if it’s too difficult for grown-ups, write for children

Ask Daphne! About My Query XXVIII

red-cowboy-bootsThese are a pretty close approximation of the shoes I’ll be wearing tomorrow for Halloween. What are YOU going to be wearing? A free book from the kt literary library to anyone who can make a connection between their costume and a kt lit client or title! And I’m talking a real connection, too. Photo proof must be provided to win. In the meantime, let’s hit today’s About My Query, shall we? Before I post it, I should mention that Kimber also adds, “I especially would like to know if it sounds suitable for Young Adult or Paranormal Romance. Since I read across all genres, I often get confused by genre lines.” So please bear that question in mind as you read.

Dear Ms. Brilliant Agent,

I became acquainted with your agency while studying the blogs of several other agents and have learned much. Thank you! My Speculative Romance, SWEET, is complete at 70,000 words.

Cornered like an animal, Ophelia must discover her own power before the man {or ‘boy’ for YA} she loves, who would rescue her, becomes the monster she fears.

Ophelia longs to be free, free of Diabetes, free of her ex-boyfriend, free to live. She loves Adrian, but she loved Martin once too. She knows it’s only a matter of time before he succumbs to the same intoxication. It’s an alien virus which transforms them. For every infection, there’s a cure. If Martin has his way though, she will never achieve the freedom to find it.

Adrian came to town searching for his sister. He knew if he stuck close to The Sweet, the monsters who took her would reveal themselves. He didn’t know he’d fall in love. Now, he has a girlfriend to protect too and revenge might get in the way.


Ok, first off, Kimber, you’re close on the introduction to the agent with “I became acquainted with your agency while studying the blogs of several other agents and have learned much”, but it feels a little off to me. It could be read that you’ve learned a lot about other agents from their blogs, which I’m sure isn’t your intention. I think that’s a relatively easy fix, though — something like “While studying the blogs of several agents, I became acquainted with your agency and have learned much from your posts.” The thank you is a very nice touch to include.

Moving on, however, I find the description of the story really confusing and hard to follow. I get that you’re setting up some kind of Beauty and the Beast-esque story, but with a virus instead of a curse. And Ophelia needs to believe she’s strong enough on her own before she can accept help from the guy she loves, and help him in return. Is that close? And then there’s her brother, who’s looking for her, and ALSO falls in love.

There’s a lot going on in these short paragraphs. I feel like you need to take your time and maybe try writing it out in a much longer form. Write a full one-page description of the novel, then cut it in half, then down to a paragraph, then figure out what the one-line hook is.

There’s something really intriguing in a virus called “The Sweet” and a main character who’s a diabetic. Explore that a little more, instead of spending more time on the guys.

To answer your specific question, there’s nothing here that points towards adult or YA fiction. By defining your main character’s age, you could help a reading agent place this more easily. Otherwise, I would learn towards thinking this is adult. But I can’t pinpoint exactly why I’d guess that.

Finally, you also may want to say something about yourself — even if you have no writing credits to speak of, maybe you can add somethign about your influences, your education, or any nationwide memberships you belong to.

But what do you think, readers? Put down that fun size Snickers bar and add your two cents in the comments (if you didn’t give all your change away to Unicef, that is.)


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