Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 10, 2019

February’s Agent of the Month – Dawn Frederick – First Page Results

Dawn Frederick: Owner of Red Sofa Literary

Red Sofa Literary

Dawn Michelle Frederick is the owner/literary agent of Red Sofa Literary, established in 2008. She brings a broad knowledge of the book business to the table, bringing multiple years of experience as a bookseller in independent, chain, and specialty stores; sales, marketing, and book development experience; previously a literary agent at Sebastian Literary Agency. She has a B.S. in Human Ecology, and a M.S. in Information Sciences. Dawn co-founded the MN Publishing Tweet Up, is the current President of the Twin Cities Advisory Council for MPR, and a teaching artist at Loft Literary. You can find her on Twitter at @redsofaliterary.

Dawn’s comments are in bold black and start with (DF:)

HERE ARE THE FOUR FIRST PAGE RESULTS FOR MARCH:

RED MOUNTAIN by Angela D’Ambrosio – YA

In a town where everyone wears wore camouflage, it was impossible to blend in. Grandfather Kemmai said us Kemmai’s we were meant to be outsiders, but. even Even for me, he took it too far. (DF: Is this in past or present tense? Choose a side and stay with it.)

A hot summer wind blew through my open window, and the sound of a murder of crows cut through the night. The air smelled like a storm–dry and charged with ozone. Even the rain didn’t want to be here—. (DF: delete period.) I missed Seattle. (DF: Text needs to be tightened up, no need to break down every detail, let the readers figure out things on their own too. “dry and charged ith ozone” def. hints at a storm.)

Two more days. , I reminded myself. Leaving Salubria couldn’t happen fast enough.

I leaned out the window just as a hawk dove into brambles, snatching at the ground. The distant horizon blazed orange, and I lost sight of the predator. Seconds later, the silhouette of wings floated on a thermal with a dangle of reptile (DF: Maybe say a small reptile) grasped in its talons.

“Score one for the good guys,” I said, smoothing the band-aid curling away from my palms. A dark stain bled through the taupe material. The popped blisters burned and stung with an exclamation point on the day.

Grandfather chuckled when I showed him the welts. (DF: Wow. This hints at something brty bad happening, but it also throws me off, as I’m not sure what year/genre you’re writing in for Red Mountain, yet.) He said, “Better your hands than your backside.”

I didn’t laugh.

Careful to avoid touching my wounds, I raked my hair out of my eyes, avoiding the ignoring the reflection in the mirror over the dresser. I didn’t know the girl in the mirror. She didn’t belong here surrounded by blue-flowered wallpaper and beyond these brittle ranch house walls, (DF: delete the comma after walls) in the wild terrain of rural Idaho.

I shoved my feet into plain black canvas sneakers and smoothed my vintage t-shirtee (DF: Hence why I’m not sure where and when this book is set. Not something you’d see in a historical novel where slavery, i.e. those welts, my have happened.) over my jeans. Not giving myself time to over-think, I swung open my bedroom door.

(DF: For this first page we’re not moving forward, it’s a little bumpy. She is literally looking at her wounds, avoiding her reflection and leaving her bedroom. This is a ver quiet opening. The story I assume starts moving a few pages later… of whicch that may be the best place to start. Also, I;m not sure where and when this book is set. Is it historical? Is it contemporary? Is it fantasy? I’m not sure here.)


 

SECOND CHANCES – A YA novel by Shelly Nosbisch 

It was only two days until they had to leave, and Rory was running out of options.

Fragments of Rory’s life were thrown out across her bed in an unenthusiastic attempt to pack. Several pairs of shorts, some sarcastic t-shirts, a dog-eared copy of Eleanor & Park, a red University of Nebraska duffel bag, plus half a package of Tootsie Rolls and her charm bracelet. Surely there was more to her than these bits and pieces.

Rory flopped into her butterfly chair. If only her mom would relax and let her stay with her best friend, Amalia, instead of making her go Phoenix for the next two months. (DF: No need to state how long just yet. You’re getting the book set and moving right now.) But all her mom could see was the humongous office and inflated paycheck she’d get with this promotion after she finished the Phoenix project. So what if Rory would miss two months of her senior year.  But Rory and Amalia had plans, and they didn’t include being thirteen hundred miles apart.

Her mom walked into her room without knocking, looked over the contents on the bed, and tightened her lips. “You’ve got to get serious about packing.”

Rory reluctantly got up and moved some of the items around on the bed and then tried one more time. “Studies show that it’s difficult for a high school student to make up lost classroom instruction with lousy home school videos. I don’t make this stuff up, Mom. Going to Phoenix could be dooming me to a dire future, like going to cosmetology school or something.”

Nothing wrong with being a cosmetologist, but her mom had law school in her sights for Rory. Nothing else would do.

Summary: (DF: This is a great first page, I’d def. read the 2nd page. There still needs to be some movement here, but at least we’re getting an idea that

1) Rory is leaving her comfort zone for two months.

2) She is not happy about it.

3) That it’s her senior year (which is clear she was looking forward to spending with Amalia).


 

Katie Engen        graphic novel for young readers

The Tooth Fairy Conference-Where brains + brawn extract a rot-minded foe & save the fairy economy. (DF: This is super cute, but atlas my big question is who the intended audience is. MG? Younger? Needs to be clear.)

SECTION ONE (4 panels/pages) Panel 1. Harried tooth fairy Gwyneth rushes into keynote.

GWYNETH (burst):  Plaque Man is back!

Panel 2. Packed room. Globally & physically diverse tooth fairies – 99% ignoring Gwyneth.

Panel 3. Gwyneth proffers from tooth pouch notes. In Plaque Man’s scrawl: For sweet dreams…EAT CANDY IN BED / Need more sleep? SKIP FLOSSING! (and many more). (DF: This is where it immediately get didactic.)

GWYNETH: He left these gross notes on every pillow of my tooth collection route last night. (DF: This feels awfully creepy. Not sure if that’s intended, but as a child who did believe in the tooth fairy, I would never sleep again (just being honest here.)

Panel 3’s inset. Flashback to Gwyneth on her tooth route discovering the notes last night.

Panel 4. Close-ups on Tooth Fairy 1 and Tooth Fairy 2; & young chanting group’s in marginalia

TOOTH FAIRY 1 (nervous):  Did she say Plaque Man?

TOOTH FAIRY 2:  That rotter’s been gone since before our great-grandfairies were wee sprites.

CHANT (small):  You better floss. You better brush. Or Plaque Man rots your teeth to mush. (DF: Once again this is leaning too heavily into the side of being didactic.)

SECTION TWO (4 panels/pages)

Panel 1. Crowd & Gwyneth unaware:  Plq Man in Grandma TF disguise. Readers may spot him.

Panel 2. Fairies grab, share, study the notes spilling from Gwyneth’s pouch.  But…

TOOTH FAIRY 3 (big/loud):  Hey, it’s just some gunky smear! (OP):  (DF: This is just an odd transition. It almost feels like you’re trying too hard to show the severity of Plaque Man.) This one, too! Same here!

Panel 3. All scowl at Gwyneth. (DF: Why would they scowl at her? It’s not her fault… I’d change that reaction ever so slightly.) She covers her badge (Tooth Fairy, 2nd Class), but glares back.

GWYNETH (loud):  Plaque Man must be gunking (DF: Just awarkward verbage to use.) up the notes, so you can’t read them.

OTHER TOOTH FAIRIES (mutter):  She’s crying wolf. Just a lying liar who lies…

Panel 4:  Mad + determined, Gwyneth flees down hallway. Signs show array of Sessions. Ex:

Tooth Health = Fairy Wealth w/Mr. Buck Touffe, Chief Enamalist, Floss Institute. (DF: The important thing to remember, which audience are you writing for? The parents or the kids? This is still leaning too didactic.)

GWYNETH (thought): Doubters doubt, but I’ve got options to probe for the truth!

[Up next:  Buck Touffe says, “Let me drill right to the point. Bad teeth rot our economy. —]


THANK YOU DAWN FOR SHARING YOUR TIME AND EXPERTISE WITH US THIS MONTH. YOUR CRITIQUES HELP EVERYONE.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


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