Ever wonder what happens when you meet with an agent? Two very generous people--Danielle Chiotti, agent, and Kayla King, writer--let us listen in on their consultation. In this episode, Danielle reacts to Kayla's page in the moment, asks for clarification, and comes up with solutions on the spot to make Kayla's page (even) stronger.
Want to see Danielle's LIVE first pages panel on May 14, 8:30pm EDT? Send your page and a question ahead for a chance of live feedback from Danielle, Jessica and Julie--or send it ahead and watch the digital replay on your phone, tablet or laptop. https://manuscriptacademy.com/danielle.
You can find Kayla at kaylakingbooks.com and on Twitter @KaylaMKing.
Here's Kayla's first page, shared here with the permission of the author:
Home existed on the map beneath the painted bee’s wings. Camryn memorized the design of her city as a distraction. The framed artwork used to calm her, but now she couldn’t contain her anxiety. She sat on the cool metal table with four pristine walls of the clinic around her. Waiting. All week she’d worried about what would happen next.
Once every year.
The past few days, Camryn counted those facts from one to three on her fingers. She hoped the practice would settle her nerves. The last time she searched trypanophobia, the results provided breathing exercises, and suggested focusing on a word or phrase to subdue her fear of the needle. She focused on three: the word, and occasionally, the number. Counting consumed her uncertainty most days.
But not today.
Everything gleamed like the tip of the needle within the white-walled room; too clean and perfect and permeated with the pungent smell of antiseptic.
“One. Two. Three. Two. One.” Those words were a whisper, but even in her head they sounded like Gram. The memory of the voice couldn’t soothe Camryn because it made her think of Gram before she’d gotten sick. It took a knock outside the door to silence the thought.
“Are we ready?” Dr. Rambert was supposed to administer the injection, but he smelled like spearmint. He corrupted her calm.
Camryn took three deep breaths, and offered a small smile, hoping to convince the doctor and her mom that she would be okay. “Please, Mom?” Camryn tried to keep her voice steady because the thought of the needle shook her. She focused on the painting of the honey bee, but remembered reading about how they died after stinging. The thought made her feel worse. She couldn’t remember why the painting was supposed to placate her nerves.
“This should feel like routine by now,” Dr. Rambert said.
“You need it.” Her mom always sounded so detached at the clinic, and right now, Camryn needed her to sound like a mom.
“But it’s real.” Camryn didn’t want to explain her trypanophobia again. Talking about the fear only made it worse.
Her mom moved to the side of the table. “This has always been nonsensical. I thought you’d outgrow it by now.”
Camryn’s reasoning was too real. The memory of Gram’s failed injection was real, too. She remembered the way a similar needle pierced Gram’s skin. The injection had atrophied the muscle to the point where she could no longer lift her arm to hold a book or a cup of tea.
“Please?” Camryn wasn’t sure anyone heard because she hadn’t taken in enough air to say the word. She couldn’t breathe. But she must have looked ready then because her mom sterilized her arm with a clear solution, making her eyes water. The smell stung inside her nose. She closed her eyes, and waited.