Jun 14, 2010

QUERY- SPYRE

How could Alex Laxa have known that trying to ask out a pretty girl could land him in so much trouble? When Alex, a shy and uninspired waylei dealer pondering his unfulfilling job and uncertain future, has a chance encounter with a beautiful, young doctor and chases after her in a rare effort to ask her out, he had no idea that he'd be thrust on a harrowing journey across the Volero System that could ultimately decide the fate of billions.

Alex finds himself a witness to two men assaulting the beautiful doctor and instinctively rushes in to help. Moments later, both men lay dead while he and his new companion, Lara Warren, have become fugitives. Together they discover that in Lara's curious research of her father's past on the planet Spyre, she stumbled upon the name of a project called Shepherd. It's a name so secret that her employer, The Company, tries to mind-wipe both of them for learning of its existence, killing Lara's father in the process. Now they must run for their lives, clueless as to why the very knowledge of this project would be worth killing them for. SPYRE, a science fiction adventure, is complete at over 88,000 words.

I've always admired the way a good story not only sparks one's imagination and opens the door to a world of limitless possibilities, but allows the audience to experience the emotions of its characters. It's my dream to write a novel that does precisely that.

Thank you for your time and patience in reading about my work. May I send you the complete manuscript? I look forward to hearing from you.



Sincerely,

7 comments:

Dan Ritchie said...

This is ok...
There's an overuse of adjectives. Use more specific words and less adjectives...
I saw this on a website somewhere:

Bad
The big, white, spotted dog jumped on the long, red truck.
better
The dalmatian jumped on the fire truck.

Chop out some unneeded adjectives and the first paragraph will fly a lot faster, getting to the important stuff, like finding out this is a sci-fi novel.

I like the name of the project, shepherd. Would of course like to know more about it. Why is it worth mind wiping people.

Dan Ritchie said...

Oh, also, is that first paragraph starting with a rhetorical question?

Anonymous said...

"Both men lay dead" should be "both men lie dead".

Jenny said...

The opening paragraph is a good attention-getter. I think that the two sentences are somewhat redundant, though--deleting the first sentence and just starting with "When Alex Laxa, a shy and uninspired waylei dealer..." might make this stronger. (The mention of "waylei" is good, too--it suggests right away that this isn't our world.)

The second paragraph is also a good summary of what happens without being a then-this-happened rundown of the action. I don't think the third paragraph is necessary at all; the query is about your novel, not your dreams (even if they're writing-related).

The query is a little wordy, with some extra adjectives and clauses that clutter up the prose a little, but in general it flows very well. I'd like to know a bit more about what happens in the end--the first paragraph mentions that Alex's adventure "could ultimately decide the fate of billions," but the second paragraph stops at "they must run for their lives." How do we get from the second point to the first? I don't know that it's essential, but it might be nice.

Suzi McGowen said...

I like the previous suggestions.

I'd also cut out the line "May I send you the complete manuscript?"
and possibly "I look foward to hearing from you."

A simple "thank you for your time" and your contact information is all you really need at the close.

eliteaps said...

QUERY - SPYRE REVISION 1

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. I wish I'd found this site 4 months ago.

Some of you said that you'd like me to add more to the synopsis part of the query. I feel that "less is more" when it comes to a query's synopsis. That way, it garners more interest from prospective agents. I thought that going into more detail would be reserved for a full-paged synopsis. So I'm a little conflicted on that part of the query. However, I've added another paragraph (it's in italics) to see how that works.

I'm certainly open to more constructive criticism since I've sent out multiple versions of this query to over 50 agents and have received 27 rejections and only 1 request to see more pages. Thanks again for you help and let me know what you think:


There was no way for Alex Laxa to know that asking out a girl could land him in so much trouble. When Alex, a shy and uninspired waylei dealer, chases after a beautiful doctor to ask her out, he had no idea that he'd be thrust on a harrowing journey across the Volero System that could ultimately decide the fate of billions.

Alex finds himself a witness to two men assaulting the doctor and instinctively rushes in to help. Moments later, both men lie dead while he and his new companion, Lara Warren, have become fugitives. They discover that Lara stumbled upon the name of a project called Shepherd while researching her father's past. It's a name so secret that her employer, The Company, tries to mind-wipe both of them for learning of its existence. Now they must run for their lives, clueless as to why the very knowledge of this project would be worth killing them for.

Alex learns that Shepherd is a covert initiative to acquire the planet Spyre by annihilating its inhabitants. Only a select few are aware that this world holds the key to controlling the Volero System. Now he and his friends must save the Spyreans and prevent The Company from gaining indomitable power. SPYRE, a science fiction adventure, is complete at over 88,000 words.

Thank you for your time and patience in reading about my work. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Dan Ritchie said...

We've got more useful information. Now lets trim out what isn't needed.

I don't think the word "instinctively" is needed in the second paragraph.

"When Alex, a shy and uninspired waylei dealer, chases after a beautiful doctor to ask her out, he's (snip) thrust on a harrowing journey across the Volero System that could ultimately decide the fate of billions. "
snipped portion was redundant.

in fact, if you wanted to continue to trim redundant information, you could change "girl" in the first paragraph, to doctor, and eliminate references later down.

hmmm. let's see how this reads...


There was no way for Alex Laxa, an uninspired waylei dealer, to know that asking out a beautiful doctor could land him in so much trouble. When he does, he is thrust on a harrowing journey across the Volero System that could ultimately decide the fate of billions.

Well, if I did the math right, I think it went from 62 to 48 words and conveyed the same information.

Well, that's an idea.

Incidentally, is the 'billions' in question, the spirians, or everyone in the volero system?

I'm reminded today of the frustrations of government verses the people. People hate what governments do. They hate injustice. But so often, they throw up their hands. What can they do about it? I'm wondering if your hero comes up against these frustrations. Going up against a mega corporation is a big thing. Going up against a group set on genocide is a big thing. Sci fi is about big things, but usually comes down to the human perspective of those big things, otherwise it's spaceships blowing up in space (which I like too) but perhaps you could better convey the conflict in the new paragraph?

Incidentally, these friends of his haven't been mentioned before the new paragraph. Probably better to leave it out in that case.