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RECODED (Adult Social Scifi)

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#101 ryankalford

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 12:41 PM

Thanks smithgirl and strangeface!

 

A couple of small tweaks to elminate the noted points of slight confusion. Though I think you're not weighing the "just like her classmates" porition when it comes to her difference, strangeface. It's not saying she's not a being of high intelligence, but that she thinks that's all that there was to her "just like her classmates," which is disproven when this strange men come take her and arrest her parents. Alluding to what the later sentences show. At least that's reasoning behind it.

 

__________

 

Dear Agent:

Five-year-old Dani Redfield knows that genes are the building blocks of life. What she doesn't know is hers once belonged to an alien—one that speaks through her dreams under the guise of her gray teddy bear, Ben-Ben.
 
Orbiting the Earth aboard the space station Heaven's Reach, Dani believes she is a gifted student of high intelligence, just like her classmates. At least that’s what she thinks until the night scary men in armored suits break into her home. They arrest her parents and snatch her away, locking her into the chilly confines of an isolation room. There, Dani discovers that she can look through the two-way mirror in the wall, where an old woman watches her with scorn. Her icky thoughts trickle into Dani’s ears—as stinky as her cigarette’s phantom stench.


The connection lulls Dani into a trance, sending her to Ben-Ben in a dream. He tells her the old woman is Mama and Daddy's boss, and that she's the bad person behind her kidnapping. If Dani wants them back, then she has to send the wicked witch to the place where all things go for eternal sleep—the Nowhere All-Dark, Ben-Ben's home. But before Dani can summon her mind’s nighty-night wand,
the old woman collapses to the floor. She drowns gurgling on her own blood—poisoned by a spy set on retrieving Dani’s reincarnated vessel intact.

 

Determined not to be taken from her parents again, Dani accepts playing the bait in an elaborate ruse by the CEO of her parents’ employer to draw the spy out...so she can teach his silly meat-and-bone shell what her alien powers are really like when fully bloomed.

RECODED is a 100,000 word adult social sci-fi novel told through multiple points-of-view. It also has series potential.

 

_________

 

Quick question: Should I use "After being reunited with her parents..." instead of the "determined" line to make it clear Dani gets her parents back? I thought I could just imply it the way it is, but it does seem to cause a slip up.


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/


#102 CM_Fick

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 01:12 PM

Thanks smithgirl and strangeface!

 

A couple of small tweaks to elminate the noted points of slight confusion. Though I think you're not weighing the "just like her classmates" porition when it comes to her difference, strangeface. It's not saying she's not a being of high intelligence, but that she thinks that's all that there was to her "just like her classmates," which is disproven when this strange men come take her and arrest her parents. Alluding to what the later sentences show. At least that's reasoning behind it.

 

__________

 

Dear Agent:

Five-year-old Dani Redfield knows that genes are the building blocks of life. What she doesn't know is hers once belonged to an alien—one that speaks through her dreams under the guise of her gray teddy bear, Ben-Ben.
 
Orbiting the Earth aboard the space station Heaven's Reach, Dani believes she is a gifted student of high intelligence, just like her classmates. At least that’s what she thinks until the night scary men in armored suits break into her home. They arrest her parents and snatch her away, locking her into the chilly confines of an isolation room. There, Dani discovers that she can look through the two-way mirror in the wall, where an old woman watches her with scorn. The woman’s icky thoughts trickle into Dani’s ears—as stinky as her cigarette’s smell in Dani’s nostrils. (this might drive you a little crazy, but I prefer the previous iteration of this last sentence. I didn't question the "phantom stench" and thought it read just fine as it was. This seems wordy to me. I know that other's critiqued that it wasn't clear, but writing is about igniting the readers imagination and it did that without directly referencing her ears and nose. just my 2 cents.)

The connection lulls Dani into a trance, sending her to Ben-Ben in a dream. He tells her the old woman is Mama and Daddy's boss, and that she's the bad person behind her kidnapping. If Dani wants them back, then she has to send the wicked witch to the place where all things go for eternal sleep—the Nowhere All-Dark, Ben-Ben's home. But before Dani can summon her mind’s nighty-night wand, the old woman collapses to the floor. She drowns gurgling on her own blood—poisoned by a spy set on retrieving Dani’s reincarnated vessel intact.

 

Determined not to be taken from her parents again, Dani accepts playing the bait in an elaborate ruse by the CEO  (I think this clarification is unnecessary, but this is just being nit-picky) of her parents’ employer to draw the spy out...so she can teach his silly meat-and-bone shell what her alien powers are really like when fully bloomed.

RECODED is a 100,000 word adult social sci-fi novel told through multiple points-of-view. It also has series potential.

 

_________

 

Quick question: Should I use "After being reunited with her parents..." instead of the "determined" line to make it clear Dani gets her parents back? I thought I could just imply it the way it is, but it does seem to cause a slip up. I think just the simple clarification of "not taken from her parents again" works just fine here. It implies that she was given back, and while it's quite close to your previous "Determined not to lose her parents again", it feels like she's 5 again and her parents are back in control. Funny how such a simple change can make all the difference

 

 

It's still good and I don't think you will ever achieve every single critiquers approval, based solely on personal preferences. You've got a solid query here with a great voice and clearly outlined stakes. Good job!! 



#103 strangeface

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 01:15 PM

Oh, if that's the case, you might want to say something like "she's just a gifted student of high intelligence." That might help to clear it up. Though, you may want to keep it to just a "gifted student" instead of a "gifted student of high intelligence."

 

I'd prefer the "after being reunited with her parents" line.



#104 ryankalford

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 02:16 PM

Thanks again CM and Strangeface!

 

So, to respond to your comments:

 

--I decided to compromise and return "phantom stench" to the mental link between Dani and the old woman beat. Hopefully makes it less wordy while keeping the clarity of the first part of the sentence of what's going on, since that was causing some head-scratching (which is why I changed it)

 

--Going to keep the "CEO" bit since too many were confusing the old woman as the employer of Dani's parents. I personally think it's uneeded, but I prefer to error on the side of caution. And it's only an additional two words, so eh.

 

--I think I'll stick with "Determined." While that may cause a slight hiccup for some folks, CM has a good point about reflecting Dani's growth of character, which is what the story arch is all about. Going from powerless, to powerful, from choiceless, to making the choice for herself. Her taking actual ownership in the conflict. "Determined" reflects that more in the end.

 

--I can't decide on whether to adjust the "gifted student" line yet. I guess I'll keep it as is for now and see how it eventually plays.

 

I think as you all have collectively said in various ways--a subjective hitch or two nonwithstanding--I'm in a pretty damn good place at this point. Pretty hard to envision an agent hitting a forum rejection for a small odd spot if they're digging Dani or the story. And as smithgirl said, I certainly do agree that we can all get a little bit wound up on achieving absolute perfection after the real goal is achieved---creating a compelling and enticing query that'll make them check sample pages.

 

Honestly, the previous query I had from a couple years ago in this thread was "good enough" in the sense that A)it sparked the interest of the agent I workshopped it with (Sarah LaPolla) in a litreactor.com class, 2)Not a bad comment at all from the agent I actually submitted too, and 3)earned praise from one of the mentors I submitted to in PitchWars 2015, and numerous positve comments from here and the 3 other contest I entered (though apparently not good enough to actually make it into any of them obviously)

 

And yet, that query got gutted on here when I first reposted it last year in hopes of tweaking the changes of my story. Which first I resisted becasue it'd done okay for me...but then more of the story changed to where that I really had no choice but to rewrite it from scratch, and try to do so with less issues going on than it had.

 

I guess I won't know the real verdict until I wind up querying, or trying contest again..but I think--after months of struggle--I finally nailed the sonofabitch. So thank you everyone who's contributed so greatly in steering me where I needed to go in order to take this to the next level. So much apperciated like you'll never believe! :)


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/


#105 CarterT

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 03:23 PM

I know you're 'done' with your query, but I just wanted to mention how much stronger this last version is. You really took the input and incorporated into a solid query. 

 

About the CEO comment, you could remove the entire part related to her parent's employer. Just leave it at an elaborate ruse. Some people might want to know who the ruse is by, but personally I'm fine with the minor hook there. Can't put everything in a query, you know?

 

Anyway, great query! Looking forward to hearing who eventually bites on it. 

 

And, to be completely honest about it - When I read your first query, I wasn't interested in reading the book (sorry!). However, after reading this version, I'd pick it up if I saw it in the bookstore. 



#106 smithgirl

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 05:44 PM

Dear Agent:

Five-year-old Dani Redfield knows that genes are the building blocks of life. What she doesn't know is hers once belonged to an alien—one that speaks through her dreams under the guise of her gray teddy bear, Ben-Ben.
 
Orbiting the Earth aboard the space station Heaven's Reach, Dani believes she is a gifted student of high intelligence, just like her classmates. At least that’s what she thinks until the night scary men in armored suits break into her home. They arrest her parents and snatch her away, locking her into the chilly confines of an isolation room. There, Dani discovers that she can look through the two-way mirror in the wall, where an old woman watches her with scorn. Her icky thoughts trickle into Dani’s ears—as stinky as her cigarette’s phantom stench.


The connection lulls Dani into a trance, sending her to Ben-Ben in a dream. He tells her the old woman is Mama and Daddy's boss, and that she's the bad person behind her kidnapping. If Dani wants them back, then she has to send the wicked witch to the place where all things go for eternal sleep—the Nowhere All-Dark, Ben-Ben's home. But before Dani can summon her mind’s nighty-night wand,
the old woman collapses to the floor. She drowns gurgling on her own blood—poisoned by a spy set on retrieving Dani’s reincarnated vessel intact.

 

Determined not to be taken from her parents again, Dani accepts playing the bait in an elaborate ruse by the CEO of her parents’ employer to draw the spy out...so she can teach his silly meat-and-bone shell what her alien powers are really like when fully bloomed.

RECODED is a 100,000 word adult social sci-fi novel told through multiple points-of-view. It also has series potential.

 

I think this is good. You also cleared up the employer confusion re the witch vs. ruse bait by changing to CEO of her parents' employer.

 

​I actually like the "After being united..." option better. I figured that out with the "determined" line, but not until I got to the end of line, and it tripped me a bit the first time. I didn't immediately realize that she was back home and had to backtrack.

 

Congratulations! :-)



#107 dragoness

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 04:00 AM

The query is definitely better, clearer and more interesting.  :smile:

 

Yet, there were still some details unclear to me:

 

Five-year-old Dani Redfield knows that genes are the building blocks of life. What she doesn't know is hers once belonged to an alien—one that speaks through her dreams under the guise of her gray teddy bear, Ben-Ben. (good!)
 
Orbiting the Earth aboard the space station Heaven's Reach, Dani believes she is a gifted student of high intelligence, just like her classmates. At least that’s what she thinks until the night scary men in armored suits break into her home. They arrest her parents and snatch her away, locking her into the chilly confines of an isolation room. There, Dani discovers that she can look through the two-way mirror in the wall, where an old woman watches her with scorn. Her icky thoughts trickle into Dani’s ears—as stinky as her cigarette’s phantom stench.


The connection lulls Dani into a trance, sending her to Ben-Ben in a dream. He tells her the old woman is Mama and Daddy's boss, and that she's the bad person behind her kidnapping. If Dani wants them back, then she has to send the wicked witch to the place where all things go for eternal sleep—the Nowhere All-Dark, Ben-Ben's home. But before Dani can summon her mind’s nighty-night wand
(how does she know about it? isn't it better to write "before she can make any move" or something like that?) , the old woman collapses to the floor. She drowns gurgling on her own blood—poisoned by a spy set on retrieving Dani’s reincarnated vessel intact.

 

Determined not to be taken from her parents again, Dani accepts playing the bait in an elaborate ruse by the CEO of her parents’ employer (isn't it the witch? why not call her that instead of so complicated a description?) to draw the spy out...so she can teach his silly meat-and-bone shell what her alien powers are really like when fully bloomed. (how does she know what they are?)

RECODED is a 100,000 word adult social sci-fi novel told through multiple points-of-view. It also has series potential.

 

_________

 

Quick question: Should I use "After being reunited with her parents..." instead of the "determined" line to make it clear Dani gets her parents back? I thought I could just imply it the way it is, but it does seem to cause a slip up. (to me it was clear)

 

Thanks for your comments on my query!

Would you like to see my last version? http://agentquerycon...ue/#entry336414



#108 ryankalford

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:25 PM

Thanks again on the vote of confidence, everyone!

 

To CarterT, I'll keep in mind simplyfing the spy hook at the end as an potential option. Even if it sparks a question or two from an agent, I imagine it wouldn't be enough to deter them if the strength of the query strikes them right. Thanks for the kind comments! Can't really blame you if it didn't sound appealing at first. I actually apperciate knowing that, though. Means the query certainly wound up going in the right direction it needed too (thanks to everyone's lovely help).

 

In the meantime, I'll try to keep an eye on everyone's query's till each of you get'em where you want them to be. ;)


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/






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