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The Things You Can't Imagine - New version from 1 POV


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#1 RegE

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 06:06 AM

Latest here and #103!!! 0_o

 

 

Coming to the end of another round of revisions, including a change in tense and perspective. Hoping this is almost ready to send out. Can any of you suggest ways I might improve the query and make it stronger. Or if not, I would love to finally hear this is good to go (with perhaps a few tweaks!) Thanks in advance. You have already helped me sooo much. 

 

Princess Ka-la’s ancestor, Ama, descended from space millenia ago, bringing the Star Gardens with him. The imagination-fueled technology makes everything possible. Travelling through time, birthing stars and communicating with other worlds are all just a thought away.

 

Ka-la is sure Star Gardens are a myth, until her brother, Shamash, discovers one. ACCORD--a mysterious, technocratic organization--declare that Shamash is the prophesied Saviour, but to Ka-la, Shamash is a cowardly sludge-slug who stumbled upon the Star Gardens by mistake.

 

When Shamash kills their father to become ruler, Ka-la vows to spill her brother’s brains. Now, with Shamash as their proxy, ACCORD have unbridled power. They use the Star Garden to threaten the annihilation of a newly discovered world. Only Ka-la possesses the weapon that can stop them. True imagination. But first, she must understand the nefarious, alien force at ACCORD’s helm.

 

The answers lie in an ancient relic on Ama’s home-world, Planet Earth.

 

Told from the perspective of Ama in the ancient past, Ka-la in the distant future and Leo on present-day Earth. Complete at ___ (Name) will appeal to fans of Jeff Vandermeer’s BORNE, Charlie Jane Ander’s ALL THE BIRDS IN THE SKY, and Melvin Burgess’s BLOODTIDE. (Name) is a science fantasy novel and it is the first in a potential series.



#2 RegE

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 06:40 AM

Here is the original query from one chars perspective. No agents (that i tried) were hooked by this.

 

On Planet Ki, 15 cycle old Kala is the daughter of Agade’s ruler. It’s not a title she's proud of. She’d rather immerse in The Game’s augmented reality world, where she’s known by her alias, PHREAK, and only her hacking skills set her apart from other players.

 

IRL, Kala’s brother, Ishtar, finds a star garden along with a Nurturer, the ancient being who tends it. ACCORD, a powerful and omnipresent organization, declare that the discovery heralds a new golden age.

 

Legend says that The Founders used the imagination powered star gardens to manipulate the cosmos. Akiya, a fellow game player, reckons that their people lost the ability to imagine generations ago and warns Kala that ACCORD aren’t the benevolent force she’s been brought up to believe.

 

 It will take the destruction of a planet and the brutal slaying of her father for Kala to realize that ACCORD and its mysterious head, The Director, are her enemies. Kala must fight to avenge her father, and save the distant world that The Founders came from.

 Earth.

 

THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE is a YA, Sci-Fi book complete at just under 100,000 words. Told from four main perspectives it spans millennia and light years. The action takes place on two planets: Earth, where The Founders fled from, and Ki, where they sought refuge. This is book 1 of a potential trilogy.



#3 Gabe S.

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 09:34 AM

I like the query approach that has the three characters better than the one you sent out. I like the concept and the sweeping history.

If you haven’t yet, check out the Query Shark here: http://queryshark.blogspot.com/?m=0 She’s an agent using her precious little free time to help writers out by showing examples of bad queries. For your question, I’d recommend submission #199 on her website. Also check out #187, where she posted her template for how to write a query - ignore her advice at your own peril!! (Then spend a whole week reading all the submissions and notes :D)

Some agents like a rhetorical question at the beginning of a query, some will drop it in the trash as soon as they read it.
Good luck!

If you'd like, you can critique my query at: http://agentquerycon...aded-ya-sci-fi/


#4 Springfield

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 10:59 AM

 

Hello everyone!  I am looking for some help with my query. I have read that when querying a multiple POV novel, you should write the query from one perspective (See queryshark and other sources). I tried this. I wrote a conventional query from only one perspective (Kala), and sent the query out to around 16 agents. I got some rejections and some non responses! I think it's not possible to write my query from one perspective and effectively summarize my book! The Things You Can't Imagine is told from three main perspectives separated by thousands of years and for one character an entire planet! These perspectives and timelines eventually come together and make sense, which I call "worlds colliding".

 

It's possible.

 

I've decided to attempt a more unconventional query. I want to introduce my three main characters and set up each of their stories in the query. I haven't included all of the stakes and choices as this would make each section too long. This query has driven me crazy to write (as did writing the book!!! :D) I really want an opinion about whether you think this would make an agent want to read more. I can barely bare to look at my query anymore! I know this could still be polished, but I basically want to know if this unconventional approach works at all. Do you want to know more?! Thanks in advance...

 

 

What if imagination is the most powerful force in the universe? Autoreject. 

 

15 year old Leo’s Honestly, missing punctuation that basic, were I an agent, would be a heck of a red flag. dad often brings strange artifacts home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes, suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. It turns out that the orb’s an ancient Sumerian video camera, and thousands of years ago a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved  humanity.  

 

 

Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago, they took Ama’s sister. No one knows why the Nephs take children, but rumour abounds: they eat them, they perform experiments of them, they syphon their imaginations to power their technology. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama will enter the hive—a mountainous fortress where the Nephilim live—to save her.  

 

On planet Ki, Kala's AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala, considerit nothing more than legend until a star garden is discovered in the mountains. The star garden is a long lost, imagination fueled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos. The technology has the potential to birth a new a golden age, but Kala's people can't imagine. They lost that ability generations ago.

    

Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000 words), an action packed story told from three main perspectives. TTUCI will appeal to fans of speculative fiction like "All the Birds in the Sky", explorations of the future and VR like "Ready Player One" or those who just like a good, bloody romp, like in my favourite YA novel "Bloodtide."  

 

 

There's no info regarding how these are connected, plot, stakes, anything that'd suggest the book is properly formed. That's a problem. It's just three characters whose paragraphs don't make a ton of sense on their own. There are also enough errors in here to be problematic. Go back to a normal query.



#5 Springfield

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 11:05 AM

Here is the original query from one chars perspective. No agents (that i tried) were hooked by this.

 

On Planet Ki, 15 cycle old Kala is the daughter of Agade’s ruler. It’s not a title she's proud of. She’d rather immerse in The Game’s augmented reality world, where she’s known by her alias, PHREAK, and only her hacking skills set her apart from other players.

 

IRL,Autoreject, hard and with prejudice. Kala’s brother, Ishtar, finds a star garden along with a Nurturer, the ancient being who tends it. ACCORD, a powerful and omnipresent organization, declare that the discovery heralds a new golden age.

 

Legend says that The Founders used the imagination powered star gardens to manipulate the cosmos. Akiya, a fellow game player, reckons that their people lost the ability to imagine generations ago and warns Kala that ACCORD aren’t the benevolent force she’s been brought up to believe.

 

 It will take the destruction of a planet and the brutal slaying of her father for Kala to realize that ACCORD and its mysterious head, The Director, are her enemies. Kala must fight to avenge her father, and save the distant world that The Founders came from.

 Earth.

 

THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE is a YA, Sci-Fi book complete at just under 100,000 words. Told from four main perspectives it spans millennia and light years. The action takes place on two planets: Earth, where The Founders fled from, and Ki, where they sought refuge. This is book 1 of a potential trilogy.

 

That is a kind of ridiculous number of proper names and such in one query. No one has any idea what most of that stuff is; it just brings up questions and takes the focus off the MC. I've got no real idea of the plot from this, except she's a girl on a quest to avenge her father and save the world, which is... trite and generic. You have to focus on the character, the problem, the stakes. 

 

Also, this too has a bunch of basic errors that will, again, give an agent pause.



#6 Wayfarer

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 01:46 PM

What if imagination is the most powerful force in the universe? (Don't ask rhetorical questions, make definitive statements.)

 

15 year old Leo’s dad often brings strange artifacts home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes, suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. It turns out that the orb’s an ancient Sumerian video camera, and thousands of years ago a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved humanity.  

 

Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago, they took Ama’s sister. No one knows why the Nephs take children, but rumour abounds: they eat them, they perform experiments of them, they syphon their imaginations to power their technology. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama will enters the hive—a mountainous fortress where the Nephilim live—to save her.  

 

On planet Ki, Kala's AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala, considerit nothing more than legend until a star garden is discovered in the mountains. The star garden is a long lost, imagination fueled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos. The technology has the potential to birth a new a golden age, but Kala's people can't imagine. They lost that ability generations ago.

    

Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000 words), an action packed story told from three main perspectives. TTUCI will appeal to fans of speculative fiction like "All the Birds in the Sky", explorations of the future and VR like "Ready Player One" or those who just like a good, bloody romp, like in my favourite YA novel "Bloodtide."  

 

So the plot seems cool, but I have no clue what the stakes are. I'm assuming the present day timeline is Kala's, her's being where the stakes take place, but you need to define them for us in her paragraph.



#7 Arait

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 04:20 PM

Did you name Kala's brother after the goddess of fertility on purpose? That sounds like a really weird thing to do to a little boy.

In the query from all three pov's, I like the transition from Leo to Ama, but I think there needs to be a nice transition explaining how Ama got to Ki. Because that really threw me off.

I'm also not a fan of the final paragraph. The sentences are clunky. CAN"T needs to be CAN'T. Don't call it an "action packed story," and clean up the last sentence.

Sounds like a fun story; although, mentioning Nephelim makes me personally not want to read it, unfortunately.

#8 PureZhar3

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 04:46 PM

 

Hello everyone!  I am looking for some help with my query. I have read that when querying a multiple POV novel, you should write the query from one perspective (See queryshark and other sources). I tried this. I wrote a conventional query from only one perspective (Kala), and sent the query out to around 16 agents. I got some rejections and some non responses! I think it's not possible to write my query from one perspective and effectively summarize my book! The Things You Can't Imagine is told from three main perspectives separated by thousands of years and for one character an entire planet! These perspectives and timelines eventually come together and make sense, which I call "worlds colliding".

 

I've decided to attempt a more unconventional query. I want to introduce my three main characters and set up each of their stories in the query. I haven't included all of the stakes and choices as this would make each section too long. This query has driven me crazy to write (as did writing the book!!! :D) I really want an opinion about whether you think this would make an agent want to read more. I can barely bare to look at my query anymore! I know this could still be polished, but I basically want to know if this unconventional approach works at all. Do you want to know more?! Thanks in advance...

 

 

What if imagination is the most powerful force in the universe? ​Two thoughts: I don't think bold type is necessary, and agents dislike opening (or closing with rhetorical questions)

 

15 year old Leo’s dad often brings strange artifacts​ what kind of strange artifacts? If it's easy to be more specific, be so, but if it's too hard, leave this as-is home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes, suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. ​Are artifacts normally magical? Also, this sentence could be condensed a bit It turns out that the orb’s ​is ​I wouldn't use contractions an ancient Sumerian video camera, and thousands of years ago a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved  humanity.  ​How exactly does he reveal an alternate history? Is he part of the alternate history?

 

Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago, they took Ama’s sister. No one knows why the Nephs take children, but rumour abounds: they eat them, they perform experiments of them, they syphon their imaginations to power their technology. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama will enter the hive—a mountainous fortress where the Nephilim ​stick to calling them one thing live—to save her.  

 

On planet Ki, Kala's AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. ​Alright. I'm lost. I can see that this is connected (because Ama) but I'm really not sure how. Is this him entering the hive? Like everyone else, Kala, considerit nothing more than legend until a star garden is discovered in the mountains. The star garden is a long lost, imagination​-fueled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos. The technology has the potential to birth a new a golden age, but Kala's people can't imagine. They lost that ability generations ago. ​Why? I'm trying to follow and kind of am, but a little too much is going on

    

Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000 words), an action packed story told from three main perspectives. TTUCI will appeal to fans of speculative fiction like "All the Birds in the Sky", explorations of the future and VR like "Ready Player One" or those who just like a good, bloody romp, like in my favourite YA novel "Bloodtide."  ​This sentence could be done better. It's not completely clear and could be cleaner... maybe try a "this meets this!" sentence?

 

 

​Overall, not bad. I was simply having a little trouble following everything that was happening, and my sense of the world kept changing. I'm also not entirely sure what is real life vs alternate reality, and I don't care for the characters (or stakes, what are the stakes?) all that much. Maybe try to hone in on the conflict, as well as establish a steady sense of setting (I know, it's really hard when you have a complicated world)


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


#9 RegE

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Posted 06 February 2018 - 08:39 PM

Hi all!

 

Well, thank you for all of this amazing advice. I will be back with a revision, and some answers to your questions soon. It's been great to get some opinions on my query. Thanks again.

 

:)



#10 RegE

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 12:45 AM

Hi all, after all your useful feedback, I've come up with this! I wanted to create a better transition from Ama's section to Kala's, and add stakes to Kala's story. I'm fairly pleased with this version of the query, but am ready for you guys and girls to tell me otherwise!! What do you think? If you were an agent would you request pages?

 

Also, Arait, mentioned not wanting to read the book because of the mention of Nephelim. This is def a place holder , which will be changed. I don't want to use a name for my alien overlords that already has connotations/ideas associated with it!! As for Ishtar being the fertility goddess...My bad. His character name has been changed to Shamash, though he doesn't appear in this query, he is important in the story.

 

Again, thanks in advance for your comments and help.  

 

Imagination is the most powerful force in the universe.

 

 

15-year-old Leo’s dad often brings strange artifacts home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes, suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. It turns out that the orb is an ancient Sumerian video camera, and thousands of years ago, a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved humanity.

 

Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago, they took Ama’s sister. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama enters the hive—a mountainous fortress where the Nephs live—to save her. Ama finds the city’s children drugged and bound in ‘dream rooms’. The Nephs siphon the children’s imaginations to power their technology. Before the children can be released, they must perform one more act, and use their imaginations to wake Enki. Only a god can rid the city of the alien scourge. But releasing Enki rouses the Sumerian pantheon, and when Enlil, the god of storms floods the city, there is only one escape. The sky boat at the hive’s pinnacle.

 

On planet Ki, Kala's AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala, considers it nothing more than legend until the discovery of a star garden in the mountains. The star garden is a long lost, imagination fueled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos. ACCORD, a powerful and mysterious organization, say that the technology heralds a new golden age, but Kishan's lost the ability to imagine generations ago. When ACCORD provide a far out solution, Kala begins to wonder if they are really the benevolent force she’s been brought up to believe.

 

Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000). In TTUCI “All the Birds in the Sky,” meets “Ready Player One”, injected with a large dose of “Bloodtide’s” violence. 



#11 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 01:09 PM

First of all, let me say that I really like your premise as revealed in this query. It's a novel I would probably read and enjoy. :) However, the query itself needs some work. Moving onward... (I've increased the font size because I'm having trouble with my eyes today.)

 



Hi all, after all your useful feedback, I've come up with this! I wanted to create a better transition from Ama's section to Kala's, and add stakes to Kala's story. I'm fairly pleased with this version of the query, but am ready for you guys and girls to tell me otherwise!! What do you think? If you were an agent would you request pages?

 

Also, Arait, mentioned not wanting to read the book because of the mention of Nephelim. This is def a place holder , which will be changed. I don't want to use a name for my alien overlords that already has connotations/ideas associated with it!! As for Ishtar being the fertility goddess...My bad. His character name has been changed to Shamash, though he doesn't appear in this query, he is important in the story.

 

Again, thanks in advance for your comments and help.  

 

Imagination is the most powerful force in the universe. [This is a bit of a generic hook. I mean, it grabs me, kind of? But it's a cliche and doesn't have a lot of emotional resonance. Maybe you could punch it up to something like: "Human imagination is more than a pleasant way to pass the time -- in truth, it's the most powerful force in the universe, and nothing can resist it."]

 

 

15-year-old Leo’s dad often brings strange artifacts home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. [I don't see the need to specify what the other 'strange artifacts' might be -- this sentence is just fine in my opinion.] When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes [remove comma] suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. It turns out that the orb is an ancient Sumerian video camera, and thousands of years [be more specific, this tells us when Leo is alive] ago [remove comma] a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved humanity.

 

Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago, they took Ama’s sister. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama enters the hive [should Hive be capitalized?][space] a mountainous fortress where the Nephs live[space] [space] to save her. Ama finds the city’s children drugged and bound in ‘dream rooms’. The Nephs siphon the children’s imaginations to power their technology. Before the children can be released, they must perform one more act, and use their imaginations to wake Enki. Only a god can rid the city of the alien scourge. But releasing Enki rouses the Sumerian pantheon, and when Enlil, the god of storms[comma] floods the city, there is only one escape[full colon]: the sky boat at the hive’s pinnacle.

 

On planet Ki, Kala's AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala [remove comma] considers it nothing more than legend until the discovery of a star garden in the mountains. The star garden is a long lost, imagination[-]fueled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos. ACCORD, a powerful and mysterious organization, say that the technology heralds a new golden age, but Kishan's [is this a proper name? a term for the inhabitants of Ki? In which case it would be clearere to say "but the inhabitants of Ki"] lost the ability to imagine generations ago. When ACCORD provide[s] a far out ["far out" is very 60's, not current; perhaps "an outrageous" or "an unlikely" or "a potentially destructive"] solution, Kala begins to wonder if they are really the benevolent force she’s been brought up to believe.

 

Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000). In TTUCI [I'd advise against using the acronym] “All the Birds in the Sky,” meets “Ready Player One”, injected with a large dose of “Bloodtide’s” violence. 

 

Hope this helps! :)



#12 RegE

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 12:42 AM

Thanks Laurie! I really appreciate your edit. You def spotted a lot of things I missed. Now can you please do the same for my entire manuscript?! :D. I'm glad you enjoyed the premise. As there haven't been any other comments, I'm hoping that this query is pretty much ready to go?? Does anyone have anything else to suggest. Again..I can't thank you all enough :)

 

Human imagination is the most powerful force in the universe and nothing can resist it. (still working on this line!!)

 

15-year-old Leo’s dad often brings strange artefacts home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. It turns out that the orb is an ancient Sumerian video camera, and five thousand years ago a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved humanity.

 

Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago, they took Ama’s sister. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama enters the Hive — a mountainous fortress where the Nephs live — to save her. Ama finds the city’s children drugged and bound in ‘dream rooms’. The Nephs syphon the children’s imaginations to power their technology. Before the children can be released, they must perform one more act, and use their imaginations to wake Enki. Only a god can rid the city of the alien scourge. But releasing Enki rouses the Sumerian pantheon, and when Enlil, the god of storms, floods the city, there is only one escape: the sky boat at the Hive’s pinnacle.

 

On planet Ki, Kala's AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala considers it nothing more than legend until the discovery of a star garden in the mountains. The star garden is a long lost, imagination fuelled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos. ACCORD, a powerful and mysterious organization, say that the technology heralds a new golden age, but the inhabitants of Ki lost the ability to imagine generations ago. When ACCORD provide an unlikely solution, Kala begins to wonder if they are really the benevolent force she’s been brought up to believe.

 

Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000). “All the Birds in the Sky,” meets “Ready Player One”, injected with a large dose of “Bloodtide’s” violence. 



#13 Laurie E. Smith

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 08:07 AM

I think this reads much better now. :) I'm glad you found my edits helpful, and you're very welcome!

 

Thanks Laurie! I really appreciate your edit. You def spotted a lot of things I missed. Now can you please do the same for my entire manuscript?! :D. I'm glad you enjoyed the premise. As there haven't been any other comments, I'm hoping that this query is pretty much ready to go?? Does anyone have anything else to suggest. Again..I can't thank you all enough :)

 

Human imagination is the most powerful force in the universe and nothing can resist it. (still working on this line!!)

The hook line definitely needs more work, though. It should (in my opinion) be punchy and intriguing. How about, "Human imagination is the most powerful force in the universe. Nothing can resist it -- not alien empires, not secret government organizations, and maybe not even the Gods themselves." Assuming that last line makes sense for your novel, of course. :)

 



#14 rhwashere

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 09:34 AM

I’m not sure if you’ve looked at queryshark before. It’s a good resource for query advice and gets your eyes on a lot of good and bad queries. This would help you, because right now, what you have is way too long and doesn’t address some of the basic elements that need to be in your query. Another good resource is Writer’s Digest’s Successful Queries series, in which successful queries are posted and the agents who eventually represented the author share why they liked the query.

Your story reminded me of a queryshark submission that I read some time ago and (like a number of queries on that site) I later saw on the back of a book in my local bookstore. As in, it got published. Here’s the link:

http://queryshark.bl...om/2017/05/?m=0

Check it out and see what works. It’s also in an unconventional format and features diverse characters and diverse genres. However, it is much shorter and still manages to capture interest.

Study these resources. Then boil each character down to their desire, conflict, and stakes (what’s at risk). Let it all marinate a bit at 350 degrees, then come back and start a new query from scratch.

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


#15 RegE

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 11:23 AM

I’m not sure if you’ve looked at queryshark before. It’s a good resource for query advice and gets your eyes on a lot of good and bad queries. This would help you, because right now, what you have is way too long and doesn’t address some of the basic elements that need to be in your query. Another good resource is Writer’s Digest’s Successful Queries series, in which successful queries are posted and the agents who eventually represented the author share why they liked the query.

Your story reminded me of a queryshark submission that I read some time ago and (like a number of queries on that site) I later saw on the back of a book in my local bookstore. As in, it got published. Here’s the link:

http://queryshark.bl...om/2017/05/?m=0

Check it out and see what works. It’s also in an unconventional format and features diverse characters and diverse genres. However, it is much shorter and still manages to capture interest.

Study these resources. Then boil each character down to their desire, conflict, and stakes (what’s at risk). Let it all marinate a bit at 350 degrees, then come back and start a new query from scratch.

 

Hi! Thanks for your input. It's a little demoralizing as I was getting all excited, thinking that my query might be ready to send out. The feedback I received so far has been pretty positive. Of course, i'm open to negative, constructive feedback, but to hear that I need to start from scratch is frustrating!

 

I think i'm going to have to disagree with you! I have read Queryshark and know that there is a trad format to follow, but that sometimes it can be broken. I agree that my wordcount is high, but certainly not over the 1 page max rule for queries. I'm very open to changing this query, so do you have any suggestion about what I could change in the current version.

 

I'd love to hear from those who agree that I should start again, or from those who think my query is in good shape already. Thanks :)))))

 

BTW I think your query for OCEANS DEEP is really cool. The hook about the mer-princess who can't swim is pretty original. Your revisions were great and it's in good shape now. Good luck in the query trenches! 



#16 RegE

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 11:25 AM

I think this reads much better now. :) I'm glad you found my edits helpful, and you're very welcome!

 

 

Thanks for the hook line tips. Will def work them to fit my manuscript. <3



#17 MICRONESIA

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 12:16 PM

Human imagination is the most powerful force in the universe and nothing can resist it. (still working on this line!!) Good. Because this is too general/cliche to work.
 
15-year-old Leo’s dad often brings strange artefacts You haven't even spell-checked this? home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. It turns out that the orb is an ancient Sumerian video camera, and five thousand years ago a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved humanity. This is damn cool. So far, I'm in. 
 
Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago, they took Ama’s sister. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama enters Use a more exciting verb. "Infiltrates?" the Hive — a mountainous fortress where the Nephs live — to save her. Ama finds the city’s children drugged and bound in ‘dream rooms’. The Nephs syphon the children’s imaginations to power their technology. Before the children can be released, they must perform one more act, I think a colon would work better here. use their imaginations to wake Enki. Only a god can rid the city of the alien scourge. But releasing Enki rouses the Sumerian pantheon, and when Enlil, the god of storms, floods the city, there is only one escape: the sky boat at the Hive’s pinnacle. A lot of action is taking place, so this is starting to read more like a summary than a query.
 
On planet Ki, Kala's A THIRD new character? Yeah. You probably don't want to do this. AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala considers it nothing more than legend until the discovery of a star garden in the mountains. This feels like a subplot that doesn't belong. The star garden is a long lost, imagination fuelled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos. ACCORD, a powerful and mysterious organization, say that the technology heralds a new golden age, but the inhabitants of Ki lost the ability to imagine generations ago. When ACCORD provide an unlikely solution, Kala begins to wonder if they are really the benevolent force she’s been brought up to believe. Thanks to this paragraph, I'm lost. There are too many names and too much going on.
 
Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000). “All the Birds in the Sky,” meets “Ready Player One”, injected with a large dose of “Bloodtide’s” violence.

 

You have what looks to be a killer story here. But I agree with others -- the three-plot thing isn't working. A query should make us care about two things: STORY and CHARACTER. If we don't have the latter, we don't give a damn about the former. I hardly know anything about these characters -- what drives them, what their personalities are like, what makes them tick, etc. I also don't see the "big picture" story. For your re-write, I'd suggest focusing on ONE character (or two, if you really put the work in). You don't have to throw everything at us to entice us. Pare back, simplify, invest in character, give us CLEAR stakes.



#18 Springfield

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 12:57 PM

Thanks Laurie! I really appreciate your edit. You def spotted a lot of things I missed. Now can you please do the same for my entire manuscript?! :D. I'm glad you enjoyed the premise. As there haven't been any other comments, I'm hoping that this query is pretty much ready to go?? Does anyone have anything else to suggest. Again..I can't thank you all enough :)

 

Human imagination is the most powerful force in the universe and nothing can resist it. (still working on this line!!) 

Just make it go away; it's generic and not really saying anything. 

 

15-year-old Leo’s dad often brings strange artefacts home from the museum where he works, but Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. When a light shoots from the orb’s top, and a tiny holographic boy materializes suspended in the beam, Leo wonders if he’s dreaming. It turns out that the orb is an ancient Sumerian video camera, and five thousand years ago a boy called Ama used it to record his memories. Ama reveals an alternate history where an alien race has enslaved humanity.

 

Ama despises The Nephs. The aliens terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children away in the dead of night. Two years ago,What?  they took Ama’s sister. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, The POV switch isn't working for me at all -- I don't know how this connects to Leo, or if Leo just exists to link to this kid. Ama enters the Hive — a mountainous fortress where the Nephs live — to save her. Ama finds the city’s children drugged and bound in ‘dream rooms’. The Nephs syphon the children’s imaginations to power their technology. Before the children can be released, they must perform one more act, and use their imaginations to wake Enki. Only a god can rid the city of the alien scourge. But releasing Enki rouses the Sumerian pantheon, and when Enlil, the god of storms, floods the city, there is only one escape: the sky boat at the Hive’s pinnacle.

 

On planet Ki, Kala's AI life-core instructor teaches her that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala considers it nothing more than legend until the discovery of a star garden in the mountains. The star garden is a long lost, imagination fuelled technology that Ama and The Founders used to manipulate the cosmos.There's too much in this paragraph for ONE entire query nevermind at the bottom of one with all this other stuff.. ACCORD, a powerful and mysterious organization, say that the technology heralds a new golden age, but the inhabitants of Ki lost the ability to imagine generations ago. When ACCORD provide an unlikely solution, Kala begins to wonder if they are really the benevolent force she’s been brought up to believe.

 

Three worlds collide Same problem as the first version -- you can't just say that like it's a movie trailer. You have to explain what's going ON. in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000). “All the Birds in the Sky,” meets “Ready Player One”, injected with a large dose of “Bloodtide’s” violence. 

 

This query doesn't tell me any character's problem except the middle one, and there are no connections between them, no plot for the whole thing and no stakes. It's also wildly too long. 

 

I think you need to stop and do some research into queries before trying again. You need a character, problem, stakes. 



#19 PureZhar3

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Posted 09 February 2018 - 06:02 PM

Hi! Thanks for your input. It's a little demoralizing as I was getting all excited, thinking that my query might be ready to send out. The feedback I received so far has been pretty positive. Of course, i'm open to negative, constructive feedback, but to hear that I need to start from scratch is frustrating! ​Understandable. I've been in your position more than once, and this probably won't be the last time it happens, so just remember that all of us go through it :) 

 

I think i'm going to have to disagree with you! I have read Queryshark and know that there is a trad format to follow, but that sometimes it can be broken. ​It can be, but it is generally a very poor idea to do so unless you are 100% confident in your query, story, and angle. And if others are agreeing that it is working. RH, from all the comments that he's made that I've seen, tends to have good advice. He also referenced a more unusual query, like yours, which worked. It would be worth checking it out. I agree that my wordcount is high, but certainly not over the 1 page max rule for queries ​Are you sending this in paper format? Otherwise, I imagine that this rule is nowadays a bit arbitrary. Over email, there's no real "one page". If you think you absolutely need this many words to get the agent hooked on your book (which, remember, is the goal), then go for it... just be aware that the longer it looks, the less an agent is going to want to read it, the less attention they will probably pay to each sentence, and each line is going to have to buy the next. Each line. As opposed to a query which (if it looks short) an agent may read all the way through even if one or two lines isn't great. I'm very open to changing this query, so do you have any suggestion about what I could change in the current version.

 

I'd love to hear from those who agree that I should start again, or from those who think my query is in good shape already. Thanks :))))) ​I think your best chance is going to be redoing your query and focusing solely on Ama

 

BTW I think your query for OCEANS DEEP is really cool. The hook about the mer-princess who can't swim is pretty original. Your revisions were great and it's in good shape now. Good luck in the query trenches! 


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


#20 Arait

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 01:15 AM

I wonder... If you made Ama the focal point of the query and just used Leo and Kala as his supporting characters would that work? Because Leo is a good hook who gives a neat introduction to Ama if you could cut it maybe in half? Like:

The golden orb was the strangest artifact Leo's dad had ever brought back from the museum. An ancient Sumerian video camera, it projects a tiny, holographic boy called Ama who used it five thousand years ago to record his memories of an alien race that had enslaved humanity.

Then tell Ama's story up until they wake Enki. Leave out Enlil because that got a little busy and confusing and just say waking Enki led to a flood, and Ama flies away in the ship.

Leave Kala as your cliffhanger. But don't mention any other names. Don't say life core instructor. Don't say ACCORD. Just

Kala has always been told that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization. Like everyone else, Kala considers it nothing more than legend until the discovery of imagination-fuelled technology that dates back to Ama's time. (One quick sentence why Kala needs to use the technology and how it will be hard without imagination).

Now I'm not guaranteeing this will work or that people will like it. But I think it's worth a try before a complete rewrite.




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