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Ouroboros (Science fantasy)


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#1 lnloft

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Posted 16 January 2018 - 03:22 PM

Okay, I'd been resisting this, because... reasons, I guess? But last night I got a personalized rejection from an agent, and while it was a bit of a mixed bag (I was told I had tense issues in the first sentence and should make sure to do another line edit, and I still for the life of me can't figure out what she was talking about (also no longer the first sentence of what you'll find below)), it did get me thinking about some of the other stuff on the start of my manuscript. So, I tweaked a few things, and now I'm posting the very start of my story. It's science fantasy, in case you couldn't gather from my topic title, set in a society where people can travel between worlds with the use of special ships. Not that this is really important context for what you're going to read, but I just thought I'd say it. Anyway, I'm looking for any feedback, really, but I guess especially voice, clarity, and general vibe. So, yes. Thanks in advance.

 

Update in #8.

 

---

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara needed to pick, or even the hundred and first. The door was made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and the point of a puzzle was that it could be solved. If it couldn’t, then it wasn’t really a lock anymore, it was just a big fat wall in the way of progress. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get it open, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I don’t think there is one,” said Ross. “And I’m tired of waiting.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “Then don’t waste my time with inane suggestions, how about?”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#2 A.M.Rose

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 01:16 PM

I think you have a nice start here. There is an obvious goal the MC is working toward, which is great for pace and really draws the reader in. Some super nitpicky things would be, you use "lock" too many times at the start. Consider some variation. I'd also like a little urgency from Lara, that she needs to get in this door, not that this is just another mundane job. It's hinted in the first line but I want a little more from her. Also, Ross is thrown in like we should know who he is. Since you are in 3rd, you could easily give him a descriptor so we know his relation or what he's doing there. For me I found it a little jarring because I thought she was alone, and then he was there and I wasn't sure why. I also couldn't really picture this. Is she sitting, standing? Where is Ross in relation to her? It's mentioned he adjusts his seat, but I didn't know what that meant exactly so maybe a little more description so the reader can visualize this. 

Like I said - nitpicky 

I do already like these characters. I get a good sense for them and like the differences in their personalities. I think it will lead to some great conflict later. If this was in the submission box, I'd keep reading. 

Best of luck to you. 


A.M. Rose

Author of Road to Eugenica - Available 2018 from Entangled Teen 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


#3 rhwashere

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 01:18 PM

Overall, I like the voice and the starting point for the story. I just made some tweaks to it for the purpose of keeping the prose quick and smooth.

 

Okay, I'd been resisting this, because... reasons, I guess? But last night I got a personalized rejection from an agent, and while it was a bit of a mixed bag (I was told I had tense issues in the first sentence and should make sure to do another line edit, and I still for the life of me can't figure out what she was talking about (also no longer the first sentence of what you'll find below)), it did get me thinking about some of the other stuff on the start of my manuscript. So, I tweaked a few things, and now I'm posting the very start of my story. It's science fantasy, in case you couldn't gather from my topic title, set in a society where people can travel between worlds with the use of special ships. Not that this is really important context for what you're going to read, but I just thought I'd say it. Anyway, I'm looking for any feedback, really, but I guess especially voice, clarity, and general vibe. So, yes. Thanks in advance.

 

---

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara needed to pick, or even the hundred and first. (This line threw me off a bit. I think it's the "hundred and first" part. It makes the sentence sound a little clunky to me. Maybe change it to "or even the hundredth"?) The door was made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips  (I like this detail), Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and the point of a puzzle was that it could be solved (This last clause is problematic. Puzzles can have all sorts of points: to entertain, challenge, etc. I would shorten it to "and puzzles were meant to be solved") . If it couldn’t, then it wasn’t really a lock anymore, it was just a big fat wall in the way of progress. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get it open, but it could always be done. I cut all this to keep the prose tight and moving. I don't think it adds much to the scene.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I don’t think there is one,” said Ross. “And I’m tired of waiting.” (Ross sounds like a petulant kid. Maybe that's intended, and without knowing who these people are I can't be sure, but that's just my observation.)

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “Then don’t waste my time with inane suggestions, how about?”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.


Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#4 lnloft

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 05:39 PM

Thanks, guys. You've given me a few things to think about—like while at times Ross might be immature, but he's not a petulant kid, and this is in fact just some other mundane job for Lara, not warranting any particular urgency, but if I've given you reason to think that it should be that way, then that means I need to look at tweaks. But good to know I seem to be on the right track.

 

I'm going to let these things percolate for a few days before taking another stab, but in the meantime I'll keep accepting feedback as long as people are willing to give it.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#5 Sataris

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Posted 17 January 2018 - 06:20 PM

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara needed to pick, or even the hundred and first I agree that this is a tiny bit clunky- maybe hundredth, as suggested above? The door was made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and the point of a puzzle was that it could be solved. If it couldn’t, then it wasn’t really a lock anymore, it was just a big fat wall in the way of progress. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get it open, but it could always be done.  I like this, but whenever I'm reading slush i find that too long of a monologue early on drags me out of a story. I do love the interplay with the next line.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes five seconds of waiting.

         Lara exhaled heavily huffed (to avoid the adverb) and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.” I'd dump the italics 

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I don’t think there is another one,” said this is the first time you've used said in front of the speaker, could possibly be distracting Ross. “And I’m tired of waiting.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “Then don’t waste my time with inane suggestions, how about?”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

Yup yup, I like this. The dialogue is fun and full of voice. I think it'd be a little stronger if you ditched the second half of the puzzle bit as suggested above, but either way I'd keep reading. Thievery and explosions? I'm in. Thanks for the feedback on my query(s)!


No current query.


#6 Arcanjoe

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 09:06 AM

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara needed to pick, or even the hundred and first first she'd picked today (just an idea. With a line like that we immediately understand the type of person Lara is.) The door was made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock. (Nice. I can see this clearly.)

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and the point of a puzzle was that it could be solved.(Great line. Shows character again.) If it couldn’t, then it wasn’t really a lock anymore, it was just a big fat wall in the way of progress. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get it open, but it could always be done (I think you could use something stronger than 'done' here. Conquered? Teased open? Picked? Solved?)

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting. (I don't get a clear sense of where Ross is in the room. Hovering by her left shoulder? Leaning against a wall in a fairly disinterested manner? Acting as the lookout by the door? The clearer the picture you can paint, the better for us readers.)

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I don’t think there is one,” said Ross. “And I’m tired of waiting.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “Then don’t waste my time with inane suggestions, how about?” (I had to read this line of dialogue a few times because the 'how about?' seemed out of place in the sentence. 'Then how about you stop wasting my time with inane suggestions' is clearer (to me). It may be the case that you're going for a dialect unique to your world and characters (or maybe be it's just because I'm English) but the sentence construction sounded odd to my ear.) 

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

I enjoyed this start. I got a feel for both characters (though I don't know if they're friends, brother/sister or dating, or where they are in the room in relation to one another) and the voice is playful and interesting. Hope my crit helps!

 

I'd be very grateful if you could look at my 250 words (in the signature below). Thanks and great work!


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

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 


#7 Sataris

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 01:29 PM

I agree that the how about thing can be a little jarring, but I'd probably just assume that speech like that was one of the character's affectations. I wasn't quite sure where to picture Ross in the room either, but found it more intentional given that the monologue before was talking about him. A quick like qualifier like leaning against the wall or so on would probably help, though. I really like the "or even the first she'd picked today" Arcanjoe posted above as well; that would emphasize that she's not undertaking some epic task and tell us she's a career thief without explaining too much.


No current query.


#8 lnloft

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 07:08 PM

Thanks, everyone! I've enacted a few changes. Adding "or even the first she'd picked today" would be a nice change, except for the fact that it wouldn't be true in my story. :blink:  I have a comment/question, but I'm going to put it after the sample so I'm not biasing anyone while they read.

 

Oh, and while I've got you, just wanted to share that I just got a partial request tonight! I haven't been getting the rate I'd hoped for, but a bite is still a bite. :biggrin:  Now have one full and one partial out (and a whole boatload of rejections).

 

Anyway, my writing:

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever needed to pick. This one was set in a door made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and puzzles were meant to be solved. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get there, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting. He sat a little behind her on the cave floor, his back to the wall.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I doubt we’d find one,” said Ross. “And looking would be even slower than this.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “It would go faster if you weren’t offering inane suggestions.”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

Okay, so, my question/comment: people have been referring to my characters as thieves, and they're not. I totally get why you're getting that vibe, but they're not even doing anything illegal here. They're basically treasure hunters (think Indiana Jones-ish without the pretext of being archaeologists). My query basically refers to Lara as a treasure hunter, so one would assume the agents are coming in with that in mind, and if I had more than 250 words here it would probably start being evident relatively quickly that they're not thieves. But people are getting that vibe, which I don't necessarily want. So do you think it's a problem? I feel like it would sound clunky to insert some line about them being treasure hunters in what I have here, but if you have thoughts, I'm open for them. Thanks!


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#9 rhwashere

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 09:29 AM

If it makes you feel any better, I never thought they were thieves. I think it’s fine if you don’t spell that out in the first 250 words. Better to keep them guessing.

I think this revision reads much smoother. Nothing I would change here.

And congrats on the request! That’s exciting!

Please feel free to critique my query: http://agentquerycon...51718/?p=356935


#10 MICRONESIA

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:13 PM

Okay, I'd been resisting this, because... reasons, I guess? But last night I got a personalized rejection from an agent, and while it was a bit of a mixed bag (I was told I had tense issues in the first sentence and should make sure to do another line edit, and I still for the life of me can't figure out what she was talking about (also no longer the first sentence of what you'll find below)), it did get me thinking about some of the other stuff on the start of my manuscript. So, I tweaked a few things, and now I'm posting the very start of my story. It's science fantasy, in case you couldn't gather from my topic title, set in a society where people can travel between worlds with the use of special ships. Not that this is really important context for what you're going to read, but I just thought I'd say it. Anyway, I'm looking for any feedback, really, but I guess especially voice, clarity, and general vibe. So, yes. Thanks in advance.

 

---

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever(?) needed to pick, or even the hundred and first. The door was made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and the point of a puzzle was that it could be solved. If it couldn’t, then it wasn’t really a lock anymore, Comma splice. it was just a big fat wall in the way of progress. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get it open, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.” Why italics? They seem unnecessary.

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I don’t think there is one,” said Ross. “And I’m tired of waiting.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “Then don’t waste my time with inane suggestions, how about?”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

This works for me. There are a few tiny errors here and there, but as far as a first page goes, I'm sold.

 

ETA: I didn't see you'd posted an update. Anyway, I don't think it REALLY matters that we know exactly what they're doing on the first page. She's an expert lock-picker and they're trying to get into a cave... so my mind definitely went Indiana Jones instead of bank heist. But like I said, I don't know if it matters this early.



#11 lnloft

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:24 PM

Thanks for the feedback. My mistake for not making it clear that I've updated.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#12 alibi174

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 04:11 PM

    It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever needed to pick. This one was set in a door made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. [why is this important?  Does it make it somehow harder to pick than other locks? Is she unfamiliar with the setting?] Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on [a little too telling. Maybe show that all her attention is on the tool and the hole of the lock in the way that she blocks out everything surrounding her?] her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and puzzles were meant to be solved. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get there, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about less than five minutes of waiting. He sat a little behind her on the cave floor, his back to the wall.[Maybe have him fidgeting with something to show his impatience]

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat.[Is she still picking the lock at this point, or has she stopped?] “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I doubt we’d find one,” said Ross. “And looking would be even slower than this.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “It would go faster if you weren’t offering inane [this word seems a bit too formal/advanced for someone who begins a sentence with "Don't want to cause...."] suggestions.”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

 

I agree with other comments that it's fine not to reveal the fact that they are treasure hunters (rather than thieves) just yet. I like the mystery behind why Lara might be picking this lock. Congrats on the requests, and good luck!


If you have a few moments, I'd appreciate your feedback on my query for BISECTER (YA Fantasy).


#13 Queen of my backyard

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 07:21 PM

I like your revision but do agree with alibi174's suggestions. Also don't think it's an issue not to reveal they're treasure hunters. But now that I DO know they're treasure hunters, I'm totally interested in the rest of the story! :) Good luck with those requests!


If you found my comments helpful, please consider critiquing my query at http://agentquerycon...fantasyrevised/


#14 dizzywriter

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Posted 20 January 2018 - 07:49 PM

Thank you for your comments on mine.

I like this a lot. The writing is very good, very active.

Any quibbles I might have would just be judgments calls which some others already posted. But I'd keep "had" out of the first sentence.

I imagined that they were somewhere not on earth. Mentioning "treasure" would be intriguing.

Take a look at my update if you can.



#15 Sataris

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Posted 21 January 2018 - 11:28 PM

Congrats on the requests!

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever needed to pick. This one was set in a door made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and puzzles were meant to be solved. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get there, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting. He sat a little behind her on the cave floor, his back to the wall. nice anchor

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I doubt we’d find one,” this is better said Ross. “And looking would be even slower than this.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “It would go faster if you weren’t offering inane suggestions.” this is better too

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

Okay, so, my question/comment: people have been referring to my characters as thieves, and they're not. I totally get why you're getting that vibe, but they're not even doing anything illegal here. They're basically treasure hunters (think Indiana Jones-ish without the pretext of being archaeologists). My query basically refers to Lara as a treasure hunter, so one would assume the agents are coming in with that in mind, and if I had more than 250 words here it would probably start being evident relatively quickly that they're not thieves. But people are getting that vibe, which I don't necessarily want. So do you think it's a problem? I feel like it would sound clunky to insert some line about them being treasure hunters in what I have here, but if you have thoughts, I'm open for them. Thanks!

I don't think there's any need to specify that they're treasure hunters at all. It's engaging either way. I like the changes you've made as well, not that the original needed many.


No current query.


#16 Wayfarer

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 12:11 AM

I don't think its necessary to explain what they are in such a small starting portion of the story. You're aiming to draw us into the characters personalities right off the bat, which I enjoy, so I say stick with that, and let the larger details become fleshed out as the story progresses.

With that said:

 

   It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever needed to pick, nor was it of a sort she was unfamiliar withIt, like many she had encountered before, was set in a door made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and puzzles were meant to be solved. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get there, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting. He sat a little behind her on the cave floor, his back to the wall.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I doubt we’d find one,” said Ross. “And looking would be even slower than this.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “It would go faster if you weren’t offering inane suggestions.”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

I really only had that one change to suggest. The first and second sentence didn't connect as well as I thought they could have, but it may just be personal preference. Either way, I would say consider the idea of twining them a bit more.

Also, I love your style, just from this short blurb, so keep pushing, looking forward to reading the published work someday.



#17 lnloft

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Posted 22 January 2018 - 09:09 PM

Thank you everyone for your wonderful feedback! I'm feeling good about this, so I'm going to close discussion on this, but I'll still be around to take ganders at queries when I get the chance.


Nothing to reciprocate on right now; I'm off in the query trenches.


#18 TClark

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Posted 28 January 2018 - 02:52 PM

Thanks, everyone! I've enacted a few changes. Adding "or even the first she'd picked today" would be a nice change, except for the fact that it wouldn't be true in my story. :blink:  I have a comment/question, but I'm going to put it after the sample so I'm not biasing anyone while they read.

 

Oh, and while I've got you, just wanted to share that I just got a partial request tonight! I haven't been getting the rate I'd hoped for, but a bite is still a bite. :biggrin:  Now have one full and one partial out (and a whole boatload of rejections).

 

Anyway, my writing:

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever needed to pick. This one was set in a door made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and puzzles were meant to be solved. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get there, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting. He sat a little behind her on the cave floor, his back to the wall.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I doubt we’d find one,” said Ross. “And looking would be even slower than this.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “It would go faster if you weren’t offering inane suggestions.”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

Okay, so, my question/comment: people have been referring to my characters as thieves, and they're not. I totally get why you're getting that vibe, but they're not even doing anything illegal here. They're basically treasure hunters (think Indiana Jones-ish without the pretext of being archaeologists). My query basically refers to Lara as a treasure hunter, so one would assume the agents are coming in with that in mind, and if I had more than 250 words here it would probably start being evident relatively quickly that they're not thieves. But people are getting that vibe, which I don't necessarily want. So do you think it's a problem? I feel like it would sound clunky to insert some line about them being treasure hunters in what I have here, but if you have thoughts, I'm open for them. Thanks!

 

So my impression of the opening is overall great! However, your first paragraph is horrendous to open your book. It didn't draw me in, instead I was stuck re-reading the description of the cave/lock twice to make sure I understood what was happening. I recommend a complete re-write of your first 3-4 sentences and possibly make your sentence structure more simplistic. The opening lines shouldn't be complicated and stressful for the reader.

 

That being said... the rest is really good. The dialogue is witty, the lock/puzzle commentary was great, and just overall interesting!



#19 Emily804

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Posted 24 February 2018 - 09:03 PM

Thanks, everyone! I've enacted a few changes. Adding "or even the first she'd picked today" would be a nice change, except for the fact that it wouldn't be true in my story. :blink:  I have a comment/question, but I'm going to put it after the sample so I'm not biasing anyone while they read.

 

Oh, and while I've got you, just wanted to share that I just got a partial request tonight! I haven't been getting the rate I'd hoped for, but a bite is still a bite. :biggrin:  Now have one full and one partial out (and a whole boatload of rejections).

 

Anyway, my writing:

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever needed to pick. This one was set in a door made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Most people didn’t understand, that locks weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and puzzles were meant to be solved. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get there, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting. He sat a little behind her on the cave floor, his back to the wall.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I doubt we’d find one,” said Ross. “And looking would be even slower than this.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “It would go faster if you weren’t offering inane suggestions.”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

Okay, so, my question/comment: people have been referring to my characters as thieves, and they're not. I totally get why you're getting that vibe, but they're not even doing anything illegal here. They're basically treasure hunters (think Indiana Jones-ish without the pretext of being archaeologists). My query basically refers to Lara as a treasure hunter, so one would assume the agents are coming in with that in mind, and if I had more than 250 words here it would probably start being evident relatively quickly that they're not thieves. But people are getting that vibe, which I don't necessarily want. So do you think it's a problem? I feel like it would sound clunky to insert some line about them being treasure hunters in what I have here, but if you have thoughts, I'm open for them. Thanks!

To answer your question I definitely don't think you need to say that they are not thieves. The fact that you don't know why they are picking the lock adds interest. It's not a bad thing if agents at first think that they are thieves. The only thing I would change is the sentence I highlighted in blue. You can take my suggestion or rephrase it a different way, but the original phrasing was a bit awkward. 

Congrats on your requests!!


Query Compatibility YA sci-fi: http://agentquerycon...lity-ya-sci-fi/


#20 Dianam

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 04:44 PM

Thanks, everyone! I've enacted a few changes. Adding "or even the first she'd picked today" would be a nice change, except for the fact that it wouldn't be true in my story. :blink:  I have a comment/question, but I'm going to put it after the sample so I'm not biasing anyone while they read.

 

Oh, and while I've got you, just wanted to share that I just got a partial request tonight! I haven't been getting the rate I'd hoped for, but a bite is still a bite. :biggrin:  Now have one full and one partial out (and a whole boatload of rejections).

 

Anyway, my writing:

 

         It wasn’t the first lock Lara had ever needed to pick. This one was set in a door made of hard granite, carved straight into the rock face at the end of the cave. Crouched before it, tongue peeking out from between her lips, Lara focused on her tools and the little hole of the lock.

         Locks, most people didn’t understand, weren’t actually barriers: they were puzzles, and puzzles were meant to be solved. Sometimes it took a lot of time and sideways thinking to get there, but it could always be done.

         Unfortunately, some people just didn’t have the patience to see it that way.

         “I could blow it up,” Ross offered after about five minutes of waiting. He sat a little behind her on the cave floor, his back to the wall.

         Lara exhaled heavily and pressed her forehead against the smooth, cold stone. “No.”

         She didn’t turn, but she heard the rustle of cloth as Ross readjusted his seat. “Just a suggestion. Might speed things up a bit.”

         “We’re not blowing it up,” Lara insisted. “We don’t know the structure inside. Don’t want to cause the whole thing to collapse. If we can’t get in here, we’ll find another door.”

         “I doubt we’d find one,” said Ross. “And looking would be even slower than this.”

         Lara fiddled with the thin metal rod she had inserted into the slot. “It would go faster if you weren’t offering inane suggestions.”

         Ross was silent for a moment, but only a moment. Lara knew another comment was coming. “Blowing it up would be more fun,” he muttered.

 

Okay, so, my question/comment: people have been referring to my characters as thieves, and they're not. I totally get why you're getting that vibe, but they're not even doing anything illegal here. They're basically treasure hunters (think Indiana Jones-ish without the pretext of being archaeologists). My query basically refers to Lara as a treasure hunter, so one would assume the agents are coming in with that in mind, and if I had more than 250 words here it would probably start being evident relatively quickly that they're not thieves. But people are getting that vibe, which I don't necessarily want. So do you think it's a problem? I feel like it would sound clunky to insert some line about them being treasure hunters in what I have here, but if you have thoughts, I'm open for them. Thanks!

I like the dialog and action of this a lot! However, although the original first line was a bit clunky, I miss the voice of it in this revision. What if you kept more of the original? Something like: "It wasn't the first lock Lara had needed to pick or even the hundredth." This brings back the feeling of this being a routine task and almost a feeling of weariness or "here we go again" and sets up the reader to anticlpate a sudden change in the routine. I don't know what comes after these 250 words, but it does seem like you're setting the scene up for something unusual to happen, something that shakes Lara's complacency, and I like that feeling. Just a quick note on your question about thieves vs. treasure hunters--I think it's okay that there's this ambiguity, but if you want it clearer that they're treasure hunters, you might want to continue the kinds of descriptions of the setting that you have in the second sentence. Also, this is tiny, but you might want to think about your MC's name. Given the context, it makes me think of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider! Thanks for posting this--it was fun to read!






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