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Borrowed Time (Speculative Fiction) - Update in 49

Commercial Fiction Fiction New Adult

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#1 CarterT

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 11:55 AM

Draft number 4352 down in reply #49. Thanks again for all the feedback. This is so drastically different than what I started with, and I really appreciate the constructive criticism.

 

Found here: http://agentquerycon...ction/?p=337786

 

Also, if you're willing to take a peek at the query for my other work, Worthless, a YA/NA Fantasy-Thriller, please do! You can find it here: http://agentquerycon...iller/?p=336503 (Eh, this may be outdated. Newest version may be a post or two below this).

 

Completely new query is down in reply 6. Thanks for the input that led to the changes, and hopefully it's something a little more on-point to what people were thinking.

 

 

As soon as I figure out how to link it...I will!

 

 

Hello, I just joined the forum, but I've got a query I could use a hand with. I've been reading through some to get a feel for it, and I plan on offering feedback in the near future. Please see below, and thanks in advance for any feedback you can offer.

 

____________________________________

 

With Borrowed Time, people are no longer limited to 24 hours in a day, and Detective Alex Stokes is going to need all the time he can get if he hopes to stop a plan that's already been set into motion to cripple the world's economy.

 

Alex Stokes is a detective with the Toronto TimeCrime division, an officer who investigates crimes involving the use of Borrowed Time. An officer with a secret. When a bomb in Tokyo brings Japanese police officer Misaki Aiko to his captain’s office, this loner finds himself taking on a partner for the first time in years. Misaki’s prime suspect? A man who was the closest thing Alex ever had to a father.

 

ChronoTek, the mega-corporation responsible for literally buying and selling the hours of people’s lives, seems central to discovering the truth, but Alex may need to decide between solving the case and proving his friend’s innocence. And he’ll have to do it while keeping his overly-perceptive new partner away from one very important question: Who is Alex Stokes, really?

 

BORROWED TIME is complete at just under 130,000 words, and if you enjoyed 'Inception', you'll enjoy this.



#2 samlat77

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 02:14 PM

Hello, I just joined the forum, but I've got a query I could use a hand with. I've been reading through some to get a feel for it, and I plan on offering feedback in the near future. Please see below, and thanks in advance for any feedback you can offer.

 

____________________________________

 

With Borrowed Time, people are no longer limited to 24 hours in a day, and Detective Alex Stokes is going to need all the time he can get if he hopes to stop a plan that's already been set into motion to cripple the world's economy. Explain what Borrowed Time is in a following paragraph. The hook needs to draw people in and ya gotta be snappy about it.

 

Alex Stokes is a detective with the Toronto TimeCrime division, an officer who investigates crimes involving the use of Borrowed Time this would be where you explain Borrowed Time. An officer with a secret. When a bomb in Tokyo brings Japanese police officer Misaki Aiko to his captain’s office, this loner out of place here because this is the first mention of who Alex is. You gotta make us care and see what he's feeling finds himself taking on a partner for the first time in years. But Misaki’s prime suspect is a man who was the closest thing Alex ever had to a father. Okay, but why would this bomb send Misaki to Toronto? Why does he suspect the man who's like a father to Alex?

 

ChronoTek, the mega-corporation responsible for literally buying and selling the hours of people’s lives, seems central to discovering the truth, but Alex may need to decide between solving the case and proving his friend’s innocence. And he’ll have to do it while keeping his overly-perceptive new partner away from one very important question: Who is Alex Stokes, really? Frankly, this just left me with more questions than I'd like to have. A query is supposed to give just enough to make you want more and I'm just kinda frustrated that I know literally nothing about who Alex Stokes is besides the fact that he's a detective in what I assume is a futuristic world and that he's maybe got a secret and someone he cares about is suspected of bombing Tokyo. 

 

BORROWED TIME is complete at just under 130,000 words, and if you enjoyed 'Inception', you'll enjoy this.

You've got a very interesting concept, so play it up! Good luck!



#3 Bananas

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 03:36 PM

Hello, I just joined the forum, but I've got a query I could use a hand with. I've been reading through some to get a feel for it, and I plan on offering feedback in the near future. Please see below, and thanks in advance for any feedback you can offer.

 

____________________________________

 

With Borrowed Time, people are no longer limited to 24 hours in a day, and Detective Alex Stokes is going to need all the time he can get if he hopes to stop a plan that's already been set into motion to cripple the world's economy.  This in't necessary to know first off.  It didn't draw me in.

 

Alex Stokes is a detective with the Toronto TimeCrime division, an officer who investigates crimes involving the use of Borrowed Time. An officer with a secret. I know there's a temptation to hide things in a query to draw people in, but this technique often has a opposite effect.  I think you should say what it is, and show Alex trying to hide his secret shame.  When a bomb in Tokyo brings Japanese police officer Misaki Aiko to his captain’s office, this loner finds himself taking on a partner for the first time in years. Misaki’s prime suspect? A man who was the closest thing Alex ever had to a father. 

 

ChronoTek, the mega-corporation responsible for literally buying and selling the hours of people’s lives, seems central to discovering the truth, but Alex may need to decide between solving the case and proving his friend’s innocence. Wouldn't proving his friend's innocence help solve the case (i.e. eliminate a suspect)?  Surely you're not saying that solving the case means sending an innocent man to jail.  And he’ll have to do it while keeping his overly-perceptive new partner away from one very important question: Who is Alex Stokes, really?  Tell us, don't hide this.

 

BORROWED TIME is complete at just under 130,000 words, and if you enjoyed 'Inception', you'll enjoy this.



#4 CM_Fick

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 08:04 PM

Hello, I just joined the forum, but I've got a query I could use a hand with. I've been reading through some to get a feel for it, and I plan on offering feedback in the near future. Please see below, and thanks in advance for any feedback you can offer.

 

____________________________________

 

With Borrowed Time, people are no longer limited to 24 hours in a day, and Detective Alex Stokes is going to need all the time he can get if he hopes to stop a plan that's already been set into motion to cripple the world's economy.  This hook didn't work for me. I suggest starting with something that will catch an agents attention and make them want to keep reading. You'll also want to introduce your main as quickly as possible. I suggest something along the lines of: "Detective Alex Stokes is going to need all the time he can get, especially since people are no longer limited to twenty-four hours in a single day. With a plan to cripple the world's economy set into motion, Alex must [overcome conflict] or else [stakes]" 

 

Alex Stokes is a TimeCrime detective with the Toronto PD (yay Canada!) TimeCrime division, an officer who  This specialized department investigates crimes involving the use of Borrowed Time (which is.....). An officer with a secret. (I suggest working this into your hook) When a bomb(ing) in Tokyo brings Japanese police officer Misaki Aiko to his captain’s office, this loner finds himself taking on a partner for the first time in years. Misaki’s prime suspect? A man who was the closest thing Alex ever had to a father.

 

ChronoTek, the mega-corporation responsible for the literal literally buying and selling the hours of people’s time lives, seems central to discovering the truth, but Alex may need to decide between solving the case and proving his friend’s innocence. And he’ll have to do it while keeping his overly-perceptive new partner away from one very important question: Who is Alex Stokes, really? 

 

BORROWED TIME is (you'll need to add in your audience - is it MG, YA, NA, A - as well as the genre. The agent will want to know both these points) complete at just under 130,000 words (this word count is high for commercial fiction, outside of SFF genres, so you may want to consider leaving this out. here is a good site for you to review in regards to this), and if you enjoyed 'Inception', you'll enjoy this. (I've also been told to leave saying "you" our of queries. say something along the lines of: "People who enjoy the movie Inception, will enjoy the twists and turns Borrowed Time offers." this is a bad example, but there are queries on here who've done it successfully.)

 

Hi CarterT

 

First off, thank you for your critique of my query. I did respond to your questions in the post. A revision is in the works. 

 

Now for your query:

I like the premise you've outlined here and your story sounds intriguing, but I think that this query has a ways to go. You want to clearly outline the stakes for your character as well as go over any major plot points. Also watch out for open-ended questions - they're frowned upon by agents.

 

I'll watch out for revisions and help where I can. 



#5 RosieSkye

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:47 PM

Hello, I just joined the forum, but I've got a query I could use a hand with. I've been reading through some to get a feel for it, and I plan on offering feedback in the near future. Please see below, and thanks in advance for any feedback you can offer.

 

____________________________________

 

With Borrowed Time, people are no longer limited to 24 hours in a day, and Detective Alex Stokes is going to need all the time he can get if he hopes to stop a plan that's already been set into motion to cripple the world's economy. (There's a ton of information crammed into this sentence.  Focus on your MC in your hook.)

 

Alex Stokes is a Toronto detective with the Toronto TimeCrime division, an officer who investigates crimes involving the use of Borrowed Time. (This seems like the place to explain Borrowed Time.) An officer with a secret. When a bomb in Tokyo brings Japanese police officer Misaki Aiko to his captain’s office, this loner finds himself taking on a partner for the first time in years. (I'm unclear - is his partner going to be Stokes? Why are a Tokyo officer and a Toronto officer partnering up?) Misaki’s prime suspect? A man who was the closest thing Alex ever had to a father.

 

ChronoTek, (the fewer proper nouns in a query, the better) the mega-corporation responsible for literally buying and selling the hours of people’s lives, seems central to discovering the truth, but Alex may need to decide between solving the case and proving his friend’s innocence. And he’ll have to do it while keeping his overly-perceptive new partner away from one very important question: Who is Alex Stokes, really?

 

BORROWED TIME is complete at just under 130,000 words (this is a little long), and if you enjoyed 'Inception', you'll enjoy this. (Inception is a film - you want comp book titles that'll help agents understand how this may fit into the current publishing market.  Just because someone was willing to buy a movie ticket, that doesn't mean they'll be willing to buy a book.  Apples and oranges, you know?)

 

Hope this helps!



#6 CarterT

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 12:34 AM

Thanks a tonne for the feedback folks. Going to mull it over for a bit and redo. Seems to be a couple of common points that keep getting hit on.

#7 CarterT

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:38 PM

Based on the feedback, I've completely revamped the query. I had wanted to avoid giving away too much in the opening, but a couple of common themes throughout what you wonderful folks said made me rethink it. Any further feedback on the new take on it would be much appreciated.

 

________________________________________________

 

He escaped. Twenty-three years of abuse and being locked in a metal container, but he got away. These days he goes by 'Detective Alex Stokes' of the Toronto Police Department, and he steps between seconds in his search for the people that put him in that box.

 

Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off in Narita airport. She was the last one to see all of those people alive. And even though she'd stopped time, Misaki couldn't stop the explosion. Now she's on the other side of the world, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the bomber she saw in the airport.

 

When the suspect turns out to be a top researcher at the mega-corporation in Toronto responsible for Borrowed Time; the technology that lets people buy and sell the hours of their lives to 'pause time', new partners Alex and Misaki find themselves investigating a series of apparently unrelated crimes that may either shed new light on Alex's past, or cripple the world's economy.

 

BORROWED TIME is commercial fiction with a touch of sci-fi aimed at a new-adult audience. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days.



#8 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 05:44 PM

Based on the feedback, I've completely revamped the query. I had wanted to avoid giving away too much in the opening, but a couple of common themes throughout what you wonderful folks said made me rethink it. Any further feedback on the new take on it would be much appreciated.

________________________________________________

He escaped. Twenty-three years of abuse and being locked in a metal container, but he got away. These days he goes by 'Detective Alex Stokes' of the Toronto Police Department, and he steps between seconds in his search for the people that put him in that box.

Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off in Narita airport. She was the last one to see all of those people alive. And even though she'd stopped time, Misaki couldn't stop the explosion. Now she's on the other side of the world, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the bomber she saw in the airport.

When the suspect turns out to be a top researcher at the conglomerate in Toronto responsible for Borrowed Time; the technology that lets people buy and sell the hours of their lives to 'pause time', new partners Alex and Misaki find themselves investigating a series of apparently unrelated crimes that may either shed new light on Alex's past, or cripple the world's economy.

BORROWED TIME is commercial fiction with a touch of sci-fi aimed at a new-adult audience. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days.


I dig the heck out of this! Only thing I changed was 'mega-corporation' to 'conglomerate'. Nicely revamped!

My Perpetually Metamorphosing Query

 

At vahrai u ihlókéon. At u Atavithion. 


#9 Saints

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 08:42 PM

He escaped. Twenty-three years of abuse and being locked in a metal container (incomplete sentence), but he got away. These days he goes by 'Detective Alex Stokes' of the Toronto Police Department, and he steps between seconds (my gut tells me this is the sci-fi element of your story, but this is a little vague and comes off as metaphorical) in his search for the people that put him in that box.

 

Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off in Narita airport. She was the last one to see all of those people alive. And even though she'd stopped time, Misaki couldn't stop the explosion. Now she's on the other side of the world, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the bomber she saw in the airport. (This reads randomly, like it's an entirely different story. What does Misaki have to do with Alex?)

 

When the suspect turns out to be a top researcher at the mega-corporation in Toronto responsible for Borrowed Time; the technology that lets people buy and sell the hours of their lives to 'pause time', new partners Alex and Misaki find themselves investigating a series of apparently unrelated crimes that may either shed new light on Alex's past, or cripple the world's economy. (Run-on sentence; please break this up into bite-sized bits of information to make it a little easier to read.)

 

BORROWED TIME is commercial fiction with a touch of sci-fi (I would research to see if you can call this "speculative fiction". If it's indeed only a touch of sci-fi, I would seriously consider querying as speculative.) aimed at a new-adult audience. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days (I think I would have liked to know this earlier in the query: "Day one: this happened. By day five, everything went to shit." Something that hints at the structure of the novel).

 

Also, don't forget to include the word count! 



#10 CM_Fick

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 12:52 PM

As soon as I figure out how to link it...I will! (it's the little share icon beside the post number - a new window will pop up with a URL to copy)

 

Based on the feedback, I've completely revamped the query. I had wanted to avoid giving away too much in the opening, but a couple of common themes throughout what you wonderful folks said made me rethink it. Any further feedback on the new take on it would be much appreciated.

 

________________________________________________

 

He escaped. Twenty-three years of abuse and being locked in a metal container, but he got away. (as Saints pointed out, this is an incomplete sentence) These days he goes by 'Detective Alex Stokes' of the Toronto Police Department, and he steps between seconds (knowing this is a time-based novel, I get this, it will confuse others) in his search for the people that put him in that box.

 

Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off in Narita (this proper noun doesn't add to the query - just use Tokyo) airport. She was the last one to see all of those people alive. And even though she'd stopped time, Misaki couldn't stop the explosion. Now she's on the other side of the world, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the bomber she saw in the airport.

 

When the suspect turns out to be a top researcher at the mega-corporation in Toronto responsible for Borrowed Time; the technology that lets people buy and sell the hours of their lives to 'pause time', new partners Alex and Misaki find themselves investigating a series of apparently unrelated crimes that may either shed new light on Alex's past, or cripple the world's economy. (again, I agree with Saints. You have the wordcount and the room available to flesh this out a little more to make it sound more intriguing) 

 

BORROWED TIME is commercial fiction with a touch of sci-fi aimed at a new-adult audience. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days.

 

This query feels lacking and disjointed in spots -- almost as if there are important plot points that are missing. I do, however, like this shift in focus from your first version! at just over 200 words, you do have space to fit a little more story into the query. You don't really touch on his search again, so perhaps coming back to that will tie everything together. 



#11 CarterT

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Posted 18 March 2017 - 06:08 PM

Great feedback! I've got a third draft (see below) to incorporate some ideas and add some meat to it. Hopefully it explains what Misaki has to do with things and brings things together more. I'm not sure if I'm 100% happy with it, but I think I'm on the right track thanks to you guys. 

 

Couple of points.

 

I changed Narita to Tokyo, though technically Tokyo does have two major airports, with Narita being the larger of the two. Tokyo is more recognizable, so I took the given advice. 

 

Also went with speculative fiction, as the only 'sci-fi' in it is the technology that allows people to pause time. I had opted to leave out the word count before because a few people noted it was long. I've put it back in after changing the genre. 

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

He escaped. After twenty-three years of abuse and being locked in a metal container, he got away. These days he goes by ‘Detective Alex Stokes’ of the Toronto police department, and he uses Borrowed Time to step between seconds in his search for the people that put him in that box.

 

Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off in Tokyo airport. She was the last one to see all of those people alive. And even though she’d stopped time, Misaki couldn’t stop the explosion. Now she’s partnered with Alex on the other side of the world, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the suicide-bomber she saw in the airport.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a ‘simple’ bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find the Laws of Borrowed Time being broken at every step.

 

Borrowed Time, the technology that lets people buy and sell the hours or their lives to ‘pause time’, is governed by five immutable laws. Or so they thought. With the impossible quickly becoming possible, Alex realizes that his damaged past may have more to do with what’s happening than he ever thought possible. Worse still, he may be responsible for it.

 

As the pair struggles to unravel the puzzle, the nefarious forces behind the scheme begin to move against them. Recognizing Alex and Misaki as a threat, a trap is set to remove them without a trace. If the partners can’t escape the snare, they’ll never be able to stop a plot that threatens to cripple the world’s economy.

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It’s set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as the main characters.



#12 ryankalford

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:31 PM

Great feedback! I've got a third draft (see below) to incorporate some ideas and add some meat to it. Hopefully it explains what Misaki has to do with things and brings things together more. I'm not sure if I'm 100% happy with it, but I think I'm on the right track thanks to you guys. 

 

Couple of points.

 

I changed Narita to Tokyo, though technically Tokyo does have two major airports, with Narita being the larger of the two. Tokyo is more recognizable, so I took the given advice. 

 

Also went with speculative fiction, as the only 'sci-fi' in it is the technology that allows people to pause time. I had opted to leave out the word count before because a few people noted it was long. I've put it back in after changing the genre. 

 

_____________________________________________________________________

 

He escaped. After twenty-three years of abuse and being locked in a metal container, he got away. These days he goes by ‘Detective Alex Stokes’ of the Toronto police department, and he uses Borrowed Time to step between seconds in his search for the people that put him in that box.

 

I don't really like the beginning of this hook--mainly for the delaying of giving us our protagonist name. and I'm not sure the "Borrowed Time" concept comes through clearly (the ability to stop time, as it seems below). I think this needs reworking, but the ingredients for a strong hook are in place. This certainly sounds like a fun and unique premise.

 

Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off in Tokyo airport. She was the last one to see all of those people alive. And even though she’d stopped time, Misaki couldn’t stop the explosion. Now she’s partnered with Alex on the other side of the world, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the suicide-bomber she saw in the airport.

 

After reading the whole query, I don't really see much value in this paragraph in what it contributes other than introducing Misaki as Alex's partner. Could be summed up much simpler.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a ‘simple’ bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find the Laws of Borrowed Time being broken at every step.

 

With a slight rewrite and tweaks, this could be your second paragraph easy. It's the first true story beat.

 

Borrowed Time, the technology that lets people buy and sell the hours or their lives to ‘pause time’, is governed by five immutable laws. Or so they thought. With the impossible quickly becoming possible, Alex realizes that his damaged past may have more to do with what’s happening than he ever thought possible. Worse still, he may be responsible for it.

 

I have no context to understand what those laws are, or why they're important.

 

How did he come to realize this? That sounds interesting, but I feel like I'm missing out here.

 

As the pair struggles to unravel the puzzle, the nefarious forces behind the scheme begin to move against them. Recognizing Alex and Misaki as a threat, a trap is set to remove them without a trace. If the partners can’t escape the snare, they’ll never be able to stop a plot that threatens to cripple the world’s economy.

 

The wording there makes me think of a Saturday morning cartoon (Those old things). Not really sure that's what your intention was.

 

The stakes don't feel clear enough. i don't have an idea of who these "nefarious" antagonist forces are, and I'm not sure what's personally at stake for either Alex or Misaki that's on the line other than the plot (crippling the world economy). So It doesn't provide me with much of an investment in seeing the outcome.

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It’s set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as the main characters.

 

130,000 for a debut seems a bit long...

 

The concept sounds good, but the query itself is just too unfcoused. It's feels like it's missing necessary details for the reader to understand, as well as very absent in showing me who Alex and Misaki are and why they should matter too me. But also, the hook itself--with Alex being trapped in the metal box--feels like it has little-to-no-relation to what's happening in the query. 

 

So it's hard to offer any specific reccomendations, but I would just say focus less on the plot of things, and more on Alex and Misaki. Who are they? What do they want? How does the plot involve and affect them? What's their character arch? You have some neat ideas, but you're not showing them all that well at the moment. So keep all that in mind as you cut through a new draft. What's their story?

 

Otherwise, best of luck!


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/


#13 dragoness

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:37 AM

Your story seems fascinating  :smile: .

 

Here are my detailed comments:

 

He escaped., (don't stop the reader right when he begins to read, it's interrupting the flow) A after twenty-three years of abuse and prison being locked in a metal container (it's not your focus, so don't detail it), he got away. These days he goes by ‘Detective Alex Stokes’ of the Toronto police department, and he uses Borrowed Time to step between seconds in his search for the people that put him in that cell box. (you're telling a whole story in the hook, instead of introducing the conflict. I think you better focus on today, in something like: " Detective Alex Stokes of the Toronto police department uses Borrowed Time to step between seconds in his search for the people who abused and imprisoned him.")

 

Alex partner, Officer Misaki Aiko, was there when the a bomb went off in Tokyo airport. She was the last one to see all of those people alive. And even though she’d stopped time, Misaki couldn’t stop the explosion. Now she’s partnered  on the other side of the world, following with Alex the only lead she has;: her sketch of the suicide-bomber she saw in the airport. (I think you should start with connecting her to Alex. Using two MCs in a query is problematic anyway. I think it's working here, but the connection between them should be strong. Another question: Alex investigates two cases, or he investigate his past on his free time? I think you should clear that, because we learned about him investigating his past and suddenly he's with a partner doing something else.)

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a ‘simple’ bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find the Laws of Borrowed Time being broken at every step.

 

Borrowed Time, the technology that lets people buy and sell the hours or their lives to ‘pause time’, is governed by five immutable laws. Or so they thought. With the impossible quickly becoming possible, Alex realizes that his damaged past may have more to do with what’s happening than he ever thought possible. Worse still, he may be responsible for it.

 

As the pair struggles to unravel the puzzle, the nefarious forces behind the scheme begin to move against them. Recognizing Alex and Misaki as a threat, a trap is set to remove them without a trace. If the partners can’t escape the snare, they’ll never be able to stop a plot that threatens to cripple the world’s economy. (what is the problem with "cripple the world’s economy"? maybe add something like "and lead to world's wars and starvation"?)

 

BORROWED TIME is a speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult (isn't it YA?) audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words (I think your word count is big even for this genre). It’s set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as the main characters.

 

Good luck!

 

Thank you for critiquing my query!

 

Would you like to look at my new version? (especially at the last sentence which I changed due to your comment?) http://agentquerycon...ue/#entry336478



#14 CarterT

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 05:51 PM

Updated query based on the above comments. I think this is closer to what I'm looking for, and I've taken some of the things I've learned from my other query as well. Something bugs me about the transition between paragraphs 4 and 5, but I can't quite nail down how to fix it. Yet.

 

___________________________________________________

 

After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues by pursuing criminals who exploit Borrowed Time, the technology used to 'pause time', while searching for a lead on the people who licked him away.

 

Alex's new 'partner', Japanese Officer Misaki Aiko, was there when a bomb went off in Tokyo a few days ago. Now he's stuck with her on assignment in Toronto, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the suicide bomber she saw at the airport.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answered. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a 'simple' bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find what they thought they knew about Borrowed Time challenged at every turn.

 

Desperate to learn how the impossible is quickly becoming possible, the partners head to the prime-suspect's home for clues. There, hidden away, Alex finds a curious sample of blood. His blood. Unsure what to make of the sample, and not wanting to be implicated in the case before he can understand it, Alex pockets the sample before Misaki realizes what he's found.

 

A short time later, while the pair struggles to unravel the puzzle of crimes, the group responsible for the bombing moves against them directly. Recognizing Alex and Misaki as a threat to their plans, a trap is set to remove them without a trace. A trap eerily similar to what held Alex for 23 years. With his blood as a clue to escape, Alex may finally have the lead on his captors that he's been searching for. On the other hand, it may also just prove that he is responsible for the bomb that killed thousands.

 

Now, with another bomb in play, Alex will need to make a decision: Get the answers he so desperately seeks, or stop an attack that could cripple the world's economy.

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes places in less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as main characters.



#15 CM_Fick

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 07:06 PM

Updated query based on the above comments. I think this is closer to what I'm looking for, and I've taken some of the things I've learned from my other query as well. Something bugs me about the transition between paragraphs 4 and 5, but I can't quite nail down how to fix it. Yet.

 

___________________________________________________

 

After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues by pursuing criminals who exploit Borrowed Time, the technology used to 'pause time', while searching for a lead on the people who licked him away. Okay, I understand why you inserted the definition of Borrowed Time, I just feel like it slows down your hook. It could be a simple punctuation issue with a missing piece of story.  After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues by pursuing criminals who exploit Borrowed Time -- technology used to "pause" time.  I do think that there's a piece missing here to make this a strong hook. what is your MC's conflict, and what must he do to overcome his conflict? and what are the stakes if he fails or succeeds?

 

Alex's new 'partner', Japanese Officer Misaki Aiko, was there when a bomb went off in Tokyo a few days ago. Now he's stuck with her on assignment in Toronto, following the only lead she has; her sketch of the suicide bomber she saw at the airport.

So this was easier to show you how I think the flow should go, than trying to shuffle and edit the paragraph above. This is not perfect by any means and is done only as an example. I suggest this, to move the motivation of searching for his abductors to the next paragraph and free up some of the complications in the hook. The first sentence is too long as I've written it, and will need to be worked into two complete thoughts.

While Alex spends most of his spare time searching for the people who locked him away, he's recently been saddled with a new, temporary partner: Japanese Officer Misaki Aiko, who witnessed the detonation of a bomb just days earlier at the Tokyo airport. Now he's stuck with her on assignment in Toronto, following their only lead -- her sketch of the suicide bomber she saw at the airport.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answered. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a 'simple' bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find what they thought they knew about Borrowed Time(,) challenged at every turn. outside of the two notes below, this is good. shows progression in your story as well as a new conflict. 

 

Desperate to learn how the impossible is quickly becoming possible, the partners head to the prime-suspect's home for clues. There, hidden away, Alex finds a curious sample of blood. His blood. how does he know this? Unsure what to make of the sample, and not wanting to be implicated in something he doesn't understand the case before he can understand it, Alex pockets the sample before Misaki realizes what he's found.

 

A short time later, while the pair struggles to unravel the puzzle of crimes, (this is an odd phrase and doesn't read properly. makes me stop and think - not a great thing when time and flow is of the essence) the group responsible for the bombing moves against them directly. Recognizing Alex and Misaki as a threat to their plans, a trap is set to remove them without a trace. (this went from your MC perspective to an omniscient perspective. perhaps if you rephrase to say how the group moves against them. Then something like: Before Alex can get himself and Misaki to safety, they fall into a trap meant to remove them without a trace.)  A trap eerily similar to what held Alex for 23 years. With his blood as a clue to escape, Alex may finally have the lead on his captors that he's been searching for. On the other hand, it may also just prove that he is responsible for the bomb that killed thousands. 

 

Now, with another bomb in play, Alex will need to make a decision: Get the answers he so desperately seeks, or stop an attack that could cripple the world's economy. nice crossroads!! 

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes places in less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as main characters.

 

First off, thanks for your input on my own query. It's much appreciated!! 

 

This may look like lots, but I've tried to explain and provide an example of how the suggest flow change could read as comparison. There are a few words that I think were missed by your word processor because they technically aren't incorrect. I've bolded them and underlined them to make them easy to pick out. 

 

you also use a lot of 'quotations'. Is this done to emphasize the words, rather than using italics? i suppose the word knew in the following sentence answers that. I'd take out the single quotes around partner and simple

 

I hope you find this helpful. I'll keep my eye out for updates. 



#16 CarterT

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:25 PM

 

while searching for a lead on the people who licked him away

 

Maybe his captors were just really friendly?

 

It actually isn't an issue about my word processor. When I post my queries on here, I completely re-type them (no cut and paste). It helps me think them out a bit more, and institute some additional flow changes. That comment did make me go back and check my good copy though.

 

Thank you very much for the feedback CM_Fick. I'm actually going to steal a few of your suggestions directly, because they are very good. The word 'saddled' especially! Also, the point about the punctuation in some of the paragraphs is handy. Now though, I have two sentence that use the ' - ' and I am not sure how I feel about that. Please let me know how the flow feels for you. I almost had a third (and a fourth) so I've reverted the punctuation to something more basic.

 

I chose to leave the vagueness of the blood comment in there. It's actually tied to a complex relationship that I've decided to completely omit from the query. I guess I envision that whoever reads it will put their own meaning in there. 'Was it a name on the label?' - for example, and I am okay with that. The real reason Alex knows it's his blood just can't be covered in the brief query letter.

 

However, if the blood thing really causes a hang up, I may need to consider removing the reference to it at all...but that will involve a number of changes, and I'd like to weigh that against what seems to be a letter that is coming together thanks to the forum's input.

 

Latest query version is below! As always, feedback is appreciated.

 

___________________________________________________

 

After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues by bringing justice to criminals who exploit Borrowed Time, the technology used to 'pause time'. But Alex hasn't stopped looking for the people who hurt him, and once he finds them, he won't be looking for justice - he'll be looking for revenge.

 

When a bomb goes off in Tokyo airport, Alex finds the search for his captors interrupted as he's saddled with a new, temporary partner. Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off, and now Alex is stuck with her on assignment in Toronto following their only lead - her sketch of the suicide-bomber.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a simple bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find what they thought they knew about Borrowed Time, challenged at every turn.

 

Desperate to learn how the impossible is quickly becoming possible, the partners head to the prime-suspect's home for clues. There, hidden away, Alex finds a curious sample of blood. His blood. Unsure what to make of the sample, and not wanting to be implicated by something he doesn't understand, Alex pockets the sample before Misaki realizes what he's found.

 

A short time later, while the pair struggles to connect the cases, the group responsible for the bombing moves against them directly. Alex and Misaki are a threat to their plans, and a trap is set to remove them without a trace. A trap eerily similar to what held Alex for 23 years. With his blood as a clue to escape, Alex may finally have the lead on his captors that he's been searching for. On the other hand, it may also just prove that he is responsible for the bomb that killed thousands.

 

Now, with another bomb in play, Alex will need to make a decision: Get the answers he so desperately seeks, or stop an attack that could cripple the world's economy.

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes places in less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as main characters.



#17 danipie

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 01:48 PM


 

After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues by bringing justice to criminals who exploit Borrowed Time, the technology used to 'pause time'. But Alex hasn't stopped looking for the people who hurt him, and once he finds them, he won't be looking for justice - he'll be looking for revenge.

 

When a bomb goes off in Tokyo airport, Alex finds the search for his captors interrupted as he's saddled with a new, temporary partner. Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off, and now Alex is stuck with her on assignment in Toronto following their only lead - her sketch of the suicide-bomber.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a simple bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find what they thought they knew about Borrowed Time, challenged at every turn.

 

Desperate to learn how the impossible is quickly becoming possible I was loving and following the story up until this point. I'm feeling confused by what impossible is possible here?, the partners head to the prime-suspect's home for clues. There, hidden away, Alex finds a curious sample of blood. His blood. Unsure what to make of the sample, and not wanting to be implicated by something he doesn't understand, Alex pockets the sample before Misaki realizes what he's found.

 

A short time later, while the pair struggles to connect the cases, the group responsible for the bombing moves against them directly. Alex and Misaki are a threat to their plans, and a trap is set to remove them without a trace. A trap eerily similar to what held Alex for 23 years. With his blood as a clue to escape, Alex may finally have the lead on his captors that he's been searching for. On the other hand, it may also just prove that he is responsible for the bomb that killed thousands.Again, slightly confused by this last sentence. It's intriguing but feels a little too confusing as well...

 

Now, with another bomb in play, Alex will need to make a decision: Get the answers he so desperately seeks, or stop an attack that could cripple the world's economy. Is the bomb the trap set for them? I don't really understand why he has to decide between the two, or how the attack would cripple the world's economy.

 

Overall this query is very very good, I think. Just a couple spots that could use cutting or clarification!

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes places in less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as main characters.

 

 

if you have time i would greatly appreciate feedback on my query! http://agentquerycon...on-in-44/page-3



#18 CM_Fick

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 04:18 PM

 

Maybe his captors were just really friendly? LOL 

 

It actually isn't an issue about my word processor. When I post my queries on here, I completely re-type them (no cut and paste). It helps me think them out a bit more, and institute some additional flow changes. That comment did make me go back and check my good copy though. I like the idea of this process! 

 

Thank you very much for the feedback CM_Fick. I'm actually going to steal a few of your suggestions directly, because they are very good. The word 'saddled' especially! Also, the point about the punctuation in some of the paragraphs is handy. Now though, I have two sentence that use the ' - ' and I am not sure how I feel about that. Please let me know how the flow feels for you. I almost had a third (and a fourth) so I've reverted the punctuation to something more basic. You're welcome. I'm glad you found them helpful. 

 

I chose to leave the vagueness of the blood comment in there. It's actually tied to a complex relationship that I've decided to completely omit from the query. I guess I envision that whoever reads it will put their own meaning in there. 'Was it a name on the label?' - for example, and I am okay with that. The real reason Alex knows it's his blood just can't be covered in the brief query letter. Oh boy, do I understand this!  I will let you know after I review if I consider it an actual issue - but I'm only one opinion, and by no means, an expert. 

___________________________________________________

 

After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues (copes with his PTSD? I know I left it as-is in my suggestion earlier, but I wonder if labeling it as such will be less vague and tie into the abuse and captivity better - you know best on this one.) by bringing justice to criminals who exploit Borrowed Time, (I believe the em-dash here would be more effective than the comma -- give a better visual of the pause when reading imo, but since you have one that's better used in the next sentence, maybe a little shuffling? ...bringing justice to criminals who exploit  the technology used to "pause" time, known as Borrowed Time. this will need to be tweaked, but it helps the explanation less tacked on.) technology used to 'pause time'. But Despite his new role, Alex hasn't stopped looking for the people who hurt him(full stop) And oOnce he finds them, he won't be looking for justice - he'll be looking for revenge. This is a nice set up - links him as a cop and as a vengeful victim. Most of these suggestions are about flow, but overall I like how it's coming together. 

 

When a bomb goes off in (feels like this needs either the or aTokyo airport, Alex finds the search for his captors interrupted as he's saddled with a new, temporary partner. Officer Misaki Aiko was there when the bomb went off, (this reads too passive for me) and now Alex is stuck with her on assignment in Toronto following their only lead - her sketch of the suicide-bomber.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a simple bombing. Retracing the steps of through a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find what they thought they knew about Borrowed Time, challenged at every turn. I like this part, other than the one suggestion that make this feel more active for me

 

Desperate to learn how the (immutable/ fixed/ unchangeable laws of Borrow Time are being broken,) impossible is quickly becoming possible, the partners head to the prime-suspect's home for clues. There, hidden away, Alex finds a curious sample of blood. His blood. Unsure what to make of the sample, and not wanting to be implicated by something he doesn't understand, Alex pockets the sample before Misaki realizes what he's found. (So the blood... I'm going to suggest it be left in. There are some questions that are good ones to have in a query. I noted it because it popped into my head while I was reading. If you can't easily explain it, then don't, but don't take it out either. It seems to be a pivotal point for your character, where the whole web starts to show itself)

 

A short time later, (I'm going to suggest this be removed again. My reason for this is to eliminate the comma that slows the start of the paragraph down -- and the remainder of the sentence is still complete without it.) while the pair struggles to connect the cases, the group responsible for the bombing moves against them directly (makes a direct move against them). Alex and Misaki are a threat to their plans, and a trap is set to remove them without a trace. A trap eerily similar to what held Alex for 23 years. (for the next part: I'm going to suggest move this up to this paragraph. I know I said to come up with his choice and the consequences, but I think this is still part of the action)  Now, with another bomb in play, Alex will need to make a decision: get the answers he so desperately seeks, or stop an attack that could cripple the world's economy.

 

(This is also a choice of sorts -- one for the reader to ponder. I think this is a more solid closing, presented this way) With his blood as a clue to escape, Alex may finally have the lead that he's been searching for, about his captors. On the other hand, it may also be the piece that proves he is responsible for the bomb that killed thousands.

 

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It's set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes places in less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as main characters.

 

 

This is so much cleaner, it's getting better with each revision. Most of my notes are there for clarity -- for the most part -- overall, the story is coming out nicely. 

 

I'll check back again -- if you want me to, that is ;). Good luck! 



#19 CarterT

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 08:35 PM

Can't believe that 'A short while later...' snuck back in!

 

Thanks again for your comments CM_Fick. I've incorporated a few of the changes, as well as opted to leave a few things the same way. Alex's anger issues are actually a big part of his struggles, and while not the only thing he deals with, stands out. PTSD was a good thought, but 'copes with...' doesn't fit as well as 'deals with...' to me. And, went with 'job' instead of 'role'. 

 

You were write about the 'the' before Tokyo airport, thanks for catching that! 

 

really struggled with the last plot paragraph. It didn't feel right to put the bomb before the blood (because the bomb takes place after the trap in the book). So, I tried something to combine them. Let me know what you think!

 

Updated draft below!

 

_______________________________________________

 

After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues by bringing justice to criminals who exploit the time-stopping technology, Borrowed Time. Despite his job, Alex hasn’t stopped looking for the people who hurt him. And once he tracks them down, he won’t be looking for justice – he’ll be looking for revenge. 

 

When a bomb goes off in the Tokyo airport, Alex finds the search for his captors interrupted as he’s saddled with a new, temporary partner. Officer Misaki Aiko was almost a victim of the attack, and now Alex is stuck with her on assignment in Toronto, following their only lead – her sketch of the suicide-bomber.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a simple bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find everything they thought they knew about Borrowed Time being challenged.

 

Desperate to learn how the immutable laws of Borrowed Time are being broken, the partners head to the prime-suspect’s home to search for clues. There, hidden away, Alex finds a curious sample of blood. His blood. Unsure what to make of it, and not wanting to be implicated by something he doesn’t understand, he pockets the sample before Misaki realizes what he’s found.

 

While the pair struggles to connect the cases, the group responsible for the bombing makes a move against them. Alex and Misaki are a threat to their plans, and a trap is set to remove them without a trace. A trap eerily similar to what held Alex for 23 years.

 

With his blood as a clue, and another bomb in play, Alex will need to make a decision - find the answers he so desperately seeks, and possibly accept that he is responsible for the explosion in Tokyo, or stop an attack that could cripple the world’s economy.

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It’s set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as the main characters.



#20 CM_Fick

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Posted 23 March 2017 - 09:31 PM

Can't believe that 'A short while later...' snuck back in! I wasn't sure if it was intentional or an oversight, so that's why I explained out the reasoning.

_______________________________________________

 

After escaping 23 years of abuse and captivity, Detective Alex Stokes deals with his anger issues by bringing justice to criminals who exploit the time-stopping technology, Borrowed Time. (Nice adjustment!) Despite his job, Alex hasn’t stopped looking for the people who hurt him. And once he tracks them down, he won’t be looking for justice – he’ll be looking for revenge. 

 

When a bomb goes off in the Tokyo airport, Alex finds the search for his captors interrupted as he’s saddled with a new, temporary partner. Officer Misaki Aiko was almost a victim of the attack, and now Alex is stuck with her on assignment in Toronto, following their only lead – her sketch of the suicide-bomber.

 

With the prime-suspect dead, Alex and Misaki turn to his assistant for answers. But when the man vanishes into thin air right before their eyes, they stumble onto something bigger than a simple bombing. Retracing the steps of a series of apparently unrelated crimes, from a bank robbery to arson, they find everything they thought they knew about Borrowed Time being challenged.

 

Desperate to learn how the immutable laws of Borrowed Time are being broken, the partners head to the prime-suspect’s home to search for clues. There, hidden away, Alex finds a curious sample of blood. His blood. Unsure what to make of it, and not wanting to be implicated by something he doesn’t understand, he pockets the sample before Misaki realizes what he’s found.

 

While the pair struggles to connect the cases, the group responsible for the bombing makes a move against them. Alex and Misaki are a threat to their plans, and a trap is set to remove them without a trace. A trap eerily similar to what held Alex for 23 years.

 

With his blood as a clue, and another bomb in play, Alex will need to make a decision - find the answers he so desperately seeks, and possibly accept that he is responsible for the explosion in Tokyo, or stop an attack that could cripple the world’s economy. This blending makes for a strong, compelling closing imo. Good job! 

 

BORROWED TIME is speculative fiction aimed at a new-adult audience, complete at a brisk 130,000 words. It’s set in the modern-day world, and the entirety of the book takes place over the course of less than ten days with Alex and Misaki sharing the spotlight as the main characters.

 

It looks good to me, CarterT. At this point, I think you have outlined the plot in a compelling way and cut the unnecessary info!

 

I suggest waiting until you get a few more critiques, as they may see holes I've missed, but you did a great job on this! 







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