Son of a Pitch

Title: QUANTUM
Age and Genre: YA SF
Word Count: 65,000
Query:

Dear AGENT AMZING,

Seventeen-year-old student pilot, Willow Ryan, can be in two places at once, but she only gets to keep one set of memories.

While on a solo flight, she is instantly transported from Texas to Ireland where she meets a true gentleman—the stunning Irish local, Liam Tyl. During her visits, he tries to help her unravel the mystery of how she appears and disappears, but their time together is always short lived.

At home, she has no memory of Liam or her time in Ireland. There are chunks of time that she can’t account for—moments with her friends and family. Most importantly, time with her ailing Mom that can’t be replaced.

Liam reaches out to her through letters, and they discover that there may be two versions of Willow. Now she must learn how to navigate between her two realities without losing the new love in her life or her family back home.

QUANTUM, a stand-alone Young Adult science fiction romance with series potential, is complete at 65,000 words.

First 250 Words:

It was impossible not to be smiling on my way out to the plane. November-Eight-Niner-Zero-Romeo-Golf, sat there peacefully on the ramp, almost as if it had a personality all its own. The airplane looked ready to take to the skies. The wind was barely blowing, which was a bit of a rarity in west Texas this time of year, and the sky looked perfect. It was almost as if it was calling my name, and I couldn’t wait to get in the air.

I performed my preflight with practiced ease and ordered fuel. Once the fueling was done, I climbed into the small, four seater Cessna. Then I started up the engine, got my clearance to taxi and headed off the ramp on my long trek to the end of the runway.

A few minutes later, one final check before takeoff.  Flaps—Up, Trim—Set, Carburetor Heat—Cold, Mixture—Rich. Everything was set. I pushed the throttle all the way to full. After only a few seconds, the airplane lifted off the ground, and the magic of the air beneath its wings made my heart pump faster. The airplane flew with such little effort on my part. How did this hunk of metal actually fly? The physics of flight amazed me. I glanced from the instruments on the panel, to outside where I was merely feet off the ground. Ah—to be a bird, and be able to do this anytime. That would be incredible.

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7 thoughts on “Son of a Pitch

  1. You start with an interesting premise, but the rest of the query seems to contradict that premise. “she only gets to keep one set of memories” and yet later on you say she doesn’t remember Liam at all. On top of that, she has gaps in her own life. Doesn’t that contradict the on/off implications of the premise?

    In the end, I don’t understand what it’s all about. The conflict seems to boil down to “she must learn to navigate between her two realities” but that’s just words that don’t really MEAN much of anything. Does she go to a library to learn? Climb a mountaintop in India to find the right guru to guide her? What specifically does she have to do?

    As to the first 250, it’s well written, but it seems like you spend a little too much focus on the technical details, when I’d rather get to know your character and see the beginnings of a conflict.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I left a comment on the original post before realizing we were supposed to comment on the blogs. Your query is really great. It does everything a query should by introducing the world, character, and the stakes. Those stakes- phew. I was impressed how you so easily introduced these technical terms about flying. I didn’t get lost in the jargon because I was so caught up in how passionate the MC clearly is about flight. I can feel her anxiety. The one thing I hope you do within this scene is paint really good visuals. You could even go beyond sight. How does it feel up there? What are the smells? I want to be encapsulated by the world that this character so obviously loves.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You have a great premise with an audience of people who are young, enjoy or would like to travel, as well as young adults on the cusp of leaving home and finding the balance between family and security and adventure and adulthood. I also think Ireland has a strong following, particularly among fantasy and romance readers. You categorize yours as SF, but it definitely hints at romance too. In your query, I would mention a couple comparable titles so the agent knows where to place your book on the shelf.

    In your first 250, I can tell you either know a lot about flying planes or did your research well. It feels very real. I will say the jargon is a bit distracting because I didn’t automatically know that “November-Eight-Niner-Zero-Romeo-Golf” was the name of the plane. I needed to reread the sentence a couple times because the November part had me thinking you were giving me the date in a futuristic way. As a reader, and I’m not saying this is a good thing, I tend to skim jargon, dates, and technical things that I don’t think would be crucial for me to know to enjoy the story.

    Also, I know 250 words is very short, but even a hint of conflict would be worth adding. This line: “How did this hunk of metal actually fly? The physics of flight amazed me. I glanced from the instruments on the panel, to outside where I was merely feet off the ground.” set me up to expect a malfunction, or perhaps an indicator that she was about to teleport as you mentioned in the query, but then we were back to marveling at the beautiful day and joy of flying. I like your setup, but conflict would be very good right at the beginning. The lack of conflict and technical jargon may turn me away if I was reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I found the premise of your query really intriguing and concisely presented in the query. The query is easy to read and conveys the main thrust of your novel.

    I think the overall conflict of the main character could be made more strikingly. Will she be forced to choose between these two lives or risk losing her new love/family? I think that could really draw the reader into what the main character is facing and how important it really is.

    I was also a bit confused about only being able to hold onto one set of memories. Does she remember her new Irish love interest when he sends her letters and tries to sort through this time gaps? I’m sure you dive fully into this in the later pages, but it is hard to grasp from the query.

    The character’s love of flying is easy to grasp from your 1st 250 words! A bit more insight into her emotions and why she loves flying so much may reveal a bit more about who she is right from the start.

    Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Now this is one I want to read. As a cynical, jaded reader this happens about once a decade so you’re doing something right. (Now if only I was an agent/publisher…) The opening lines work well, They’re clear &intriguing enough to catch my attention without being forced.

    This paragraph could be a bit stronger.
    >At home, she has no memory of Liam or her time in Ireland. There are chunks of time that she can’t
    >account for—moments with her friends and family. Most importantly, time with her ailing Mom that
    >can’t be replaced.

    Maybe pull the bit about losing her memory of Liam/Ireland back to the previous paragraph, and keep this one focused on “at home”. Also thinking there could be a better “connecting phrase” for that last sentence. “Most importantly” is a phrase that tends to draw attention to itself, and removes some of the impact of the following words. (Of course, it might just be me that thinks that. I’d put “And” in there but I use too many fragments so that might not be a good suggestion.) Is her mum dying?

    >Liam reaches out to her through letters, and they discover that there may be two versions of Willow.

    Don’t think that actually adds something to the query. It seems like part of the solution and we want to focus on the problem! Also, it delays the moment of getting to your stakes.

    >Now she must learn how to navigate between her two realities without losing the new love in her life
    >or her family back home.

    So these are your stakes. Important sentence! Maybe run it onto the paragraph about “back home” so there’s no visual break between them, or maybe it’d be better on its own. either way, you might want to strengthen the words. “Now she needs to find a way–” “Can she navigate–” ? (Would it be better without the “new”. A new love is, well, new and you’re not that attached to them. The love of your life is a different matter!)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Roxanne, I love the title of your novel, since it deals with planes. For your query, bump the last line to the first line of the query for the hook. Try to mash your mini synopsis into 2 graphs and not 3 if you can. As for the 250 words, watch out for passive words like -ly words and use them sparingly. But it has a great hook for your opening graph. It’s very active with excellent descriptions. I agree with the others of adding more emotions from the lead MC. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

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