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Zonations (New title. Previously - The Things You Can't Imagine)


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#21 RegE

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 10:50 AM

Thanks everyone. I really appreciate all of the advice. Will update you as soon as I have a revised or new version. Thanks :)))



#22 MICRONESIA

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 10:57 AM

You're hitting people back on these, right?



#23 PureZhar3

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 11:25 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.

 

That's a good idea, Arait!


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


#24 RegE

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Posted 10 February 2018 - 12:51 PM

You're hitting people back on these, right?


Haven't yet, but got some free time tomorrow so will get on it. Full time teacher here!!

#25 RegE

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 10:52 PM

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. When masked thugs break into Leo’s house and steal the orb, reality splits. Leo must retrieve the orb or remain stuck in the crappy timeline where the world’s going to end.

 

The Nephs terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children in the dead of night. Ama can’t forget the day they took his sister. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama infiltrates the Hive — a mountainous fortress where the Nephs live — to save her. But releasing the children means waking 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 considers the story that Ama descended from the sky and founded civilization legend, until the discovery of a star garden—an imagination-fueled, cosmos-controlling technology—dating back to Ama’s time. The problem is that the inhabitants of Ki lost the ability to imagine generations ago. When Kala discovers that she's an Anomaly, one of only a few people who still possess imagination, she must keep the knowledge secret or risk becoming a test subject, like the children ACCORD — a powerful, but mysterious organization — abducted from Earth.

 

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.

 



#26 MICRONESIA

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:27 PM

Uh... this is the same query? 

 

It even has the same typos and misspellings. Oof.



#27 RegE

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:31 PM

No it's not the same. Actually artefact is not a typo. It's the British way of spelling it. The last time I posted the query I only included stakes for the second character. Now every char has stakes. Thanks :p



#28 MICRONESIA

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:32 PM

That wasn't even the one I noticed.

 

CAN"T



#29 RegE

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:34 PM

Thanks! I know you're annoyed because you asked me to query others in return for the ones I received!! (and i didn't until now) Like I said, I am now going to critique others as I have some free time.  I really want feedback about my query, not the simple grammatical mistakes that can be easily corrected. 



#30 MICRONESIA

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:35 PM

So I've read through this several more times. Like before, there's just so much going on that it's almost impossible to get a firm grasp on ANYTHING: the characters, the conflict, the setting, etc. It's like a dish with a dozen ingredients too many. Most of all -- like many have pointed out -- the three-character thing is NOT working. Simplify.



#31 RegE

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:38 PM

Thank you for your opinion. I will read your query later and offer some advice. 



#32 MICRONESIA

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Posted 27 February 2018 - 11:41 PM

It's cool. No rush.

 

Just out of curiosity: why are you so invested in the three-character thing? Could ONE of them be worked in as a subplot?

 

A better question might be: which character gets the most "page-time" in your book?



#33 RegE

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 12:14 AM

Currently on my work lunch break, but will check yours when I get home.

 

The problem is, that all of the characters get an equal amount of page time. Kala, this kick ass girl, lives on another planet. Leo, lives on present day Earth. Ama, lived thousands of years ago. The story is really about the alternative history influencing the present, through Leo and his discovery of the orb, and the future (on another planet) because Ama went there and founded civilization.  

 

The plot is really complicated and to focus on only one char completely undermines the integrity of the story. All of them are crucial. It's really difficult to know what to do!!!!

 

If I had to choose one main protag, it would be Kala, but I've already tried writing a query focusing on her and it didn't work. 



#34 PureZhar3

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 08:50 AM

Currently on my work lunch break, but will check yours when I get home.

 

The problem is, that all of the characters get an equal amount of page time. Kala, this kick ass girl, lives on another planet. Leo, lives on present day Earth. Ama, lived thousands of years ago. The story is really about the alternative history influencing the present, through Leo and his discovery of the orb, and the future (on another planet) because Ama went there and founded civilization.  

 

The plot is really complicated and to focus on only one char completely undermines the integrity of the story. All of them are crucial. It's really difficult to know what to do!!!!

 

If I had to choose one main protag, it would be Kala, but I've already tried writing a query focusing on her and it didn't work. 

I understand your difficulty; my book is the same way! It's plot line isn't quite as complicated as yours, but it is highly nuanced ((and it's multi-POV). The query I have write now is actually a lot more overarching story than immediate plot. However, I think with the kinds of super complex stories we have, and the minimal words available to describe it, it is necessary to cut it down - even sacrifice the integrity of the story - to get one intriguing idea across. Agents will accept whole other halves to the book, I think, so long as they like it and the presented storyline is also present


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


#35 MICRONESIA

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Posted 28 February 2018 - 11:36 AM

If you're so set on the three character thing, you HAVE to tie them together in a way that's crystal clear for the reader. I think that's the biggest issue people are having (myself included): there's so much info here that we don't know who or what is important.

Maybe try something like this:


Leo is a fifteen-year-old living in the modern day -- fascinated by an artifact that turns out to be an ancient Sumerian camera. That is, until it threatens to split the very fabric of reality.

Ama is a Sumerian boy who speaks holographically through the camera. He is desperate to rescue his sister from the Nephilim: sadistic giants(?) that terrorize his Sumerian society.

Kala is a girl living in a future civilization with deep connections to this Sumerian past. When she discovers she's one of the few people left with imagination... (I'm having a tough time with this one because I have no idea how this story connects with the others.)

These three worlds collide... (This is the paragraph where you SUCCINCTLY and SPECIFICALLY tell us how the three connect.)


Give us info in bite sizes. Like I said, I've read this query a dozen times now. I don't feel like I'm any closer to understanding what the heck is going on. There's so much information (names, places, gods, etc.) that the brain simply loses focus halfway through.

#36 Ajax

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 02:43 AM

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. When masked thugs break into Leo’s house and steal the orb, reality splits. (Why exactly? What does this even mean?) Leo must retrieve the orb or remain stuck in the crappy timeline where the world’s going to end. (What timeline is it?)

(Are Leo's and Ama's stories happening in different time periods? Does Leo travel back in time? What's the big picture?!)

 

The Nephs (What/who are the Nephs?) terrorize Ama’s people, patrolling the streets, conducting public executions and stealing human children in the dead of night. (Why?) Ama can’t forget the day they took his sister. When a Neph rebel informs Ama of a secret resistance and says that his sister is alive, Ama infiltrates the Hive (This is incredibly cliched.)— a mountainous fortress where the Nephs live — to save her. But releasing the children means waking 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. (This is filler within the parameters of this query.)

 

On planet Ki, Kala considers the story that Ama (Why? Something's missing here.) descended from the sky and founded civilization legend, until the discovery of a star garden—an imagination-fueled, cosmos-controlling technology (What's the practical use of this garden? How is it connected to the main plot in the first place?)—dating back to Ama’s time. The problem is that the inhabitants of Ki lost the ability to imagine generations ago. (Why would they care about the ability after all this time?) When Kala discovers that she's an Anomaly, one of only a few people who still possess imagination, she must keep the knowledge secret or risk becoming a test subject, (Why? Also, this is a trite chosen-one narrative without a fresh spin.) like the children ACCORD — a powerful, but mysterious organization — abducted from Earth. (Filler.)

 

Three worlds collide in THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE (complete at 95,000). “All the Birds in the Sky,” meets “Ready Player One <-------------(This is an outlier and agents are against them as it sets an unrealistic expectation.), injected with a large dose of “Bloodtide’s” violence. (What's the age category? What's the genre? These are mandatory fields and the mere exclusion of these from the query almost always results in auto-rejection.)

(Your companion titles are outdated. This gives me the feeling that you are not aware of the current market in your genre and category. Comp titles need to be recent and/or something that agent has specifically mentioned in their MSWL.) 

 

 

I don't understand why the characters' names and the age of Leo are written in bold. This is against the rules of standard query format. Don't get creative with the basics. 

The query meanders a lot. I don't know what's the central plot here. There are no proper connections between the three protagonists. The story sounds like Cloud Atlas but with narratives that are independent of one another. 

There are also a lot of new nouns that just convolute the query. It's similar to info dumps of worldbuilding on page one in bad fantasy books. Only the name of the protagonist(s) and the antagonist should be mentioned along with one main location if you really need to. 

 

The characters show no personality or voice. Use the turn of phrases to highlight what makes them unique. 
 

It might be in your best interest to seek out books with three point of view narrations and read their summaries or back covers if you want to keep the three POVs in the query. The one that I can think of right now is A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir. It has three protagonists, and its summary does an acceptable job at focusing on all three of them. Click HERE to read it. 

 

That said, I think you need to seriously consider writing only about one protagonist in the query. This is for the sake of clarity. 

From your post on r/YAwriters: 

Does the query make you want to read the book? No. 

Writing a query for this novel is driving me nuts!!! It's supposed to. Tackle just one issue in every subsequent revision if you are feeling overwhelmed. 

Good luck. 



#37 RegE

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 04:29 AM

Thanks again for all your advice. I convince myself that I've got this query nailed, and it's ready to send, but know it's really not! Getting outside opinions really helps to spot what's not working and take it back to the drawing board. I'll be back! 



#38 RegE

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 05:53 AM

So, I've listened to all the advice i've received: simplifying, cutting extraneous nouns, but most importantly, bringing the storylines together at the end of the query instead of just saying "worlds collide"!! I think this new query is shorter, snappier and hopefully makes some sense! 

 

Three timelines. One thread weaving them together. Imagination.   

 

15-year-old Leo’s never seen anything like the golden orb before. It’s different from the other artefacts his dad brings home from the museum. 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, must free his sister from The Hive, a fortress where alien’s syphon children’s imaginations to fuel star gardens: a technology used to control the cosmos. But releasing the children wakes the Sumerian pantheon, and when the god of storms, floods the city, there is only one escape: the sky boat at the hive’s pinnacle.

 

 On Planet Ki, Ama’s descendant Kala finds out that she is an Anomaly: one of a few people who still possess true imagination and can work the fabled star gardens. She must keep the knowledge a secret or risk becoming a test subject like the children ACCORD—a powerful but mysterious organization—abducted from Earth.

 

When Kala discovers that ACCORD plan to use the star gardens and children as weapons, she looks to planet Earth for answers. But the Earth she sees is a frozen wasteland, devoid of life. Then, she hears a voice calling to her through space and across the years.  

 

Leo needs her help, but Kala’s got enough troubles of her own.

 

THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE is my YA SCIFI debut, complete at 95,000.   



#39 MICRONESIA

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 08:03 AM

Three timelines. One thread weaving them together. Imagination. I wouldn't include this in the query. Just jump right into it. Also, that last period needs to be a colon or an em-dash.

 

15-year-old Leo’s No need for the bold. Some readers will be annoyed by it, and it's not helping you. never seen anything like the golden orb before. It’s different from the other artefacts his dad brings home from the museum. 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, No comma. must free his sister from The Hive, a fortress where aliens syphon British spelling? children’s imaginations to fuel star gardens: a technology used to control the cosmos. This is MUCH more interesting! But releasing the children wakes the Sumerian pantheon, Sentence break. when the god of storms, No comma. floods the city, there is only one escape: the sky boat at the hive’s pinnacle.

 

Backspace. On Planet Ki, Ama’s descendant Kala finds out that she is an Anomaly: one of a few people who still possess true imagination and can work the fabled star gardens. She must keep the knowledge a secret or risk becoming a test subject like the children ACCORD I don't think you need to name them.—a powerful but mysterious organization—abducted from Earth. This paragraph still loses me, the last sentence in particular. I feel like I KINDA understand it, but... I dunno. Let's see what others think.

 

When Kala discovers that ACCORD plan to use the star gardens and children as weapons, she looks to planet Earth for answers. But the Earth she sees is a frozen wasteland, devoid of life. Then she hears a voice calling to her through space and across the years. Spend more time with this paragraph. The stories still don't fully connect. Despite the previous paragraph, I'm ALMOST gripped. Expand. I don't know what the stakes are. Who or what must they overcome? What do they have to DO? 

 

Leo needs her help, but Kala’s got enough troubles of her own. Falls flat because I don't really understand Kala's situation.

 

THE THINGS YOU CAN”T IMAGINE is my YA SCIFI debut, complete at 95,000.   

 

A HUGE improvement, but there's still some work to do. Don't worry -- this is a complicated one.



#40 RegE

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Posted 01 March 2018 - 08:10 AM

Thanks. I felt like I had a bit of a breakthrough today. I know it still needs work, but I think this shorter, snappier approach is def the way to go.  Thanks again for your help. It was your 'bitesize' idea that really spoke to me. :) 






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