Aug 23, 2010

Query - The End Begins (Revised)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Publisher,

The End Begins is a 120,000 word epic sci-fi/fantasy story that follows Raiana Tasis Draco, an outcast seeking her lost biological parents while she copes as the only sorceress among a sterile population during a time of war.
To private special interests, she offers herself as a mercenary to gain knowledge of her past and of the world around her.

Her latest assignment takes her to an abandoned fort; she’s assigned to protect the First Source of Sentient Free Will, which to the common man appear to be only an apple, which remains unclaimed by the invading forces of the C.U.T., the Collation of United Territories, as they close in on all sides and take control of all ‘alien’ power and technology that have come into this world; the most vital piece was the Gate Dimension Device, capable of creating wormholes to travel not only the stars, but possibly to parallel worlds.

But the presence of a young, lost, lonely traveler from another world, who appeared without use of the device, forces the C.U.T.’ to go after the coveted fruit, taking down anyone in their path, hellbent on victory.

Against an army, Rai must navigate the dangerous territory with Kale Kaortan, a retired soldier of valor, as he guides them through the country he strove to protect, aided by pockets of residential resistance; racing against the C.U.T. to stop them from their ultimate conquest.

But what are her chances against odds so great?


Stephanie Lorée said...

Hey, glad to see an update to this query. This round is much better than the last. Great improvements!

There's still some problems with excess fluff. Here's my criticisms:

1) Call her a single name throughout the whole query. "Rai" will do just fine. I don't need to know her full, given name.

2) The second paragraph is 1 huge sentence. Shorten, break it up, and fix the errors in grammer, such as using "which" twice. Check verb tense, example: "appear" should be "appears."

3) Drop any excess fluff that is not essential to the storyline. Do I need to know about the Gate Dimension Device? It didn't really seem important. The MacGuffin appears to be this apple.

4) Cut excess adverbs/adjectives. Example: young, lost, lonely traveler. Could we call him orphaned? Find one word to precisely describe rather than 3.

5) There are too many characters still. There's Rai, the CUT group, the mysterious "young, lost, lonely traveler," and Kale. You have to break it down to 1 character, 2 max.

6) Drop the question at the end and simply say, "Thank you for your consideration."

Query writing is hard. You're forced to distill 120,000 words into 250 and do so in a way that intrigues the reader. You need to focus and pare down. Even if your story has 50 subplots and 100 characters, focus on the MAIN character/conflict.

This is much better than before. Rai sounds way more interesting to me. A mercenary/orphan/soceress lost in a dystopian world... That's cool. I think you'll be surprised how good this will sound once you cut the fluff.

Best of luck!

Scribbler to Scribe

Bethany said...

I'm with Mesmerix -- you could definitely cut the Gate Dimension Device. It's not like anyone mentioned in the query uses it; even the traveler shows up without it. Plus, it's not exactly an exciting new idea in SF, so I don't see what it adds to the query.

You could use the space then freed up to explain what connection the traveler has to the apple thing and why his/her presence causes such a reaction.

MitMoi said...

Indeed, better.

Here's where I got tripped up. ...lost biological parents while she copes as the only sorceress among a sterile population during a time of war.

First, why is it important to say biological parents. That's most common. If they were adoptive parents, then that would be worth calling out.

Secondly - I don't see what being the only sorceress has to do with a sterile population. It seems to imply she is a sorceress because she can procreate. If that's the case, then say so. But I'm not sure why that's important to the story.

I second Mesmerix about breaking up the second paragraph. You don't want your reading going back and parsing it. And an agent is just going to stop reading.

It's clear you can work with editing advice. So that's a plus. Let's see how far you can go in the next round! Good luck.

Zee Lemke said...

Agreed agreed, much better. An easy clean-up style thing: you've got a Yoda going on here. Put your phrases in their natural order when you make sentences. Displacing them is grammatically legal, but gives a reader one more way to get lost.

Unknown said...

Thanks all. I hoped there was nowhere to go but up from that first draft ;)

I agree with you guys on all point, though I'll admit I intentionally tried to work in there with multiple characters, but I agree that paring down is still in order.

That second paragraph is a killer too.

To MitMoi: I think you might have taken sterile too literally. I should have stated she lived among normal humans instead; I can see how the sentence might be misleading. I'll try to express this different in the next draft.