Monday, September 10, 2012

Pitch Polish #35


TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT:  Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh
GENRE: YA Historical Romance Fiction
WORD COUNT: 90,000

Query:

I couldn't let them take my sisters, not to that place, not to be a wife of the Pharaoh. So when the crazed Pharaoh Akhenaten, desperate for an heir, sent men to take a woman from among the Hebrews, I stepped in to preserve them from the cruel and perverted life of the palace.

I was given the Egyptian name Kiya after being degraded and humiliated by the Great Queen Nefertiti, and I found myself instantly thrust into the intrigues of the royal family as Pharaoh announces he was given a dream from his god, the Aten, that I will bear him his heir. But I'm afraid of my husband, he's deformed and emotionally unstable.

I find myself allies with the powerful and calculating Commander Horemheb who teaches me about palace life and spends day in and day out tutoring me. He drives me to the highest ranks among the wives, while Nefertiti and her father scheme to destroy me.

I struggle within the monotheistic city of Aten, while I yearn to live according to my own Hebrew customs, and with my feelings for the gentle Hebrew guard Malachi. But the more I am pushed upward by Horemheb, the more danger I finds myself in. I know I am Nefertiti's biggest threat, and when I find myself with child, Nefertiti's true cruelty and powers of manipulation are channeled against me. But the deadly game must be played carefully, and losses are sustained on both sides of the silent battle of wills and struggle for who will one day inherit the crown.

Based on actual people of the late eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty, KIYA: HOPE OF THE PHARAOH is a YA historical novel running at 90,000 words. It is the first of three books based on Naomi's life.

I am a first time author with a passion for writing, and have been writing stories for my own enjoyment since I was a tween. I am currently studying English at college, have self published one book, and have a blog where you can see my work.

Thank you for considering my work.

150 words -
I sprinted through the dusty, narrow streets. I could hear my two younger sisters hot on my trail, their footsteps sliding in the dirt as they took the corners, their hands occasionally slapping the mud brick walls for balance. I took a sharp turn and headed for the abandoned temple district.
I rounded a corner and came face to face with the grand gates to the Temple of Bast where I paused. It had been only a few years since we Hebrews had not been allowed into that part of Thebes. We were considered a lower race to the Egyptians, near slaves in status, and blasphemous for our belief in the one god, Elohim. But then, Amenhotep IV rose to power. It seemed like a normal succession at first, until suddenly he began worshiping the sun disk god, Aten, exclusively.
The Egyptians abandoned Thebes for his new city, and we were left behind.

6 comments:

JenfromtheBlock said...

Although this is anything but a form query, I like it. You've framed the story compellingly through your MC. If I were you, I'd bring out the Hunger Games parallel in the final paragraph. (She steps in to save her sisters, which gives the story a desirable twist.)A small typo: "The more I am pushed upward by Horemheb the more danger finds me--or the more danger I find myself in, but I'd use the first one, since the next sentence has similar wording, i.e, I find myself with child.)Maybe in the first 150, you could break up the sentences starting with I. It's hard in first-person, but the uniform sentence structure is far more effective in your query than in your story. All-in-all, a very nice job!

Jenna and Ashley said...

I agree with Jen. GREAT query. Tells such a good story, and I think even though it's not traditional in format, an agent would jump at the chance to represent that voice that's so apparent in there!

Consider deleting entire first sentence of "I am a first time author..." sentence. If you have no publishing credits, they assume that, and also, all of us have a passion for writing. They can get to know you when they pick you up as a client (which means they'll also find out you've been writing for a while. Let the writing speak for itself. Your description does tell the agent, I have practice writing and I'm good at it!). I would simply put "I have self-published one book titled _____. Thank you for considering my work."
They don't need to know your platform yet (your blog). Also, it doesn't matter that you're studying English in college...you could be in any profession. Good writing is good writing. Because the query is longer, you should spend less time on credentials anyway.

First 150-
Add a comma after Temple of Bast, before "where I paused." Love the detail of the sisters hands slapping the mud.
Maybe add some laughter at the beginning if they're running for fun. I seriously thought they were being chased and was thrown off when she paused for all that exposition/background info.

Good luck! This is awesome:)
-Jenna

Jenna and Ashley said...

I'm Pitch #28, if you have time to check out mine:)

Carrie-Anne said...

I know it has worked sometimes, but generally agents advise against writing fiction queries in the first person. Would it be possible to rewrite it in the third person while still having basically the same stakes and hooks?

I also write series books, but I've reached the point where I've realized it's generally not good practice to mention that a book is the first of a series, trilogy, etc. Once an agent offers representation, then you can say you've got other books in a series. I'd also leave out what you're studying at college and that you've been writing for so long. Generally, one should only put one's degree or field of study in the bio paragraph if it's relevant (like how my degree is in history).

I love your opening, though I agree about varying how you start sentences. I haven't written first-person fiction in ages, but I know it's a lot harder to do that well than third-person. I've heard that really good first-person fiction is such that the reader might not even realize what POV is it till several pages in.

Meghan Drummond said...

Query: Like others have said, you're making a risky play here. Using a non-traditional query could either intrique or put off an agent. Personally, I think you should change it to the third person. You also change tense periodically in your query.
I'd mention that your book has series potential, but I wouldn't list it as the first in a trilogy. It's hard to sell one book, harder to sell three at once.

First 150: Good stuff! There's a good balance of action and description, and i honestly care about why your character is running.

Anabel González said...

I really like your query, it has an amazing voice but as others said agents usually say to not use first person in queries. I think that you can keep the voice and change the person.
The plot is so interesting and good that it deserves all the opportunities.
Also as Jenna said I would not say I'm a first time writer.