Nov 20, 2010

Query- The Crucible of Silver (sixth revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.
Click here to read the second revision.
Click here to read the third revision.
Click here to read the fourth revision.
Click here to read the fifth revision.

Click here to read the synopsis. 

Squirrels plant the trees, live by them, and may ultimately destroy them, but even Silver Squirrel is amazed by what their leaders are up to when they burn down his home.

The Crucible of Silver is a Y/A anthropomorphic novel completed at 70,000 words.

Nobody cares if Silver Squirrel lives or dies, but he's got a heart, and a broken one at that.

He's lost everything. Now he has to join the squirrel community in their chaotic dance of behavior, if he wants to survive.

A hawk has her eye on him, and some hungry ermine are on the hunt as well. Things would be terribly bleak if it wasn't for his friends the crows who make their own special kind of chaos, and of course Sandy Brown, a female he's taken a liking to.

Sandy's mother is one of the squirrel leaders, the very ones who orchestrated this "controlled" burn, so things are pretty complicated.

Having a girlfriend can get a little hairy too. She's just like her mother, smart and in control, though she dreams at night of prowling weasel skeletons.

Silver won't give up. He's determined to forgive the ones who hurt him so badly, save them from the predators, and maybe just win Sandy as his own. His plan is doomed to disaster, but that's the way his life is. The hawk plans on teaching her mate a lesson, and Silver is the pawn in the game. Yet, Silver has faith that good can somehow come out of all this disaster.


Anonymous Author said...

Okay. That opening sentence is much better; it tells us what's going on.

The second sentence needs to go at the end, and I'd lose the word "anthropomorphic". It's got a negative connotation, and it's unnecessary.

The "Nobody cares..." line isn't really working either. The problem is that this sentence, and several of your other sentences, provide generalities without specifics. You need to be precise. Why is his heart broken? What special kind of chaos? What plan? (You may think it's obvious, but it's not.)

Before you revise to answer those questions, I have another one: what's the single, central focus of the story? This is from QueryShark's latest column:

What does the protagonist want?
What's keeping him from getting it?
What choice/decision does he face?
What terrible thing will happen if he chooses A; what terrible thing will happen if he doesn't.

Here's another form of the same thing:
The main character must decide whether to ________. If s/he decides to do (this), the consequences/outcome/peril s/he faces are______. If s/he decides NOT to do this: the consequences/outcome/peril s/he faces are________.

You might try, for your own benefit, summing the story up in one sentence, under 20 words. That will show you the focus and/or where you need to rewrite.

Rick Daley said...

I second the advice to sum up the story in one sentence. It enables you to shed sub-plots and secondary characters and find the true heart of the story. Then, when you have the story's essence, build up from there to 250-350 words.

Many times we take a longer synopses and try to pare it down, but cutting away in that manner it's next to impossible to keep from having loose threads.

I've had times when I tried to do this and couldn't, and finally sidcovered the real issue was not the query per se, but the manuscript. That's still a WIP in revision stage, although I've written two other books in addition to that one. Someday I'll finish it...