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RECODED (Adult Social Scifi)

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#1 ryankalford

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 03:00 AM

NEW REVISION IN POST #101!

 

Hey everyone!

 

I'm a new member here seeking feedback on my query (obviously!). I've been going through the QueryShark archives, and had planned on critiquing here and a couple other forums before posting my own, but I've decided to take a class on querying from Litreactor.com that starts on the 21st, so my schedule is a bit more crammed than I originally intended. Which means I'll be pulling double-duty with revising and critiquing. Anyways, without further ado, here's the current draft I have to offer.

 

#

 

Dani Redfield only desired one thing—to see the Earth—not become the first Xanos child at Gifted Gen to get sick.

 

Isolated in captivity with her parents arrested, everything was lost. That is, until the benevolent hand of the enigmatic Archer Drago saved them. Offering restitution through a new home, school, and personal escort, Drago grants Dani’s heart’s greatest desire: free reign to explore among the space colony’s Lan Chou distract—her first true slice of Earth.

 

But, as she quickly learns, nothing comes without its price. Alienated from her peers, along with a budding tension between her and her parents, Dani struggles to come to grips with the hard truth of her reality. Of who and what she is. More importantly, Drago’s stake in her.

 

For Dani is the first of mankind to survive a mutated genome; a genome which holds the power to revolutionize the corrupted Sky United Society under Drago’s vision. But, can she trust his ambitions for their good intent? Or is a more sinister plot lurking within his aspirations that threaten the lives of those she loves most?    

 

Only one thing is certain. Nothing can ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.

 

Recoded Volume 1: Alan and Rachael is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

--Ryan K Alford


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#2 Dottie D.

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 09:57 AM

If this is a story for MG or YA, you need to put her age right up front.

 

Dani Redfield only desired one thing—to see the Earth—not become the first Xanos child at Gifted Gen to get sick. that's two things. she wants this, and she doesn't want that.  and it really isn't clear what's going on because i don't know what Xanos is, or Gifted Glen. In a query, it is often better to use what things are rather than their names. too many names (people, places, things) becomes character soup and is hard for the agent to follow.

 

Isolated in captivity with her parents arrested, everything was lost. your first sentence was too detailed and this one is too vague. why is she in captivity, why are her parents arrested, and "everything" tells me nothing of what was lost.  That is, until the benevolent hand of the enigmatic Archer Drago saved them. here's another name already. too many adjectives that tell me nothing. saved them from what? and why is this in Drago's POV? who is the MC here? Offering restitution through a new home, school, and personal escort, Drago grants Dani’s heart’s greatest desire: again, this is in Drago's POV.  we need to see things from Dani's POV.  how does she feel about it?  what does it mean to her?  free reign to explore among the space colony’s Lan Chou another name distract—her first true slice of Earth.

 

But, as she quickly learns, nothing comes without its price. Alienated from her peers, along with a budding tension between her and her parents, i thought they were arrested. struggles to come to grips with the hard truth of her reality. Of who and what she is. too vague. this is where you need details of what is going on. More importantly, Drago’s stake in her. which is what?

 

For Dani is the first of mankind to survive a mutated genome; a genome which holds the power to revolutionize the corrupted Sky United Society another name under Drago’s vision. But, can she trust his ambitions for their good intent? Or is a more sinister plot lurking within his aspirations that threaten the lives of those she loves most?    no questions. QS especially harps on this.

 

Only one thing is certain. Nothing can ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.

 

Recoded Volume 1: Alan and Rachael is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel. this is pushing high word count for a first novel but may be within the realm for sci-fi. not my area so i'm not sure.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration

 

sign with something, Best wishes, sincerely, something. this is a business letter.

 

--Ryan K Alford

 

right now, i really have no idea what is going on. and i'm not sure who the mc is. Dani or Drago.  there are too many names. i applaud you for being brave enough to submit, so don't give up.  this is a process and can feel brutal, but in the end, you'll have a great query.



#3 ellfire

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 11:14 AM

Hi, Ryan.  Welcome aboard!  (I seem to be saying that a lot for only having been here a  few days now.)  At the moment, your query is fairly confusing, as Dottie said.  I really don't know what's going on.  It's tricky when you have world built something new and need to pull people in quickly in a query.  (Ex. I am working on something with parallel universes which, in the book, are all called paralleliverses.  I found that, when I tested queries and synopsis which used that terminology, it was confusing, so I had to go back to good old parallel universe.  And that is only one word.)  

 

Perhaps try another go looking at the core, and then layering the scifi elements on top.  Ex.  The one bit I focused on was that your MC has a genome that no one else has.  Okay, that is a concrete something that I can latch on to.  If your story is about Drago basically wooing this girl to use her genome, use that as your main point.  People can relate to that kind of issue even if its cause is fantastical.  Also, your word count is a bit high.  In doing research for my own (and I haven't gotten any concrete answers to this) scifi manuscripts can go from 100k-115k but that is on the high end.  Mine started out at 128k so I had to trim it down to 111.5k with more probably coming.

 

This is a good starting point.  Keep it up!



#4 ryankalford

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Posted 09 July 2014 - 01:46 PM

Thank you so much Dottie D and elifire! It's clear i needed to be eviscerated as such, I've been writing over a decade, but a query might as well be an alien language to me. I was doubting whether I wasn't being specific enough or not, but given my lack of experience, even with trying to keep QueryShark's principals in mind, it's pretty damn hard to condense the story down into a 250 tease. However, I feel better about taking on the challenge given now I have some direction as in how to re-steer this thing into hopefully greener pastures. So, thanks again for the feedback.:)

 

To clarify a couple things real quick, this is an adult book. Dani is my main character (she's five), with Drago the main antagonist, But her parents also share significant POV's in the story. But, considering QueryShark's advice on keeping things simple, I tried to keep the focus down to just Dani and Drago, since that's the core of everything.

 

As far as the wordcount, 120,000 k in Scifi is generally safe from what I know, or at least the max in theory. I'm not too concerned about that right now though as I've yet to open the book up to beta readers (something I will be doing soon). So, it's not ingrained in stone at this point. And besides that, the earliest I might query anyway would be January, or next Fall. That will depend on beta feedback, and a couple other external factors. But, having finished the second draft a couple weeks ago, I figured it'd be a nice time to try to get this whole query-business down solid rather than waiting till it's one of the last things left sitting on my plate.

 

So, off i go to tear the guts out my query, and try to forge something closer to the mark.

 

Thanks.


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#5 ryankalford

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 11:00 AM

Hey guys!

 

Okay, so I'm back sooner than I expected, but I suppose I secretly love getting my ass handed to me. ^_^ Joking aside, taking in Dottie's and elifire's advice (character POV, voice, and focus), I've ended up with something quite radically different (still following the same basic path, I suppose) than the first version, so I've decided to share now to see how it fares in case I'm in need of yet another "back-to-the-drawing-board" approach. If it's a complete fuck up like the first version, then I suppose that's okay, but completely fucking up and getting chewed out for it is exactly how I learned how to write in the first place, so I'm as hardened as they come when it comes to this stuff. :)

 

Here it goes . . . 

 

#

 

Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents.

 

She wasn’t supposed to be sick.

 

Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill the man responsible.

 

But, before she can act, she is released from captivity by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth.

 

She almost calls him Uncle for that.

 

However, her escort is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, and that she shouldn’t trust them. Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice—to unravel the truth. Either she trust Drago and continue being his pawn, or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  

 

Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.  

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#6 djonahayes

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 12:17 PM

Hey guys!

 

Okay, so I'm back sooner than I expected, but I suppose I secretly love getting my ass handed to me. ^_^ Joking aside, taking in Dottie's and elifire's advice (character POV, voice, and focus), I've ended up with something quite radically different (still following the same basic path, I suppose) than the first version, so I've decided to share now to see how it fares in case I'm in need of yet another "back-to-the-drawing-board" approach. If it's a complete fuck up like the first version, then I suppose that's okay, but completely fucking up and getting chewed out for it is exactly how I learned how to write in the first place, so I'm as hardened as they come when it comes to this stuff. :)

 

Here it goes . . . 

 

#

 

Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents. (For me, this doesn't catch my attention as a hook should)

 

She wasn’t supposed to be sick. ​(This is more interesting than the above lines).

 

Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing:  kill the man responsible.

 

But, before she can act, she is released from captivity by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth.

 

She almost calls him Uncle for that. ​(seems to be part of the narrative, and may not work completely in a query).

 

However, her escort is no ordinary aide (who is the aide, Archer Drago?). She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, and that she shouldn’t trust them (a run-on, or needs to be continuing thought of previous sentence).  Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice—to unravel the truth (I think this should be your hook!!!!!, this would keep me reading) Either she trust Drago and continue being his pawn, or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  

 

Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.  This blue bit, read somewhat confusing, reword to tighten the writing.

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford

I think you have great bones, but the query seems to ramble a bit.  Focus and tighten the writing.  Good start!



#7 jsfrog

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 02:45 PM

Thanks for reading mine. :)

 

Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents.
 

Hmm… not loving the hook… it is a bit vague.

 

She wasn’t supposed to be sick.

 

 But this line is pretty strong. :)

 

Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.
 
Kill the man responsible.

 

And his one. But who is the ”man responsible?” I thought she was sick.

 

But, before she can act, she is released from captivity (captivity? She was in prison? I thought she was in isolation because of her illness) by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth.

 

I like these new details, but it a little jarring. I didn’t know we were in space/the future. Is there a way to give us a sense of that earlier?

 

She almost calls him Uncle for that.

 

Okay, now I am less impressed. You may be overdoing the one line paragraphs.

 

However, her escort is no ordinary aide (okay, so I kind of glossed over the reference to the escort before, so I initially thought her “uncle changed genders on me). She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, and that she shouldn’t trust them. (I would cut both of the “that”-s here) Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.
 
It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

Whose? Dani’s? I thought the voice wanted her to kill the man. And again, if you do the one line paragraphs too much, it ruins the affect.

 

Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice—to unravel the truth. Either she (I want you to cut all this) trust Drago and continue being his pawn, or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  

 

She’s 5? That kind of comes out of nowhere.

 

Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.  
I’m not sure what this last part means.

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
 
--Ryan K Alford

 

Hm… I LOVE the ideas, but I think you may be trying too hard to give it an interesting style. It became a bit confusing. Maybe you could just focus on one plot line to tell us and use these stylistic things a bit more sparingly. I think you have some great potential here though. Good luck!
 

:)
 



#8 BCVail

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Posted 11 July 2014 - 07:40 PM

Hey guys!

 

Okay, so I'm back sooner than I expected, but I suppose I secretly love getting my ass handed to me. ^_^ Joking aside, taking in Dottie's and elifire's advice (character POV, voice, and focus), I've ended up with something quite radically different (still following the same basic path, I suppose) than the first version, so I've decided to share now to see how it fares in case I'm in need of yet another "back-to-the-drawing-board" approach. If it's a complete fuck up like the first version, then I suppose that's okay, but completely fucking up and getting chewed out for it is exactly how I learned how to write in the first place, so I'm as hardened as they come when it comes to this stuff. :)

 

I love the attitude :)

 

Here it goes . . . 

 

#

 

Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents. (I like the first line of your hook. The second line seems too vague. I can't tell if she is dreaming of something is watching her (and if so then whats the big deal) or was something actually watching her (and if so just what unexpected danger does it present))

 

She wasn’t supposed to be sick.

 

Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing. (This seems like it could potentially be the framework for a hook, the voice is interesting and unexpected.)

 

Kill the man responsible. (I'm intrigued.)

 

But, before she can act (how would she act on a voice she heard?), she is released from captivity (i thought she was in recovery?) by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago (Where are her parents?). He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth. (holy crap were in space, this kinda threw me off. Maybe introduce this tidbit earlier?)

 

She almost calls him Uncle for that. (I like this thought.)

 

However, her escort is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, and that she shouldn’t trust them. Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter. (not sure what this mean)

 

Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice (the eyes and voice are hers?)—to unravel the truth. Either she trust Drago and continue being his pawn (this seems odd, if she knows she is his pawn than wouldn't she know not to trust him... the pawns are always the first to die. maybe she is confused about whether he has her best interests in mind?), or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  (She's only five? this seems like some pretty high cognitive ability for a 5 year old.)

 

Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes. (not sure what happened to her genes

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford

 

I think you have the workings for a good query here, along with an interesting story, but it needs some shaping up. Keep with it and you'll nail it.

 

If you get a chance, an extra pair of eyes for my query would be appreciated. DARKHEART (YA fantasy)



#9 ryankalford

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 07:55 AM

Thanks a million to djonahayes, jsfrog, and BCVail!

 

Judging by each of your comments, it's clear I've fucked up in communicating several aspects of the story/concept (losing a bit of clarity even in compared to the 2nd draft I posted before). But I assume that's most likely why my instincts told me it was time to share again, so I could have an idea of what is actually being communicated clearly or not. Still wading through murkey waters I suppose, but I feel I've got a better idea of how to get going again thanks to each of your wonderful comments and suggestions. I would elaborate on some of the concepts . . . but I don't want to destroy your distance from only knowing what's in the query, so I'll keep my lips mum (for now). The only thing I'll say is that yes, BCVail, Dani does have a pretty high-cognitive ability for a five-year-old, but it's certainly not an oversight on my part. :)

 

But, despite the suck of the query, I'm glad to see the concepts/characters are appealing even at a bare glance. To be honest, I was always dreading the time it'd come to writing a query. I mean, every writer hates the query, I imagine, but I knew this one was going to be a real bitch. (Would you believe this is only half the original story I wanted to tell?). But, I wanted to be ambitous, so here we are. At least, with all your awesome comments, I think I may actually find the light at the end of the tunnel.

 

I hope to have another draft by Monday.. So till then, thanks yet again, guys. Your comments are invaluable, and will not fall on deaf ears!    


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#10 Harper

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 11:41 AM

Hey guys!

 

Okay, so I'm back sooner than I expected, but I suppose I secretly love getting my ass handed to me. ^_^ Joking aside, taking in Dottie's and elifire's advice (character POV, voice, and focus), I've ended up with something quite radically different (still following the same basic path, I suppose) than the first version, so I've decided to share now to see how it fares in case I'm in need of yet another "back-to-the-drawing-board" approach. If it's a complete fuck up like the first version, then I suppose that's okay, but completely fucking up and getting chewed out for it is exactly how I learned how to write in the first place, so I'm as hardened as they come when it comes to this stuff. :)

 

Here it goes . . . 

 

#

 

Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents.  I like the first line, but the rest mostly confused me.

 

She wasn’t supposed to be sick. Good

 

Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill the man responsible. Responsible for what?  Being thrown in isolation or getting sick?

 

But, before she can act, she is released from captivity by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth.  I like that she's in space, but it's jarring to just realize it...especially since she was dreaming of beaches.

 

She almost calls him Uncle for that.

 

However, her escort is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, and that she shouldn’t trust them. Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.  You give a name for her parents employer but not the aide and that makes it a bit confusing. Is the voice only in her dreams or when she's awake?  When she heard it on the first day of her recovery it sounded like she was awake.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter. 

 

Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice—to unravel the truth. Either she trust Drago and continue being his pawn, or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  The grey eyes, the voice, dreams, sickness, bone matter, genes--it's a little too much when it's so vague and then it just leaves me confused.  That said, all those things probably add up to an exciting story--I look forward to reading your next draft!

 

Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.  

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford



#11 S.H. Marr

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 12:54 PM

Hey guys!

 

Okay, so I'm back sooner than I expected, but I suppose I secretly love getting my ass handed to me. ^_^ Joking aside, taking in Dottie's and elifire's advice (character POV, voice, and focus), I've ended up with something quite radically different (still following the same basic path, I suppose) than the first version, so I've decided to share now to see how it fares in case I'm in need of yet another "back-to-the-drawing-board" approach. If it's a complete fuck up like the first version, then I suppose that's okay, but completely fucking up and getting chewed out for it is exactly how I learned how to write in the first place, so I'm as hardened as they come when it comes to this stuff. :)

 

Here it goes . . . 

 

#

 

Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. Hmmm. This feels like they only fought once, which I find unrealistic, but now immediately want to know the cause, not some alien shtick. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents.

 

She wasn’t supposed to be sick. Er. Why not?

 

Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery has she been abducted? Or is she in an asylum? I'm really confused.—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill the man responsible. Ah. Schizophrenia.

 

But, before she can act, she is released from captivity Where was she being held captive?! by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth. Okay, I didn't get the impression that this was a sci-fi setting.

 

She almost calls him Uncle for that.

 

However, her escort is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, THE TRUTH ABOUT WHAT? and that she shouldn’t trust them. Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice—to unravel the truth. Either she trust Drago and continue being his pawn, or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  ????

 

Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.  

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford

I really don't get what's going on here.



#12 AlexH

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 07:10 PM

Hey guys!

 

Okay, so I'm back sooner than I expected, but I suppose I secretly love getting my ass handed to me. ^_^ Joking aside, taking in Dottie's and elifire's advice (character POV, voice, and focus), I've ended up with something quite radically different (still following the same basic path, I suppose) than the first version, so I've decided to share now to see how it fares in case I'm in need of yet another "back-to-the-drawing-board" approach. If it's a complete fuck up like the first version, then I suppose that's okay, but completely fucking up and getting chewed out for it is exactly how I learned how to write in the first place, so I'm as hardened as they come when it comes to this stuff. :)

 

Here it goes . . . 

 

#

 

Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents. This is very well-written, but it seems like the first few sentences of a novel to me, rather than a "snappy" hook.

 

She wasn’t supposed to be sick. Intriguing

 

Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill the man responsible. Responsible for her illness?

 

But, before she can act, she is released from captivity by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth.

 

She almost calls him Uncle for that. Not sure if this is necessary

 

However, her escort is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, and that she shouldn’t trust them. Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice—to unravel the truth. Either she trust Drago and continue being his pawn, or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  

 

Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.  

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford

 

This is so well-written and I love the voice and the eeriness, but it does seem a bit vague. I'd really like to know more specifics about where Dani starts off at the beginning of the query and why she's released from captivity (or why she's IN captivity). I think if you can answer those questions, you'll have a strong query. Sounds like you have a great, well-thought out story!



#13 Dasein

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Posted 12 July 2014 - 08:40 PM

Thanks for your critique of my query. I am here to return the favor. My problem is that I can't really understand what is going on in the plot.

Hey guys!
 
Okay, so I'm back sooner than I expected, but I suppose I secretly love getting my ass handed to me. ^_^ Joking aside, taking in Dottie's and elifire's advice (character POV, voice, and focus), I've ended up with something quite radically different (still following the same basic path, I suppose) than the first version, so I've decided to share now to see how it fares in case I'm in need of yet another "back-to-the-drawing-board" approach. If it's a complete fuck up like the first version, then I suppose that's okay, but completely fucking up and getting chewed out for it is exactly how I learned how to write in the first place, so I'm as hardened as they come when it comes to this stuff. :)
 
Here it goes . . . 
 
#
 
Dani Redfield dreamed of a beach the night her parents fought. The sun warmed her face, unlike the fever that burned her body. The grey eyes had watched her there; staring in their scary way, frightening and alien as much as the shouting of her parents.
 
She wasn’t supposed to be sick.
 
Thrown in isolation upon the first day of her recovery—that’s when she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.
 
Kill the man responsible.
 
But, before she can act, she is released from captivity by her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. He gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts. Her first taste of Earth.
 
She almost calls him Uncle for that.
 
However, her escort is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about the crueler realities of life. More importantly, that Dani wasn’t sick at all. That her parents know the truth, and that she shouldn’t trust them. Even worse, the voice in her dreams is only growing more impatient.
 
It wants her silly meat and bone matter.
 
Locked within an unescapable situation, Dani must find the strength in herself—in the grey eyes, in the voice—to unravel the truth. Either she trust Drago and continue being his pawn, or forgive her parents and stay trapped as the helpless five year old she’s meant to be.  
 
Regardless, she knows she can’t ever be the same again . . . just like her genes.  
 
RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
 
--Ryan K Alford


First paragraph: I don't understand about the eyes. Were the watching her in the dream? Did she hear her parents fighting in the dream? Or when she awoke? Were they fighting before she went to sleep? You misuse a semi-colon here. Query Shark lectures people about this.

Second full paragraph: why was she thrown INTO isolation if she has recovered? Is the voice from the man who was watching her in her dream? What is the man responsible for whom she is supposed to kill?

Next paragraph: she was in captivity? I thought you meant isolation the way a hospital ward is isolated. Why was she in captivity?

Next: why is Archer Drago so nice to her? What happened to her parents?

Next: if she wasn't sick why did she have a burning fever? What is the truth that her parents know?

Last: you imply that the grey eyes are somehow part of herself. Then you drop the bombshell that she is only 5 years old in a completely non-dramatic way.

Obviously you can't answer all these questions in the query. But present the stuff you want to keep in a way that is self-explanatory.

That is my 2cents.

#14 ryankalford

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 02:28 PM

Thanks to everyone for the kind, encouraging, and inspiring comments. You guys are amazing, and have been such a huge help even in the short amount of time since I've entered the Query School of Hard Knocks. I suppose I'm ready as I'll ever be for sharing the 4th revision now. I looked at all the great feedback, and tried to develop a consensus of what the core problems were/my failure in communicating. The hook and the ending are the most radically different parts as I've tried to pare down and really focus in the simplest but clear manner as poissble. Probably still have ways to go, but I hope I've taken my first few real steps to getting this thing polished.

 

And please, if I still haven't fixed something you consider an issue, please feel free to re-enforce. It's hard to balance everything, and feels at times like you fix something, but only by breaking something else -_-. The only negative to me is that it's 300 words now, over the budget . . . but i really don't see how I can do it in 250. Not at this point. But, I suppose that extra isn't going to hurt as long as it entices . . .

 

Well, time to spin the query wheel again, for better or worse. Hope you enjoy.

 

#

 

Dani Redfield peed herself the night she was taken from home. Stuffed in cold white room with a see-through glass, she cries for her parents. All she knows is that she had been sick the previous week, and she wasn’t suppose too. It’s not until she catches the glimpse of a fat man smoking a cigar, the Director of her school, that she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill him.

 

Think it. Feel it. That’s all it would take. But before she can, her freedom is restored thanks to the school’s founder and her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. As his apology, he gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts, her first taste of Earth. Dani couldn’t imagine being happier after such trauma.

 

Yet, her escort, Alyssa, is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about her murderous past, as well as the fact Dani’s illness was no illness at all. Her parents know the truth, and have lied to her all her life. Even worse, the voice is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

But after a botched attempt by a hacked android to kidnap Dani on her way to school, she realizes she’s nothing more than bait by Drago and Alyssa to catch a spy. With no one left to trust, Dani must find the hidden strength in herself to unravel the mysterious link between her illness and the voice.

 

Even if it means killing someone.

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#15 jsfrog

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Posted 13 July 2014 - 05:43 PM

Mine ended up longer than I originally planed too. Maybe it is just the price of writing such complex stories? :P

 

Dani Redfield peed herself the night she was taken from home. Stuffed in cold white room with a see-through glass, she cries for her parents. All she knows is that she had been sick the previous week, and she wasn’t suppose too. (supposed to what? Be sick? Is someone ever “supposed” to be sick? I would cut) It’s not until (cut) She catches the (a) glimpse of a fat man smoking a cigar, the Director of her school, that (and) she hears the (a) voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.
 
Kill him.
 
Think it. Feel it. That’s all it would take. But before she can, her freedom is restored thanks to the school’s founder and her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. As his apology, he gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts, her first taste of Earth. Dani couldn’t imagine being happier after such trauma (cut).
 
Yet, her escort, Alyssa, (probably don’t need the name) is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to(cut) enlighten(s) Dani about her murderous past, as well as the fact Dani’s illness was no illness at all. Her parents know the truth, and have lied to her all her life. Even worse,(cut and then pair this sentence with the next one) The voice is only growing more impatient.
 
It wants her silly meat and bone matter.
 
But(cut) After a botched attempt by a hacked android to kidnap Dani on her way to school, she realizes she’s nothing more than bait by Drago and Alyssa(maybe cut this too) to catch a spy. With no one left to trust, Dani must find the hidden strength in herself to(cut) unravel the mysterious link between her illness and the voice.
 
Even if it means killing someone.
 
RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
 
--Ryan K Alford

I cut some words for  you, but this is a lot clearer! :)



#16 K. West

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 12:27 PM

Thanks to everyone for the kind, encouraging, and inspiring comments. You guys are amazing, and have been such a huge help even in the short amount of time since I've entered the Query School of Hard Knocks. I suppose I'm ready as I'll ever be for sharing the 4th revision now. I looked at all the great feedback, and tried to develop a consensus of what the core problems were/my failure in communicating. The hook and the ending are the most radically different parts as I've tried to pare down and really focus in the simplest but clear manner as poissble. Probably still have ways to go, but I hope I've taken my first few real steps to getting this thing polished.

 

And please, if I still haven't fixed something you consider an issue, please feel free to re-enforce. It's hard to balance everything, and feels at times like you fix something, but only by breaking something else -_-. The only negative to me is that it's 300 words now, over the budget . . . but i really don't see how I can do it in 250. Not at this point. But, I suppose that extra isn't going to hurt as long as it entices . . .

 

Well, time to spin the query wheel again, for better or worse. Hope you enjoy.

 

#

 

Dani Redfield peed herself the night she was taken from home. Stuffed in a cold white room with a see-through glass, she cries for her parents. What do you mean by 'see-through glass'?  She can see something?  Other people are watching her?  If the latter, how would she know?  This might be too much detail for a hook... the rest of the sentence is a nice visual, though.All she knows is that she had been sick the previous week, and she wasn’t suppose too supposed to be?. It’s not until she catches thea glimpse of a fat man smoking a cigar, the Director of her school, that she hears the voice. This whole part is confusing, and (IMHO) too much detail- is it important to the main plot that he smokes cigars, or that he's fat?  If not, you don't need it.  If you need to mention the Director, just do that, if not, I would just say  A voice as powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s,. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill him. So... kill the Director? I thought it was the Director's voice? That needs to be more clear.  Otherwise, I wouldn't separate your conflict from the rest of your hook.  "...just one small thing:  Kill him."  But the scene itself does capture my interest- it just needs to be clarified and tightened up.

 

Think it. Feel it. That’s all it would take. But before she can, her freedom is restored thanks to the school’s founder (but the Director is a different person?) and her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. As his apology, he gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over as in she gets to make laws and rules? or just travel there? one of the space colony’s districts, her first taste of Earth. Dani couldn’t imagine being happier after such trauma.

 

Yet, her escort, Alyssa, is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about her murderous past, as well as the fact Dani’s illness was no illness at all. Her parents know the truth, and have lied to her all her life. Even worse, the voice is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.I don't understand this line at all.  I thought the voice wanted her to kill someone (and what is 'silly meat'?? And whose?  Dani's?)

 

But  After a botched attempt by an hacked android to kidnap Dani on her way to school, she realizes she’s nothing more than bait by Drago and Alyssa to catch a spy. With no one left to trust, Dani must find the hidden strength in herself to unravel the mysterious link between her illness and the voice.

 

Even if it means killing someone.

 

I like the way you've presented choices/stakes- works well for me.

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford

Just one question- Who are Alan and Rachael??

 

Hope this helps... it IS hard to pare it down- you have to let some things just stand on their own, choose single words that show what you might need a sentence to tell... scrap EVERYTHING that isn't absolutely essential.  Have you visited the query shark's blog? She has a formula for queries that's essentially a fill-in-the-blank with your MC, motivation/desire, and conflict... and then you  can expand out from there.  Really gets it down to the basics.

 

I'm about to post a revision that's MY next attempt to really pare down, if you get a chance to stop back :)  Thank you for your feedback!



#17 JCSimonds

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 02:21 PM

Thanks to everyone for the kind, encouraging, and inspiring comments. You guys are amazing, and have been such a huge help even in the short amount of time since I've entered the Query School of Hard Knocks. I suppose I'm ready as I'll ever be for sharing the 4th revision now. I looked at all the great feedback, and tried to develop a consensus of what the core problems were/my failure in communicating. The hook and the ending are the most radically different parts as I've tried to pare down and really focus in the simplest but clear manner as poissble. Probably still have ways to go, but I hope I've taken my first few real steps to getting this thing polished.

 

And please, if I still haven't fixed something you consider an issue, please feel free to re-enforce. It's hard to balance everything, and feels at times like you fix something, but only by breaking something else -_-. The only negative to me is that it's 300 words now, over the budget . . . but i really don't see how I can do it in 250. Not at this point. But, I suppose that extra isn't going to hurt as long as it entices . . .

 

Well, time to spin the query wheel again, for better or worse. Hope you enjoy.

 

#

 

[However-old she is] Dani Redfield peed herself the night she was taken from home. [adding the age tells not only something about the MC, but also the level of embarrassment such a thing would entail] Stuffed in cold white [infirmary/hospital] room with a [see-through glass two-way mirror? observation window?], she cries for her [dead?] parents. All she knows is that she had been sick the previous week, and she wasn’t suppose too. [who ever is supposed to be sick?] It’s not until she catches the a glimpse of a fat man smoking a cigar, the fat Director of her school smoking a cigar that she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill him.

 

Think it. Feel it. That’s all it would take. She feels the voice in her bones, in her blood, behind her eyeballs. It is so compelling. But before she can, her freedom is restored thanks to the school’s founder and her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. As his an apology, he gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts, her first taste of Earth. Dani couldn’t [can't] imagine being happier after such trauma.

 

Yet, Her escort, Alyssa, is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes proceeds to enlighten Dani about her the girl's murderous past, as well as the fact that Dani’s illness was no illness at all[,] and that her parents knew the truth, and have lied to her all her life. Even worse, the murderous voice is only growing more impatient.

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

But after a botched attempt by a hacked android to kidnap Dani on her way to school, she realizes she’s nothing more than bait by Drago and Alyssa to catch a spy. With no one left to trust, Dani must find the hidden strength in herself to unravel the mysterious link between her illness and the voice.

 

Even if it means killing someone.

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford

Sounds like a great read!



#18 rainmaker

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 03:14 PM

Thanks for leaving feedback on mine :) 

 

Dani Redfield peed herself the night she was taken from home. Stuffed in cold white room with a see-through glass, she cries for her parents. All she knows is that she had been sick the previous week, and she wasn’t suppose too. It’s not until she catches the glimpse of a fat man smoking a cigar, the Director of her school, that she hears the voice. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s. It lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing.

 

Kill him. (Kill the director?)

 

Think it. Feel it. That’s all it would take. But before she can, her freedom is restored thanks to the school’s founder and her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. ​(Before talking about freedom, talk about why she was captured) As his apology, he gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and free-reign over one of the space colony’s districts, her first taste of Earth. Dani couldn’t imagine being happier after such trauma.

 

Yet, her escort, Alyssa, is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and precedes to enlighten Dani about her murderous past, as well as the fact Dani’s illness was no illness at all. Her parents know the truth, and have lied to her all her life. Even worse, the voice is only growing more impatient. (Is Alyssa important enough to be mentioned?)

 

It wants her silly meat and bone matter.

 

But after a botched attempt by a hacked android to kidnap Dani on her way to school, she realizes she’s nothing more than bait by Drago and Alyssa to catch a spy. With no one left to trust, Dani must find the hidden strength in herself to unravel the mysterious link between her illness and the voice. (Talk more in the set up about the illness, the mutation? and the voice)

 

Even if it means killing someone.

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I like your premise, I think you want to depict a mutation that makes her want to kill,? but this is not coming across clearly. 



#19 ryankalford

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Posted 14 July 2014 - 08:25 PM

Holy shit guys! All of your feedback combined managed to slim this thing back down to 250 words! That's totally blown me away. I can't thank each of you enough for your time and thoughts. Seriously, I can't believe the progress that's been made in only a week! It's makes me very excited about my query class at litreactor.com next week. There's no way I could have hoped to impress having been on my own. So thank you all a million once again. I hope I'm close now after this new polish. But, before I post, I guess there's a question to answer from K. West.

 

The names from the subtitle belong to Dani's parents. Their the other two significant POV's in the story. (Pretty much the reason the story is over 120k more or less). But given the restraints of the query form--focusing on Dani and Drago is pretty much the only option since they are the two main characters of this potential series (protagonist and antagonist, respectively).

 

Otherwise, I hope the 5th times the charm, (or really, really close!)

 

PS: I will make sure to visit/revist each of your queries again in return shortly, of course. :)

 

#

 

Five year old Dani Redfield peed herself the night she was taken from home. Stuffed in a cold white room, she cries for her parents. She had been sick the previous week. That’s all she knows. A voice seizes her mind when she catches a glimpse of the Director of her school. As powerful as ocean waves, yet as sweet as her Mama’s, it lulls her into a trance, tempting her to do just one small thing. Kill him.

 

Before she can, her freedom is restored thanks to the school’s founder and her parent’s employer, Archer Drago. As an apology, he gives her a new home, school, personal escort, and freedom to roam one of the space colony’s districts, her first taste of Earth. Dani can’t imagine being happier.

 

Her escort though is no ordinary aide. She is a trained killer, and enlightens Dani about things sweet little girls shouldn’t know, as well as the fact Dani’s illness was no illness at all. Her parents know the truth, and have lied to her all her life. Meanwhile, the voice only grows more impatient in her, craving absolute control.

 

After a botched attempt by an android to kidnap her on her way to school, Dani realizes she’s nothing more than Drago’s bait to catch a spy. With no one left to trust, she must unravel the mysterious link between her illness and the voice herself.

 

Even if it means killing someone.

 

RECODED VOLUME I: ALAN AND RACHAEL is a 123,000 word social sci-fi novel.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

--Ryan K Alford


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#20 Dasein

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Posted 15 July 2014 - 12:34 AM

Much better.  I am beginning to like it.  The only questions that remain for me now are the relations between the bad guys.  First there is the voice that urges her to kill the Director of the school.  Are they both bad guys? Or is the Director a good guy.? Then right after the Director, you mention this Drago fellow.  He seems like a good guy, but is really a bad guy. And unless you pay attention it is easy to mix him up with the Director. What is Drago's relation to the voice in her head? And her parents are bad because they have lied to her all her life?  Whose side are they on? 

 

I'l bet that the categories of people in the novel are more complex than just bad guy, good guy, which speaks well for the novel.  But in the query it would be less confusing to know who was on which side.







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