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Ask Daphne! About My Query XXI

light shoesLight-up shoes (for adults!) for KDR, who is today’s About My Query participant. Full disclosure on this one: I saw an earlier version of this letter that was strong enough to pique my interest and have me request a partial, which lead to my asking for the full manuscript. So I may know more about the rest of the story than what’s told here. Nonetheless, I’ll do my best to be impartial. But I may depend on your fresh eyes to give the author more feedback. Ready?

Dear Ms Unfeasible,

I am seeking representation for my 77,000 word urban fantasy, LIGHT BRINGERS, where having the ability to heal others is a doubled-edged sword, killing just as easily as curing.

Best friends Ryan and Kalie work hard to keep Kalie’s rare healing power a secret. When a new Light Bringer emerges, brazenly using her healing gift out in the open, she attracts the attention of a vicious shape-shifter, inadvertently exposing Kalie. Fortunately, Ryan is a part of a special-ops group of soldiers designed to police the gifted society, and he brings his elite crew into the battle to keep the Light Bringers safe. As they dodge attacks from a motley crew of mercenaries, all signs begin to point to a deadly foe from Kalie’s past. Is the shape-shifter working with the woman responsible for murdering Kalie’s family thirteen years ago—a woman who sought to rip the healing essence from Light Bringers and harness it for her own needs? Ryan and Kalie must unravel the shape-shifter’s motives and stop her before they meet the same wicked end as Kalie’s family.

I majored in English at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where I studied creative writing and media arts. Light Bringers is targeted to the young adult audience, and is the first installment of three. It is told primarily from Ryan and Kalie’s viewpoints, with heavy romantic tension. While there are no vampires, faeries or demons in Light Bringers, I believe fans of Richelle Mead, Melissa Marr, and Cassandra Clare will enjoy my novel. The entire manuscript is available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
KDR

Well, I think you can see why I wanted to read more! There’s just a couple of things I might suggest. Besides the title, the first time you mention “Light Bringers” is in referring to the new one. You might want to consider letting Kalie’s gift be named first — something like “Best friends Ryan and Kalie work hard to keep Kalie’s rare healing power a secret, a power that marks her as a Light Bringer.” The second Light Bringer also isn’t just being brazen — she’s also clueless about her gifts, and that might be something you could mention, how between everything else that’s going on, Kalie also has to train this new Light Bringer in the proper use of her talent.

I’d also love to see more made of the romantic tension between Ryan and Kalie, rather than just having it relegated to the final paragraph. As for it being the first installment in a series of three, my advice is always to get the first book represented, then get into the details of a series with your agent. In other words, focus on just this one book for now.

Finally, I really like how you’ve brought in the comparisons to other YA titles — “While there are no vampires, faeries or demons in Light Bringers, I believe fans of Richelle Mead, Melissa Marr, and Cassandra Clare will enjoy my novel.” — but would use “may” instead of “will.”

My one remaining question is about the hook line. I liked it at first, but on further reflection I wonder if it makes more of the Light Bringers’ ability to kill than you want to focus on. It seems like the death comes more frequently because they’re Light Bringers, not because of something they DO as Light Bringers. Does that makes sense? Maybe you want something like “where having the ability to heal others is a doubled-edged sword, putting them in danger of death as easily as they cure life-threatening wounds.”

So now to my readers — looking at this fresh, how does it read to you? What would you change?

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