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The Many Small Deaths of Oz (YA sci-fi) revised

Young Adult Science Fiction

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#1 Sataris

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 01:31 PM

     Temporarily closed while traveling! I believe I've gotten to everyone, but please let me know if I haven't returned your critique!


No current query!


#2 kacimari

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 02:01 PM

  Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop, convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, at fifteen, Oz tried to kill himself. Did he jump? I kind of want to know the specifics. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     The golden rule  In Oz’s post-nuclear world, is that citizens must contribute more than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness. Oz graduates in two weeks, and if he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, he’ll be forced out onto the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean. I think this should be together. But I have a question - do you mean they must contribute physically or that they must contribute mentally, or however they work best? Because isn't Oz's contribution saving lives every night on the roof?

 

     He’s all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to be the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. I love this. But! What does he want to do in this virtual world? What does Oz want, aside from the use of his hand?

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s come to define him: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. How does he plan to do this? I guess I'm not quite clear on what Oz wants aside from his hand, so it's not quite clear yet.

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Awesome. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I love the idea of this and I think you have a unique concept, but the specifics aren't quite there yet. Really tell me what Oz stands to lose, aside from being banished. WHO or WHAT does he have now?

 

Best of luck!

 

Take a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...a-contemporary/


Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

#3 Sataris

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 07:45 PM

Thank you! Query critique returned; please let me know if I was unclear on something.


No current query!


#4 BraveL

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:05 PM

Great concept! Here are my thoughts:


 

     Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop, convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, at fifteen, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society. I love this hook!

 

     The golden rule in Oz’s post-nuclear world is that citizens must contribute more than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness. The only thing I'm unclear about here, is how he's survived this long with his disability.

 

     Oz graduates from high school? in two weeks, and if he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, he’ll be forced out onto the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

     He’s all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to be the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand.

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s come to define him: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. I love your last line here, but I'm a little confused at what he's trying to do in the virtual world - figure out a way to be productive? 

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Great angle Thank you for your time and consideration. Looks like a really interesting story, good luck!



#5 Sataris

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:53 PM

     Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop, convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, at fifteen, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

     

     Oz graduates in two weeks, at which point he’ll lose the protective status he’s enjoyed as a youth. And if he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, he’ll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

     Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to be the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand.

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to find a way to finally confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.


No current query!


#6 Paulsvault

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Posted 14 June 2017 - 10:59 PM

     Hi all, I've revised this query a number of times, and I'd love to hear some feedback. I'd be happy to exchange critiques; feel free to post a link to your topic here, or send me a private message if you'd prefer.

     While I haven't stuck to the three paragraph rule exactly, hopefully I haven't strayed too far from hook-synopsis-bio either. I guess my main questions are:

             1. Are the stakes clear? They seem pretty clear to me. He's struggling with the realization that he has no place in this society due to an unfortunate self-induced injury. (unless I'm wrong)

             2. Is there anything in this query that could be read as offensive to those with mental/physical illnesses? Not from where I'm sitting.

     

Dear X,

 

     (personalization here)

 

     Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop, convincing strangers not to jump. I like this, it must be a bleak society when people are constantly trying to commit suicide. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, at fifteen, Oz tried to kill himself. I agree with kacimari. Throw in if he did jump or not, even if the answer is implied. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     The golden rule in Oz’s post-nuclear world is that citizens must contribute more than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

     Oz graduates in two weeks, and if he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, he’ll be forced out onto the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

Once again, I think you do a good job of selling the bleak setting without getting caught up in too many details that can clog up a query (like I tend to do).

 

     He’s all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to be the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand.

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s come to define him: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society.  Kinda like what we are becoming, right? :sad:  Thank you for your time and consideration.

You have some good stuff here. I would read this book right now... well, after I finish my re-reading of Slaughterhouse Five. Best of luck to you!

 

-edit. Looks like I did not use your most recent revision, but everything still looks good.


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

 


#7 margoo77

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 09:17 AM

I think this is a great concept! Just a few thoughts...

 

 Ozymandias (love this name, reminds me of Watchmen) Black spends his nights on a rooftop, convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, at fifteen, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

     

     Oz graduates in two weeks, at which point he’ll lose the protective status he’s enjoyed as a youth. And if he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, he’ll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.  - Who will cast him out? The government? Members of his community? It might give a better idea of the severity of his predicament. 

 

     Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him into a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to be the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. - What does Oz dream of doing? 

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to find a way to finally confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Good luck with your query!



#8 Olive K. Aristen

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 02:23 PM

I actually really like this query, and this it might be enough to interest an agent, and then it's all on your manuscript. You did a good job, I think. But here are a few of my thoughts.

 

 

 

   

     Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop, convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, at fifteen, Oz tried to kill himself. How? But this is pretty cool. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society. 

 

     In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

     

     Oz graduates in two weeks, high school? at which point he’ll lose the protective status he’s enjoyed as a youth. You might be able to say this in less words. "In two weeks, Oz graduates and loses the protective status he's enjoyed as a youth." And if he hasn’t found [or doesn't find] a way to be net-positive by then, he’ll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

     Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to be the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. This seems like a sentence fragment. You could use an em dash to separate rather than a period.

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to find a way to finally confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. So...just a thought I had when I read this. The first part kind of contradicts this a bit. He spends his nights saving people, convincing them that they don't deserve to die, yet here he doesn't think he's deserving? 

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration. I like the title a lot.  :smile: 


Current query for critique: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=340722


#9 Lauraburns22

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 04:10 PM

 Seventeen year old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop, delete comma convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument because two years ago, at fifteen, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, delete comma and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz him , who struggle with mental or physical illness. legit conflict i like it a lot 

     

     Oz graduates in two weeks,  then at which point he’ll lose the protective status he’s enjoyed as a youth. And if he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, he’ll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

     Oz has all but given up hope cliche. when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to be the person he might have been, delete comma had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, delete comma or even hold a girl’s hand. sentence fragment 

 

     But Oz’s time is running out, if he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to find a way to finally confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

Too many commas can make anything challenging to read because the pauses are confusing. review your comma rules because you had a bunch of unnecessary ones thrown in there (while i'm not 100 percent confident on my query skills i am 100 percent on my comma skills because I'm an English teacher) 

 

As someone who struggles with this mental illness and the drive of productivity in our society, I'm totally into this concept. 

 

 

Hope this is helpful! Please review my query!

http://agentquerycon...hl=lauraburns22



#10 Sataris

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 05:43 PM

     Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

     Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

     Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to discover the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand.

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.


No current query!


#11 kacimari

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 06:40 PM

Hey there again!

 

I really love your story idea, but I still feel that I don't know enough about Oz to understand what he's giving up. You've given me all plot, but not what Oz is living for already. I need some of his history (more than just his suicide attempt) to know what he's fighting for. Family? Friends? WHY does he believe he doesn't deserve to be saved? This is where the gold is.

 

Keep at it!

 

Kacey


Hope is faith holding out its hand in the dark.

#12 Anadalya

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 09:24 PM

I really love the idea here, the title, his full name and the post-apocalyptic setting all seem pretty awesome and from what I can tell by just the query, seems like a cool story too!  I do agree that it would be nice to know more about OZ for sure. :)

 

I think many people can identify with struggling with illnesses, and that gives it a personal feeling i'm sure would appeal to a wide variety of people who feel they too can't function properly in a demanding world. 

 

For me when reading it I actually assumed he jumped and that is how he got his injury, but I see now it could be anything really. 

 

I wish I could help more. I'm so thankful for you helping me out!

 

P.S I am also curious what caused the apocalypse. lol But that may not be right for the query I suppose.


If you get a chance take a look at my fantasy query! Goddesses of War

 

 


#13 rccallahan

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 04:44 AM

Hey!  Thank you for looking at my query.  Hopefully my thoughts help you! And I hope this is the correct version you want critiqued-- it was the latest one I could find.  

 

Thanks all! Going to post another minor revision. I believe I've gotten to everyone so far, but please let me know if I've failed to return your critique!

 

     

 

     Ozymandias Black ( LOVE this name.  I'm a Shelley fan). spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.(Fascinating)

 

     Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

     Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to discover the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand.

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. (I was confused for a hot second because I didn't realize it was a VR world.  Maybe expand a little?  One of the overall things I noticed was that the whole letter feels a little abbreviated.  I think a little more flow between ideas would be good. But other than that, I really love this.  I would love to hear more about how VR could even possibly help him figure out how to cope with the loss of his hand function if it is allowing him use of it.) 

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK ( I love this title) is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration. ( I would read the crap out of this) 



#14 speedchuck

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 12:58 PM

Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop What is this, a really, really popular rooftop? Or does he go to multiple rooftops? convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

     In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

     Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

     Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to discover the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand.

 

     But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to have any chance of survival in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Your query seems to be in pieces. The hook describes a person that is older and wiser, and what they do with their time. Sounds interesting enough, but no plot comes out of that. I also got the idea that Ozy was a bit older from that opening paragraph.

 

Then we get two paragraphs about the world and Ozy's place in it. Ozy has to find a way to live. But is it just one hand that is ruined? In which case, what exactly is he being prevented from doing? Do people just farm, or hunt, or... what sort of activities can he not do? Depending on the Apocalypse, there could be a lot of different activities humanity is taking to survive, and I need some idea of what they are so I can see how his hand would completely shut those off.

 

Then the book changes. It's no longer about his physical inability. It's about his self-worth and mental reaction to everything. Which, to me, makes the book more interesting. HOWEVER, with the hook implying that Oz thinks life is worth living (why else save people), and with the focus previously being on survival exclusively, it doesn't tie in as well as it might.

 

And I'll be honest, the last place I thought this was going was the virtual world.

 

Overall, I can see what you're getting at. His self-worth is tied to his functional ability, and the virtual world is a way for him to let go. But the query suffers from the way these elements are split, and it almost feels like he'll grow to feel he deserves life and then be thrown out on the ice. And I don't feel that the opening paragraph gives me any idea of what the story is. It doesn't hook me for this type of story, because it's selling me on a character that has grown rather than a character that needs to grow.

 

I don't know how queries work, so perhaps some of this will be useful to you. :P



#15 lionspaws

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Posted 16 June 2017 - 05:02 PM

 Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society. I think if you add in his age to give us some grounding, this hook is well nigh perfect :) 

 

     In order to survive in Oz’s post-nuclear world "that used to be the USA..." (etc. -- so we have an idea of setting), citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a tenet that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it This leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illnessI honestly don't think you need the last phrase; it's almost a little too blunt -- we can infer what you're saying: those who are different, etc. Instead, relate this paragraph to your hook. I.e., "this is why Oz has made it his mission to prevent others from making the same mistake..."

 

Otherwise I was just suggesting a little clean up that makes the paragraph flow better. 

 

     Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean. We need more clarity on this world. You say post-nuclear, but he's clearly still going to school. Was the whole world in a war? All the electricity out, governed by an oppressive regime, or anarchy? Etc. Why is the Pacific Ocean a frozen wasteland? 

 

     Oz has all but given up hope of what? when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to discover the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. Aw!! 

 

     But Oz’s time is running out because what happens after graduation?. If he’s to have any chance of survival survive in the real world, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. This sentence is a little awkward. What is his ultimate goal, and what are the stakes? To learn how to survive? 

 

     THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. It will appeal to readers of XXX and YYY. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I love the title -- it's quirky and full of personality. I hope all my edits don't seem discouraging! You're doing a great job and I think you are going in the right direction. I'd appreciate any thoughts on my latest query draft for "To Sail the Stars!" 


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#16 Sataris

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Posted 17 June 2017 - 09:39 AM

Hi all, thank you for the feedback! Once again, please let me know if I haven't returned your critique. Please don't take it personally if it seems like I haven't addressed your suggestions in this latest version. I'm trying to give as little background information as possible here, so I'd really appreciate any suggestions that help me cut a word here or there (or full lines if you think I can spare one without getting rid of the framework). My ideal word count is 250 and currently I'm at 279.

 

Some things that I feel I need to get across and hope I have: (please let me know if you disagree)

1. The bleakness of the world

2. What Oz is avoiding (death by banishment)

3. The fact that he's both injured AND depressed

4. The function of the machine as being a place where he needs to grow as a person

5. That this is a character-driven piece

 

That said, thank you again, and here's the latest version:

 

 

 

Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It’s a world where Oz is free to discover the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can finally come to terms with his past.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his experiences in both worlds to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.


No current query!


#17 klnorton

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 02:21 AM

 

Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Great hook! He His testimony is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but irrevocably damaged ruined the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society, where citizens must contribute more resources than they consume

 

I feel like "he is his own" was awkward, so I'm throwing out another option. I also feel like "ruined" fits better with the second phrase that verb is tied to: his chances of earning a place in society. It also cuts out a word and gets rid of an adverb. I'm combining a bit from the next paragraph becuase I think the bit about it being a post-nuclear world is unecessary, and too telling.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a The rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness. I'm not sure you need this part. Are you just trying to emphasize the mental part so we see it's not just physically injured who are affected by this rule? I'm not catching the mental illness. Generally when someone is stopping other from attempting suicide, it seems like they're beyond the lowest points of depression. It seems like he's wanting to help people who are in the place he once was, which makes me think he's no longer depressed. I know that was a concern of yours, so I just wanted to give you my thought process.

 

Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then the time he graduates from the relative safety of school in just two weeks, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean. I'd recommend either using "cast him out" or "leave him to die" but mixing the two is a mouthful.

 

Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world,. It’s a world where Oz is free to discover the person he might have been, had things gone differently. Where his  The person whose right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, in a world where he can finally hopefully come to terms with his past. 

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his experiences in both worlds to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved., not even by himself.  I "know" what the stakes are here, but I don't feel the pressure of it - it was stronger up above. Can you make it stand out more here? What all does he stand to lose? In your list you mentioned that you want to get across that he's avoiding death by banishment - you get that across, but I need more emotion around it. I want you to get across fear and panic - or if he's depressed, is he lacking fear? If it's character driven, it should show emotion.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000-word work of post-apocalyptic YA novel that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

I didn't look at any of your past drafts, so hopefully fresh eyes are helpful!


~ Karyne Norton

Facebook: Karyne Norton

 

One reason that people have artist's block is that they do not respect the law of dormancy in nature. Trees don't produce fruit all year long, constantly. They have a point where they go dormant. And when you are in a dormant period creatively, if you can arrange your life to do the technical tasks that don't take creativity, you are essentially preparing for the spring when it will all blossom again. - Marshall Vandruff

 


#18 Vio Liddell

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:04 AM

Hi! Returning the favor.

 

 

 

Some things that I feel I need to get across and hope I have:

1. The bleakness of the world. I think you managed to give us a good glimpse of it, without expanding too much on the details

2. What Oz is avoiding (death by banishment). This point is clear too  :wink:

3. The fact that he's both injured AND depressed. He's depressed but he devotes his nights to convincing people not to commit suicide by giving himself as an example. He's not depressed in the passive or self-destructive sense

4. The function of the machine as being a place where he needs to grow as a person. This is clear too, but I feel like the mention of this machine kind of comes out of the blue... Can't you give us a hint about how exactly he comes across it? I know you wanted to save room in your query, but this might not be unnecessary info

5. That this is a character-driven piece. I personally have a good sense of Oz's pain and regrets, as well as the pressure he's subjected to

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Love this hook. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself. He survived, but ruined (I agree with Klnorton here) the nerves in his right hand, and with them his chances of earning a place in society.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. A rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he can't find a way to be net-positive by then, society (an institution? the government?) will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

Oz has all but given up hope when he comes across a machine that can transport him to a virtual world.  :wink: You and I indeed share this theme. It’s a world where Oz's right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can finally come to terms with his past.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his experiences in both worlds to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself. So he thinks other people attempting suicide deserve to be saved, but not himself? He trusts himself enough to save other people but not to save himself? If so, that's interesting.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word, work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

I had trouble finding things to critique, I think your query is already strong! Lol I'm sorry I can't be more help when I see the incredibly detailed advice you gave on my own query ^^' But I wish you the best of luck and thank you very much for your review.



#19 Sataris

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 10:12 AM

I can definitely see how the first line might conflict with the idea that he's depressed; I think I'll come up with a qualifier for that bit. Thanks guys! I'm also a little concerned about the machine bit, I'll see if i can figure out another way to approach that that doesn't seem so jarring. Generally when I'm querying I try to find a book they represent that also has virtual world aspects and I touch on the similarity there to foreshadow it, but that's probably not the best way to go about it.

 

edit: here's a working version of the clarifications. I'm fairly set on the word choice at the moment unless a change will reduce the word count by a good amount. Ideally, I'd like to cut 40 words out of this, but I'm not sure it's totally possible without revealing less about the story. Right now I'm at 290.

 

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers that – unlike himself – are worth saving. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz tried to kill himself following the death of his mother. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

Oz has all but given up hope when when his paralyzed uncle – well aware of his nephew’s escapist tendencies, and desperate to give him another reason to fight – gifts him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where Oz's right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can finally come to terms with his past.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.


No current query!


#20 phil3

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Posted 18 June 2017 - 05:42 PM

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Strangers that – unlike himself – are worth saving. He is his own most compelling argument: two years ago, Oz's suicide attempt tried to kill himself following the death of his mother. He survived, but irrevocably damaged the nerves in his right hand, and with them, his chances of earning a place in society.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. It’s a  The rule that allows what’s left of humanity to survive, but it leaves little room for those like Oz, who struggle with mental or physical illness.

 

Oz graduates from the relative safety of school in two weeks. If he hasn’t found a way to be net-positive by then, society will cast him out to die on the frozen wasteland that used to be the Pacific Ocean.

 

Oz has all but given up hope when when his paralyzed uncle – well aware of his nephew’s escapist tendencies, and desperate to give him another reason to fight – gifts him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where Oz's right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And, hopefully, where he can finally come to terms with his past.

 

But Oz’s time is running out. If he’s to survive beyond graduation, he must use his time in the machine to confront and upend the single assertion that’s defined him for far too long: that he doesn’t deserve to be saved, not even by himself.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word work of post-apocalyptic YA that explores the relationship between mental illness and a productivity-driven society. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

From reading this query, I got a good idea of what your story is about and what the stakes are, so good job. I like the title as well.







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