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Glass Domes (Fiction) - UPDATED

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#1 kathleenq

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:26 PM

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Dear Agent,

 

From birth, the unnamed narrator has been trained to be the very best, to be the smartest, the most talented, the most successful. And in their very first taste of freedom, away from their domineering mother and passive father and finally at the University of Chicago, they’ve managed to develop a fascination with brains.

 

So fragile, so moldable, so intricate. But can they be made larger? Can they be made smarter, better?

 

It’s this question that leads them to create a disease, a very abomination of nature. Before they can test it though, before they can find out if brains really can be made bigger and better, they lose it. They don’t know where they’ve left the little glass vial, but now it’s gone, gone in the mass of germs that’s New York City. And they’re relieved.

 

But nearly a year later, they see a newspaper headline. They see that someone has died from a disease that’s caused their brain to swell, to two times, three times, four times its normal size.

 

And as the disease spreads, as more and more people die, they wonder if this is their handiwork, if this is their disease. Yes, of course it’s doing what they programmed it to do, but there’s no evidence that it’s theirs. So they run and hide, because what else can they do with this mixture of pride and guilt?

 

But when an old friend, now infected and dying, calls, asking, pleading for help, to join the team for the cure, what can they do but say yes? Because even if this whole thing wasn’t their fault, shouldn’t they try, at least for the people they love, for the people who deserve to keep dreaming, keep living?

 

GLASS DOMES, a novel of 67,000 words, explores the making of a biomedical mass murderer. Groomed from birth to be perfect, the unnamed narrator follows a doomed path to the creation of a new disease, destined to kill over a billion people.

 

Now that millions have died and even more are dying, they struggle with the guilt and responsibility, culminating in a decision that ultimately defines their humanity.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon!

 

Sincerely,



#2 bekapass

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 06:16 PM

The quoting button is not working for some reason, so I just had to paste it in my reply. 

To be honest, I am really confused by the whole "no gender assigned". Like they refuse to identify by a gender? If so, that needs to be made more clear. Or if you just haven't given them one, I think that's not a great idea. Hearing "they" over and over makes this really distracting, distant, and confusing. I think this sounds like an interesting story, but not sure I'd read it if I saw the whole thing was told in such a distant way. 

 

Dear Agent,

 

From birth, the unnamed narrator is this their name? Or you just haven't picked one? Or it doesn't matter to your story? Very confusing, and if it's because it doesn't matter, there has to be a better way to not name him. has been trained to be the very best, to be the smartest, the most talented, the most successful. And in their very first taste of freedom, away from their domineering mother and passive father and finally at the University of Chicago, they’ve managed to develop a fascination with brains.

 

So fragile, so moldable, so intricate. But can they be made larger? Can they be made smarter, better?

 

It’s this question that leads them to create a disease, a very abomination of nature. Before they can test it though, before they can find out if brains really can be made bigger and better, they lose it. "lose it" sounds sort of funny and vague to me.  They don’t know where they’ve left the little glass vial, but now it’s gone, gone in the mass of germs that’s New York City. And they’re relieved. Why?

 

But nearly a year later, they see a newspaper headline. They see that someone has died from a disease that’s caused their brain to swell, to two times, three times, four times its normal size.

 

And as the disease spreads, as more and more people die, they wonder if this is their handiwork, if this is their disease. Yes, of course it’s doing what they programmed it to do, but there’s no evidence that it’s theirs. So they run and hide, because what else can they do with this mixture of pride and guilt? I don't really think questions should be in a query. 

 

But when an old friend, now infected and dying, calls, asking, pleading pleads for help, to join the team for the cure, what can they do but say yes? Because even if this whole thing wasn’t their fault, shouldn’t they try, at least for the people they love, for the people who deserve to keep dreaming, keep living? So many questions. So many. 

 

GLASS DOMES, a novel of 67,000 words, What's the genre? An agent needs to be able to easily classify this so they can sell it to publishers. explores the making of a biomedical mass murderer. Groomed from birth to be perfect, the unnamed narrator follows a doomed path to the creation of a new disease, destined to kill over a billion people. You already told us this in your query. 

 

Now that millions have died and even more are dying, they struggle with the guilt and responsibility, culminating in a decision that ultimately defines their humanity.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon!

 

Sincerely,


Feel free to check out my query letter.  


#3 Testome

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Posted 17 May 2017 - 06:33 PM



Hello,

This is my first attempt at a query and any help would be appreciated! Also, my character doesn't have a gender assigned, so I've used "them" here, but should I use "s/he" or another term? Does it matter?

 

Thanks a bunch!

 

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

From birth, the unnamed narrator has been trained to be the very best, to be the smartest, the most talented, the most successful. And in their very first taste of freedom, away from their domineering mother and passive father and finally at the University of Chicago, they’ve managed to develop a fascination with brains. This is vague it doesn't tell us anything.

 

So fragile, so moldable, so intricate. But can they be made larger? Can they be made smarter, better? Again, too vague. Question don't work for queries.

 

It’s this question that leads them who is this?to create a disease, a very abomination of nature. this is vague and it took two paragraphs to get to somewhat non vague info. Before they can test it though, before they can find out if brains really can be made bigger and better, they lose it. I don't think the repetition is working. They don’t know where they’ve left the little glass vial, but now it’s gone, gone in the mass of germs that’s New York City. And they’re relieved. sill barely any plot info. You could have summed up all three paragrraphs into a single line to setup your story in a hook. Three paragraphs in and there's barely any concrete info here.

 

But nearly a year later, they see a newspaper headline. They see that someone has died from a disease that’s caused their brain to swell, to two times, three times, four times its normal size. this seems like a better starting point.

 

And as the disease spreads, as more and more people die, they wonder if this is their handiwork, if this is their disease. Yes, of course it’s doing what they programmed it to do You never actually mention what it does. death is too generic., but there’s no evidence that it’s theirs. So they run and hide, because what else can they do with this mixture of pride and guilt? questions don't work. Running and hiding makes who ever these people are uninteresting characters.

 

But when an old friend, now infected and dying, calls, asking, pleading for help, to join the team for the cure, what can they do but say yes? get rid of the questions, they tell us nothing. Because even if this whole thing wasn’t their fault, shouldn’t they try, at least for the people they love, for the people who deserve to keep dreaming, keep living? Again, no questions. They don't tell us anything.

 

GLASS DOMES, a novel of 67,000 words, explores the making of a biomedical mass murderer. Groomed from birth to be perfect, the unnamed narrator follows a doomed path to the creation of a new disease, destined to kill over a billion people. too much telling.

 

Now that millions have died and even more are dying, they struggle with the guilt and responsibility, culminating in a decision that ultimately defines their humanity.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon!

 

Sincerely,

The main problem is everything is too vague to matter and your questions don't actually tell us anything. We never even know who your mcs are here. I would read the query shark archives as they have invaluable info there.



#4 gigigriffis

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 05:33 AM

I'm curious how agents will react to no gender assigned. I haven't seen it in a pubbed book yet and haven't seen any queries attempt it, so not sure how it'll go over. Perhaps include a line at the end about why you've made that choice to connect agents to your decision-making process. 

 

 

Hello,

This is my first attempt at a query and any help would be appreciated! Also, my character doesn't have a gender assigned, so I've used "them" here, but should I use "s/he" or another term? Does it matter?

 

Thanks a bunch!

 

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

From birth, the unnamed narrator <-- Why is the narrator unnamed? This feels strange me. Even if you don't mention their name in the book, you may need to pick one for the query. has been trained to be the very best, to be the smartest, the most talented, the most successful. And in their very first taste of freedom, away from their domineering mother and passive father and finally at the University of Chicago, they’ve managed to develop a fascination with brains.

 

So fragile, so moldable, so intricate. But can they be made larger? Can they be made smarter, better?

 

It’s this question that leads them to create a disease, a very abomination of nature. Before they can test it though, before they can find out if brains really can be made bigger and better, they lose it <-- lose the disease or "lose it" like fall apart?. They don’t know where they’ve left the little glass vial, but now it’s gone, gone in the mass of germs that’s New York City. And they’re relieved. <-- Really? Relieved? Aren't there possible consequences of losing the disease? Could it get out? 

 

But nearly a year later, they see a newspaper headline. They see that someone has died from a disease that’s caused their brain to swell, to two times, three times, four times its normal size. <-- would they automatically assume this had to do with the disease? Why wouldn't they be worried about this in the first place?

 

And as the disease spreads, as more and more people die, they wonder if this is their handiwork, if this is their disease. Yes, of course it’s doing what they programmed it to do, but there’s no evidence that it’s theirs. So they run and hide, because what else can they do with this mixture of pride and guilt? <-- Why hide, though? If no one knows it's you, there's no need to hide...

 

But when an old friend, now infected and dying, calls, asking, pleading for help, to join the team for the cure, what can they do but say yes? <-- How does the friend call if the person is in hiding? Because even if this whole thing wasn’t their fault, shouldn’t they try, at least for the people they love, for the people who deserve to keep dreaming, keep living?

 

GLASS DOMES, a novel of 67,000 words, explores the making of a biomedical mass murderer. Groomed from birth to be perfect, the unnamed narrator follows a doomed path to the creation of a new disease, destined to kill over a billion people.

 

Now that millions have died and even more are dying, they struggle with the guilt and responsibility, culminating in a decision that ultimately defines their humanity.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon!

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Ultimately, I have a few issues:

 

1) I don't connect with the protagonist. I get what you're trying to do by not assigning gender, but also denying us a name makes the person feel not-real. We need a name. And we may need other clues about who the protagonist is. Since we don't have gender, which conjures up an image of the person for us, we may need some other descriptors. Some sense of age or personality or what the character looks like. Something to anchor the character for us.

 

2) This feels a bit more like a summary and less like a query. In a query, we need a clear knowledge of the stakes. What does the narrator want? What's standing in their way? What choice do they have to make? What happens if they choose x, what happens if they choose y? There's definitely tension in the idea of a deadly virus getting out, but I don't feel the personal tension for the narrator...So, your choice seems to be: become part of the team fighting the virus or not. But let's get clearer on the stakes. If they join the team, are they possibly going to be found out? Are they afraid that their role in the virus will come to light? If they don't join the team, are they afraid of living with the guilt forever? Set us up with the stakes and make them really crystal clear.


Will you take a peek at my query?

 

Sincerely,

 

Gigi Griffis

Copywriter, Content Strategist, & Travel Guide Author

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#5 giffordmac

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 01:27 PM

Hi, Kathleen,

 

I was also confused, especially since you started out with a single unnamed narrator you call "they" (plural) and later the same "they" is used to mean a "team".

 

I agree that the narrator should have a designation, even if it's something like "the chemist" or "the researcher", at least for the purpose of the query. I also agree that the questions aren't leading me anywhere, and that this reads more like a summary of the plot to me.

 

The central part of the query should follow a basic formula:

 

1. A short, precise description of the overall conflict (the “hook”)

2. Introduce your main character (and perhaps one other character, usually the antagonist or "villian");

3. Tell us what he wants and what stands in his way (the main plot);

4. Tell us what will happen if he doesn't succeed (the stakes).

 

For examples of queries that are clean and polished, I recommend you take a look at the archives at queryshark.blogspot.com

You'll see how other people started out with queries that were less than perfect and the steps they took to improve them. Read a LOT of them and you'll have the tools to improve your own.


 

Hope this helps. Best of luck!


“We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” ― Elie Wiesel

 

~~~

 

 

 

 


#6 mpowers

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Posted 18 May 2017 - 03:33 PM

Kathleen,

 

Thank you for letting me read your query. I too am knew to this ball game. I am finding the book was much easier to write than this one page query, something that could mean a yes or a no from a publisher. 

 

Suggestions:

Your query is very vague. There is no actual characters and your plot is minimal, what is pushing the story forward. I need details, meat!  The training for example, what was the training? I would suggest making your query only three, possibly four paragraphs; 1 hook, 1or 2 mini synopsis, 1 author bio and then a closing paragraph. If you haven't already checked out How to write a query letter on the forums page I would recommend that to start.

Over all I can see the gist of your story. If your book has guts put that in your query.  

I am very thankful you didn't turn people into zombies, at least not in the synopsis. :-)

 

Again thank you for letting me read your query. Best of luck!

 

Mary

 

 

 

Dear Agent,

 

From birth, the unnamed narrator(maybe you name them just give them a non gender specific name) has been trained to be the very best, to be the smartest, the most talented, the most successful. (At what?) And in their(who are they?) very first taste of freedom, away from their domineering mother and passive father and finally at the University of Chicago, they’ve managed to develop a fascination with brains.

 

So fragile, so moldable, so intricate. But can they be made larger? Can they be made smarter, better?

 

It’s this question that leads them to create a disease, a very abomination of nature. Before they can test it though, before they can find out if brains really can be made bigger and better, they lose it.(what event or place were they at to have lost it? Did it get stolen? Again who is the they? I would like some character insight.) They don’t know where they’ve left the little glass vial, but now it’s gone, gone in the mass of germs that’s New York City. And they’re relieved. (Why? I need more information.)

 

But nearly a year later, they see a newspaper headline. They see that someone has died from a disease that’s caused their brain to swell, to two times, three times, four times its normal size.

 

And as the disease spreads, as more and more people die, they wonder if this is their handiwork, if this is their disease. Yes, of course it’s doing what they programmed it to do, but there’s no evidence that it’s theirs. So they run and hide, because what else can they do with this mixture of pride and guilt?

 

But when an old friend, now infected and dying, calls, asking, pleading for help, to join the team for the cure, what can they do but say yes? Because even if this whole thing wasn’t their fault, shouldn’t they try, at least for the people they love, for the people who deserve to keep dreaming,(who are they to decide if someone deserves to keep dreaming, living?) keep living?

 

GLASS DOMES, a novel of 67,000 words, explores the making of a biomedical mass murderer. Groomed from birth to be perfect, the unnamed narrator follows a doomed path to the creation of a new disease, destined to kill over a billion people.

 

Now that millions have died and even more are dying, they(again you use they but you only suggest there is one narrator. Would love more explanation) struggle with the guilt and responsibility, culminating in a decision that ultimately defines their humanity.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you soon!

 

Sincerely,



#7 kathleenq

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 07:18 PM

Hi everyone,

Thanks for all the suggestions! I will definitely add more detail into my next version and cut out all of the questions. My character doesn't have a gender or name in the book, and so I didn't want to assign anything in the query either. My book is written in first person, so I've been able to avoid gender and name because of that. I used "they" here in the singular form because that's what I've found acceptable in gender fluid communities, but I can definitely see how that's confusing. Will work on that.

Thanks a bunch!

#8 kathleenq

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Posted Today, 02:49 PM

I've tried to fix a lot of the vagueness and assigned a gender for the purposes of this query. Let me know if this works better.

Thanks!

 

Dear Agent,

 

In New York City, Ethan Browning has been declared dead from unknown causes. All the coroner can say is that his brain had swelled to massive proportions, but he doesn’t know why, he doesn’t know how.

 

Miles away in Chicago, a scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “8 in NY Dead from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. He’s pretty sure that he’s the one who created that cause, that disease. But he doesn’t really know. He managed to lose the disease before he could test it. The panic rises as 8 becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead.

 

He doesn’t know how to help. He doesn’t want to go to prison. He doesn’t want to be found out but he can’t manage the crushing guilt.

 

But when an old friend, now infected and dying, pleads for help, to join the team for the cure, he has to make a choice that will ultimately define his humanity.

 

GLASS DOMES, my first novel, is a psychological exploration of what makes a biomedical mass murderer. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,







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