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

Young Adult Science Fiction

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#41 Sataris

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Posted 24 June 2017 - 11:05 PM

Thanks Kathryn! added a very minor tweak which I think might clarify the "key to the success" thing.

 

things I'm not crazy about in this version:

1.the phrase "soon finds love in that world; with a girl..." feels really awkward. I need a better link between phrases there. I think it probably needs to be clearer that he's falling in love with her in the virtual world too. I think I've improved upon the link with the phrase "and he does find...one that belongs". Let me know if you agree/disagree.

2. not 100% sure on the closing sentence, but I do like it, as I feel it adds a bit of internal conflict to the external threat of death

3. calling it fantasy - while the book does probably read more like fantasy once you're a good ways in, I've come to the conclusion that labeling it sci-fi is probably more accurate given my query, and because sci-fi elements enable the fantasy stuff in the first place.

4. im considering cutting the "strangers who want him dead in fifteen days" and replacing it with "not that any of them would return the favor."

 5. The link between "every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love" and "twisting the knife" isn't quite right. 

 

^ I think I've addressed the above. Let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold– one that belongs to a bloodthirsty girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's heart. But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word YA science fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.


You can find my current query here.


#42 TheBest

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Posted 25 June 2017 - 05:16 PM

 

Thanks Kathryn! added a very minor tweak which I think might clarify the "key to the success" thing.

 

things I'm not crazy about in this version:

1.the phrase "soon finds love in that world; with a girl..." feels really awkward. I need a better link between phrases there. I think it probably needs to be clearer that he's falling in love with her in the virtual world too. I think I've improved upon the link with the phrase "and he does find...one that belongs". Let me know if you agree/disagree.

2. not 100% sure on the closing sentence, but I do like it, as I feel it adds a bit of internal conflict to the external threat of death

3. calling it fantasy - while the book does probably read more like fantasy once you're a good ways in, I've come to the conclusion that labeling it sci-fi is probably more accurate given my query, and because sci-fi elements enable the fantasy stuff in the first place.

4. im considering cutting the "strangers who want him dead in fifteen days" and replacing it with "not that any of them would return the favor."

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn't become net-positive by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gifts him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold; one that belongs to a murderous girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And though Oz needs her help to survive, every moment they spend together twists the knife a little deeper into his friend's heart(In real life, or in the virtual world? How does his friend know if it is not reality?). But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word science fiction novel for young adults. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

This is an outstanding query. Any edits to the flow or structure would be nitpicking. However, OZ's "convincing strangers not to jump" is not explained well. It's difficult to see a connection between that and the virtual world. I definitely would consider this science fiction. I like the last sentence as well, but maybe it could be perfected. Good luck!



#43 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 12:39 AM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. (Great hook.) Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge. (Got even better.)

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, so he has little chance of earning a place in society. (I'd consider: "...right hand, causing him to have a little chance to earn a place in society.") He graduates in fifteen days. and If he hasn't become net-positive by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean. Is "net-positive" an average term in your book? I understood what it meant, but it took me a sec. Could you introduce it later by saying all the other citizens are? If it's hard to do, I wouldn't worry about it.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gifts him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. It's a world where his right hand can once again form a fist or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold, but it one that belongs to a murderous girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor. 

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And Although Oz needs her help to survive, every moment they spend together twists the knife a little deeper into his friend's heart. But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first. 

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word science fiction novel for young adults.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration. (Leave this by itself.)

 

Your query as improved a lot. Great job! I just inserted some small edits throughout. Nothing major at all.

 

2. I love the closing sentence. Do it.

3. I can understand why you'd want to do it sci-fi. There's actually something called "soft sci-fi" that can have that fantasy/magical element to it. So I think calling it sci-fi is okay. 

4. I like this version better.



#44 Sataris

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 10:43 AM

thanks guys! really appreciate it. I made a few very small changes - like cutting the net-positive thing, since I can see how that could be a stumbling block. I also corrected the whole "how does he know theyre together thing" by being a bit more specific at the cost of a few words. I'd love to hear if anyone else stumbles at any point while reading this latest version.

 

I'm also looking to strengthen the language a bit, because while I think there are some decent lines in the query, overall it reads fairly plain. Would really appreciate suggestions on that, and as Robin mentioned, getting some of the "buts, ands, etcs" out of there. 


You can find my current query here.


#45 Kimseal

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 03:04 PM

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge. don't need this. In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gifts gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold;  colon or comma or dash not semicolon one that belongs to a bloodthirsty girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every moment they spend together twists the knife a little deeper into his friend's heart why? Is she dating Oz now or is his friend just a jealous prick?. But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first. like this, understand the moral stakes

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word YA science fiction novel for young adults. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

 

--I'd like to know more about what's going on with the girl is to really understand the choice Oz has to make. If the question is who she's going to date, then what does she think about it? Doesn't she have any say in it--it comes across as if it's a matter between Oz and his friend, which is kind of leaving out the crucial girl-shaped piece in the middle. If Oz just needs her help, why does it matter if there's a romance between them at all? Wouldn't she tell her boyfriend's friend how to save his life anyway?

 

Thanks for taking a look at mine!



#46 Cengel

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 07:24 PM

 

Thanks Kathryn! added a very minor tweak which I think might clarify the "key to the success" thing.

 

things I'm not crazy about in this version:

1.the phrase "soon finds love in that world; with a girl..." feels really awkward. I need a better link between phrases there. I think it probably needs to be clearer that he's falling in love with her in the virtual world too. I think I've improved upon the link with the phrase "and he does find...one that belongs". Let me know if you agree/disagree.

2. not 100% sure on the closing sentence, but I do like it, as I feel it adds a bit of internal conflict to the external threat of death

3. calling it fantasy - while the book does probably read more like fantasy once you're a good ways in, I've come to the conclusion that labeling it sci-fi is probably more accurate given my query, and because sci-fi elements enable the fantasy stuff in the first place.

4. im considering cutting the "strangers who want him dead in fifteen days" and replacing it with "not that any of them would return the favor."

 5. The link between "every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love" and "twisting the knife" isn't quite right. 

 

^ I think I've addressed the above. Let me know what you think!

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge. solid hook

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean. These first two paragraphs are good - very concise and informative, but not in an info-dumpy way.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold– one that belongs to a bloodthirsty girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's heart. This does a much better job of connecting the threads of the query than the previous version I looked at But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word YA science fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

With this latest draft, I think your query is pretty much there. One thing I still don't really understand is the importance of the virtual world. Is it just that he meets the girl there? How does it tie into the conflict or interact with the real world? Maybe this isn't important to the query, but it is still one thing I'm still fuzzy on. If it's central to the plot beyond just being a meeting place for him and his love interest, I would consider making it clearer how/why. 

 

Other than that, I feel like your query is much more clear and concise now.  The stakes are a lot more clear, and I now understand the role of all the characters you mention.

 

If you would look at my newest draft, I would appreciate your feedback!


Please take a look at my query.


#47 JChristian

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 07:35 PM

Solid query. Just one thing.

 

"And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's heart."
 

In his heart, or in his back? Food for thought. Keep up the good work. If you get a chance, I'd love a review.



#48 Sataris

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 07:43 PM

thanks cengel! I'll take a look at yours now. The VR thing, plot-wise, mostly just translates into a place for them to meet; its got some personal growth type stuff to it, but nothing I'd probably want to mention in the query now that I'm taking the relationship angle.

 

and yeah jchristian, I've gone back and forth between heart and back. I do like heart better, but lately i've been thinking that it might cause a bit of a stumble, which im trying to avoid at all costs. ill take a look at yours right after.

 

thanks again! and to everyone else, if you've recently commented on my query and haven't received feedback in return, please let me know. I believe I've gotten to everyone but this threads starting to get a little long

 

im also just going to re-post that last version down here for convenience since I'm making a post anyway:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold– one that belongs to a bloodthirsty girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's back. But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word YA science fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.


You can find my current query here.


#49 JChristian

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Posted 26 June 2017 - 08:06 PM

Back sounds much better to me, reading this again. Consider that we're not interested in how his friend feels (heart). We're looking at what Oz feels (back).



#50 CS29

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 12:51 AM

You've definitely got a solid query here. Honestly, it's hard to find much to fix.

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that they any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources (this one I could go either way on) than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days, and if he doesn't hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold– one that belongs to a bloodthirsty girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that the same girl turns out to be is dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's back. But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first. (I like the impact of this last line, though I wonder if it might hit harder if you worded it slightly different. It might require tweaking your hook a bit, but I personally think it would sound great if you used similar language in both. Something along the lines of changing your hook to refer to people taking a last step, then in this last line refer to Oz stepping on others to get what he wants. Anyway, just a thought I had, I understand if it doesn't work for you. The potential for a callback was just too good to ignore.)

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word YA science fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Altogether, I think you have an excellent query here and most of my corrections were more matters of word choice that may not work for, or appeal to you. You story sounds fascinating. Good luck!



#51 jaustail

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 03:09 AM

JMO:

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump(who are these strangers? Are they people who are suicidal?). Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge.(how does he know that they wouldn't return the favor? Maybe: Not that Oz would listen to any of his own advice if he were on the ledge)

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world(I didn't understand this. has a nuclear war happened?), physical labor is king(nice), and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society(not wanting to sound harsh but he can work with the left hand.). He graduates in fifteen days, and if he hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.(nice)

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold– one that belongs to a bloodthirsty girl(if he knows she is bloodthirsty he wouldn't hold her hand. He'd be scared. maybe change the adjective to what he thinks of her) who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had(maybe mention the friend earlier. else it seems forced now). And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's back. But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first.

 

I didn't really understand what the book is about apart from the love triangle. JMO, but maybe revise this.


JUPITER'S AMBITION

Revised on Post#70

Link


#52 JustSwizz

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Posted 27 June 2017 - 12:57 PM

thanks cengel! I'll take a look at yours now. The VR thing, plot-wise, mostly just translates into a place for them to meet; its got some personal growth type stuff to it, but nothing I'd probably want to mention in the query now that I'm taking the relationship angle.

 

and yeah jchristian, I've gone back and forth between heart and back. I do like heart better, but lately i've been thinking that it might cause a bit of a stumble, which im trying to avoid at all costs. ill take a look at yours right after.

 

thanks again! and to everyone else, if you've recently commented on my query and haven't received feedback in return, please let me know. I believe I've gotten to everyone but this threads starting to get a little long

 

im also just going to re-post that last version down here for convenience since I'm making a post anyway:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge Not a crazy fan of this second sentence. I can't find it now, but I much prefer your hook in the draft I critiqued.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society. He graduates in fifteen days From school? How important is it to mention school? So far, the world and his injury is most vital, and if he hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or and even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to hold– one that belongs to a bloodthirsty girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. And though Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's back This sentence is super long. Maybe break it up?. But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he’s going to have to push some other people down first.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word YA science fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Thanks for the critique! Hope this helps.  



#53 Vio Liddell

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 03:38 PM

 

Seventeen-year-old Ozymandias Black spends his nights on a rooftop convincing strangers not to jump. Not that any of them would return the favor if it were Oz on the ledge. Excellent hook I think.

 

In Oz’s post-nuclear world, physical labor is king, and citizens must contribute more resources than they consume. But Oz’s own suicide attempt severed the nerves in his right hand, ruining his chances of earning a place in society. He graduates in two weeks, and if he hasn't become a positive contributor by then, he'll be cast out to die (we can guess that he'll most probably die. I think the sentence is smoother to read this way) on the frozen wasteland that was once the Pacific Ocean.

 

But Oz finds a reason to fight when his uncle gives him a machine that can transport him to a virtual world. A world where his right hand can once again form a fist, or even hold a girl’s hand. And Oz does find a hand to holdone that belongs to a bloodthirsty (aggressive? rebellious? vampire?) girl who claims to have a way around the requirement for physical labor.

 

Unfortunately, back in the real world, that same girl turns out to be dating the only friend Oz has ever had. Although Oz will need her help in both worlds if he's to survive, every second they spend together pushes them closer to something like love, just as each passing day twists the knife deeper into his friend's back (I agree that this sentence is a bit long). But if Oz is going to come out on top for once in his life, he will have to push some other people down first.

 

THE MANY SMALL DEATHS OF OZYMANDIAS BLACK is a 93,000 word YA science fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Just one little thing to nitpick about: you often use "but" and "and" at the beginning of your sentences. Maybe remove them or rephrase with "yet", "however"...

Overall I think your query is very solid. I wish you the best of luck with agents!

 

I've updated my own query if you're interested: http://agentquerycon...fantasy-rev-36/







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