May 5, 2010

Query Me This...

I'd like to conduct a little exercise / experiment.  Deadline for submissions is Friday, May 28 at 10pm Eastern Time.  Please read on for details...

Send me a query and the first five pages for a novel based on this premise:
(I'll explain why in a second)

Our protagonist has found evidence that the government is being lured into war.  If the country engages in the conflict abroad, its military will not be able to deal with an imminent invasion by a rival nation.  The problem is that the source of the information is a double-agent, and our protagonist is being set up to cause the war he/she is trying to prevent.
I'm curious to see the following results:

- How good the queries are, and if it seems easier to write a good query than a good novel.  I bet we'll see some pretty good queries that don't have a manuscript to back them up.

- The sample pages should shed some light on our fears about a plot/concept being ripped off by another writer.  I think the sample pages will illustrate how different each writer's voice is, and even though all submissions are based on the same premise some will be much better than others. 

- How different each response is in terms of genre.  The premise is vague enough to be fantasy, mystery/thriller, crime, sci-fi, urban fantasy, steampunk, and even YA.  I know there are many talented storytellers out there, show us your chops!

Hopefully three-and-a-half weeks will be enough time for you to craft a submission. 

Email submissions to  

Each entry will have its own post, and posts will be up on Monday, May 31.  Comments and critiques for each post are encouraged, so long as they are polite and professional.

On Friday, June 4, after we have all had several days to read through the submissions, I will post a discussion thread.  

There are no prizes.  I can dig up the clip about "eternal consciousness" from Caddyshack if you feel the need for a fiscal reward for participating. 

QUERY/ A PLACE TO BE (revised)

Click here to read the original query.

I am seeking representation. My novel, A Place to Be, is a piece of literary fiction (95 271 words) that is both plot and character-driven.
Kamala Karthigesu is about to hang herself in Tranquil Asylum where she’s spent the last two years trying to come to terms with the betrayals of her past. Her childhood best friends, Lim Pei Lu and Rashid Mansur were meant to be her constant companions but when they fell in love, Kamala was forced to grapple with her own unrequited love for Rashid and the disintegration of their friendship. Two things happened as a result of her dejection: the start of her “symbol-making” on her arms and her departure from Malaysia for England to pursue her studies.
In England, facing a new and alienating environment, she has multiple affairs with men until she meets Vincent Garland, an artist she falls in love with, seeing him as Rashid’s replacement. After five years, he too betrays her and Kamala undergoes her first mental collapse which she later finds out drove her to perform an unspeakable act, resulting in her return to Malaysia. But Kamala has always been skilled at dodging the realities of her condition either through alcohol, “symbol-making” or downright denial. When she is saved from suicide by Nurse Fatimah who has been taking care of her at the asylum she is forced to face the realities of her past which becomes clear to her through Nurse Fatimah’s confession about her own secret as a murderer.
My poems have been published in several US and UK publications including “Agenda” Broadsheet and The Wolf magazine and my story “Redemption” was shortlisted for the Fish Publishing One-page Story Prize 2010.
Please let me know if you would be interested in reading part or all of A Place to Be.
Thanks for your time and I hope to hear from you soon.