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THE CODEX OF DESIRE (Science Fiction), will reciprocate critiques


Best Answer Laurie E. Smith , 12 February 2018 - 02:07 PM

Folks, you won't believe the query letter crit I just received from a literary agent... because I hardly believe it myself. It looks like my hard work has actually paid off!
 
The agent, who was kind enough to get back to me within the same day, said: "I think it is excellent. I read 40-50 queries a day and yours caught my attention. I like the opening sentence, it makes the reader think “what???” and compels them to keep reading. It is clear and to the point and you get the gist of the story. Great premise BTW, very cool. I don’t rep science fiction books but if I did I would be asking for the full. Do you have some agents in mind to query?"
 
And she then proceeded to send me the contact info for three agents to query, including one at Harvey Klinger Inc. WOW, she is TOTALLY AWESOME!
 
GUYS, I AM DANCING AROUND MY HOME STUDIO! I couldn't have asked for much better than that, now could I? :D My happiness is off the charts! And now I feel confident putting the query letter to one side and continuing to work on my synopsis and Twitter pitches.
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#21 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 11:33 AM

Looking forward to this edition. If I may ask, which pitch contest are you entering Feb 14? Those are a lot of fun.

 

It's over on SavvyAuthors.com from Feb 14-16, and I believe it's called "Sweetheart Pitches". :)

https://savvyauthors...vents-calendar/



#22 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:05 PM

Well, here we are, back for kick-at-the-can #5... For some of the points raised, I really can't make the changes requested because they would misrepresent the story. So I've done my best to work within the suggestions provided. :)

The whole thing still fits into a single page, thank goodness! But what I will probably do is also come up with a shorter version, which I'll likewise post to this thread for query. But first I want to get the longer version squared away. Please, do let me know what you think.

**********************

VERSION #5

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

I'm currently seeking representation for my adult novel, THE CODEX OF DESIRE. Given your interest in science fiction, I thought it might be a good fit for your list.

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such savage impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict. Now an ancient dinosaur civilization is threatened with nuclear destruction when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive slave girl of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner, and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free.

The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, his captor, intends to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and longs for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. When Ev'ora learns that he has impregnated La'leet instead of herself, the Chieftess may well kill Tir'at in her fury — or far worse, telepathically break him and turn him into a mere mindless toy for Ev'ora's pleasure.

In despair, Girn'ash flees to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little slave girl can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is a science fiction novel, complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith



#23 Wayfarer

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:08 PM

Writing a good query letter feels an awful lot like stuffing five pounds of sausage into a half-pound casing, without tearing the casing or getting sausage stuffing EVERYWHERE. :) And while keeping all the spices intact that make the darned thing worth eating!
 

I appreciate all the help, folks. It's a bit confusing: some folks are saying "more detail!" while others are saying "less is more!"... it's difficult to chart a course between the two. In the end, as with any author, I suppose all I can do is follow my best instincts based on the excellent advice I've been receiving from many different points of view.

 

Quick question: based on what you've read so far, does CODEX sound like something that could be worth reading? I'm hoping that there's at least a basic level of appeal here that I can build on.

 

 

The query is definitely like that. But, I'm personally finding it an excellent tool for bettering my own writing in general.

 

It's best to be say as much as possible with as little as possible. Finding words that hold the meaning of many, playing with sentence structure and clauses, removing excessive words and phrasing. All really important. Naturally there's more room in the MS itself, but it's still a good rule of thumb.

The query is like writing a condensed story. Pick one, maybe two points of the plot that can provide a little info on the MC, the conflict, and the stakes, and write as much about those points with as little as possible.

 

You're doing that. My example of an unnecessary point in your own query is the whole pregnancy part. The villain wanting to keep her man to herself is more than enough to stand on its own without adding another point to her anger. Leave that for the MS.

Yes, what you have here is interesting, and has a coherent plot that I can follow and understand. That being said I wouldn't read it, but that's because it's just not my taste. I like medieval fantasy books, and that's pretty much it. But I guarantee if your MS is written well, then the plot you have outlined here will sell. If the romance sub-plots are done well, those alone will draw people, since people love romance (I don't, but the majority obviously do), and romance between intelligent Dino's is different.

 

Any story can be told well, even if its a tired trope filled tale. Yours isn't (besides romance), so you have that going for you.



#24 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:14 PM

The query is like writing a condensed story. Pick one, maybe two points of the plot that can provide a little info on the MC, the conflict, and the stakes, and write as much about those points with as little as possible.

 

You're doing that. My example of an unnecessary point in your own query is the whole pregnancy part. The villain wanting to keep her man to herself is more than enough to stand on its own without adding another point to her anger. Leave that for the MS.

 

This is an excellent point -- I will have to seriously consider leaving out the pregnancy aspect, since as you say, Ev'ora's jealousy in itself is (in someone of her character) dangerous enough.

On the other hand, getting herself pregnant IS her big goal in this narrative, so knowing that Tir'at spurned her to mate (and kindle eggs with) a social inferior arguably IS a big plot point. But again -- that could likely be explained in the MS itself.

 

You've given me lots to think about. And for that, I sincerely thank you (and everybody who has weighed in to help me improve this query). :)



#25 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:29 PM

VERSION #6 -- removing the "La'leet's pregnancy" angle entirely. Thoughts?

****************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

I'm currently seeking representation for my adult novel, THE CODEX OF DESIRE. Given your interest in science fiction, I thought it might be a good fit for your list.

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such savage impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict. Now an ancient dinosaur civilization is threatened with nuclear annihilation when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive slave girl of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner, and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free.

The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, his captor, intends to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and longs for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. Fearing that Ev'ora will telepathically break Tir'at and turn him into a mere mindless toy for the Chieftess's pleasure, Girn'ash flees in despair to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little slave girl can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is a science fiction novel, complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith



#26 ajvan

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 12:47 PM

Trust your own instincts for sure! It's your book and your query--and trying to synthesize input from multiple sources is enough to make anyone pull his/her hair out. That said, agents want to see queries that are brief and hooky. Don't worry about hitting too many plot details or tracing all the steps from A to B to C to D... A snapshot or a broad brush painting is what you're after. Think a teaser or preview. Save the loads and loads of vital detail for your pages. :)



#27 Nikita

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 03:25 PM

VERSION #6 -- removing the "La'leet's pregnancy" angle entirely. Thoughts?

****************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

I'm currently seeking representation for my adult novel, THE CODEX OF DESIRE. Given your interest in science fiction, I thought it might be a good fit for your list.

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such savage impulses, more than 67 million years ago. I like this first sentence!

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict. Now an ancient dinosaur civilization is threatened with nuclear annihilation when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive slave girl of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner, and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free. This is an intriguing opening, but I'm slightly confused: is Girn'ash a human girl living in a civilization which includes intelligent dinosaurs, or is she an intelligent dinosaur herself? Are all the characters dinosaurs?  I think clarifying this would help.

The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, his captor, intends to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and longs for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. Fearing that Ev'ora will telepathically break Tir'at and turn him into a mere mindless toy for the Chieftess's pleasure, Girn'ash flees in despair to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little The word 'little' clashes with the previous description of "shrewd and secretive" slave girl can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is a science fiction novel, complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith

I have a good sense of the plot and stakes after reading this, and I definitely don't think you need to include any other subplots (i.e. the pregnancy). Too many details would bog it down. 

 

Thanks for critiquing my query, and best of luck to you as well!



#28 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 04:09 PM

Version #7 -- and hopefully the last, except perhaps for some minor tweaking. :) One of my local writer friends actually wrote "Jaw drop, this is PERFECT" in response to this. Let's hope I'm finally on the right track!

*************************************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict, dinosaur against dinosaur. Now an ancient civilization is threatened with nuclear annihilation when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive female slave of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner — and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free.

Meanwhile Tir'at's captor, The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, plots to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and yearns for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. Fearing that Ev'ora will telepathically break Tir'at and turn him into a mere mindless toy for the Chieftess's pleasure, Girn'ash flees in despair to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little slave can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith



#29 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 05:32 PM

Have just been hit over the head with the "AHA!" mallet -- referring to Girn'ash as a "slave girl" is probably responsible for a lot of the "are they dinosaurs or are they human?" confusion. So I've changed those terms up in Version #7, just up-thread. Please let me know if it's now clearer that the MCs are dinosaurs... or not. :)



#30 Springfield

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 05:54 PM

Version #7 -- and hopefully the last, except perhaps for some minor tweaking. :) One of my local writer friends actually wrote "Jaw drop, this is PERFECT" in response to this. Let's hope I'm finally on the right track!

*************************************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict, dinosaur against dinosaur. Now an ancient civilization is threatened with nuclear annihilation when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive female slave of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner — and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free.

Meanwhile Tir'at's captor, The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, plots to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and yearns for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. Fearing that Ev'ora will telepathically break Tir'at and turn him into a mere mindless toy for the Chieftess's pleasure, Girn'ash flees in despair to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little slave can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith

 

Before I do anything else, this is long -- it's not as overly long as the previous version, but, you don't want a query that runs long, ESPECIALLY if your ms does too.



#31 Springfield

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 06:07 PM

Version #7 -- and hopefully the last, except perhaps for some minor tweaking. :) One of my local writer friends actually wrote "Jaw drop, this is PERFECT" in response to this. Let's hope I'm finally on the right track!

*************************************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict, dinosaur against dinosaur. Now an ancient civilization is threatened with nuclear annihilation when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive female slave of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner — and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free.

Meanwhile Tir'at's captor, The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, plots to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and yearns for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. Fearing that Ev'ora will telepathically break Tir'at and turn him into a mere mindless toy for the Chieftess's pleasure, Girn'ash flees in despair to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little slave can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith

This is kind of a mess, sorry. Aside from it being too long, I've no idea from this who your MC is -- it starts like G is then the entire query is focused on T''', which makes it seem as if he's the MC -- she only drops back in at the end. I don't know what her problem is, or his really, and I don't see clear stakes. In addition to all that, you still have way too many named things in here (with odd capitalization that is just bringing up questions). It reads like a thin summary and no, I don't really get that they're dinosaurs at all, except that you have the opening line about intelligent dinosaurs. Then it just sounds like they're humans. I think you do need to clarify that, because I was unsure from the beginning if they were humans living with dinos or if you were only talking about dinos.



#32 ajvan

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 07:47 PM

Re: post #28, I think cutting the pregnancy detail is a step forward for sure. This still reads long to me and it takes awhile to digest the names and details...I'm afraid I'm just beating the same drum, but my advice would still be to simplify and pare. 



#33 PureZhar3

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:03 PM

Version #7 -- and hopefully the last, except perhaps for some minor tweaking. :) One of my local writer friends actually wrote "Jaw drop, this is PERFECT" in response to this. Let's hope I'm finally on the right track!

*************************************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict, dinosaur against dinosaur. Now an ancient civilization is threatened with nuclear annihilation when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive female slave of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner — and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free.

Meanwhile Tir'at's captor, The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, plots to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and yearns for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. Fearing that Ev'ora will telepathically break Tir'at and turn him into a mere mindless toy for the Chieftess's pleasure, Girn'ash flees in despair to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little slave can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith

​It's definitely a lot better! Honestly I can't think of anything major to change. The only thing that may bother me is the amount of names (but I think only because they're not standard). Otherwise, good job!


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


#34 MICRONESIA

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:56 PM

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago. 

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict, dinosaur against dinosaur. Now an ancient civilization is threatened with nuclear annihilation Dinosaurs have nukes. when Girn'ash, a shrewd and secretive female slave of the Tribes, falls in love with the dashing A dinosaur can fall in love. A dinosaur can be "dashing." I'm just... I mean... I'm having a hard time PICTURING all this. I think this is a query where you need to do a bit more world-building to get your reader to buy into this. enemy fighter Tir'at, a military prisoner — and she will do anything in her meagre power to set him free. 45-word sentence. Five proper nouns already. And how does this love stuff lead to the threat of nuclear annihilation? You might explain this later, but with the way it's worded, you need to explain NOW.

Meanwhile Tir'at's captor, The Most Potent Chieftesss Ev'ora, plots to coerce the handsome young warrior into her harem. Without his fresh seed No. Just... no. to stimulate her failing fertility, Ev'ora will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Tir'at, who loathes the Chieftess and yearns for freedom, nevertheless refuses Girn'ash's pleas to escape without his new lover, the beautiful Tribal poetess La'leet. There are way too many names. And they're not exactly names that stick to your ribs. Cut half of these. I have NO IDEA who your MC is or why we should care about him/her. Fearing that Ev'ora will telepathically break Tir'at and turn him into a mere mindless toy for the Chieftess's pleasure, Girn'ash flees in despair to Tirat's homeland and begs his Shogun to send an army to save Tir'at from Ev'ora's cruel designs. The little slave can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent. Lost.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, Too long. with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, Your BAs don't matter here. and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

 

You have a unique world here -- so unique that you HAVE to ground the reader more. You should do this by IMMEDIATELY making us care about your main character. We can become invested in a character's plight by relating to it, even if they're a dinousaur (raise your hand if you cry at the end of Land Before Time, haha). But I'm not feeling that here. I don't know much about the MC. I mean, I know some things she DOES, but I'm not pulling for her yet. 



#35 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:10 AM

Thanks again, everybody, for your input. :) I might take one more shot at polishing the long query, but I think the next step is generating a short query which concentrates less on plot points and more on painting the emotional stakes in broad powerful strokes.



#36 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 08:41 AM

Well, this didnt' turn out to be much shorter, but it does concentrate on the emotional stakes for the characters, I think. (I also have one which is about 40 words shorter, and I'll post that later today.)

EMOTIONS VERSION #1

********************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict, dinosaur against dinosaur. Now Girn'ash, a lowly female slave of the Tribes, finds herself painfully torn between conflicting loyalties when she falls in love with a dashing Culture warrior who has been imprisoned by her people— and she will do anything in her meagre power to release him from captivity.

But she must be secretive and shrewd in all she does. The Most Potent Chieftesss of the Tribes, who holds the warrior captive, plots to coerce the the handsome youth into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, she will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way — including a lowly slave who has no power except lies and sneaky dealings.

Girn'ash hatches a plan to set the warrior free, but although he loathes the Chieftess and yearns for freedom he will not leave without his new lover, a beautiful Tribal poetess in whom he has kindled eggs. Fearing that the Chieftess will murder the warrior in jealous rage, or else telepathically break him and turn him into a mere mindless toy for her pleasure, Girnash has no choice but to flee in despair to the Culture homeland. In a monstrous act of betrayal, she begs the warrior's Shogun to send an army to save him from the Chieftess's cruel designs, and promises to show them the way to the hidden village of the Tribes. Girn'ash can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith



#37 Springfield

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 10:53 AM

Well, this didnt' turn out to be much shorter, but it does concentrate on the emotional stakes for the characters, I think. (I also have one which is about 40 words shorter, and I'll post that later today.)

EMOTIONS VERSION #1

********************

 

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, secrets and betrayals — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial Tribes of the Inspiration and the alien-enhanced Culture of the Word have been locked in relentless conflict, dinosaur against dinosaur. Now Girn'ash, a lowly female slave of the Tribes, finds herself painfully torn between conflicting loyalties when she falls in love with a dashing Culture warrior who has been imprisoned by her people— and she will do anything in her meagre power to release him from captivity.

 

But she must be secretive and shrewd in all she does. The Most Potent Chieftesss of the Tribes, who holds the warrior captive, plots to coerce the the handsome youth into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, she will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and summarily executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way — including a lowly slave who has no power except lies and sneaky dealings.

 

 

G... a female dinosaur, enslaved by her tribe, falls in love with a male from the rival tribe that her kind have taken prisoner. Though nearly powerless in her social rank, she decides she will set him free to eat Jeff Goldblum.. G doesn't know that a powerful chieftess dinosaur of some type also has plans for him -- to use him for stud. -- two graphs into three sentences. 

Girn'ash hatches a plan to set the warrior free, but although he loathes the Chieftess and yearns for freedom he will not leave without his new lover, a beautiful Tribal poetess in whom he has kindled eggs. Fearing that the Chieftess will murder the warrior in jealous rage, or else telepathically break him and turn him into a mere mindless toy for her pleasure, Girnash has no choice but to flee in despair to the Culture homeland. In a monstrous act of betrayal, she begs the warrior's Shogun to send an army to save him from the Chieftess's cruel designs, and promises to show them the way to the hidden village of the Tribes. Girn'ash can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith

 

This is too long by nearly 150 words. See above blue.

G... a female dinosaur, enslaved by her tribe, falls in love with a male from the rival tribe that her kind have taken prisoner. Though nearly powerless in her social rank, she decides she will set him free to eat Jeff Goldblum.. G doesn't know that a powerful chieftess dinosaur of some type also has plans for him -- to use him for stud. 




#38 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 12:33 PM

*sigh* Okay. Taking some suggestions from fellow writers on FB, I've punched and kneading this some more. Now it includes some explanation of the universe the story takes place in, which hopefully helps.

This is exhausting. As always, I appreciate critique -- but I may have to take a bit of a break from it t get some perspective. I hope folks will continue to weigh in. :)

*******************************

EMOTIONS VERSION 2 (346 words)

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, lies and betrayal — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial dinosaur Tribes have been at war with the genetically modified saurians of the Culture, who are supplied by an alien Codex with higher levels of technology. Now Girn'ash, a lowly female slave of the Tribes, finds herself desperately torn between conflicting loyalties when she falls in love with a beautiful imprisoned Culture warrior — and she will do anything in her meagre power to release him from captivity.

But she must be secretive and shrewd. The Most Potent Chieftesss of the Tribes is plotting to coerce the the handsome youth into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, she will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and brutally executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Girn'ash hatches a plan to set the warrior free, but he will not leave without his new lover, a mysterious Tribal poetess. Fearing that the Chieftess will murder the warrior in jealous rage, Girnash risks everything to flee to the Culture's homeland. In a monstrous act of betrayal, she begs the warrior's Shogun to send an army to rescue him, and promises to show them the way to the hidden village of the Tribes. Girn'ash can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent. In the end, nuclear fire may annihilate all she has ever held dear.

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith
 



#39 DisgruntledWriter

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 02:45 PM

*sigh* Okay. Taking some suggestions from fellow writers on FB, I've punched and kneading this some more. Now it includes some explanation of the universe the story takes place in, which hopefully helps.

This is exhausting. As always, I appreciate critique -- but I may have to take a bit of a break from it t get some perspective. I hope folks will continue to weigh in. :)

*******************************

EMOTIONS VERSION 2 (346 words)

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, lies and betrayal — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago.

For over two centuries the primordial dinosaur Tribes have been at war with the genetically modified saurians of the Culture, who are supplied by an alien Codex with higher levels of technology. (This is a mouthful.  I didn't understand it reading it the first time at all.) Now Girn'ash, a lowly female slave of the Tribes, finds herself desperately torn between conflicting loyalties when she falls in love with a beautiful imprisoned Culture warrior — and she will do anything in her meagre power to release him from captivity.

But she must be secretive and shrewd. The Most Potent Chieftesss of the Tribes (could you just say "Chieftesss of the Tribes for the sake of clarity in the query?) is plotting to coerce the the handsome youth (so - the warrior? keep his name the same throughout the query) into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, she will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and brutally executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Girn'ash hatches a plan to set the warrior free, but he will not leave without his new lover, a mysterious Tribal poetess ​I don't see how this detail is necessary to the rest of the query. Fearing that the Chieftess will murder the warrior in jealous rage, Girnash risks everything to flee to the Culture's homeland. In a monstrous act of betrayal, she begs the warrior's Shogun to send an army to rescue him, and promises to show them the way to the hidden village of the Tribes. Girn'ash can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent. In the end, nuclear fire may annihilate all she has ever held dear. (I think I understand? But that was after reading it over a few times.)

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith
 



#40 galian84

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 03:48 PM

*sigh* Okay. Taking some suggestions from fellow writers on FB, I've punched and kneading this some more. Now it includes some explanation of the universe the story takes place in, which hopefully helps.

This is exhausting. As always, I appreciate critique -- but I may have to take a bit of a break from it t get some perspective. I hope folks will continue to weigh in. :)

*******************************

EMOTIONS VERSION 2 (346 words)

Dear [Agent or Publisher Name],

Love and violence, war and lust, lies and betrayal — even intelligent dinosaurs fell victim to such destructive impulses, more than 67 million years ago. (I like this hook)

For over two centuries the primordial dinosaur Tribes have been at war with the genetically modified saurians of the Culture, who are supplied by an alien Codex with higher levels of technology. Now (Too much backstory and names to remember in a single sentence) Girn'ash, a lowly female slave of the primordial dinosaur Tribes, finds herself desperately torn between conflicting loyalties when she falls in love with a beautiful imprisoned Culture warrior from a rival Tribe — and she will do anything in her meagre power to release him from captivity.

But she must be secretive and shrewd. The Most Potent Chieftesss of the Tribes is plotting to coerce the the handsome youth warrior (you've already established that he's good-looking in the last paragraph) into her harem. Without his fresh seed to stimulate her failing fertility, she will be cast down from her position as leader of all the Tribes and brutally executed. Her empire is at stake, and she will crush anyone who stands in her way.

Girn'ash hatches a plan to set the warrior free, but he will not leave without his new lover, a mysterious Tribal poetess . (Why is Girn'ash bothering to free this guy if he's in love with someone else?) Fearing that the Chieftess will murder the warrior in jealous rage, Girnash risks everything to flee to the Culture's his homeland. In a monstrous act of betrayal, she begs the warrior's Shogun (? A Japanese military dictator? That's my understanding of the word Shogun) to send an army to rescue him, and promises to show them the way to the hidden village of the Tribes her tribe. Girn'ash can't begin to imagine the consequences of her actions, or that the Shogun's intentions in finding his lost soldier are anything but benevolent (vague, can you give an example or a brief explanation of what his plan is for the warrior?). In the end, nuclear fire (this came out of nowhere) may annihilate all she has ever held dear (again, vague and cliché. At this point, we don't know what she holds dear, except the warrior, who's already in love with another).

THE CODEX OF DESIRE is an adult science fiction novel complete at 133,000 words, with ongoing series potential. In terms of credentials, I possess a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English and Philosophy, and have had a short science fiction story ("Like Ants to Honey") published in the e-mag "Far Horizons" (Issue #2, May 2014).

Thank you for your time and attention.

Regards,

Laurie E. Smith
 

Hi Laurie, fresh eyes here. I read through your initial query and a couple revisions after, but I didn't get a chance to go through the other revisions thoroughly. So, I will just focus on this one. I'm far from a query-writing expert myself (still working on mine! And believe me, I know it's tough to know just the right amount of detail to put in that will keep the agent interested, and not bog your query down, and what it's like to get conflicting advice), so take from this what you will. Just a couple suggestions above. I feel like it's being pulled into too many different directions, and there are too many names to remember for a query letter. FWIW, I think you should use the warrior's name, like you did in previous versions, since he sounds like he's a big part of the story and the MC's motivation.

 

This is definitely an improvement from your previous versions, at least, the ones I read.

 

That being said, I like romance, and I love dinosaurs, so I'd definitely be interested in seeing how these two go together in your story :)






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