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RUNNING TOWARD THE DAWN (Solarpunk) - Will return crits!

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#1 susanjett

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:23 PM

Running Toward The Dawn is a 100,000-word solarpunk novel set in 2175, in what was once the American Southwest. The Deseret city of New Zion is restoring an antique hydro-electric dam that was taken offline after the Crash of 2029. As the story begins, the reservoir is filling, the river is rising, and the canyons of the Tó Nilinigii Diné’é are drowning.  

After a lightning strike four years ago, Taliah Tsinijinnie's eyesight began to dim. Her mother believes marrying a shepherd from the uplands of Dinétah is her best option. Taliah disagrees. With nothing to lose, she goes to the city, hoping to stop the dam. But once there, she realizes the issues are more complex than she understood. When she discovers a friend’s plan to destroy the power station before it can start up, she must decide whether to risk her newly restored eyesight to save it. Allowing the dam to blow would save her home, but destroy people she’s come to care for. In the end, Taliah must decide if she will still be able to find beauty in the world if she no longer has eyes to see it.

In college, when I wasn't working for the EarthFirst! Journal, I was trying to learn Diné bizaad.  I’m not fluent, but once had a poem published in a Navajo language journal, which remains one of my proudest publication credits. I spent a decade living in a river canyon where I grew peaches and worked in a bookstore dedicated to keeping Ed Abbey’s work in print. A few years after attending Clarion West Writers Workshop, I earned an M.S.I.S. and moved to Queens to work as a YA librarian. Today, I live on an old dairy farm where I write, try to civilize a small child, and grow lots of vegetables. It’s a little too far north for good peaches, but I keep trying.

My short stories have appeared in several recent anthologies: The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (2012); Temporally Out of Order (2014), Were- (2016), and Submerged (2017).

 



 



#2 Jemi

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 02:59 PM

Running Toward The Dawn is a 100,000-word solarpunk novel set in 2175, in what was once the American Southwest. The Deseret city of New Zion is restoring an antique hydro-electric dam that was taken offline after the Crash of 2029. As the story begins, the reservoir is filling, the river is rising, and the canyons of the Tó Nilinigii Diné’é are drowning. (Not sure if I'd include that here or try to interweave a little of it within the rest of the query)  

After a lightning strike four years ago, Taliah Tsinijinnie's eyesight began to dim (what was special about the lightning or her that caused this?). Her mother believes marrying a shepherd from the uplands of Dinétah is her best option. Taliah disagrees (after reading the rest of the query, I'm not sure if this info is important enough to include). With nothing to lose, she goes to the city, hoping to stop the dam. But once there, she realizes the issues are more complex than she understood. When she discovers a friend’s plan to destroy the power station before it can start up, she must decide whether to risk her newly restored eyesight (whoa! how/when did that happen???) to save it (how are those 2 things connected?). Allowing the dam to blow would save her home, but destroy people she’s come to care for (who?). In the end, Taliah must decide if she will still be able to find beauty in the world if she no longer has eyes to see it (nice line, but it doesn't make sense to us with the limited info we have).

 

 

Maybe it's the romance writer in me, but I'm not getting enough emotions from your query. it's more a list of facts about the plot. From everything I've read, most agents are attracted to queries that are all about the voice and the emotion.

 

I'd like to know more about how Taliah is feeling. I'd also like to know how/why her eyesight gets restored. That sounds like a cool & unique aspect of your book, but I don't understand the connections after reading the query.

 

Hope you don't mind if I play...

 

When her fading eyesight threatens to... Tailah leaves her canyon home in the hopes of halting progress on a dam that will destroy ... Once in the city, Tailah befriends... and finds out... 

Terrified by.... she ... and ... If she ... then...

 

Obviously that's not much, but just to give you an idea. Use your voice and style to bring the story and Tailah to life. Have us rooting for her!

Hope some of that helps - if not, feel free to ignore it all. :) It's your story and you'll know best. Good luck!  :smile:



#3 Rap541

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Posted 11 August 2017 - 08:31 PM

I can't quite figure out how to do the cool quote thing but here's my thoughts.

 

The opening line about the lightning strike needs to be stronger or different. 

 

​The lightning was taking her vision but Tailah knew she had to fight if she wanted to preserve her home. 

 

​For example, anyway. It sounds like an interesting story, and I I love the setting but I agree with the first reviewer that her eyesight being restored being interconnected with the dam's destruction is hard to follow.



#4 Icehvs

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 02:10 AM

Hi!

 

I have two issues, and they might be connected. The first one is that the plot's description feels rushed. Give us a glimpse into not sjut "why" happens, how "why" it happens. Just a little bit of it could bring that paragraph to life a lot stronger. The story sound interesting from this amount, but I'd advise you to give us just a little more. Show the motivations. The conflicts.

 

The other thing is that your bio basically overshadows the plot's description. It's about as long when it should be considereably shorter, just one or two sentences. Personally, it would make me feel you want to sell yourself, and not your idea. WE can argue that that's the business we're in, but I think it's the wrong approach when trying to snatch an agent.



#5 Theo A. Gerken

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 05:38 AM

Running Toward The Dawn is a 100,000-word solarpunk novel set in 2175, in what was once the American Southwest. The Deseret city of New Zion is restoring an antique hydro-electric dam that was taken offline after the Crash of 2029. As the story begins, the reservoir is filling, the river is rising, and the canyons of the Tó Nilinigii Diné’é are drowning.  

After a lightning strike four years ago, Taliah Tsinijinnie's eyesight began to dim. Her mother believes marrying a shepherd from the uplands of Dinétah is her best option. Taliah disagrees. With nothing to lose, she goes to the city, hoping to stop the dam. But once there, she realizes the issues are more complex than she understood. When she discovers a friend’s plan to destroy the power station before it can start up, she must decide whether to risk her newly restored eyesight to save it. Allowing the dam to blow would save her home, but destroy people she’s come to care for. In the end, Taliah must decide if she will still be able to find beauty in the world if she no longer has eyes to see it.

In college, when I wasn't working for the EarthFirst! Journal, I was trying to learn Diné bizaad.  I’m not fluent, but once had a poem published in a Navajo language journal, which remains one of my proudest publication credits. I spent a decade living in a river canyon where I grew peaches and worked in a bookstore dedicated to keeping Ed Abbey’s work in print. A few years after attending Clarion West Writers Workshop, I earned an M.S.I.S. and moved to Queens to work as a YA librarian. Today, I live on an old dairy farm where I write, try to civilize a small child, and grow lots of vegetables. It’s a little too far north for good peaches, but I keep trying.

My short stories have appeared in several recent anthologies: The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (2012); Temporally Out of Order (2014), Were- (2016), and Submerged (2017).

 


 

 

I will comment on this from a macro perspective.

 

1) It's 348 words. That 100 words over ABSOLUTE MAX. It's not a query, it's a synopsis.

 

2) Cut the essay about yourself. Only mention the things that are directly related to writing or your book. Everything else doesn't exist.

 

Those are the main problems. Fix them, and it will be 100 times better. Sorry for the harsh words but those things really need fixing. Best of luck to you.

 

/Theo

 

Link my my query below:


Return the favour?? Link my query here.


#6 roxannepark

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Posted 12 August 2017 - 01:17 PM

As other people have mentioned, cutting your bio will give you more to room to work with your story.

 

Running Toward The Dawn is a 100,000-word solarpunk novel set in 2175, in what was once the American Southwest. The Deseret city of New Zion is restoring an antique hydro-electric dam that was taken offline after the Crash of 2029. As the story begins, the reservoir is filling, the river is rising, and the canyons of the Tó Nilinigii Diné’é are drowning. 

 

After a lightning strike four years ago, Taliah Tsinijinnie's eyesight began to dim. Her mother believes marrying a shepherd from the uplands of Dinétah is her best option. Taliah disagrees. With nothing to lose, she goes to the city, hoping to stop the dam. Right off the bat, we have three completely different conflicts: Taliah's eyesight, her family's financial situation(?), and the dam. I'm assuming they're related because they're all in the same query, but I'm not getting that explicint connection. I think you can weave them better. Something like (and this is all guesswork to your plot), "[...] eyesight began to dim. Physically unable to continue [insert family business/way of life] and the dam waters destroying what little home they had, Taliah's mother believes marrying a shepherd [...]".

 

But once there, she realizes the issues are more complex than she understood. It'd be nice to see detail here; even something like, "The dam that's destroying her people is providing life for a thousand others." When she discovers a friend’s plan to destroy the power station before it can start up, she must decide whether to risk her newly restored eyesight to save it. She got her eyesight restored? When? If it's related to the "complex issues" part, that'd be another good detail to throw in (i.e. the electricity from the dam allows people to perform until-now lost medical miracles).  Allowing the dam to blow would save her home, but destroy people she’s come to care for. In the end, Taliah must decide if she will still be able to find beauty in the world if she no longer has eyes to see it. Are her eyes powered by the electricity from the dam? If so, this will be solved if you provide a sentence about how she gets her eyesight restored.

 

 

Overall excellent concept. I love the setting and the vibe I'm getting from what seems like a natural preservation vs technological progress type conflict. Just needs some extra details to tie the whole thing together in a more concrete manner.

 

If you could take a look at my query in return, that'd be awesome: http://agentquerycon...ntasy/?p=345033



#7 Preston Copeland.Biz

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Posted 13 August 2017 - 10:04 AM

Running Toward The Dawn is a 100,000-word solarpunk novel set in 2175, in what was once the American Southwest. The Deseret city of New Zion is restoring an antique hydro-electric dam that was taken offline after the Crash of 2029. As the story begins, the reservoir is filling, the river is rising, and the canyons of the Tó Nilinigii Diné’é are drowning.  ​This is not the correct way to introduce your query. The info I crossed out should be explained in your query pitch, not your introduction. The other info. should be in your last closing paragraph. First paragraph, tell the agent how you know them. 

After a lightning strike four years ago, Taliah Tsinijinnie's eyesight began to dim. Her mother believes marrying a shepherd from the uplands of Dinétah is her best option. Taliah disagrees. With nothing to lose, she goes to the city, hoping to stop the dam. But once there, she realizes the issues are more complex than she understood. When she discovers a friend’s plan to destroy the power station before it can start up, she must decide whether to risk her newly restored eyesight to save it. Allowing the dam to blow would save her home, but destroy people she’s come to care for. In the end, Taliah must decide if she will still be able to find beauty in the world if she no longer has eyes to see it. ​(Hey Susanjet, I think checking out some successful queries on writer's digest or other websites will def. help you out with the requirements. For example, you don't have a clear antagonist in your query. 

​You also want to mention some of these things below, but only biographical, personal stuff if it relates to your story. Like if you have been a gardener for 20 years and you write about plants, that works. Cut this info. below in half. Keep the short story credentials, but use only 1 maybe 2 sentences about other stuff.

In college, when I wasn't working for the EarthFirst! Journal, I was trying to learn Diné bizaad.  I’m not fluent, but once had a poem published in a Navajo ​(does Navajo have to do with this story? if not, cut this sentence. If would be like me writing a story about Mars, and saying I know the French language.) language journal, which remains one of my proudest publication credits. I spent a decade living in a river canyon where I grew peaches and worked in a bookstore dedicated to keeping Ed Abbey’s work in print. A few years after attending Clarion West Writers Workshop, I earned an M.S.I.S. and moved to Queens to work as a YA librarian. Today, I live on an old dairy farm where I write, try to civilize a small child, and grow lots of vegetables. It’s a little too far north for good peaches, but I keep trying. 

​You sound like a really interesting person, just look at the successful queries to see better what I'm talking about.

 

​I hope this info. can help you out. Please reciprocate at - http://agentquerycon...-book/?p=345078


My short stories have appeared in several recent anthologies: The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (2012); Temporally Out of Order (2014), Were- (2016), and Submerged (2017).

 


 


Preston Copeland

Website: prestoncopeland.biz

Twitter: @pcopeland2345

Email: pcopeland2345@gmail.com


#8 kene

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Posted 25 August 2017 - 03:47 PM

Hi, Susan

Running Toward The Dawn is a 100,000-word solarpunk novel set in 2175, in what was once the American Southwest.Intriguing The Deseret city of New Zion is restoring an antique hydro-electric dam that was taken offline after the Crash of 2029. As the story begins, the reservoir is filling, the river is rising, and the canyons of the Tó Nilinigii Diné’é are drowning.  

After a lightning strike four years ago, Taliah Tsinijinnie's eyesight began to dim. Her mother believes marrying a shepherd from the uplands of Dinétah is her best option. Taliah disagrees. With nothing to lose, she goes to the city, hoping to stop the dam. But once there, she realizes the issues are more complex than she understood.How?  When she discovers a friend’s plan plot to destroy the power station before it can start up, she must decide whether to if risking her newly restored eyesight to is worth saveing it. Allowing the dam to blow would save her home, but destroy people she’s come to care for. In the end, Taliah must decide if she will still be able to find beauty in the world if she no longer has eyes to see it.

In college, when I wasn't working for the EarthFirst! no exclamation needed Journal, I was trying to learn Diné bizaad.  I’m not fluent, but once had a poem published in a Navajo language journal, which remains one of my proudest publication credits. I spent a decade living in a river canyon where I grew peaches and worked in a bookstore dedicated to keeping Ed Abbey’s work in print. A few years after attending Clarion West Writers Workshop, I earned an M.S.I.S. and moved to Queens to work as a YA librarian. Today, I live on an old dairy farm where I write, try to civilize a small child, and grow lots of vegetables. It’s a little too far north for good peaches, but I keep trying. Everything after "journal" has nothing to do with the query. It's irrelevant bio. It'll harm you rather than help.  

My short stories have appeared in several recent anthologies: The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity (2012); Temporally Out of Order (2014), Were- (2016), and Submerged (2017).

 


 

I like the part of Taliah loosing her eye sight in a lightening strike. I also like the setting of the year 2175 in Post Southwest America. We know Taliah is the protagonist, but what is she opposing? The stakes are a bit faint. EG: In the hook, why should the reader suddenly care about the canyons of Tó Nilinigii Diné’é? We don't know what that is just yet. Use emotion to "hook" the reader as soon as you possibly can. The hook has more facts than emotion. Build on the dimming of her eyesight and use it to ensnare the reader, showing the stakes.

 

Good Luck, Susan.

Could you have a look at mine?

 

http://agentquerycon...iques/?p=345258







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