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Tomahawk Incident - Adult Mil. Sci Fi

Science Fiction Adventure Military/Espionage

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#1 Gavaksha

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 04:50 PM

Hello All!

I've done a variety of query letters for Tomahawk Incident which haven't gotten me anywhere yet, so I decided to change things up and give the AQC format a try.  I'll be happy to trade critiques. 

 

Tomahawk Incident doesn't fit neatly into a genre box.  I call it an Alt History Military Adventure.  It's not straight space-faring military sci fi, but it has some of the elements we're used to there.  Battles between ships happen (spaceships or submarines are the easiest equivalent to the Æsterships that prowl the skies of my world), there are floating Æster platforms that are like space stations.  There are undiscovered "lost worlds" in the Æster.  It's not Steam or Dieselpunk, although it has some of that feel; the character's serve aboard a ship of the British Admiralty, the British Empire contends with the Ottomans, etc.  There are no psychics or psionics, but there is mysticism tied to the Æster and there are supersoldiers whose existence is tied to breathing a special Æster breathing mixture.  

 

So, it's sometimes hard to find the right "line" to take when I'm submitting.  Currently I'm pitching it as "Honor Harrington meets Lost."  

 

Thanks in advance for any insights!

 

Marshal

 

_______________

 

Hello Mr/Mrs X,

 

Thrust into the center of a dark mystic’s secret war to rule the skies, Rescue Marine Major Katja Kryzanowski and her shipmates fight to survive and warn the fleet after an attack maroons them on a floating island in the sky.

 

The Tomahawk Incident – Honor Harrington meets Lost

 

A failed assassination attempt on Katja is her first warning that she’s embroiled in a war she knows nothing about.  The dark mystic Asher Koora is bent on ruling the skies and his Seers have identified Katja as a threat to his ascension.  An attack on their ship leaves Katja and the Tomahawk’s survivors marooned and fighting to survive on an island floating in the Æster's caustic, supercharged clouds, one of the rumored “Hanging Gardens.”  With the clock running down she must find a way to do the impossible, contact the rescue fleet from beyond the “Black Line” where ships of the Admiralty aren’t supposed to survive.  But they are not alone on the Hanging Garden.  The gentle, mystical Æsterborn caretaker, Jinn offers to help them.  From her they learn there is much more going on in the far reaches of the Æster than anyone suspects - a war that threatens everything on the ground.  Suddenly there is more at stake than just rescuing her crew and getting home.

 

I have been writing sci fi and fantasy stories since I was in Junior High School, but only really dove into it seriously in 2009 when the ideas for the Æsterverse took hold.  Since then, I've created a fully fleshed out world and have written dozens of stories set within it.  "The Tomahawk Incident" is the first attempt to publish anything from the Æsterverse.   As a US Navy veteran and trained commercial diver, the world of shipboard life and working in a hostile environment comes very naturally.

 

Thank you so much for your time and attention.  The full manuscript is available at your request. 

 

I hope to hear from you soon!

 


Feedback on my query gladly accepted!
http://agentquerycon...ci-fi/?p=327837


#2 Ms-Q

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 06:37 PM

God, I feel your pain on genre. I've written a horror / weird fiction / romance / thriller / fantasy thing and picking a genre hurts me.

 

I say pitch yours as sci-fi. Playing with genre when you wrote it is how the sausage is made. Doesn't matter. You pitch it as where it would be shelved.

 

Hello All!

I've done a variety of query letters for Tomahawk Incident which haven't gotten me anywhere yet, so I decided to change things up and give the AQC format a try.  I'll be happy to trade critiques. 

 

Tomahawk Incident doesn't fit neatly into a genre box.  I call it an Alt History Military Adventure.  It's not straight space-faring military sci fi, but it has some of the elements we're used to there.  Battles between ships happen (spaceships or submarines are the easiest equivalent to the Æsterships that prowl the skies of my world), there are floating Æster platforms that are like space stations.  There are undiscovered "lost worlds" in the Æster.  It's not Steam or Dieselpunk, although it has some of that feel; the character's serve aboard a ship of the British Admiralty, the British Empire contends with the Ottomans, etc.  There are no psychics or psionics, but there is mysticism tied to the Æster and there are supersoldiers whose existence is tied to breathing a special Æster breathing mixture.

 

So, it's sometimes hard to find the right "line" to take when I'm submitting.  Currently I'm pitching it as "Honor Harrington meets Lost."  

 

Thanks in advance for any insights!

 

Marshal

 

_______________

 

Hello Mr/Mrs X,

 

Thrust into the center of a dark mystic’s secret war to rule the skies, Rescue Marine Major Katja Kryzanowski and her shipmates fight to survive and warn the fleet after an attack maroons them on a floating island in the sky.

 

The Tomahawk Incident – Honor Harrington meets Lost This is a logline. Usually loglines belong in film, not book sales. Occasionally comparable books (and books only) are fine. However, we're not industry experts. If we get the comp "wrong" it can annoy the agent. I personally do not do comps.

 

A failed assassination attempt on Katja is her first warning that she’s embroiled in a war she knows nothing about.  The dark mystic Asher Koora is bent on ruling the skies and his Seers replace with generic term like "servants"or put in lowecase so I know they actually see the future and it's not merely a title. have identified Katja as a threat to his ascension. why? You may need to spell out there's a prophecy or something.  An attack on their ship leaves Katja and the Tomahawk’s survivors crewmates marooned and fighting to survive on an island floating in the planet Æster's caustic, supercharged clouds, one of the rumored “Hanging Gardens.”  With the clock running down [A ticking clock is good! But in order to feel the stakes I must know why there is a time limit. "With the clock ticking down" is also a cliché. Better to replace it with the specific thing causing the time limit.] she must find a way to do the impossible, contact the rescue fleet from beyond the “Black Line” where ships of the Admiralty aren’t supposed to survive. But they are not alone on the Hanging Garden island.  The Its gentle, mystical Æsterborn caretaker, Jinn offers to help them.  From her they learn there is much more going on in the far reaches of the Æster than anyone suspects - a war that threatens everything on the ground.  Suddenly there is more at stake than just rescuing her crew and getting home. This is not specific enough.

 

I have been writing sci fi and fantasy stories since I was in Junior High School, but only really dove into it seriously in 2009 when the ideas for the Æsterverse took hold.  Since then, I've created a fully fleshed out world and have written dozens of stories set within it.  "The Tomahawk Incident" is the first attempt to publish anything from the Æsterverse.   As a US Navy veteran and trained commercial diver, the world of shipboard life and working in a hostile environment comes very naturally. Don't talk about unpublished work. Your time in the US Navy, however, is super relevant. Do mention it. I'd re-word this to emphasize writing about those things comes naturally to you. Also, you are essentially trying to get hired. Same rules of not saying anything bad about the old boss to the new boss in a job interview applies.

 

Thank you so much for your time and attention.  The full manuscript is available at your request. 

 

I hope to hear from you soon!

 

A couple things:

 

Sci-fi comes with a lot of jargon. Use as little of it as possible in the query. You get about 250 words, but remember the agent also is only going to spend about a minute on it. Do as much as you can to translate the ideas into plain English to make the most of your minute. I can understand what the story is just fine despite the jargon (that's a huge feat and a credit to you!) but it took me a while because of all the new words (that's bad!).

 

You're lacking some specificity about the stakes. I need to know why there is a time limit and what she finds out to make her have to choose between the safety of her crew and the safety of more people (and who those people are). The nice thing is that if you cut some of the jargon from the query, you have plenty of room to do that.



#3 EmmaLucy

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 10:34 PM

Hello Mr/Mrs X,

 

Thrust into the center of a dark mystic’s secret war to rule the skies, Rescue Marine Major Katja Kryzanowski and her shipmates fight to survive and warn the fleet after an attack maroons them on a floating island in the sky. Nice first sentence. I like its catchiness. 

 

The Tomahawk Incident – Honor Harrington meets Lost I would maybe take this sentence out. In a way, it takes the storm out of the first bit. 

 

A failed assassination attempt on Katja is her first warning that she’s embroiled in a war she knows nothing about. The dark mystic Asher Koora is bent on ruling the skies and his Seers have identified Katja as a threat to his ascension. It's a little disconcerting that you start the first sentence by talking about Katja and then turn a corner by beginning the next sentence with Asher KooraAn attack on their ship leaves Katja and the Tomahawk’s survivors marooned and fighting to survive on an island floating in the Æster's caustic, supercharged clouds, one of the rumored “Hanging Gardens.”  With the clock running down she must find a way to do the impossible,  Maybe end the sentence there and then describe the impossible task in the next sentence. Mushing it together makes it a little overwhelming and a period gives a nice breath in which the reader has a moment to think, in the back of their mind, "What's impossible? Is she actually going to try to do this impossible thing?" contact the rescue fleet from beyond the “Black Line” where ships of the Admiralty aren’t supposed to survive.  But they are not alone on the Hanging Garden.  The gentle, mystical Æsterborn caretaker, Jinn offers to help them.  From her they learn there is much more going on in the far reaches of the Æster than anyone suspects - a war that threatens everything on the ground. It's kind of like you absently tacked this last phrase onto the end. If it's important it should stand out  Suddenly there is more at stake than just rescuing her crew and getting home. 

 

I have been writing sci fi and fantasy stories since I was in Junior High School, but only really dove into it seriously in 2009 when the ideas for theÆsterverse took hold.  Since then, I've created a fully fleshed out world and have written dozens of stories set within it.  "The Tomahawk Incident" is the first attempt to publish anything from the Æsterverse.   As a US Navy veteran and trained commercial diver, the world of shipboard life and working in a hostile environment comes very naturally.  That last sentence is a great point. Well done! 

 

Thank you so much for your time and attention.  The full manuscript is available at your request. 

 

I hope to hear from you soon!

 

One thing I think would definitely make this stronger, is if you made a clear point about what would happen if they don't accomplish this seemingly impossible mission. Are they all going to die? Will there be a terrible war? Is preventing the war, the main mission? 

 

Best of wishes with your writing and querying! 

 

P.S. If you're interested.... Here is my query: http://agentquerycon...ional-fiction/ 


I am in some desperate need of synopsis help and am willing to return the favor.

 

My Query: http://agentquerycon...tional-fiction/  

My Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...tion-synposis/ 

First 250 words: http://agentquerycon...ion-first-250/ 


#4 JonVonKnight

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 08:11 AM

Hello All!

I've done a variety of query letters for Tomahawk Incident which haven't gotten me anywhere yet, so I decided to change things up and give the AQC format a try.  I'll be happy to trade critiques. 

 

Tomahawk Incident doesn't fit neatly into a genre box.  I call it an Alt History Military Adventure.  It's not straight space-faring military sci fi, but it has some of the elements we're used to there.  Battles between ships happen (spaceships or submarines are the easiest equivalent to the Æsterships that prowl the skies of my world), there are floating Æster platforms that are like space stations.  There are undiscovered "lost worlds" in the Æster.  It's not Steam or Dieselpunk, although it has some of that feel; the character's serve aboard a ship of the British Admiralty, the British Empire contends with the Ottomans, etc.  There are no psychics or psionics, but there is mysticism tied to the Æster and there are supersoldiers whose existence is tied to breathing a special Æster breathing mixture.  

 

So, it's sometimes hard to find the right "line" to take when I'm submitting.  Currently I'm pitching it as "Honor Harrington meets Lost."  

 

Thanks in advance for any insights!

 

Marshal

 

_______________

 

Hello Mr/Mrs X,

 

Thrust into the center of a dark mystic’s secret war to rule the skies, Rescue Marine Major Katja Kryzanowski and her shipmates fight to survive and warn the fleet after an attack maroons them on a floating island in the sky. Great hook! I moved some stuff around. It seems to read easier. 

 

The Tomahawk Incident – Honor Harrington meets Lost

 

A failed assassination attempt on Katja is her first warning that she’s been thrust into the center of a dark mystic's secret war to rule the skies. embroiled in a war she knows nothing about.  The dark mystic Asher Koora is bent on domination ruling the skies and his Seers have identified Katja as a threat to his ascension. (Why is she a threat?)  An attack on their ship leaves Katja and the Tomahawk’s survivors marooned and fighting to survive on an island floating in the Æster's caustic, supercharged clouds, one of the rumored “Hanging Gardens.”  With the clock running down (should probably tell us why it is running down or it sounds cliche) she must find a way to do the impossible, contact the rescue fleet from beyond the “Black Line” where ships of the Admiralty aren’t supposed to survive.  But they are not alone on the Hanging Garden.  The gentle, mystical Æsterborn caretaker, Jinn offers to help them.  From her they learn there is much more going on in the far reaches of the Æster than anyone suspects - a war that threatens everything on the ground.  Suddenly there is more at stake than just rescuing her crew and getting home. I'm guessing this is Asher Koora's war and Jinn knows about it. I think that should be spelled out. 

 

I have been writing sci fi and fantasy stories since I was in Junior High School, but only really dove into it seriously in 2009 when the ideas for the Æsterverse took hold.  Since then, I've created a fully fleshed out world and have written dozens of stories set within it.  "The Tomahawk Incident" is the first attempt to publish anything from the Æsterverse.   As a US Navy veteran and trained commercial diver, the world of shipboard life and working in a hostile environment comes very naturally.

 

Thank you so much for your time and attention.  The full manuscript is available at your request. 

 

I hope to hear from you soon!

I love this story and I get a great sense of the world you've created. This is an excellent first draft query letter and this is a great place to get help perfecting it. Please have a look at my letter for Courage Passion Wisdom and Grace. Good luck to you!! 



#5 Gavaksha

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 09:38 AM

Thanks so much for the quick input everyone!  I'll be wrangling your suggestions and putting out an update soon. 

 

It's amazing how blind you get to what you're doing when you're just working between your ears or reading aloud to yourself.

 

Thanks again for taking the time to comment!


Feedback on my query gladly accepted!
http://agentquerycon...ci-fi/?p=327837


#6 Gavaksha

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 09:43 AM

God, I feel your pain on genre. I've written a horror / weird fiction / romance / thriller / fantasy thing and picking a genre hurts me.

 

I say pitch yours as sci-fi. Playing with genre when you wrote it is how the sausage is made. Doesn't matter. You pitch it as where it would be shelved.

 

 

A couple things:

 

Sci-fi comes with a lot of jargon. Use as little of it as possible in the query. You get about 250 words, but remember the agent also is only going to spend about a minute on it. Do as much as you can to translate the ideas into plain English to make the most of your minute. I can understand what the story is just fine despite the jargon (that's a huge feat and a credit to you!) but it took me a while because of all the new words (that's bad!).

 

You're lacking some specificity about the stakes. I need to know why there is a time limit and what she finds out to make her have to choose between the safety of her crew and the safety of more people (and who those people are). The nice thing is that if you cut some of the jargon from the query, you have plenty of room to do that.

 

Great feedback!  Thanks so much.  Yeah, one of the tough things in this is that the Æster doesn't work like "space" or "underwater," it is it's own thing, so trying to get the concepts across without boatloads of exposition is hard.  Thanks for the encouragement!


Feedback on my query gladly accepted!
http://agentquerycon...ci-fi/?p=327837


#7 Gavaksha

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Posted 20 September 2016 - 11:51 AM

Okay, next go round thanks to all your generous assistance. 

 

___________________

 

Hello Mr/Mrs X,

 

Rescue Marine Major Katja Kryzanowski and her shipmates fight to survive and warn the fleet of the danger after an attack maroons them on a floating island in the sky.

 

A failed assassination attempt on Katja is her first warning that she’s been thrust into the center of a dark mystic's secret war to rule the skies.  Asher Koora is bent on domination and his servants have identified Katja as a threat to his ascension.  Until she is removed, the visions Asher Koora believes will guide him to absolute rulership cannot be clearly seen.  An attack on their ship leaves Katja and her shipmates marooned and fighting to survive on a floating island in the sky.  She has seven days to find a way contact the rescue fleet or they will be given up for dead. But they are not alone on the island.  Its gentle, mystical caretaker offers to help them.  And from her they learn there is a much greater danger growing in the far reaches of the Æster.  Asher Koora’s war threatens to engulf not only the sky but to lay waste to civilization on the ground.  Suddenly, getting her shipmates home is only a part of her quest.  The Admiralty must be warned, no matter what the cost.

 

The Tomahawk Incident is a complete adult science fiction novel at ~114,000 words.  It can stand alone but is truly the first book in a series featuring Katja and the war against Asher Koora.  The full manuscript is available upon request. 

 

As a US Navy veteran, writing about the world of military shipboard life is something that comes very naturally to me. 

 

Thank you so much for your time and attention and I hope to hear from you soon!


Feedback on my query gladly accepted!
http://agentquerycon...ci-fi/?p=327837






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