Sep 21, 2009

QUERY: THE ACCIDENTAL ALIEN (1st revision)

Click here to read the original query.

When eighteen-year-old Toby Beckett chases his dog into Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, he discovers a Nikon with digital photos of a UFO crash and a giant woman. Skeptical and thrilled, he heads to a Union Station coffee bar to show the photos to Burke Kerrigan, a former AP photographer, who just laughs at them. Toby falls for Burke’s beautiful sister Kate when she joins their table. Suddenly they spot the giant in the crowd around the subway. Leaping up, they trail her across the city until she reveals herself to be inhuman and disappears inside Buchanan House, an upscale condominium next to Rock Creek Park. Burke argues that the giant is a carnival freak who faked the photos, but when they hike into the woods, they find the UFO behind a damaged camouflage force field. Disaster strikes when Burke steps in a light filled grid and can’t get out.

THE ACCIDENTAL ALIEN is a romantic, 86,000 word science fiction/fantasy novel about people as well as aliens. Toby, an amiable slacker who has never put himself on the line before, finds himself with impossible choices. After he discovers the alien is dangerous, he somehow has to find the words to warn his sister and her husband, who are about to move into Buchanan House. He finds himself falling in love with Kate and tries to help her rescue her brother, but she calls him a coward because he doesn’t want to risk their lives. While the alien adapts to the city with frightening consequences, Toby discovers who left the Nikon in the woods and finally stumbles upon the UFO’s unique purpose.

As for myself, I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the Cleveland Park neighborhood where the novel takes place. Right now I am working on a sequel. [Personalized agent information and enclosures].

Thank you for considering my submission.

Sincerely,


Author

4 comments:

Dominique said...

I feel a certain lack of coherency and action in the query. You give lots of set up but not a great deal of what happens as a result.

RCWriterGirl said...

I don't really see this as that different from the original query.

It still reads more like a listing of things that happene in the novel, without a real explanation of the heart of the novel. I don't get a sense of what's at stake. If Toby doesn't do X, Y will happen.

I think for your query to work, there needs to be a real sense of what is at stake. Toby finds a UFO. So what. There's no indication in your query that anything bad is going to happen as a result of this. there's nothing at stake. Doesn't sound like the world is going to come to an end. Sounds like it's your friendly UFO in Rock Creek PArk, hiding out so as not to disturb us Earth folk.

Unfortunately, that's kind of dull (even with romantic shenanigans). You've got to tell us a bit more of what's at stake. Is the alien going to eat all of Toby's loved ones if he can't figur out how to send it back to outerspace? Is the UFO going to destroy Washington, D.C., if Toby doesn't send it home? Will it somehow put up the roadblocks for Beech drive during the week to make rush hour traffic more crapola than it already is?

I just don't get a sense of that cohesive statement to help me know what's going on. I think your query would be much more effective if you got a cohesive sentence about what's at stake, and got it in early. Then, all your other examples of stuff from the novel (his trip to union station; his falling for kate; his sister and brother-in-law) could reinforce that statement.

Good luck.

TLH said...

I agree with RCWriterGirl and Dominique that it's still just a list of set-up more than anything. We need the very minimum background possible, and much more conflict.

However, I do want to say that I love the idea of a good sci-fi story in D.C. It's also where my story takes place and I am in love with the city!

Good luck to you!

~Tara

Sam said...

Thanks, everybody. i appreciate all the feedback. I will keep working at it.