is a 100,000 word paranormal women's fiction with a mouthy heroine who finds out people are people even when they can bend spoons with their brains. I've got an MFA in creative writing and am published in (titles/publishers/genres redacted for Slush Week purposes).

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to your response.

(Author's name)


Dear (Agent's name),

Cleopatra Giancarlo is different from your average twenty-something career girl. For one thing, she knows when people lie because she can see the truth in their shadows. For another, she doesn't use her power for good. Or evil. (This kind of rhetorical set up is a bit too common and doesn't feel fresh to me.) After repeated failures to help others, she mostly just uses it to get deals at Bloomingdale's. (This, on the other hand, works for me. I found it funny without being too cute. It's where the author first gets my attention.) She fears what the government would do if they discovered her ability, yet she longs to find out if there are people like her out there. If there's anything more she could be.

She gets her wish when two strangers whisk her away from her old life and introduce her to the world of suprasensors. John Arlin and Samantha Grooms represent an organization called YuriCorp, one of many privately-owned firms that employ supras like Cleo to increase their profit margin. Any of these firms would be thrilled to have Cleo on staff, and their methods of recruitment aren't always friendly.

Interesting premise. It's hard to write paranormal that doesn't sound like a million other books, but this manages to stand out.

But even in the world of supras, Cleo doesn't get to be normal. Her new boss wants her to go undercover and seek traitors in the company ranks. Her new friends know what she can do and how to work around it. And her new assignment might end up with her in a coma--or worse.

The Whole Truth is a 100,000 word paranormal women's fiction (This makes me wonder why the author doesn't call it paranormal romance, since paranormal women's fiction isn't really a category people usually refer to. Is the author trying to separate herself from romance or not doing her research or what? From a shelving standpoint, most paranormal is going in one of three places: romance, fantasy, or children's. Women's fiction typically goes in general fiction. Categories may be somewhat artificial, but it pays to know where you fit.) with a mouthy heroine who finds out people are people even when they can bend spoons with their brains. I've got an MFA in creative writing and am published in (titles/publishers/genres redacted for Slush Week purposes). (Without the actual info here, it's tough to say how relevant the credentials are, but if they're not especially impressive, keeping it brief would be good. For instance, Pushcart Prize nominations must be quite nice for the author, but the sheer volume of them and low bar to entry mean they don't really help us discern potential in a query. It sounds like in this case, the author planned to keep it brief and just state the facts, which is good.)

Thanks for your time, and I look forward to your response.


(Author's name)

I'm not desperate to get my hands on it, but I'd have requested it for the Bloomingdale's line combined with this being a category I'm looking for and a premise that doesn't remind me of every other query I've read today. Truth be told, I'd probably only have skimmed the rest once I saw that line and just asked for material--probably 50 pages since I'm not blown away, but I'm intrigued enough to find out more.


Thank you to everyone who participated in Slush Week by (bravely) sending in their queries and commenting on the posts! It's been fun and we hope informative!!

7 comments:

  1. I like this query and the concept. However, I would take out the "Bloomindale bargains" part. It lends a trivial nature to a story that is high stakes. I would put "bending spoons in her mind" in the beginning. It justifies her being sought out like she is some MIT grad and not scanning shoes.

    This reminds me of the Firm in some way. Interested to see what they agents say!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you for taking the time to share your responses to these letters with your visitors. It's very interesting and helpful!

    ReplyDelete
  3. One for Bloomingdales. One not. Interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Two for Bloomingdale's! The point [i]is[/i] that it's trivial and that the character's not living up to her potential. That was the line that made me sit up and pay attention, too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I liked the Bloomie's line, too. A lot of successful paranormnal/UF out there is pretty humorous, and this shows me the author has the knack.

    Just my two cents. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Four for Bloomies! That made me laugh and was the turning point - it got me hooked and endeared the character to me. I would definitely read this. Good luck, author!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just jumping in here to say, thanks for doing slush week, very informative, and plenty to mull over re: my own queries.

    ReplyDelete