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EMPATH (Sci-Fi)


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#1 egavin

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 01:42 PM

Hi Everyone!

 

I'm a long-time lurker who's finally made an account. I've been wrestling with this query for months, and I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I'll be happy to look at your work!

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Beck White likes to think he simply popped into existence outside of Silver Mountain Correctional Facility, a fully formed eighteen-year-old. Ridiculous, maybe, but for a memory-wiped, reformed killer trying to forge a new path in the world, it's best not to think about the past.

 

Once a feared outlaw, Beck now wanders the streets of a crumbling city, shunned and starving. He's still clinging to the stupid hope that one day, he'll be treated as something more than a mad dog with a muzzle, but that's dying fast. Deep inside, he knows he's a dead man walking—the only question is whether he'll starve or cut his wrists first.  

 

So when a disembodied voice shows up in his head, claiming to be the vengeful daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back

 

Had he died there, things would have been nice and simple. Instead, Beck is dragged from the brink of death by King, his old partner in crime. Brilliant and charismatic, King offers respect, friendship, and a chance to be something more than a cold-blooded killer.

 

They're bringing the world into a new golden age, he claims. He can't reveal the details yet—but he can offer the one thing Beck craves more than anything: a chance to be the good guy, the vanguard of a shining new era.

 

Beck just has to hunt the girl down for him. No mercy. No questions asked.

 

EMPATH is a Sci-Fi novel complete at 85,000 words.

 

Thank you for you time and consideration!

 

Regards,



#2 Springfield

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 02:20 PM

Hi Everyone! Hi :)

 

I'm a long-time lurker who's finally made an account. I've been wrestling with this query for months, and I'm hoping you guys can help me out. I'll be happy to look at your work!

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Beck White likes to think he simply popped into existence outside of Silver Mountain Correctional Facility, a fully formed eighteen-year-old. Ridiculous, maybe, but for a memory-wiped, reformed killer trying to forge a new path in the world, it's best not to think about the past. This doesn't make sense to me -- if his memory was wiped, he can't think about the past, so...

 

Once a feared outlaw, Beck now wanders the streets of a crumbling city, shunned and starving. He's still clinging to the stupid hope that one day, he'll be treated as something more than a mad dog with a muzzle, but that's dying fast. Deep inside, he knows he's a dead man walking—the only question is whether he'll starve or cut his wrists first.  

 

So when a disembodied voice shows up in his head, claiming to be the vengeful daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back

 

Had he died there, things would have been nice and simple. Instead, Beck is dragged from the brink of death by King, his old partner in crime. Brilliant and charismatic, King offers respect, friendship, and a chance to be something more than a cold-blooded killer.

 

They're bringing the world into a new golden age, he claims. He can't reveal the details yet—but he can offer the one thing Beck craves more than anything: a chance to be the good guy, the vanguard of a shining new era.

 

Beck just has to hunt the girl down for him. No mercy. No questions asked.

 

EMPATH is a Sci-Fi novel complete at 85,000 words.

 

Thank you for you time and consideration!

 

Regards,

 

There's no there there. The query is mostly kind of a pile of cliches that I think is actually all backstory. I don't actually know what happens. What I get from this is some guy gets out of prison with no memory, then a girl stabs him in revenge, and his old partner (how the guy recognizes the partner is unclear) saves him and wants him to kill the girl. This seems like where your query starts, not ends. I don't see stakes, or plot really, the way it is.



#3 egavin

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Posted 09 July 2017 - 06:33 PM

Thanks Springfield! Yeah, I figured as much with the backstory. I'll work on a new version



#4 Erevos

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 10:31 AM

Springfield is right when he says there's a lot of backstory.

To be honest though, I think your story sounds fantastic and made me curious to read more. I'm commenting for that little star next to your thread, so I can come back when you post a new draft.

I'll also make a few comments on your current query. Hopefully they can be of some help.

 

 

Dear (Agent),

 

Beck White likes to think he simply popped into existence outside of Silver Mountain Correctional Facility, a fully formed eighteen-year-old. Ridiculous, maybe, but for a memory-wiped, reformed killer trying to forge a new path in the world, it's best not to think about the past. Hmm...you can definitely reword this and make it like a great hook

 

Once a feared outlaw, Beck now wanders the streets of a crumbling city, You can mention the name of the city. A short description of why its crumbling could help. shunned and starving. He's still clinging to the stupid hope that one day, he'll be treated as something more than a mad dog with a muzzle, but that's dying fast. Deep inside, he knows he's a dead man walking—the only question is whether he'll starve or cut his wrists first.  Funny and interesting, but too many information that are vague right now.

 

So when a disembodied voice shows up in his head, claiming to be the vengeful daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back This, I love. Keep it!

 

Had he died there, things would have been nice and simple. Instead, Beck is dragged from the brink of death a simple "rescued/saved" works. by King, his old partner in crime. Brilliant and charismatic, King offers respect, friendship, and a chance to be something more than a cold-blooded killer. You can keep this "a chance to be something more...." but you have to give me something. Let us know what is King's plan.

 

They're bringing the world into a new golden age, he claims. He can't reveal the details yet—but he can offer the one thing Beck craves more than anything: a chance to be the good guy, the vanguard of a shining new era.

 

Beck just has to hunt the girl down for him. No mercy. No questions asked. Ok, ok, I understand now that even Beck doesn't know a thing. I had trouble with this in my own query too, but since you don't have a second POV that actually knows details, perhaps give us something to make us interested - even if you have to go a bit deeper into the plot. I like how the story goes though....if Beck has second thoughts about the girl and King, then you have your stakes ready to be served!

 

EMPATH is a Sci-Fi novel complete at 85,000 words.

 

Thank you for you time and consideration!

 

Regards,


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#5 Niambi

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Posted 10 July 2017 - 03:51 PM

I won't beat a dead horse, so I'll add that your new version should have the conflict Beck is facing, (what does he want, and what or who is in his way) and what would happen if he doesn't get what he wants/needs.

 

Also, wow us.  Let us know how this story is different from any other criminal redemption story.  



#6 egavin

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 10:48 PM

Ok it's been a super, super long time (went through a couple of big manuscript revisions), but here's the new version. Thanks niambi and erevos btw!

 

 

Beck White hasn't got a whole lot to be proud of, but at least there's only a one-in-ten chance he's a murderer. Those are the official stats, anyways: only ten percent of memory-wiped convicts have killed before. Now that Beck's free, that's really all he's holding on to. Yeah, he's a wiped ex-con, doomed to die in poverty, but at least there's no blood on his hands.

 

So when a vengeful, disembodied voice appears in his head, claiming to be the daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back.

 

Moments from death, Beck's rescued by a man called King. Suddenly, Beck's getting feelings of déjà vu. There's something so, disturbingly familiar about the face, his name...

 

King claims they're just old drinking friends.

 

But as Beck heals, his mysterious connection with the girl begins to grow. Now, Beck swears he's sharing her dreams, her memories. And through them, he's starting to piece together the truth behind his wipe, the voice in his head, and King, who just might be a wanted terrorist.

 

And when Beck barely evades a second attempt on his life, King promises to resolve the problem. With a bullet. Suddenly, Beck's forced to face the facts: he's a killer, his new friend is too, and now he has to make a choice. Trust King and try to live as the man he used to be, or blow it all to hell, let loose the buried killer inside him, and take a moonshot at redemption.



#7 Kjcloutier19

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 11:52 PM

 

 

Ok it's been a super, super long time (went through a couple of big manuscript revisions), but here's the new version. Thanks niambi and erevos btw!

 

 

Beck White hasn't got a whole lot to be proud of, but at least there's only a one-in-ten chance he's a murderer. (Lol, I like this) Those are the official stats, anyways: only ten percent of memory-wiped convicts have killed before. Now that Beck's free, that's really all he's holding on to. Yeah, he's a wiped ex-con, doomed to die in poverty, but at least there's no blood on his hands. (So is this an alternate universe or a futuristic world? Why is he doomed to be in poverty? Do all cons get there memories wiped or just ones on good behavior? I realize you can't answer all these questions, but I think you might a little more info here to keep us from feeling lost.)

 

So when a vengeful, disembodied voice appears in his head, claiming to be the daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back. (I'm confused. Does she appear and stab him? Or is it just...there? How does he know it's hers?)

 

Moments from death, Beck's rescued by a man called King. Suddenly, Beck's getting feelings of déjà vu. There's something so, disturbingly familiar about the face, his name...

 

King claims they're just old drinking friends.

 

But as Beck heals, his mysterious connection with the girl begins to grow. Now, Beck swears he's sharing her dreams, her memories. And through them, he's starting to piece together the truth behind his wipe, the voice in his head, and King, who just might be a wanted terrorist.

 

And when Beck barely evades a second attempt on his life, King promises to resolve the problem. With a bullet. Suddenly, Beck's forced to face the facts: he's a killer, his new friend is too, and now he has to make a choice. Trust King and try to live as the man he used to be, or blow it all to hell, let loose the buried killer inside him, and take a moonshot at redemption. (This is a little vague. How would he redeem himself?)

 

I really like the premise of your query and your writing is good here, but I think the reader is left with a few too many questions. Perhaps thrown in a few more specifics to ground us a bit. I think that would really help. You're almost there! Best of luck to you! 



#8 cookie

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 12:58 AM

Ok it's been a super, super long time (went through a couple of big manuscript revisions), but here's the new version. Thanks niambi and erevos btw!

 

 

Beck White hasn't got a whole lot to be proud of, but at least there's only a one-in-ten chance he's a murderer. Those are the official stats, anyway (no "s" unless you really want to convey a sense of... dialect? Vernacular? And I suggest a semicolon here) only ten percent of memory-wiped convicts (Ooh, interesting) have killed before. Now that Beck's free, that's really all he's holding on to. Yeah, he's a wiped ex-con, doomed to die in poverty, but at least there's no blood on his hands.

 

So when a vengeful, disembodied voice appears in his head, claiming to be the daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back.

 

Moments from death, Beck's rescued by a man called King. Suddenly, Beck's getting feelings of déjà vu. There's something so, (... instead of ,) disturbingly familiar about the face, his name...

 

King claims they're just old drinking friends. (I don't know if this part is necessary.)

 

But as Beck heals, his mysterious connection with the girl begins to grow. Now, Beck swears he's sharing her dreams, her memories. And through them, he's starting to piece together the truth behind his wipe, the voice in his head, and King, who just might be a wanted terrorist.

 

And when Beck barely evades a second attempt on his life, King promises to resolve the problem. With a bullet. Suddenly, Beck's forced to face the facts: he's a killer, his new friend is too, and now he has to make a choice. Trust King and try to live as the man he used to be, or blow it all to hell, let loose the buried killer inside him, and take a moonshot at redemption.

 

There's a lot of really interesting stuff here, but I feel like it's also a little chaotic. That opening had me, but I got a little lost along the way.



#9 Arcanjoe

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Posted 14 September 2017 - 08:53 AM

Ok it's been a super, super long time (went through a couple of big manuscript revisions), but here's the new version. Thanks niambi and erevos btw!

 

 

Beck White hasn't got a whole lot to be proud of, but at least there's only a one-in-ten chance he's a murderer. Those are the official stats, anyways: only ten percent of memory-wiped convicts have killed before. (Why do the authorities do this? To give the convicts a fresh start? To potentially extiguish the murderous rage that lies within the worst offenders? Would be helpful to know that here.) Now that Beck's free, that's really all he's holding on to. Yeah, he's a wiped ex-con, doomed to die in poverty, but at least there's no blood on his hands.

 

So when a vengeful, disembodied voice appears in his head, claiming to be the daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back. (It would be an idea to tell us how she gets from voice in his head to the hand holding the knife that stabs him in the back. There's a skipped step here.)

 

Moments from death, Beck's rescued by a man called King. Suddenly, Beck's getting feelings of déjà vu. There's something so, (no comma) disturbingly familiar about the face, his name...

 

King claims they're just old drinking friends. (You could incorporate this into the sentence above. "King claims they're old drinking friends, but there's something disturbingly familiar about his face, his name...")

 

But as Beck heals, his mysterious connection with the girl begins to grow. Now, Beck swears he's sharing her dreams, her memories. And through them, he's starting to piece together the truth behind his wipe, the voice in his head, and King, who just might be a wanted terrorist.

 

And when Beck barely evades a second attempt on his life, King promises to resolve the problem. With a bullet. Suddenly, (You've used 'suddenly' twice in the query. Using it just delays the sudden event that is happening. It's a trivial point really, but it may make the query feel more immediate.) Beck's forced to face the facts: he's a killer, his new friend is too, and now he has to make a choice. Trust King and try to live as the man he used to be, or blow it all to hell, let loose the buried killer inside him, (so trusting King means he won't have to let his inner-killer loose, yet his other choice is to embrace the killer within? I'm confused by the choice he must make. Surely 'the man he used to be' is a killer? So then his choice is to be a killer or be a killer? Neither of which means he will redeem his pre-wipe persona who was...a killer.) and take a moonshot at redemption.

This is a fascinating premise. Having memory loss in there usually makes for a fascinating story, but when the MC may also have been a murderer, even better. I have a couple of problems with the query. First, your everything is happening to your MC, which I'm certain is not the case in your novel. He doesn't seem to be driving your query, which agents are likely to pick up on. Second, the disembodied female voice thread isn't clear, especially in relation to the stabbing. Third, the stakes aren't clear. At the moment I'm reading it as he's either going to stick with King and revert to his killing ways or revert to his killing ways to fight King, which will redeem him. Clarification is certainly needed on that. But again, I think you've got an excellent idea here. Hope my input helps!


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

A Life in Colour:

http://agentquerycon...g-contemporary/

 


#10 jaustail

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Posted 17 September 2017 - 09:37 AM

JMO:

 

 

Beck White hasn't got a whole lot to be proud of, but at least there's only a one-in-ten chance he's a murderer. Those are the official stats, anyways: only ten percent of memory-wiped convicts have killed before. Now that Beck's free(why is he free? maybe mention that now that Beck has ended his term in prison), that's really all he's holding on to. Yeah, he's a wiped ex-con, doomed to die in poverty, but at least there's no blood on his hands.

 

So when a vengeful, disembodied voice appears in his head, claiming to be the daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity(how will insanity save Beck from someone who wants to kill him?) is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until (maybe add: then)he's lying in the street with her knife in his back.

 

Moments from death, Beck's rescued by a man called King. Suddenly, Beck's getting feelings of déjà vu. There's something so,(remove comma) disturbingly familiar about the face, his name...

 

King claims they're just old drinking friends.

 

But as Beck heals, his mysterious connection with the girl begins to grow. Now, Beck swears he's sharing her dreams, her memories. And through them, he's starting to piece together the truth behind his wipe, the voice in his head, and King, who just might be a wanted terrorist.

 

And when Beck barely evades a second attempt on his life, King promises to resolve the problem. With a bullet. Suddenly, Beck's forced to face the facts: he's a killer, his new friend is too, and now he has to make a choice. Trust King and try to live as the man he used to be, or blow it all to hell, let loose the buried killer inside him, and take a moonshot at redemption.

 

 

Sounds like a unique story but I had to read the query twice and slowly to keep track of what is going on. Maybe simplify. JMO.


Query: WALL OF ICE

(Space Opera)

Revised version: Link


#11 eric balson

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Posted Today, 12:18 AM

Ok it's been a super, super long time (went through a couple of big manuscript revisions), but here's the new version. Thanks niambi and erevos btw!

 

 

Beck White hasn't got a whole lot to be proud of, but at least there's only a one-in-ten chance he's a murderer. ​Nice beginning. Those are the official stats, anyways: only ten percent of memory-wiped convicts have killed before. Now that Beck's free, that's really all he's holding on to. ​This sentence is vague. ​Is he holding onto the fact that he thinks he hasn't killed someone? Yeah, ​<<This sounds a little informal for a query he's a wiped ex-con, doomed to die in poverty, but at least there's no blood on his hands.

 

So when a vengeful, disembodied voice appears in his head, claiming to be the daughter of the man he killed, Beck figures insanity is just a quick pit stop on the road to death. Until he's lying in the street with her knife in his back.

 

Moments from death, Beck's rescued by a man called King. Suddenly, Beck's getting feelings of déjà vu. There's something so, disturbingly familiar about the face, his name...

 

King claims they're just old drinking friends.

 

But as Beck heals, his mysterious connection with the girl begins to grow. Now, Beck swears he's sharing her dreams, her memories. And through them, he's starting to piece together the truth behind his wipe, the voice in his head, and King, who just might be a wanted terrorist.

 

And when Beck barely evades a second attempt on his life, King promises to resolve the problem. With a bullet. Suddenly, Beck's forced to face the facts: he's a killer, his new friend is too, and now he has to make a choice. Trust King and try to live as the man he used to be, or blow it all to hell, let loose the buried killer inside him, ​This almost sounds like you saying Beck should go all murderous psychopath. Maybe say "vanquish" the killer inside him. Also using buried and inside, in the context of this sentence, is redundant. and take a moonshot at redemption.

 

​I've had a hard time following what's in your query. I feel like it's a sprawling mess. You have a great premise here, but it's overshadowed by the ambiguity of the query.






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