Oct 27, 2009

Query Revision #2 - NO DARKER FATE

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

After a home intruder murdered his family, Lucas Fowler became obsessed with death. Germs, slippery steps, strangers, there are a million ways to die and he's determined to avoid them all. Even if it means boarding himself off from life.

When the image of a stranger arrives on his cell phone, Lucas thinks it's harmless, misdirected. But that night he feels changed. Suddenly fearless, able to outrun cars, punch holes in concrete, and shift into a blighted alternate reality, Lucas transforms into the thing he fears most--a killer. He tracks down and stabs to death the man in the picture.

Another picture comes, another murder. Lucas can't control his new abilities or stop the killings. Each time he learns a little more about what's happening to him. But to discover it all—the secret society of Scions, the rogue Scion controlling him, the super-powered undead he's creating with each murder, and the remedy to his own cowardice—he'll have to keep on killing. And he'll need to be fearless all on his own.

NO DARKER FATE, an urban fantasy, is 95,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Gina Logue said...

Wow! This query hooked me.

One nitpick items:
-“home” could be removed from the opening sentence

Great job. I loved it.

Rick Daley said...

Great improvement. I would write the first sentence in present tense.

I would also read something like this!

Victoria Dixon said...

Wow. This is NOT the sort of thing I'd typically read and I want to read it. I did want the paragraph with the list of what he's got to discover to have one item less (or one comma less). How about, the secret society of Scions and the rogue member controlling him,...
Otherwise, go get 'em!

John said...

Thanks, guys.

@Victoria, so perhaps if I removed "and the remedy to his cowardice" from that list? It is a bit list-ish.

@Gina, reduce it to "intruder"?

@Rick, that event is backstory but it's what roots his fear of death into something more than the usual fear we all have. Still put in present tense?


Victoria Dixon said...

Hi, John. I think you need "the remedy to his cowardice" because it implies the direction out of his predicament. I meant: To discover it all—the secret society of Scions and the identity of the rogue Scion controlling him, the super-powered undead he's creating with each murder, and the remedy to his own cowardice.... All I really did was put in an "and the identity of" and take out a comma. I realize that DOES make the sentence longer, but it feels like less of a list to me. Feel free to disagree. LOL
Is that better?

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Wow. I had read the original but haven't been back over. This is really tight and tells the storyline with clarity. Good rewrite!

Rick Daley said...

I would use present tense for consistency.

After a home intruder murders his family, Lucas Fowler becomes obsessed with death.

I think that will flow better with the rest of the query.

Donna Hole said...

I second Rick's opinion: everything should be in present tense. Gives it a consistent flow.

The introduction of the Scions is a bit abrupt. Maybe add something about them in "Each time he learns a little more about whats happening to him." The Scions feels like the antagonist, and to drop them in like that seems like the author is suddenly remembering them; an afterthought.

Also, and this may just be my view, but your main character is dealing with all this completely alone. He has no support system. I know: "And he'll need to be fearless all on his own."

But I'm not buying the totally solitary existence. Even Batman has Alfred; Iron Man has Pepper Pots; 007 has Q. No hero is ever completely alone and without some basic human contact to remind them what they are fighting for. It is the difference between a super hero and a villian (an arch nemisis).

Just a thought; because this is really a much better query. Hopefully it is not a graphic novel, because I don't read those, and I'm interested in reading this when it is published.


RCWriterGirl said...

I really liked the second two paragraphs. But, I thought the first paragraph was really disconnected. I'm not sure we need to know all the stuff about his family. One day a picture shows up on his cell phone and he is compelled to kill! Can't stop himself at all, no matter what he tries. And to get answers, he's got to keep killing! That's all I need to know.

There seemed to be a bit of a disconnect between the introduction of Lucas and what happens later. I think you could start with paragraph two, and delete the first. (You say the first paragraph is backstory in one of the comments. I agree. And as such, it's not needed in the query). Otherwise, wonderful query.

p.s. This is my first time seeing the query. I did not look at the previous versions, so my assessment is based on a fresh view.

John said...

Thanks for all the helpful comments!

After reading it without the first paragraph, I agree that in retrospect, the first 'graf doesn't seem to be connected and the query reads pretty well without it.

What I'm trying to do in that first part is make the reader care about Lucas before tossing him into the mix.

It also (hopefully) serves to root his characteristics in the context of other parts of the query.

"the thing he fears most--a killer"
"fearless all on his own"
"remedy to his own cowardice"

I also agree that the Scions don't get much mention in this query, but I've toyed with many, many versions that explained more and all were too wordy or read like laundry lists.

I'm still not satisfied with "boarding himself off from life". I'm thinking "hiding from the world."

Sound better?

Thanks again, everyone.