What Agents Want: To Be Scared Sh*tless!

Querying Song of the Day: “Is it Scary?” by Michael Jackson

What Agents Want is a series in which we will research what trends/topics agents are looking for right now. We’ll give you information on the trend/topic and the agent that is looking for this specific type of project. The better to query with, my dears.
It’s the week of Halloween, and although the day has past, we are still trying to hold on to the spookiness of it all with today’s post. If you know me and Pam, you know we love us some scary stuff. At one point we had a goal of watching every scary movie ever created (but we had to draw the line after seeing a trailer for a movie about a killer Thanksgiving turkey). Anyway, we love all the scary things…and so do a lot of agents!
A number of literary agents and editors are searching for a great edge of your seat, scary as sh*t YA horror. And just in case you don’t truly know what makes a book fall under the horror category, or what agent is currently searching for said project, we’re here to help! SIDEBAR: We’re aware that more than one agent is looking for horror works, but we wanted to make this post as short as possible.
So, what the heck makes a novel fall in the horror genre?
The Bing Dictionary will tell you the following are the definitions of a horror story:
1. frightening fictional tale: a story that is intended to frighten people, usually by describing gruesome or supernatural events
2. report of horrifying experience: a true account of something very unpleasant or shocking
So, what does that mean in laymen terms? It means your story has to have something in it that makes people jump, bite their nails, or possibly gasp/scream while reading your work. That means your sensory words have to go into overtime. You have to describe what the villain is doing in vivid details– that way the reader can really see and hear the torture that your poor victims are enduring.
Also, horror stories either have a supernatural or paranormal element that instills fear (zombies, ghosts, demons etc.) OR a real life type of villain, a story that will make the reader wonder if this could really happen to them, i.e. serial killers.
Go here for some interesting horror writing tips (the site brags that it’s only for the “serious horror writer”, so it must be good).
What books can I read for research?
Finally, tell me about this awesome agent in need of being scared sh*tless!
The agent we speak of has been very vocal about her longing for a good YA horror novel. Victoria Marini of Gelfman Schneider Literary Agency makes it no secret that she wants to be scared and is looking for an awesome novel that will do just that. Victoria Marini began working as an associate agent with Gelfman Schneider in 2010 and is extremely excited about building her list of authors. She is on the lookout for ALL YA, but she loves dark, edgy, and mysterious novels. Also, she is looking for the “quadruple threat: voice, character, story, world-building”. To query Ms. Marini and learn more about what she is interested in, see her page on the Gelfman Schneider website and Querytracker.net through the links below.
For more information on Victoria Marini, check out the links below:
**DISCLAIMER** We are BY NO MEANS telling anyone to follow trends or to try and hurry to write novels based on these features. This is for people who have written, or have been thinking about writing, on the topic presented.
Were you thinking about writing a horror before reading this post? Or better yet, have you already started a WIP in this genre???
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3 thoughts on “What Agents Want: To Be Scared Sh*tless!

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