Jump to content

Disclaimer



Photo
- - - - -

Glass Domes (Psychological Thriller) - Latest draft in #28

Fiction

  • Please log in to reply
33 replies to this topic

#1 kathleenq

kathleenq

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 72 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 17 May 2017 - 04:26 PM

CURRENT DRAFT:

 

Dear Agent,

 

In New York City, a doctor notices a spongy mass poking out of a dead man’s ears and orders an autopsy. A pathologist cuts the skull open, watching in horror as the brain bursts forth, inflamed and spilling onto the examination table and dripping onto the pristine floor.

 

In Chicago, an unnamed scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline, “Seven Dead from Mysterious Cause,” and begins to panic. He’s pretty sure he’s the one who created that cause, that disease, but he doesn’t really know. All he knows is that the massive swelling of the brain is exactly what he intended for his experiment. Not to this degree, of course. He never intended to kill anyone.

 

The panic rises as seven becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead.

 

He doesn’t know how to help. He doesn’t know if he wants to help. He’s proud of his work, proud of the destruction it’s causing, proud of the scientific success. He doesn’t want to be found out but he can’t manage the crushing guilt.

 

But when an old friend, perhaps the only friend he’s ever had, now infected and dying, pleads for help in finding a cure, he has to make a choice that will ultimately define his humanity.

 

GLASS DOMES is a psychological thriller exploring the makings of a mass murderer. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

 

PREVIOUS:

 

Dear Agent,

 

A man in New York dies, brains spilling out of his head and onto the examination table. The pathologist has never seen anything like it. The doctor doesn’t know what to make of it.

 

In Chicago, an unnamed and genderless scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “Seven Dead from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. He’s pretty sure he’s the one who created that cause, that disease, but he doesn’t really know. He never managed to test the disease before losing track of it.

 

The panic rises as seven becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead.

 

He doesn’t know how to help. He doesn’t know if he wants to help. He’s proud of his work, proud of the destruction it’s causing, proud of the scientific success. He doesn’t want to be found out but he can’t manage the crushing guilt.

 

But when an old friend, perhaps the only friend he’s ever had, now infected and dying, pleads for help in finding a cure, he has to make a choice that will ultimately define his humanity.

 

GLASS DOMES is a psychological thriller exploring the makings of a mass murderer. It could be her, it could be him. It could be any ordinary person just walking down the street. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,


Synopsis: Glass Domes


#2 bekapass

bekapass

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 15 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest

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

Testome

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 363 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast

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

gigigriffis

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 58 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationEurope
  • Publishing Experience:Eleven travel guides (self-published for speed reasons). Featured in Forbes, New York Times, Get Lost Magazine, Huffington Post, etc.

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

Blog  /  Website  /  Facebook  /  Twitter


#5 giffordmac

giffordmac

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 327 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

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

mpowers

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 7 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:None.

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

kathleenq

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 72 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

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!

Synopsis: Glass Domes


#8 kathleenq

kathleenq

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 72 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 22 May 2017 - 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,


Synopsis: Glass Domes


#9 callalilly

callalilly

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 181 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 23 May 2017 - 08:02 PM

Hi Kathleenq,

Below are just a few little pokes and tweaks that I think would help. If not though, please delete :)

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, and he doesn’t know how.

 

Miles away in Chicago, a scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “8 Dead in NY Dead from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. He can't be sure, but he’s pretty sure that he’s the one who created that cause, that disease, having lost the disease before he could test it (I moved a few things around here. Hoping it flows). The panic rises as 8 eight (Not sure what the protocol is for writing out numbers, but I changed this one) 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 also 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,  (I got a little confused as to what the friend wanted and what he wanted -his friend wanted him on the team finding the cure? Perhaps taking it out helps?) 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,

 

I think this sounds fascinating. I really didn't have that many notes -it sounds like your query is in great shape. Hope I helped some. Best of luck! Keep at it.


My work in progress: http://agentquerycon...again-ya/page-2

 


#10 eburton

eburton

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 23 May 2017 - 11:04 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's name), (Hopefully I'm writing something that is already understood, but make sure to include the agent's name when actually querying.)

 

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. (This is good but should only be used as exposition since it isn't strong enough to be your hook. Try placing this information [not necessarily the specifics regarding Ethan Browning unless he's very significant to the plot] below to add meat as to why this disease is so frightening for the scientist. In addition, please name your scientist. There is no more disconnect from a protagonist than not knowing his/her name, unless there is an overarching purpose for this.)

 

Miles away in Chicago, a scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “8 in NY Dead from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. (Start with this. This sentence is your hook, the piece that grabs the reader and leaves them wanting more.) He’s pretty sure that believes 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. (This sentence reads a little clumsy. Try reading it aloud and see if you can possibly reword it.)

 

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 (unnamed scientist's name) 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, (This phrase only helps if the agent specifically says they're looking for debut authors.) 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,

 

This is a good start, and I'd be willing to peruse the first few pages after reading this query. It is, however, a little short with regards to reaching that 250-350 word query "sweet spot." Perhaps you can flesh it out a bit more. Also, remember my critique is based on what I would like to see in a biomedical thriller and shouldn't take away too much from your writing style. Good luck!



#11 kathleenq

kathleenq

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 72 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 24 May 2017 - 02:04 PM

This is a good start, and I'd be willing to peruse the first few pages after reading it. It is, however, a little short with regards to reaching that 250-350 word query "sweet spot." Perhaps you can flesh it out a bit more. Also, remember my critique is based on what I would like to see in a biomedical thriller and shouldn't take away too much from your writing style. Good luck!

Thanks! Quick question - I know you said I should name my protagonist, however, my character remains unnamed and actually is not assigned a gender in the actual novel, so I've been a bit flummoxed as to how to approach that. I added a gender to the query for the sake of clarity, but do you have any suggestions on the name, or adding a note to make this clear?


Synopsis: Glass Domes


#12 eburton

eburton

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 24 May 2017 - 04:37 PM

Thanks! Quick question - I know you said I should name my protagonist, however, my character remains unnamed and actually is not assigned a gender in the actual novel, so I've been a bit flummoxed as to how to approach that. I added a gender to the query for the sake of clarity, but do you have any suggestions on the name, or adding a note to make this clear?

 

In my experience, an author chooses to leave the protagonist unnamed when there is some deeper purpose that furthers the story. For instance, in Fight Club, we see an unnamed man struggling with depression. Perhaps the author did this to add a sense that this guy could be anyone suffering—you, me, a random guy walking down the street—therefore providing a name was inappropriate for his purpose. In addition, he may have done so to add to this disoriented feeling you get when reading the novel.

 

If you go with that approach, make sure there's a reason for it. Just ask yourself: Why doesn't my hero have a name/gender? Because your audience certainly will. Maybe there's a surprise at the end where we find that the protagonist's name has been in front of us all along and gives a clue about the mysterious illness. Maybe you want your audience so connected by his situation that they, in fact, are forced to hop in his shoes, making the name/gender negligible. I don't know. It's your story.

 

Whichever route you choose, name or no name, make sure the intent is evident to you and your audience.

 

However, if you do go the name route, choose something that has meaning



#13 AJTaylor

AJTaylor

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 92 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUnited Kingdom
  • Publishing Experience:published adult non-fiction; last book was The Sacred Sites Bible (Godsfield, 2010).

Posted 25 May 2017 - 02:25 PM

Hi,

 

Here are some thoughts.

 

 

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.

 

I like this as a hook, but then I discover that (apparently) it's not Ethan's story, but the scientest's, so I am confused and disappointed.

 

Miles away in Chicago, a scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “8 ("eight" looks better) 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. (Don't like "that cause, that disease" and the ideas of losing a disease seems wrong. Lose a bacterium or something, but a 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.

 

Like this sense of rising tension. And clearly see his problem.

 

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 this is too many "he doesn'ts" for me. Shorten in some way.)

 

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.

 

This is good. Can see the stakes and problem.

 

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

 

So what is the genre?

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

I have the feeling that you haven't yet succeeded in getting across what is truly special about your book. I think the genderless, nameless thing is important, so is there a way of getting that across while keeping the story arc and stakes clear?

 

Keep at it.

 

If you have a moment, my query is Burning Down Somerton High. (Worried if I look for the link, I will lose this reply.)



#14 kathleenq

kathleenq

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 72 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 03 June 2017 - 03:41 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I've tried to make the nameless/genderless thing more clear in this query. Let me know if this works or not.

 

DRAFT #3

 

Dear Agent,

 

In Chicago, an unnamed and genderless scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “Seven Dead in NY from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. S/he’s pretty sure that s/he’s the one who created that cause, that disease. But s/he doesn’t really know. S/he managed to lose the vial of bacteria before it could be tested. The panic rises as seven becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead.

 

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

 

S/he doesn’t even know if s/he wants to help. S/he’s proud of her/his work, proud of the destruction it’s causing, proud of the scientific success. S/he knows it’s wrong, s/he knows it’s bad. S/he can’t figure out what the right emotions are.

 

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

 

GLASS DOMES is a psychological exploration of what makes a biomedical mass murderer. It could be any ordinary person just walking down the street. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,


Synopsis: Glass Domes


#15 eburton

eburton

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 29 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast

Posted 03 June 2017 - 04:07 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I've tried to make the nameless/genderless thing more clear in this query. Let me know if this works or not.

 

DRAFT #3

 

Dear Agent,

 

In Chicago, an unnamed and genderless scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “Seven Dead in NY from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. S/he’s pretty sure that s/he’s the one who created that cause, that disease. But s/he doesn’t really know. S/he managed to lose the vial of bacteria before it could be tested. The panic rises as seven becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead.

 

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

 

S/he doesn’t even know if s/he wants to help. S/he’s proud of her/his work, proud of the destruction it’s causing, proud of the scientific success. S/he knows it’s wrong, s/he knows it’s bad. S/he can’t figure out what the right emotions are. (In the prior paragraph, you already stated the protagonist has conflicted emotions. You're wasting time repeating the same thing. Keep moving forward with the story. You risk losing your agent here.)

 

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

 

GLASS DOMES is a psychological exploration of what makes a biomedical mass murderer. It could be any ordinary person just walking down the street. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Adding in the S/he's and her/his is too distracting. I understand it's difficult to portray the nameless/genderless scientist, so I recommend looking at other book jackets where the protagonist is also nameless/genderless on how to address that issue.

 

Also, is this a novella? I ask because 67,000 is short for a novel, and if you're pitching it as such, word count alone may disqualify your work. 

 

Keep working at it. I spent months on my query letter before I got a manuscript request. You can do it.



#16 kathleenq

kathleenq

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 72 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 08 June 2017 - 10:24 PM

Thanks for the suggestions! I agree that the s/he is distracting, but the only other way I can think of (using "they" in the singular) is also distracting and grammatically difficult... Do you have any suggestions on genderless characters that I can take a look at? I can only think of nameless characters.


Synopsis: Glass Domes


#17 Dahlia Baker

Dahlia Baker

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 61 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, emerging
  • LocationAfrica
  • Publishing Experience:Non

Posted 09 June 2017 - 12:14 AM

Hi Kathleen,
Your story is quite interesting and I love the concept.
And this query struggle, gosh, it's real.
I think your second update is better. The S/he was really so confusing, I couldn't read your latest update properly. Even for a genderless narrator, 'He' should still be acceptable, the way we use it for God (even though we re not sure he has a gender).

To make it easier, I'll suggest you write this query in the first person, in the scientist voice. Then maybe the hook could be written like a newspaper headline....

Ethan Crow, 45 year old, neurologist dies from massive brain swelling. Cause unknown - NY Times

I began to panic. I knew.... ( or something like that)

Hope you get what I mean?
Good luck.
If you have the time please kindly check out mine too, When I Wake

#18 loopygoose

loopygoose

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 57 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, unagented
  • LocationEurope
  • Publishing Experience:None

Posted 13 June 2017 - 11:12 AM

Dear Agent,

 

An unnamed and genderless scientist in Chicago, sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “Seven Dead in NY from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. S/he’s pretty sure that s/he’s the one who created that cause, that disease. But s/he doesn’t really know. S/he managed to lose the vial of bacteria before it could be tested. The panic rises as seven becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead. Great hook but I think the she/he thing is far too distracting. If I were an agent I'd be thinking, shit, is the whole book like this? I can't read a whole book that has she/he running through it!

 

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

 

S/he doesn’t even know if s/he wants to help. S/he’s proud of her/his work, proud of the destruction it’s causing, proud of the scientific success. S/he knows it’s wrong, s/he knows it’s bad but S/he can’t figure out what the right emotions are. So this person can't figure out the right emotions but does have empathy for a friend. It's a little confusing. 

 

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

 

GLASS DOMES is a psychological exploration of what makes a biomedical mass murderer. It could be any ordinary person just walking down the street. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

I really like this story and it sounds like it would fly off the shelves if your writing is strong. My biggest concern is the he/she thing. You need to find a way of getting around that because an agent would not tolerate an entire query using it. It drove me mad!



#19 kathleenq

kathleenq

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 72 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting, unagented
  • LocationUS West Coast

Posted 13 June 2017 - 12:56 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions! The book itself is written in first person perspective, so it avoids all the gender pronouns as related to the main character. I've been told to not write fiction queries in first person though, which is why I'm struggling with trying to get the genderless thing across. For the sake of the query though, I'm just going to use he/him/his.

 

 

DRAFT #4

 

Dear Agent,

 

A man in New York dies, brains spilling out of his head and onto the examination table. The pathologist has never seen anything like it. The doctor doesn’t know what to make of it.

 

In Chicago, an unnamed and genderless scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “Seven 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 vial of bacteria before it could be tested.

 

The panic rises as seven becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead.

 

He doesn’t know how to help. He doesn’t even know if he wants to help. He’s proud of his work, proud of the destruction it’s causing, proud of the scientific success. 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 her/his humanity.

 

GLASS DOMES is a psychological exploration of what makes a mass murderer. It could be her, it could be him. It could be any ordinary person just walking down the street. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

                                                    

Sincerely,


Synopsis: Glass Domes


#20 Paulsvault

Paulsvault

    New Member

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 93 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Working on it

Posted 13 June 2017 - 01:14 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions! The book itself is written in first person perspective, so it avoids all the gender pronouns as related to the main character. I've been told to not write fiction queries in first person though, which is why I'm struggling with trying to get the genderless thing across. For the sake of the query though, I'm just going to use he/him/his.

 

 

DRAFT #4

 

Dear Agent,

 

A man in New York dies, brains spilling out of his head and onto the examination table. The pathologist has never seen anything like it. The doctor doesn’t know what to make of it.

Not bad, plus you win points in my book for shock factor

 

In Chicago, an unnamed and genderless scientist sees a newspaper, emblazoned with the headline “Seven Dead from Mysterious Cause” and begins to panic. He’s pretty sure he created that cause, that disease. But he doesn’t really know. He managed to lose the vial of bacteria before it could be tested. At first I didn't think anything about it, but now I wonder if he 'lost' it on purpose. If so, that gives a nice twist

 

The panic rises as seven becomes hundreds, becomes thousands, becomes millions dead.

 

He doesn’t know how to help. He doesn’t even know if he wants to help. He’s proud of his work, proud of the destruction it’s causing, proud of the scientific success. He doesn’t want to be found out but he can’t manage the crushing guilt.

This may just be me, if so feel free to ignore, but there are quite a few sentences beginning with 'he'. May be worth looking into.

 

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

 

GLASS DOMES is a psychological exploration of what makes a mass murderer. It could be her, it could be him. It could be any ordinary person just walking down the street. It is complete at 67,000 words.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

                                                    

Sincerely,

You definitely have an interesting psychological thriller here, and a character who seems to have a great deal of inner conflict. Just needs a bit of tightening of the screws, but all in all a good one. Good luck!


The Warrior's Crown Query: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown Synopsis: http://agentquerycon...own-ya-fantasy/

The Warrior's Crown First 250: http://agentquerycon...warriors-crown/

The Warrior's Crown Hook: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=337108

 

Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free. - James Douglas Morrison

You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you. - Ray Bradbury

 






Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fiction

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users