Posted by: Kathy Temean | June 28, 2019

Agent of the Month – Connor Eck – First Page Results

Here is Connor Eck, agent with Lucinda Literary – actively building an eclectic list in the children’s genre. As June’s AGENT OF THE MONTH, he has critiqued four first pages. You will find them further down.

CONNOR ECK – AGENT AT LUCINDA LITERARY:

Connor Eck represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction, picture books, memoir, business, sports, and narrative nonfiction. Connor looks for fresh voices, unforgettable characters, tightly constructed plot, and thematic storytelling. In nonfiction, he is drawn to powerful narratives that challenge the status quo or ask big questions, original thinkers, and authors with strong platforms.

A sample of books Connor has represented include: YOU BE MOMMY, a picture book in which a tuckered out mother asks her child to “be mommy” at bedtime, and the sequel YOU BE DADDY (Macmillan); BE STRAIGHT WITH ME, a young adult book-in-verse exploring how the author and her male gay best friend unexpectedly fell in love in college (Andrews McMeel); LIFE IS SHORT & SO AM I, the memoir of a little person’s improbable journey to, through, and beyond WWE (ECW Press).

Connor has a passion for writing, nurturing literary talent, and for bolstering the careers of his fellow writers. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Union College. To query Connor directly, email connor@lucindaliterary.com

Here is more about Lucinda Literary:

Lucinda Literary is one of very few hybrid literary, marketing, and lecture agencies for authors. We represent books across categories, but specialize in “ideas” or “big think” books that look to change the way people work, behave, and live. Most often, our clients come to us already well-known in their fields as original thinkers or voices—they are business leaders, scientists, or bring a strong media or online profile.

But sometimes, there is just a great title concept. Or a great story that requires a professional writer. We help develop books from the ground up.

Lucinda Literary selectively represents fiction. We primarily look for voice-driven, emotionally raw, and often unconventionally told novels for adults and young adults. In children’s books, we look for stories that transport us and break new ground, much in the way our adult books do.

Bringing a background in marketing, and publicity relationships to every project we represent, we are strategists and advocates not just for the books, but for the entire careers, of our authors. We do not take on a high volume of clients by design, which allows us to be hands-on, attentive, and editorially invested.

Lucinda Literary has worked with all of the major publishers and more, including:

  • PenguinRandomHouse
  • HarperCollins
  • Simon & Schuster
  • Hachette Book Group
  • Macmillan
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Hay House
  • McGraw-Hill
  • Scholastic
  • Amazon

Here are the four critiqued first pages. Connor’s comments are in red. Any added words are underlined and any tgext with a line through it has been deleted.


 

The Broken Reach by Ella Chalmers & Beth Doherty – YA Fantasy

The slim moon cast little (Little typically refers to size. Something along the lines of dim or narrow ray of light…) light. It made the limb, (Specifics—foot, hand?) at first, look like a sprout unfurling. (This simile could perhaps be simplified for the young reader. You could keep unfurling maybe, but sprout might be too obscure for kids.)

Gren knelt under the naked, heathen tree with roots that marred (Again maybe a simpler word?) (Not sure this is immediately recognizable for kids. Also, it’s not precisely clear that Gren is on top of the cliff.) the cliff face below. He’d taken his hoe to turn the earth. He wanted to plant the tomalven  seeds (Will a young reader be familiar or is this a fictional seed?) his sister had found, before the birds awoke.

Pressing his fingers into the dirt, Gren uncovered the remains of a miniature body. It was humanlike (How so? Critter and scaly skin are mentioned, so a reader might wonder what exactly about the body is human.), aside from the broad, buttery wings that broke through the skin between the shoulder blades. He turned the body over in his hands feeling the prickles of scaly skin, the shuttered eyelids that he was hesitant to peel back, and the curl of dark hair that wisped around his fingers like shadow. (Lovely description!)

A small click made Gren jerk his head around to look at his home. He knelt silently on the dirt, observing the odious (Too advanced?) quiet of the two-room cottage. The makeshift curtains hadn’t swayed from their position, and a waxen titch (?)  hadn’t been lit to ward off the night.

Far below the cliff he could hear the gentle slap of water against rock. The breeze sighed, and the tree creaked. But it didn’t click.

Gren set the winged creature onto the soil – its fingernails were smaller than the tomalven seeds scattered beside it. He knew if he brought the critter into the cottage it would be found within hours. No one could hide anything on the island. Not when the four of them, his family, were forever scrounging for food.

He wondered where it had come from, how far had it had travelled on such light, dust-mucked wings. (Wonderful description!)  But mostly, how it came to be buried in his garden.  – I deeply appreciate the tight grammar. The mood is visceral, the setting palpable, and the 1st page ends in high suspense. The reader will be compelled to flip the page. I do think word choice could reflect the  audience a bit more, as suggested in previous comments. A reader may also wish for an image of Gren’s character—is he a boy, old man, is he tall, stout? I think the writing and story show promise, should word choice be simplified.

“Gren?” hissed a voice.


 

“He’s My Brother.” by Meryl Brown Tobin – Middle Grade story – 15,410 words

“Come in!” booms Sister Maria’s big voice.

The small dark-haired boy standing outside of Sister Maria’s office pales (May be an unfamiliar verb to a MG reader.) . Taking a deep breath, he puts his head around the heavy wooden door. “You want to see me, Sister Maria?”

A big figure dressed in a long black flowing black robe with a dark black veil over her head looks (Is there a looking verb that can characterize her emotion?) at him through thick brown-rimmed glasses at him. “Come in, come in, Timothy. Don’t loiter, boy.”

I wish she wouldn’t yell like that, (italicized) Timmy thinks. To stop himself from putting his hands over his ears, he holds his arms straight by his sides. Forcing his trembling feet forward, he steps in front of Sister Maria’s big wooden desk. Stop, he silently cries silently to the butterflies flying around in his tummy. He stares at Sister Maria’s man-sized (You might err away from a gender comparison here.) hands as they shuffle several papers across her desk. His heart lifts. Maybe she’s going to tell me Kev’s coming home (Italicized). Butterflies flutter in all directions in his stomach.

Timmy He sneaks a look  at Sister Maria’s face. You look the same as you did three years ago, (italicized) when I first saw you here in your office three years ago, he thinks. But Kevin isn’t here to look after Timmy me this time. He blinks hard.

Tall (It was just a bit unclear that this was a flashback.) and fair like their mother, Kevin had been there in Sister Maria’s office on that first occasion.  then He had tipped his foot to touch Timmy’s, and the butterflies in Timmy’s stomach had stopped flying about.

With a nod at Kevin, Sister Maria had demanded, “How old are you?”

“Seven.”

“And you?”

“Five.” Timmy had wished his voice was strong and clear like his brother’s.

“Hmm, then you’re old enough to understand,” Sister Maria had said. “Your father won’t be coming to see you again––he died this morning.”

If Kevin hadn’t reached out an arm to grab him, Timmy would have dropped to the floor. Great suspense to end page one! A reader will want to turn the page.


 

NEVER ASK A SPACE ALIEN TO YOUR SLEEPOVER  By Holly Cross Vagley – Picture Book

NEVER ask a Space Alien to your Sleepover. Oh, no you already did.

Well, But if you do … Prepare Yyourself.

Space Aliens won’t bring flannel footie pajamas to your sleepover, s. She’ll wear silver spandex onesies that shimmer like lime Jell-o.  Onesies are for babies.  And nobody likes lime Jell-o?!

She can’t play dress up in Granny’s feathered hats, either Space Alien has (“Wear” might be a fun inaccuracy or you could go with “She has.”) She’ll wear  Antennas. Which are PERFECT for ring toss.  But NOT for playing dress up with Granny’s feathered hats she won’t like that. (Where picture book texts are judicious in word count & choice, this may be a detail left to the illustrator. Most often, it’s the fewer words, the better.)

And wWhatever you do, DON’T let Space Alien recharge her spaceship!  It’ll melt all the toasters in the WHOLE neighborhood.?! And i

If your microwave beeps and the garage door rolls up at the same time?  It’s because Space Alien opened a Doorway to Another Dimension.  DON’T go in there!

She’ll think your Granny’s old TV is her Aunt Vel-Ma from the planet Blazmost.  And feed it kitty litter.  Unless you turn on “The Price is Right” . (Reference might be too antiquated, which could be what you’re going for but this won’t resonate with kids. You may be better off making one up.)

And wWhen Space Alien feels homesick, she’ll and calls Blazmost on Granny’s cell phone,. You can forget about your data plan AND your allowance ALLOWANCE.  For.  Ever. (Fun start! Not having seen the rest, I would only suggest you be sure there is a perceptible story arc. That the narrative is more than a list of sleepover misadventures. How does the narrator (and/or Space Alien) evolve? The current market adores picture books with empowering resolutions.)


 

Working title: Where Does the Rain Go?  (What about BUG IN A BUBBLE?) by Eleanor A. Peterson WC 149  – Picture Book

Rain, rain, go away! (Publishers do prefer a small word count. I wonder though how many pages you envision for this book. 14 could be too brief. Picture books are typically 32 pages.)

The rain stopped,. Sherry she jumped into a puddle and out came a bubble.

Sherry was in trouble.

Trapped in a bubble, she went down a funnel.

The bubble raced into a stream, and with a loud POP (Because of the “POP” I’m curious whether Sherry is on an actual ride & slide or still in the stream?) , it floated atop.

She was on a ride, and to her surprise,  it went down a slide.

Floating farther away and into a bay.

Sherry could see she was heading towards the sea.

She cried out with glee when a whale came by and said, “Hi!”.

Dolphin came by and wondered why a tiny bug was sailing away, in a bubble.

She would surely get into trouble.

Dolphin pushed the bubble toward the beach that the little bug could surely reach.

The sun was hot, and Sherry heard a loud POP.

She closed her eyes, and to her surprise, she was back in her puddle full of bubbles. (The concept of a bug in a bubble is cute and fun. You may reconsider the rhyme scheme however, keeping to a steady pattern. Young readers appreciate consistency. Nice start!)


 

Thank you Connor, for sharing your time and expertise with us. This helps so many writers. Please let us know any of your future successes. I’ll be happy to share them with everyone.

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. Thanking Connor Eck for his valuable feedback. I love the title, Bug in a Bubble. I’ll revise and see what I come up with. 🙂

    Like


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