Apr 7, 2009

Query Revision 2: HOUND IN BLOOD AND BLACK

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.

Dear Agent,

Kumari is a wrangler; a poacher and a gambler who catches zombies and fights them against one another as gladiators. All she wanted to do was live and die without becoming a monster. In a broken Earth populated by undead, slavers, drought and greed, this isn’t as easy as it sounds.

Kumari’s simple life changes from one of survival to something much more complicated when she wins a girl in a risky gamble – a child-slave desperate to find something to live for in the world Kumari has forsaken – and is forced to kill her closet friend when he is bitten by an undead. When running to a new city in hopes of escaping her pain causes more problems than it solves, Kumari faces the loss of the only thing worth living for when she is infected by a zombie bite: her humanity.

HOUND IN BLOOD AND BLACK, complete at approximately 100,000 words, is science fiction/horror. Kumari’s story explores a new kind of future where existing isn’t just about running from and killing zombies, but fighting them against each other in gladiatorial combat – the only way left for mankind to prove to themselves that they aren’t the real monsters.

In January 2009, my short story Savage was published in Monstrous: 20 Tales of Giant Creature Terror by Permuted Press. Recently, Savage was republished in the April 2009 issue of the Apex online magazine.

Thank you for your consideration,

E. Anderson
http://thescreamingguppy.blogspot.com/

8 comments:

storyqueen said...

Only one comment, and this is tiny....I think "All she wanted to do was to.....etc" should read "All she wants to do..." so that you are consistent with tense in the paragraph.

Otherwise.....I'm gonna say "Bingo!" I think you have written very clear, very intriguing query.

Good luck!

shelley

Davin Malasarn said...

The book sounds very interesting! I'd recommend reworking the first paragraph a bit. I'm not quite able to follow the logic between your first sentence and your second. Saying that Kumari is a wrangler does not explain the world in which your book takes place sufficiently to understand why she is afraid of becoming a monster. This is a cliched example, but maybe you should start with a structure similar to, "In a world where humans are constantly in danger of turning into monsters, Kumari works as a wrangler--a poacher and a gambler--trying to survive among the undead, slavers, drought and greed."

Mira said...

Hi Erin,

Great query, and very interesting story. I like the futuristic 'humanity trying to save humanity' theme. Very cool.

One change: I think you mean 'closest friend' not 'closet friend.' Or am I wrong?

The first, and third paragraph are great. Succinct, clear, compelling.

I might work on the second paragapah abit, though. For example, I might split the first sentence of the second paragraph into two. Those are both two important plot points, and you lose the second one by tagging it on the end. Also tighten abit. An example:

Kumari's simple life of survival changes when she wins a child-slave, who is desparate to....in a risky gamble. Forced to kill her closest friend when he is bitten....she and her slave run in hopes of escaping her pain. When she is trapped and bitten by a zombie herself, Kumari then faces the greatest loss of all: her humanity.

Or something like that.

You might add a short one to two line paragraph after that giving away the ending. I've heard agents like to know the whole story.


I think this is a great genre and a very great twist on a story.

Lots of wishes for luck!

Dominique said...

This is pretty good. You're basically right there.

Just a small issue. "When running to a new city in hopes of escaping her pain causes more problems than it solves, Kumari faces the loss of the only thing worth living for when she is infected by a zombie bite: her humanity." It seems to heavy on the subordinate clauses, which makes it clunky. Might I suggest something along the lines of, "Running to a new city in hopes of escaping her pain causes more problems than it solves. Kumari faces ..." rest of sentence. Making the first clause its own sentence makes things flow smoother.

scott g.f. bailey said...

I agree with Davin, that the second sentence doesn't quite follow the first. His suggestion (the cliche "in a world where...") is good; agents don't mind seeing that so don't be afraid of sounding like the voice-over for a film trailer. Or, something like:

"In a broken Earth populated by undead, slaver, drought and greed, Kumari is a wrangler: capturing zombies for gladiatorial combat."

I think you can take it as written that nobody wants to be bitten by a zombie, so maybe the "all she wants..." sentence isn't needed.

The bit about Heaven still seems just extraneous. What does Heaven's story have to do with Kumari's major conflict?

Maybe something like:

Dangerous world. Kumari is a wrangler. Constant threat of being zombiefied; Kumari even has to kill her best friend when he's bitten. Moves to new town, saddled with slave-girl she won in a bet. Gets bit. Oh, bitchcakes! Now what?

But, you know, written in beautiful actiony prose.

Still, what you've got is the best so far. I think it's all there, just not quite in the right order. Down to 5 sentences for the pitch is good! I also think this sounds like a cool premise, and if the writing is anything like your monster cat story, it's got to be great.

Jabez said...

Good story, good query. But a few suggestions, some of which echo others' comments.

Not only should "closet" be "closest," but the "her" that comes before is ambiguous -- are you referring to Kumari's closest friend, or the girl's? I assume Kumari, but it's not certain.

The last sentence of paragraph two should be broken up so that there aren't two "when"-based dependent clauses in the same sentence. Also, the ": her humanity" should immediately follow "the only thing worth living for," which is what it modifies, instead of "zombie bite," which it doesn't. So, I'd suggest something like, "Kumari runs to a new city to escape her pain, but finds only new problems. She is bitten by a zombie, and faces the loss of the only thing she still has that's worth living for: her humanity."

Finally, I don't understand why pitting zombies against each other in gladatorial games proves to mankind they aren't the real monsters. At first blush, that seems a bit monstrous to me, or at least very callous. I can see why post-apocalyptic people would want to do it, but I don't get why it's humanity-affirming. Maybe more explanation would help there.

The Screaming Guppy said...

Thanks everyone. All this feedback is great and really helpful. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello,

You've got a kick azz novel.
Might I suggest the title reflect that?
Since zombies are hot, hot, hot
why not put it in the title?

I'll come back with a list of title suggestions, but I love this!
There are a number of us zombie lovers out here.

After you revise what the others have pointed out, imho if your novel is edited and polished, I think on the strength of your sample pages you should be all set. A query will never be perfect, but I can hear the voice and love the premise.

You may want to check out www.agentquery.com if you already haven't to see a list of the agents who rep what you write.
My best you!

Agent XXX