Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Surprise Agent Invasion #43

Genre: YA Victorian Fantasy
Word Count: 77,000


Lividia Blackwell and her Boogeyman uncover Blackwell family secrets and battle a sinister Sandman to discover Lividia’s purpose and the truth about her mother’s death.

Lividia Blackwell is seventeen and the imaginary friend she had when she was little is real. She calls him her Boogeyman, and he has promised to protect her with his life and guide her into the legacy she’s inherited. Her mother may still be alive, but they’re running out of time. A Sandman from the world of dreams is tracking Lividia down. She must learn how to defeat the Sandman and unravel her mother’s secrets to save her family. Only then will she understand who she is and what she’s meant to do.

I have an MFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design, a BFA in Drawing from Shawnee State University, and many years of writing short and long stories. I decided to make this an illustrated novel because I’ve always admired the illustrations of Alice in Wonderland and wanted to create a similar story for an older audience. If you’re interested in this book, I will be glad to show you the pen and ink illustrations that go with it.

First 250:

Lividia lay awake, gazing at the ceiling past the posts of her bed, wondering what secrets her mother never told her. At seventeen, she had learned to live without her, learned to be a proper young lady, with proper goals and dreams. But there was always something there, an uncertainty that plagued upon her mind.

She pondered for hours, until the wick of her candle had burnt down, and the wax filled the dish. The shadows cast were long and gaping, engulfing most of the room, except for the halo of light around her side of the bed. Within that vast amount of shadow something stirred, but Lividia didn’t notice, for she had fallen asleep.

In her dream she was looking upon herself sleeping in her bed. Beside her bed was a figure just a little taller than she was, with charcoal hair and skin so pale that it was almost white. Only a face, and gray, fingerless gloves, but she could tell it was a man. He was dressed in a dark blue jacket with a high collar and loose bowtie. Shadows consumed the lower half of him, making it too obscure to see.

His face was hidden by the angle that she was watching from. But as she drew closer, she saw his hands were clasped. His hair fell to the collar of his jacket and was woven like a doll’s, separated into thick locks, fat and soft as yarn.


  1. This is quite a completely different type of story, and the sing-song voice would be ideal for reading aloud (couldn't you just hear this as an audio?). But I wasn't sure I was convinced of the voice for YA. The whole scene read too young for me to see it as young adult. Though it's taking quite a leap having seen only the query and a page, would this work for a younger audience? Is there a significant romance element between your main character and her not-so-imaginary friend that would cast it firmly in YA?

    I'd recommend being more descriptive in the query. I see too many that mention vague secrets and time running out. The market is very, very competitive. Make your query letter distinguish itself. You've got a start with the imaginary (NOT) friend and the Sandman. Then we learn her mother may not be dead. I want to learn more. Avoid the vague general statements that crop up in dozens of queries agents and editors see every week.

    I hope my comments make sense. If you want to be YA, I think the voice needs to be a bit older. If you're happy with the voice and the characters are really youngish, make it middle-grade. Good luck!

  2. I'm also going to say that this doesn't sound like it's going to work for YA. You'll either need to amp up the voice a little and take out the boogeyman or perhaps revise this to be a middle grade?