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THE PREEMINENT WAR (military/sci fi)


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#1 rockwhitehouse

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Posted 12 March 2018 - 03:49 PM

I am brand-new to this site, but the only way to start is to start, so here I am diving head-first into the deep end.

 

-----------------------------------------------

Agent Name

Firm

Address

City, State ZIP

 

Dear Agent,

 

The invention of the Forstmann Faster-Than-Light Drive in 2055 changed the world, mostly for the better. It took us to the planets in hours, to the stars in days or weeks. The exploration and mining it enabled brought wealth to many and improved the lives of billions. It later introduced us to a peaceful and industrious alien species, the tri-sexual and deeply religious ‘Inori.’ But even in 2078, no one expected it to entangle our inexperienced and unprepared Fleet in a sudden and deadly fight at the Inori homeworld with a faceless, relentless foe.

 

A year before the war breaks out, David Powell, the brightest student in the Fleet Academy, has his career derailed by a family tragedy. Carol Hansen, his classmate and unrequited love interest, goes on to graduate and is a heroine of the war’s opening days. David eventually returns to the fleet, and as dire circumstances are thrust upon him, becomes a hero in his own right. Carol comes to see what David means to her, too, and they are reunited, their relationship transformed.

 

Through the chaos of victories and defeats, mysteries and anxieties, David and Carol and their shipmates stick to their grim motto, ‘Meanwhile, we fight,’ and put aside their personal hopes and desires. As the battles swirl around and through them, they search the stars for the enemy, unsure either of them would survive to have a life together at all.

 

THE PREEMINENT WAR is a military/science fiction novel of 136,000 words set 60 years in the future. It should appeal to readers of classic science fiction, as well as those who enjoy contemporary military fiction such as Ghost Fleet. The story envisions a future which is more rational, less frenetic, with strong women in signficant leadership roles. It is a time when who you are is far more important than what you are. This is a complete story, but it has clear potential as the first of a series.

 

I joined the Air Force after high school and did technical intelligence work in the National Security Agency Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland and elsewhere. After the Air Force I completed a B.S. in Biology. I worked in a hospital lab for 8 years, first doing testing, then managing and writing software for the laboratory’s information system. From there I moved into the laboratory software industry where I worked for almost 30 years. I have been married 38 years, with two daughters and three grandchildren. I am an instrument-rated private pilot.

 

Thanks for your consideration of my work.

 

Very Truly Yours,

<ME>

<MY CONTACT INFO>

 

-----------------------------------------------

 

Thanks in advance for your comments.

 

-Rock

 



#2 Dasein

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 12:24 AM

This query is well-written and engaging but TOO LONG. Edit it by taking out the less important parts. In the bio I think you need only the first sentence.

My query: http://agentquerycon...-fantasy-novel/

#3 Springfield

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 02:32 AM

I am brand-new to this site, but the only way to start is to start, so here I am diving head-first into the deep end.

 

-----------------------------------------------

Agent Name

Firm

Address

City, State ZIP

 

Dear Agent,

 

The invention of the Forstmann Faster-Than-Light Drive in 2055 changed the world, mostly for the better. It took us to the planets in hours, to the stars in days or weeks. The exploration and mining it enabled brought wealth to many and improved the lives of billions. It later introduced us to a peaceful and industrious alien species, the tri-sexual and deeply religious ‘Inori.’ But even in 2078, no one expected it to entangle our inexperienced and unprepared Fleet in a sudden and deadly fight at the Inori homeworld with a faceless, relentless foe.

 

A year before the war breaks out, David Powell, the brightest student in the Fleet Academy, has his career derailed by a family tragedy. Carol Hansen, his classmate and unrequited love interest, goes on to graduate and is a heroine of the war’s opening days. David eventually returns to the fleet, and as dire circumstances are thrust upon him, becomes a hero in his own right. Carol comes to see what David means to her, too, and they are reunited, their relationship transformed.

 

Through the chaos of victories and defeats, mysteries and anxieties, David and Carol and their shipmates stick to their grim motto, ‘Meanwhile, we fight,’ and put aside their personal hopes and desires. As the battles swirl around and through them, they search the stars for the enemy, unsure either of them would survive to have a life together at all.

 

THE PREEMINENT WAR is a military/science fiction novel of 136,000 words Uh oh.  set 60 years in the future. It should appeal to readers of classic science fiction, as well as those who enjoy contemporary military fiction such as Ghost Fleet. The story envisions a future which is more rational, less frenetic, with strong women in signficant leadership roles. It is a time when who you are is far more important than what you are. This is a complete story, but it has clear potential as the first of a series.

 

I joined the Air Force after high school and did technical intelligence work in the National Security Agency Headquarters at Fort Meade, Maryland and elsewhere. After the Air Force I completed a B.S. in Biology. I worked in a hospital lab for 8 years, first doing testing, then managing and writing software for the laboratory’s information system. From there I moved into the laboratory software industry where I worked for almost 30 years. I have been married 38 years, with two daughters and three grandchildren. I am an instrument-rated private pilot.

 

Thanks for your consideration of my work.

 

Very Truly Yours,

<ME>

<MY CONTACT INFO>

 

-----------------------------------------------

 

Thanks in advance for your comments.

 

-Rock

 

This reads like a blurb. It's vague and synopsis-like, and the query is way long.

 

I've got no idea what actually goes on in the thing. 

 

Character, problem, stakes. 

 

Your WC is way outsized. I'd suggest cutting 30k out before querying it.



#4 rockwhitehouse

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 10:09 AM

Dasein and Springfield : Thanks very much for your responses. The body of the original is 417 words. This version is less than half that (202) and I think it gets at Springfield's comment about not knowing what happens.

 

Regarding the word count, from what I can tell an SF novel should come in around 125K words,. I'm maybe 10% over that, but I feel that this is what was necessary to tell the story. If I have to cut 15K or 30K words, I suppose I could, but for now I want to stick with what I have.

 

So here is the new version:

 

Agent Name

Firm

Address

City, State ZIP

 

Dear Agent,

 

The invention of the Faster-Than-Light Drive in 2055 opened up the stars to us. The mining it enabled brought enormous wealth. With it we found the peaceful, industrious, tri-sexual and deeply religious ‘Inori.’ But also entangled our inexperienced Fleet in a deadly fight above the Inori homeworld.

 

A year before the war, David, the brightest student in the Academy, has his career derailed by a family tragedy. Carol, his unrequited love, is a heroine of the war’s opening days. As the Fleet struggles to understand and find this mysterious enemy, Carol and David are swept into the chaos of victories and defeats, finding genocide and battling knife-fights in deep space.

 

Can the Fleet solve the puzzle before the war comes home?

 

THE PREEMINENT WAR is a military/science fiction novel of 136,000 words. It should appeal to readers of both classic science fiction and contemporary military fiction such as Ghost Fleet. It envisions a future when who you are is more important than what you are. This is a complete story, but it has clear potential as the first of a series.

 

Following my Air Force intelligence work at NSA and SAC, I worked in hospital laboratories and then as a software engineer.

 

Thanks for your consideration of my work.

 

Very Truly Yours,

<ME>

<MY CONTACT INFO>



#5 NicoleLeigh

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 02:09 PM

Agent Name
Firm
Address
City, State ZIP <-- I wouldn't include this unless you're querying via snail mail (which I'm not sure people do anymore)
 
Dear Agent,
 
The invention of the Faster-Than-Light Drive in 2055 opened up the stars to us. The mining it enabled brought enormous wealth. With it we found the peaceful, industrious, tri-sexual and deeply religious ‘Inori.’ But also entangled our inexperienced Fleet in a deadly fight above the Inori homeworld. <-- I think this is too much backstory. (Much more synopsis-y than query.) It's probably good information to weave into the letter to ground the reader, but I think the first paragraph needs to essentially cover the hook of your story.
 
A year before the war, David, the brightest student in the Academy, has his career derailed by a family tragedy. Is the family tragedy essential to the story? If so, I'd explain what happened and how it ties into the rest of the plot. If not, I'd cut it. Carol, his unrequited love, is a heroine of the war’s opening days. As the Fleet struggles to understand and find this mysterious enemy, Carol and David are swept into the chaos of victories and defeats, finding genocide and battling knife-fights in deep space. <-- This is clear and well-written, which is more than a lot of people can do, so that's good! The problem is, I think it's way too vague and/or generic. Basically, all I know from this as a reader is that David loves Carol, and they're fighting some mysterious enemy. That's fine, but it can also more or less sum up so many stories, so I think it's going to be really hard to grab an agent's attention with it.
 
Even though you don't have a lot of room to work with in queries, I think you should try to include as many specifics as you can. What is so mysterious about the enemy? Do they have special powers? Do they look weird? Do they hate cheese? (That'd be a huge mystery to me.) You say below David and Carol need to "solve a puzzle." As a reader, I have no idea what that means. Like, it could be a crossword puzzle for all I know. Show the agent why your story is unique by giving specifics!
 
Can the Fleet solve the puzzle before the war comes home? (I wouldn't use questions in my query. Agents don't seem to like that.)
 
THE PREEMINENT WAR is a military/science fiction novel of 136,000 words. It should appeal to readers of both classic science fiction and contemporary military fiction such as Ghost Fleet. It envisions a future when who you are is more important than what you are. (You don't need this.) This is a complete story, but it has clear potential as the first of a series.
 
Following my Air Force intelligence work at NSA and SAC, I worked in hospital laboratories and then as a software engineer.
 
Thanks for your consideration of my work.
 
Very Truly Yours,
 
<ME>
 
<MY CONTACT INFO>


#6 Springfield

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Posted 13 March 2018 - 04:25 PM

Dasein and Springfield : Thanks very much for your responses. The body of the original is 417 words. This version is less than half that (202) and I think it gets at Springfield's comment about not knowing what happens.

 

Regarding the word count, from what I can tell an SF novel should come in around 125K words,. That's the very top end of SF/F usually, and this is straight-up SF as far as I can tell, which should be more like 90-110. Your wc isn't horrifying, but it is long, especially for debut. If you know you can cut, it suggests you should. Why give people a reason to reject? I'm maybe 10% over that, but I feel that this is what was necessary to tell the story. If I have to cut 15K or 30K words, I suppose I could, but for now I want to stick with what I have.

 

So here is the new version:

 

Agent Name

Firm

Address

City, State ZIP

 

Dear Agent,

 

The invention of the Faster-Than-Light Drive in 2055 opened up the stars to us. The mining it enabled brought enormous wealth. With it we found the peaceful, industrious, tri-sexual and deeply religious ‘Inori.’ But also entangled our inexperienced Fleet in a deadly fight above the Inori homeworld. This is not a sentence.

 

A year before the war, David, the brightest student in the Academy, has his career derailed by a family tragedy. Carol, his unrequited love, is a heroine of the war’s opening days. As the Fleet struggles to understand and find this mysterious enemy, Carol and David are swept into the chaos of victories and defeats, finding genocide and battling knife-fights in deep space. This is all vague and written like backstory. I don't even know who the MC is.

 

Can the Fleet solve the puzzle before the war comes home?

 

THE PREEMINENT WAR is a military/science fiction novel of 136,000 words. It should appeal to readers of both classic science fiction and contemporary military fiction such as Ghost Fleet. It envisions a future when who you are is more important than what you are. This is a complete story, but it has clear potential as the first of a series.

 

Following my Air Force intelligence work at NSA and SAC, I worked in hospital laboratories and then as a software engineer.

 

Thanks for your consideration of my work.

 

Very Truly Yours,

<ME>

<MY CONTACT INFO>

 

I still have zero clue what this is about.

 

Character. 

 

Problem.

 

Stakes.



#7 rockwhitehouse

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 07:58 AM

After reading your feedback and picking the splinters of those 2x4's out of my scalp. I'm ready to come back with a new version.

 

Quoting https://agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx: : A query letter has three concise paragraphs: the hook, the mini-synopsis, and your writer’s biography. Don’t stray from this format.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ensign Carol Hansen was damned lucky to be walking the city of Inoria, and not in orbit aboard Liberty when the six half-mile-long, Airstream-shiny ships appeared above the planet. For Liberty, it was a heroic but brief fight. One destroyed Fleet ship and thirty-five thousand dead Inori later, the enemy, having devastated the city but lost two ships of their own, withdrew without a word.

 

David Powell, Carol’s Fleet University classmate who is secretly loves her, is not with her at Inoria. His career aspirations were derailed over a year before by his father’s suicide. But David returns to the Fleet just before the war to complete his service obligation in a lower, more technical rank. Now as the Fleet moves out to locate, understand and defeat this enigmatic enemy, Carol and David are swept into the chaos of victories and setbacks, heroism and cowardice, finding genocide and battling knife-fights in deep space.  THE PREEMINENT WAR is a science fiction novel of 136,000 words. This is a complete story, but it has clear potential as the first of a series.

 

Following my Air Force intelligence work at NSA and SAC, I worked in hospital laboratories and then as a software engineer.

 

Thanks for your consideration of my work.

 

Very Truly Yours,

<ME>

<MY CONTACT INFO>



#8 RoAndJulesGuy

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 09:25 AM

For your bio, I'd suggest you focus on the relevant info only - since you don't have writing credits, expand a bit (1 sentence) on how your work at the Air Force helps shape the story. I think it'll help you show how this story is yours to tell.

 

The blurb itself is a bit all over the place. Focus on 1) the main character, 2) the initial conflict, and 3) the inciting incident. Some advice I got is to build the blurb is to concentrate on the first 20-30 pages, using the inciting incident as the hook to get the agent wanting to read more.

 

Pull the text beginning with THE PREEMINENT WAR into its own paragraph, and add back the comparable novel.

 

The premise sounds interesting! Good luck!



#9 Springfield

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 10:21 AM

After reading your feedback and picking the splinters of those 2x4's out of my scalp. I'm ready to come back with a new version.

 

Quoting https://agentquery.com/writer_hq.aspx: : A query letter has three concise paragraphs: the hook, the mini-synopsis, and your writer’s biography. Don’t stray from this format.

 

Dear Agent,

 

Ensign Carol Hansen was damned lucky to be walking the city of Inoria, and not in orbit aboard Liberty when the six half-mile-long, Airstream-shiny ships appeared above the planet. For Liberty, it was a heroic but brief fight. One destroyed Fleet ship and thirty-five thousand dead Inori later, the enemy, having devastated the city but lost two ships of their own, withdrew without a word. What does anything past her name in this paragraph have to do with her?

 

David Powell, Carol’s Fleet University classmate who is secretly loves her, is not with her at Inoria. You're switching tenses back and forth. His career aspirations were derailed over a year before by his father’s suicide. But David returns to the Fleet just before the war to complete his service obligation in a lower, more technical rank. This is all backstory. Now as the Fleet moves out to locate, understand and defeat this enigmatic enemy, Carol and David are swept into the chaos of victories and setbacks, heroism and cowardice, finding genocide and battling knife-fights in deep space. This is vague and meaningless  THE PREEMINENT WAR is a science fiction novel of 136,000 words. This is a complete story, but it has clear potential as the first of a series.

 

Following my Air Force intelligence work at NSA and SAC, I worked in hospital laboratories and then as a software engineer.

 

Thanks for your consideration of my work.

 

Very Truly Yours,

<ME>

<MY CONTACT INFO>

 

Third time -- I have NO IDEA what this is about besides some space war and a b-plot romance. Who is the MC? What is his or her PROBLEM? What are the STAKES? 



#10 rockwhitehouse

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Posted 15 March 2018 - 11:08 AM

Thanks everyone for your feedback.

 

Perhaps I need professional help and will seek that out if current queries out there all run dry.






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