I have so many questions, but I’ll whittle them down to two. First, do you think I’m correct in describing this as literary fiction? Second, some agents I’m interested in querying require bios... but would admitting that I’m in high school lead them to dismiss my query or my writing? If so, could I just conveniently leave that bit out?Thank you!
First of all, this query is 498 words, so it's double the target word count. The first thing we need to do here is start trimming.
When you need to cut, look for set up and backstory.That's often the info you can leave out without any loss of clarity.
Anamaria huddles in her family’s barracks with her best friend Julio. Together, they listen to the sick pattern of gunshots and radicals’ bodies falling into the dust. The detainment center guards— the executioners— scare everyone, but she knows she’ll be safe if she does everything just right. Then her childhood ends.
At this point, I'm salivating.Anamaria is sent to Moonhaven Academy, where her name and identity are stripped away and replaced. There, she must bleach her skin and hide her accent until she can pass as the perfect white woman. And Anamaria, now Anna Clara, knows she is lucky. Had the Academy not accepted her, she would have become one of the women in red who supposedly cook and clean for white men.But everyone knows what they really do, behind closed doors.Or, rather, what’s done to them.She could still become one of them if she fails.
I am thinking of editors, I'm plotting submission strategies.
Anna escapes as her dream-self, Indigo, into a fantasy world where the rainforest teems with dragons. Not too long ago, her dream-planet was colonized by the humans who made Earth uninhabitable. They genetically warped the planet’s indigenous life into creatures designed to serve. Now, one revolution later, Indigo and her only friend Oak are stuck on opposite sides of an imminent war between two of the human-created tribes.
What just happened here?
We were all set for The Handmaid's Tale Redux and along come...dragons??
I've stopped salivating cause what you had was strong commercial fiction, and now I'm looking at fantasy.
Yea, but it's all a dream, right?Indigo must choose whether to betray Oak and live in safety with the tribe that took her in, or to leave the tribe and risk her life, alone, in the rainforest.
I'm pretty sure she's got a stronger reaction than heart ache here.Meanwhile, Anna is forced to either abandon her heritage for the illusion of whiteness, or let herself be given away to any man with a few dollars to spare. Her heart aches against both.
Ok, and?Three years later, Anna finds out she has been married to Julio, now Julian Taylor. He has changed beyond recognition.
are we done with the dragons?Ten years later, Anna must make her first autonomous choice.
What does Amalia do that makes her a genius?Anna’s former classmate, tiny genius Amalia, is the leader of an underground organization intended to smuggle women to safety until the law no longer threatens them. Now Amalia has only days to find her successor before she is executed for crimes including treason, blackmail, and loving another woman. She begs Anna to take on her duties when she’s gone. After all, her wife can’t stand the thought of replacing her, and Anna is the last person the police would ever suspect. She’s pale, unassuming, well-mannered (at least in public): the perfect facade.
Why is "tiny" something we need to know about her.
And honestly, I'm so confused here the only reason I'm still reading is that you had a GREAT opening, and I can see possibility.
What you're missing here is why she doesn't want to be a traitor to every woman on earth. You're assuming she doesn't. Watching a person struggle with choices, especially ones you might think are no-brainers creates tension, and tension boosts interest.If Anna accepts, she will surely die.If she refuses, she will be a traitor to every woman on Earth.
JADE AND INDIGO is just over 90,000 words of literary fiction, narrated primarily from the perspectives of Anna and Indigo.
I am a high school student with a deep love for surrealist art, the poems of Sappho, and musicals. I scavenge for time to write when I’m not juggling AP classes and horse shows— no flaming swords yet, but maybe someday. JADE AND INDIGO is my first novel.
Well, if this is literary fiction, how are we going to explain the dragons?
I'm not sure how large a part the dragon thing plays in the book, but you're better leaving it OUT of the query. It's utterly confusing.Thank you for your time and consideration!Sincerely,
You can have it in the book (without seeing the book I'm going to assume your reader will understand what's going on) and NOT have it in the query.
Or you can allude to it in the query with Anna escapes into a fantasy world (without going into specifics.)
You've got the start of something I'd read but I'm not sure I've ever seen this big a splat in such a short period of time.
Fortunately, it's all fixable.
I suggest you leave out your age. It's nobody's business how old you aren't.