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PUREST BLACK (YA sci-fi)

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#181 PureZhar3

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 03:38 PM

QUERY VERSION #?

Rebellion leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob.

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has risen as the world's biggest threat. He subjugated the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, Star wants Jacob dead. Jacob has veiled himself in secrecy, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator.

 

When the attack fails, Star is captured by Jacob. He reads her thoughts, claims to be good, and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul.


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#182 TeaTime

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 09:38 PM

QUERY VERSION #?

Rebellion (Maybe just "Rebel"?) leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob.

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has risen (Is this presently true, or in the past until he conquered the world (which is the present state?)?) as the world's biggest threat. He subjugated ("Subjugated" is fine, but doesn't feel as brutal as I imagine this was--crushed, overthrew, seized might be some other possible words.) the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, Star wants Jacob dead. Jacob has veiled himself in secrecy, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator.

 

When the attack fails, Star is captured by Jacob. (This sentence is a bit awkward/passive. I see why it wouldn't be good to start this sentence with "Jacob" or "But" after the last sentence though. Does the attack fail by itself or does Jacob have some sense that they are coming? If so, you can work in some of his omniscience to make the sentence more active.) He reads her thoughts, claims to be good, and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness to report to the rebellion. (Maybe "a weakness that the rebellion can exploit") Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him. (This makes it sound as if she has totally ditched being against him, but I assume her feelings are actually conflicted between wanting to stop him & wanting to get closer to him.)

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. (Good)

 

I feel like most of my suggestions with this newer query version are surface issues, so this is definitely getting better. :smile: 


Feel Free to Check Out My Current Query Letter Here, Thank You


#183 mkuriel

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 09:31 AM

 

​NEWEST QUERY ALWAYS IN FIRST POST

 

QUERY VERSION #?

Rebellion leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about only the tyrant king's, except his name: Jacob. [nothing technically wrong with this - just showing a style option that focuses on what exists, rather than what doesn't. And it's highly unlikely that a single person can run the world without willing minions, so the 'and the people of Earth' is inaccurate dramatic hyperbole unless Jacob is not one of the people of earth. Did you mean to imply that he isn't?]

 

After [did this happen concurrently, or was he born into a wasteland?] a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has risen as is [make it immediate] the world's [could use humanity's; they're synonymous in meaning in this sentence] biggest [this seems childish. And, unless he's larger than the weather, probably inaccurate.] threat. He subjugated the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse [She's having discourse with whom? Can't be Jacob, she knows only his name. Is unavailing discourse the whining of ineffectual rebels? or maybe pointless negotiation with puppet governments?]  , Star wants Jacob dead. Jacob has veiled himself in secrecy, but new spy intelligence [why the emphasis on information rather than the spy?] finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator.

 

When the attack fails, Star is captured by Jacob. He reads her thoughts, claims to be good, and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness to report to the rebellion. [this just reads weak. Is she a rebel leader or not? Point being, leaders act on information; people that don't know what to do with it report it to leaders. Suggest making what Star hunts for active and concrete: a way to undermine his regime, a way to kill him, etc...] Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul.

 

I mostly nit-picked. It's a good query, just vague in a few places. 

 

I suggest considering altering and combining the sentences about Jacob. Seems that after the apocalyptic weather, Jacob subjugated the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions. I suppose a critic could complain about it being a long sentence. So, stay true to the style you use in the narrative. 

 

Hope that helps,



#184 Oldborne

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 03:58 PM

Rebellion leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob. Good hook, raises questions but the good kind.
 
After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has risen as the world's biggest threat 'threat' feels like the wrong word here since a century of apocalyptic weather sounds pretty god damn world ending. Maybe something that implies he's come out on top or in control. He subjugated the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power How?. Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, Star wants Jacob dead. Jacob has veiled himself in secrecy I don't think the first part of this sentence works because we already know a fair deal about him from the earlier part of this paragraph. Perhaps it could read: "Although an elusive man, new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate Jacob" Something like that but better worded, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator.
 
When the attack fails, Star is captured by Jacob Why was the rebellion's leader even there? Either this is a tiny rebellion or Star has a case of James Kirk syndrome. He reads her honestly was picturing Star as a man thoughts literally? If so, psychic powers out of nowhere, claims to be good, and refuses to explain how either are possible I like this line . Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.
 
When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion what makes it either one of these things?, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. Pretty solid stakes.

Overall this is a nice query and gives a good feel for both the world and the plot. I do, however, feel like I've learnt a lot more about Jacob than I have about Star. The query reads almost as though the book's entirely about him. I didn't even know Star was a woman until the third paragraph (as far as names go, Star could easily go either way in a SF setting). I would suggest giving us a little less about Jacob, since he's supposed to be secretive and whatnot, and a little more about Star. What are her motivations? Why is she sided with the rebellion to begin with? etc etc

Hope I've been of some help.    

All feedback appreciated: http://agentquerycon...ust-sf-mystery/

 


#185 PureZhar3

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:14 AM

Thanks to all for your suggestions! I updated based on your comments, and I think I'm going to try out this query soon. I'll leave it up for another few days for any new comments, but otherwise I'll give it a go.


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#186 rhwashere

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 10:40 AM

I just have two suggestions to improve clarity:

Paragraph 2 : Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, Star wants to meet THE ELUSIVE DICTATOR -- then she wants to kill him. AND new spy intel finally offers THE chance.

Paragraph 3: He IS ABLE TO read her thoughts, claims to be good...

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


#187 kleblanc13

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 03:15 PM

 

QUERY VERSION #?

Rebellion leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob.

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has risen as the world's biggest threat. He subjugated the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, Star wants Jacob dead (This makes it sound like she only wants Jacob dead because their raids have failed. And how can they have engaged Jacob in discourse if they know nothing but his name? I'd assume she wants him dead just because of what he's done to the Earth. The first part of the sentence about fruitless raids, etc, makes me think that Star is more frustrated with the rebellion she's part of, and wants to strike out on her own because of it. Right now the first half of the sentence does not seem to be the cause of the second half). Jacob has veiled himself in secrecy, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator.

 

When the attack fails, Star is captured by Jacob. He reads her thoughts, claims to be good ('claims to be good' doesn't feel very strong or compelling to me), and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him. (Starting to feel like this is primarily a romance?)

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant (right now it seems like the rebellion's goals are to crush Jacob because he's presumably evil. But what you're saying is that she's learned the truth about Jacob and still can't decide between him and the rebellion. So is he evil or not? If he's not, it makes sense that she would choose Jacob, but you'd think she'd try to convince the rebellion of what she's learned--I can see them refusing to believe her being a good motivation for needing to stand against them. Right now it reads like Star isn't actually sure if Jacob's good or not but is curious enough to follow him regardless just because he's interesting and the rebellion isn't doing so hot. That makes less sense to me as a plotline / motivation for Star). The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul.

 

There's definitely some interesting plot threads in here, but as the query stands right now I'm a little confused by Star's motivations as well as the genre (romance heavy? Not romance heavy?)

 

Thanks for your comments on my query. Hope you find some of this helpful.

 



#188 galian84

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Posted 04 April 2018 - 08:52 PM

 

QUERY VERSION #?

Rebellion leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob. (This is better, and I would read on)

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has risen as the world's biggest threat. He subjugated the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. (This is much more clear and easy to understand) Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, Star wants Jacob dead (Just because of the failed raids on him? I'm also not sure what 'unavailing discourse' means). Jacob has veiled himself in secrecy, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator (are you talking about Jacob, here? If so, I'd make that clear).

 

When the attack (what attack?) fails, Star is captured by Jacob (I'd think about rewording this...simply "Jacob captures Star"). He reads her thoughts, claims to be good (think another critter mentioned this, but I feel like you could reword this to make it punchier. Maybe something like...convinces her he's on her side?), and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness to report to the rebellion . Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him. (The sudden change in POV to Star's, jarred me. I'd consider keeping this to Jacob's POV)

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant (again, are you talking about Jacob, here? I'm not super clear). The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. (Compelling stakes!)

 

Hi there, your query is definitely looking much better! Just a note but I haven't looked through your last few revisions. So consider this as me coming in almost-fresh to your most current revision. Take from this what you will :)

 

I also got taken out a little bit from the query from the sudden change from Jacob's to Star's POV. I found it a little hard to follow, but I don't read much sci-fi, so that could be a reason why. 

 

You're getting there. Believe me, I know how many times it can take to get a query just right (and mine isn't even all there, yet). This is definitely one of the best forums I've found where people help you through multiple revisions. Keep plugging away! Good luck! I'll look for your new revision, if you decide to revise again.



#189 SnowFox23

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 12:21 AM

Rebel leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob. I'm a bit confused by this because it sounds like Star is not from Earth? Not sure if that is what you're going for.

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, you mean like scorched lands and stuff? or no? Jacob has crushed the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing discourse, don't get that bit Star wants to meet Jacob -- and then she wants to kill him. Though elusive, new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator.

 

When the attack fails, Star is captured by Jacob. He reads her thoughts, claims to be good, and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness the rebellion can exploit. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.  so she would risk the fate of the world just to be close to him? wtf?

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, eh, why would she bother or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul.

These stakes are pretty meh. Nobody would bother sticking with an ineffective rebellion. That's what rebellions are all about, causing an uprising. An ineffective rebellion is basically an oxymoron. Plus, why not indulge her curiosity? She could get in good with Jacob and find out a way to beat him. That would be a very effective rebellion!

 

I would go with the draft on page #8. It is much tidier, and more compelling :)



#190 PureZhar3

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 08:40 AM

Hi there, your query is definitely looking much better! Just a note but I haven't looked through your last few revisions. So consider this as me coming in almost-fresh to your most current revision. Take from this what you will :)

 

I also got taken out a little bit from the query from the sudden change from Jacob's to Star's POV. I found it a little hard to follow, but I don't read much sci-fi, so that could be a reason why. 

 

You're getting there. Believe me, I know how many times it can take to get a query just right (and mine isn't even all there, yet). This is definitely one of the best forums I've found where people help you through multiple revisions. Keep plugging away! Good luck! I'll look for your new revision, if you decide to revise again.

Thanks Galian! The shift in POV was noted... I tried to focus it more on Star this time, just with wording and stuff. Let me know if you think my new revision is better :)


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#191 Arcanjoe

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 12:27 PM

 

​NEWEST QUERY ALWAYS IN FIRST POST

 

Link to my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...lack-ya-sci-fi/

 

All critiques are appreciated and will be reciprocated :) Thank you all!

 

QUERY VERSION #xxx

Rebel leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob. (The people of Earth and their rebel leader Star know nothing... Does that phrasing work better?)

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has crushed the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and whining rebels, Star wants to meet the elusive dictator -- then she wants to kill him (You could probably cut the mention of 'meet' and just say she wants to kill him.) And new spy intel finally offers  (*her) the chance.

 

During the failed assassination attempt, Jacob captures Star and reads her thoughts. He claims to be saving the world but refuses to explain how.  how either are possible. (what do you mean by 'how either is possible'? How he can read minds and how he's saving the world?) Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness the rebellion can exploit. (But why does he tolerate the questioning? An all powerful king wouldn't converse with some lowly rebel unless there was a reason. Does he want something from her? Does she amuse him? Got to be something for it to even make sense.) Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective (I get it, but I'd cut 'ineffective' if you want to present it as a choice that will take her more than a couple seconds to make.) but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. (The stakes are clear but something about the mention of soul in the last line bugs me because you're ending the query on a word which hasn't played any part in the story you've told us so far. Could you reword it to be heart vs head?)

 

PUREST BLACK (100,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the pace and structure of Marissa Myer’s “Renegades” with the style and atmosphere of Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale”.

 

 

 

I think I mentioned this the last time I commented, but it's still very difficult for me to have any positive feelings about Jacob. Maybe present some redeeming quality about him so the prospect of Star accepting his offer over her own people doesn't seem absurd. You intro him by telling us he's crushed governments, killed millions and re-instituted the slave trade, so not to give us anything redeeming about him other than 'cold charisma' is never going to get an agent/reader fully buy into this choice. People love to see villainous characters redeemed but in a query if you present so many negative actions/traits, you've got to present something positive so we understand he's more than a murderous tyrant.

 

Overall, I'm interested by the story. But as you can see I had a lot of questions. From the information you've presented, I am not sold on how Star (or anyone in their right mind) can begin falling for Jacob. Or why she would agree to align herself with him for the truth about his power. What could she do with that truth if she's given up on the rebellion by then? Take power for herself? Great, tell us that. That would make sense.

 

Hope the above helps!


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/

 


#192 BadgerFox

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 12:51 PM

Returning favour after you helped me with mine :) I haven't looked at the earlier versions too much so I'm just judging from current incaranation here.

 



 

QUERY VERSION #?

Rebellion leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob. [I rather like this opening line :)]

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has risen as the world's biggest threat. He subjugated the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and unavailing [sure a more commonly used synonym wouldn't be better here? I had to reach for the dictionary, and that doesn't often happen. Unusual vocabulary in a query can be a good thing, sure, if it's the exact right word for the job, but here, it feels a tad distracting. Maybe 'fruitless', 'abortive', 'ineffectual', 'unproductive', 'unsucessful'...?] discourse ['discourse'? Again, this could be a case of having revised this query so many times now that unusual vocabulary choices aren't registering with you anymore, but that feels like a perplexing word to use here. 'Discourse' seems like the chunks of text that get analysed in a sociology dissertation. Is the intention to say that there's been some attempt at verbal/written communication between Jacob's side and Star's side, and it hasn't amounted to much? Maybe 'negotiation', 'discussion', 'communication' etc instead...?], Star wants Jacob dead. Jacob has veiled himself in secrecy, but new spy intel finally offers a chance to assassinate the global dictator.

 

When the attack fails, Star is captured by Jacob. He reads her thoughts, claims to be good, and refuses to explain how either are possible. [That second sentence was a little confusing. 'Good' seems too subjective and conditional a word to use there, as there's no accepted definition for it in this situation. It's not like being a 'good dog' or a 'good boy'. It doesn't seem like he'd use that word to describe himself. However, I think in context it's probably ok to stand. By the time I get to the end of the query it makes some sense in context] Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness to report to the rebellion. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 


When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. [I feel that the third paragraph was a little hard to understand, but that the query really sells it on the fourth paragraph and makes up for it. I love a good rock-and-a-hard-place moral dilemma in the things I read, and I feel sure many agents do too :) . It's a damn good tough choice to give a character. Sell out to a charismatic enemy and be on the winning side, or go back to a virtuous lost cause that might technically be misguided in its aims after all? Good one.]

 

 

I think this is pretty close! Maybe just try to check over a few vocabulary choices with fresh eyes, and imagine you were seeing them for the first time, and maybe poke around on Thesaurus.com for a few minutes to see if a synonym wouldn't do better. Apart from that, I think it overall makes sense and I like the psychological element and the moral dilemma. As stakes go, these seem very readable.

 

Edit: O no, am I querying the wrong version? :( I thought this version was the most recent one. O dear! I didn't mean to confuse the thread.


Spare a little feedback, if you have a moment? :)

My AU historical novel query: here. Thank you!


#193 PureZhar3

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 04:07 PM

Returning favour after you helped me with mine :) I haven't looked at the earlier versions too much so I'm just judging from current incaranation here.

 

 

I think this is pretty close! Maybe just try to check over a few vocabulary choices with fresh eyes, and imagine you were seeing them for the first time, and maybe poke around on Thesaurus.com for a few minutes to see if a synonym wouldn't do better. Apart from that, I think it overall makes sense and I like the psychological element and the moral dilemma. As stakes go, these seem very readable.

 

Edit: O no, am I querying the wrong version? :( I thought this version was the most recent one. O dear! I didn't mean to confuse the thread.

 

That's okay! I query older versions all the time, and that's my second most recent version, so your comments were still helpful. Thanks for the return favor!


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#194 PureZhar3

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 04:08 PM

Returning favour after you helped me with mine :) I haven't looked at the earlier versions too much so I'm just judging from current incaranation here.

 

 

I think this is pretty close! Maybe just try to check over a few vocabulary choices with fresh eyes, and imagine you were seeing them for the first time, and maybe poke around on Thesaurus.com for a few minutes to see if a synonym wouldn't do better. Apart from that, I think it overall makes sense and I like the psychological element and the moral dilemma. As stakes go, these seem very readable.

 

Edit: O no, am I querying the wrong version? :( I thought this version was the most recent one. O dear! I didn't mean to confuse the thread.

 

Also, would you mind telling me if you think that the newest version (found in the original post) clears up the third paragraph at all?


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#195 TheBest

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 04:16 PM

Rebel leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob. (Good hook. Don't know if it's enough to stand on its own though -- add sentence after it, or adjective for king.)

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather (Weather? Storms. Storms or hurricanes or tempests.), Jacob has crushed the remaining governments, instituted slave trades Instituted( Don't like instituted here. Maybe brought back?) slave trade, and killed millions to secure power. (You keep it nice and simple. Good.) Frustrated with fruitless raids and whining rebels, Star wants to meet the elusive dictator -- then she wants to kill him. And new spy intel finally offers the chance. (Should have included Jacob's age earlier, since he is younger, right? My advice -- add  quick sentence after your opener about the REAL jacob. Age, temperament, cunning, power etc etc etc)

 

During the failed assassination attempt, Jacob captures Star. He reads her thoughts, claims he's saving the world (Why), and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness the rebellion can exploit. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him. (Great!)

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. (Fantastic stakes! I think you word them a tad too formally though. Put into one sentence.)

 

PUREST BLACK (100,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the pace and structure of Marissa Myer’s “Renegades” with the style and atmosphere of Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale”.

 

Great query. Everything is clear and concise. My only advise is too add a few details about jacob to show its YA, and a few pieces about the world. This will really only take a few words. I just need to know that Jacob is a teen, and he's not your average teen. Good luck!



#196 mkuriel

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Posted 05 April 2018 - 06:22 PM

 

​NEWEST QUERY ALWAYS IN FIRST POST

 

Link to my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...lack-ya-sci-fi/

 

All critiques are appreciated and will be reciprocated :) Thank you all!

 

QUERY VERSION #xxx


 

 

 

 

Crisp and clean. Stop writing the query and do some agent research. Happy hunting.

 

Seriously, about the only thing you could try to inject would be some voice or personality - I could swap out Jacob and Star for Mary and Pete (yes, the gender swap is intentional) and it would have no impact on this query. Not even sure that's a 'problem' worth solving. Leave it to the prose.

 

Well done! If I were an agent, I would ask for more.

 

Oh, and thanks for all the feedback on Red Initiate. "Almost, but not quite, entirely unlike" was shamelessly borrowed from Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Only the sentence ended with 'tea' instead of comps. The phrase, because of the 'Almost,' means 'similar.' It's almost unlike tea. Not almost tea. Almost unlike. But not quite. So it's similar to tea. But it does take a feat of mental gymnastics to get there. Probably not the best idea to use that line... I was feeling whimsical.



#197 Oldborne

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 01:01 AM

 

​NEWEST QUERY ALWAYS IN FIRST POST

 

Link to my synopsis: http://agentquerycon...lack-ya-sci-fi/

 

All critiques are appreciated and will be reciprocated :) Thank you all!

 

QUERY VERSION #xxx

Rebel leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king, except his name: Jacob.

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob has crushed the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and whining rebels, Star wants to meet the elusive dictator is he a dictator or a king? -- then she wants to kill him. And new spy intel finally offers the chance.

 

During the failed assassination attempt, Jacob captures Star. He reads her thoughts, claims he's saving the world, and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness the rebellion can exploit. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous I would rather this be shown than told rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. 

 

PUREST BLACK (100,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the pace and structure of Marissa Myer’s “Renegades” with the style and atmosphere of Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale”.

 

 

 

My comments are small and can be ignored if you like. Truth is you've got a solid, clear query here. Agents should love it!

Best of luck. 

 


All feedback appreciated: http://agentquerycon...ust-sf-mystery/

 


#198 Cesar Montufar

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 07:27 AM

QUERY VERSION #xxx

Rebel leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their king (feels more fantasy than sci-fi), except his name: Jacob.

 

After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob (the structure of the sentence implies that Jacob has something to do with the weather, but not strongly enough to overcome the strangeness of the idea. Suggest separating). has crushed the remaining governments, instituted slave trades, and killed millions to secure power. Frustrated with fruitless raids and whining rebels (I really struggle with the idea that the rebels are whiny), Star wants to meet the elusive dictator -- then (feels like the wrong word; these desires aren't a sequence) she wants to kill him. And new spy intel finally offers the chance.

 

During the failed assassination attempt, Jacob captures Star. (This should be expanded; it's the most critical thing to happen so far, and we don't get any detail) He reads her thoughts, claims he's saving the world, and refuses to explain how either are possible. Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness the rebellion can exploit. Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice. She can stand by an ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity by joining an unbreakable, persuasive tyrant. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. (These feel like false stakes; no YA protagonist shacks up with the mass murderer bad guy. You only have a story if she sides with the rebellion.)

 

PUREST BLACK (100,000 words), a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the pace and structure of Marissa Myer’s “Renegades” with the style and atmosphere of Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale”.

 

 

The story line sounds cool, but the query doesn't manage to capture the potential intensity. The tone is flat. At the end of this it feels like Star is not under any pressure to make a decision, like she could hang out with Jacob for years without losing options, and all the tension evaporates. I'm guessing that's not the case for the novel, so figure out a way to explain why she has to decide (preferably quickly). You're query has room to expand, flesh it out with specifics and tension.

 

Best of luck!



#199 Christine Michael

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Posted 06 April 2018 - 10:22 AM

Rebel leader Star and the people of Earth know nothing about their except his name: Jacob.

 

In the aftermath of a After a century of apocalyptic weather, Jacob  has crushes all remaining opposing governments, institutes slave trades, and kills millions to secure power. Frustrated Enraged by with futile raids and insubordinate rebels Star makes it her mission to wants to meet  confront this elusive dictator --  she wants to kill him.  I would stop here - that is a great hook - if you want the next line - put it somewhere else. And new spy intel finally offers the chance.

 

During the In a failed assassination attempt,( active language) Jacob captures Star.Star is captured. Jacob He reads her thoughts, claims he's saving the world, and refuses to explain how either are possible. I find this line confusing Engaging him in conversations, Star hunts for a weakness the rebellion can exploit.This line is confusing as well Yet hours alone with his cold charisma rouse a terrifying desire to learn more about Jacob … and not so she can defeat him.Like this line structure and hint of the complications

 

When he offers the truth about his power in exchange for her allegiance, Star faces a choice.  When Jacob barters  - his truth for her intelligence, she must decide (active language)She can Ramain with an  ineffective but virtuous rebellion, or she can indulge her curiosity and create an allegiance with this, persuasive tyrant and risk her life. The former will risk her life. The latter will risk her soul. 

 

PUREST BLACK (100,000 words), ( sounds long for YA) a multi-POV young adult science fiction novel, blends the pace and structure of Marissa Myer’s “Renegades” with the style and atmosphere of Katherine Arden’s “The Bear and the Nightingale”.

 

Hope this helps....

 



#200 PureZhar3

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Posted 14 April 2018 - 09:18 AM

Thanks everyone! I took all the advice into consideration, and I'm sending out my first round of queries today so.... fingers crossed! All your help has been amazing, guys, and it is very much appreciated.


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/






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