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THE GRAY BOOK (Literary Fantasy)

Fiction Fantasy Literary Fiction Gay Lesbian Offbeat/Quirky Science Fiction

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#1 grayhouse13

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 10:41 AM

You are not who you think you are, and THE GRAY BOOK is not a book but a rift between dimensions. Or so says DRAMATIS, the Puckish spirit of drama itself, who has hijacked the narrative and destroyed the fourth wall in a desperate attempt to convince you of your otherworldly origin and get you back to where you belong, the center point of all existence - Gray House.

Gray House is a dilapidated bayou estate where lives the GRAY FAMILY, a secret society of genderqueer, multiverse traveling outcasts. For years, the Family, yourself included, has been caught in a maze of shifting reality for which Dramatis is responsible. Accidentally responsible. Scout’s honor.

Your journey into Gray House is a room-by-room immersion into the chaos of time and space Dramatis has created, showing through their letters and exchanges how unraveled the Family’s world has become. As Dramatis follows you through the house, his motivation becomes clear - it was all for a girl, of course. He mangled the fabric of reality for the love of one Gray Family member: the untamed and intellectual ROSIE. A mere function of theater can’t very well walk up to a human girl and tell her own he feels. Unusual measures were called for.

Oh, but it’s not like it worked. If it had worked, that would obviously be the end of the story and not very Dramatic at all. But failing miserably, his tomfuckery has backfired, manifesting the greatest storm known to mankind. The approaching cyclone not only threatens to blur the lines between realities further but to close Dramatis’ window into Gray House forever, damning him to an eternity as nothing more than an intangible spirit.

But that’s what this is really about- becoming real. Which is where you come in.

He asks that you, the reader, let him systematically take apart your perception of existence and replace it with his multiverse proposition of the truth. And once you "remember" your real life, you can come home to Gray House, reunite with the Gray Family, and aid him in his emotional quest to win Rosie’s heart at last. Sure, Rosie hates him for what he’s done, but what more could a woman want than a man who can harness the mighty power of an interdimensional storm he accidentally created? He can still win this thing.

The Gray Book is meant to propel you into a massively multi-reader online collaboration. Subsequent to the read, the doors of Gray House are open wide on the official website, where you’re invited to interact online with the mystical motley crew that is the Gray Family, played live by the authors. On the foundation where stands Gray House, every world collides, from the unseen corners of Oz to the landscape of your dreams, enabling you to traverse all planes with the Family. These interactions will decide Dramatis’ fate, as well as that of the Family at large. Readers would even influence later books toward a limitless series, igniting their sense of adventure and possibility like nothing before it.

#2 Springfield

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 11:11 AM

You are not who you think you are, and THE GRAY BOOK is not a book but a rift between dimensions. Or so says DRAMATIS, the Puckish spirit of drama itself, who has hijacked the narrative and destroyed the fourth wall in a desperate attempt to convince you of your otherworldly origin and get you back to where you belong, the center point of all existence - Gray House.

Gray House is a dilapidated bayou estate where lives the GRAY FAMILY, a secret society of genderqueer, multiverse traveling outcasts. For years, the Family, yourself included, has been caught in a maze of shifting reality for which Dramatis is responsible. Accidentally responsible. Scout’s honor.

Your journey into Gray House is a room-by-room immersion into the chaos of time and space Dramatis has created, showing through their letters and exchanges how unraveled the Family’s world has become. As Dramatis follows you through the house, his motivation becomes clear - it was all for a girl, of course. He mangled the fabric of reality for the love of one Gray Family member: the untamed and intellectual ROSIE. A mere function of theater can’t very well walk up to a human girl and tell her own he feels. Unusual measures were called for.

Oh, but it’s not like it worked. If it had worked, that would obviously be the end of the story and not very Dramatic at all. But failing miserably, his tomfuckery has backfired, manifesting the greatest storm known to mankind. The approaching cyclone not only threatens to blur the lines between realities further but to close Dramatis’ window into Gray House forever, damning him to an eternity as nothing more than an intangible spirit.

But that’s what this is really about- becoming real. Which is where you come in.

He asks that you, the reader, let him systematically take apart your perception of existence and replace it with his multiverse proposition of the truth. And once you "remember" your real life, you can come home to Gray House, reunite with the Gray Family, and aid him in his emotional quest to win Rosie’s heart at last. Sure, Rosie hates him for what he’s done, but what more could a woman want than a man who can harness the mighty power of an interdimensional storm he accidentally created? He can still win this thing.

The Gray Book is meant to propel you into a massively multi-reader online collaboration. Subsequent to the read, the doors of Gray House are open wide on the official website, where you’re invited to interact online with the mystical motley crew that is the Gray Family, played live by the authors. On the foundation where stands Gray House, every world collides, from the unseen corners of Oz to the landscape of your dreams, enabling you to traverse all planes with the Family. These interactions will decide Dramatis’ fate, as well as that of the Family at large. Readers would even influence later books toward a limitless series, igniting their sense of adventure and possibility like nothing before it.

 

I'm not sure what this is, or is meant to be, but it's not a query. I'd suggest taking a look at the stickied threads, the queries in progress, and the archives at queryshark, if you're trying to craft a query which, again, unsure.

 

Hmm.



#3 grayhouse13

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 12:58 PM

Thank you for taking the time to comment. We were taken aback by the idea this isn’t a query at all. I took your advice and read everything you suggested, still coming up with no idea what separates this from a query. It has a hook, it has a synopsis, a voice befitting the novel itself, and the important information about what makes this novel different from any other.

Unless, of course, you meant any of the following: No address, no personalization, no bio, no closing. Those were left out because I hardly feel they need critiquing. Was I wrong? I suppose it could have been the fact that we go into the purpose of the book, which is to guide the reader theough/into our experimental social media site. Obviously no “real” query would contain such a thing unless it were the linchpin of the work itself, which it is.

If you could please point to the ways this fails to meet the criteria, it would be much appreciated. I would be mortified to send this out if it’s flat out not a query, but I can’t see it for myself.

#4 grayhouse13

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 12:59 PM

I'm not sure what this is, or is meant to be, but it's not a query. I'd suggest taking a look at the stickied threads, the queries in progress, and the archives at queryshark, if you're trying to craft a query which, again, unsure.

Hmm.


Thank you for taking the time to comment. We were taken aback by the idea this isn’t a query at all. I took your advice and read everything you suggested, still coming up with no idea what separates this from a query. It has a hook, it has a synopsis, a voice befitting the novel itself, and the important information about what makes this novel different from any other.

Unless, of course, you meant any of the following: No address, no personalization, no bio, no closing. Those were left out because I hardly feel they need critiquing. Was I wrong? I suppose it could have been the fact that we go into the purpose of the book, which is to guide the reader theough/into our experimental social media site. Obviously no “real” query would contain such a thing unless it were the linchpin of the work itself, which it is.

If you could please point to the ways this fails to meet the criteria, it would be much appreciated. I would be mortified to send this out if it’s flat out not a query, but I can’t see it for myself.

#5 Springfield

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 01:13 PM

Thank you for taking the time to comment. We were taken aback by the idea this isn’t a query at all. I took your advice and read everything you suggested, still coming up with no idea what separates this from a query. It has a hook, it has a synopsis, a voice befitting the novel itself, and the important information about what makes this novel different from any other.

Unless, of course, you meant any of the following: No address, no personalization, no bio, no closing. Those were left out because I hardly feel they need critiquing. Was I wrong? I suppose it could have been the fact that we go into the purpose of the book, which is to guide the reader theough/into our experimental social media site. Obviously no “real” query would contain such a thing unless it were the linchpin of the work itself, which it is.

If you could please point to the ways this fails to meet the criteria, it would be much appreciated. I would be mortified to send this out if it’s flat out not a query, but I can’t see it for myself.

 

You took the time, in two hours or less, to read the stickied threads, a whole bunch of query threads, and... the archives at queryshark? That's a trick.

 

This does not look like any query on this site in any of the query threads. I am not going to spell out, step by step, the myriad reasons this is not in ANY WAY a query, if you can't even be bothered to do the barest research into queries at all. 

 

However, yeah, saying the purpose of the book is to flog your social media site is not a general thing, but you don't even present that in a professional manner, so I don't know what to do with it.



#6 A. Wass

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 02:52 PM

Springfield is right. This isn't remotely a query. It reads like a bunch of nonsense, honestly. Your time would be better spent by taking Springfield's advice and actually reading the archives at Query Shark, which will take you hours and hours, days maybe. But it will be well worth it. If you're going to make it in this industry, you need to learn how to take constructive criticism and grow from it instead of arguing with the person who was trying to help you. Just my two cents.



#7 grayhouse13

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 03:55 PM

Springfield is right. This isn't remotely a query. It reads like a bunch of nonsense, honestly. Your time would be better spent by taking Springfield's advice and actually reading the archives at Query Shark, which will take you hours and hours, days maybe. But it will be well worth it. If you're going to make it in this industry, you need to learn how to take constructive criticism and grow from it instead of arguing with the person who was trying to help you. Just my two cents.


I haven’t actually received any kind of constructive criticism thus far. I’ve been told my query is nonsense with no citations as to how, which I politely asked for in order to “grow”. I very literally and immediately took his advice and brushed up when I’ve been reading this stuff for two years. Not seeing at all what he meant after doing so, I politely asked Springfield to help me understand. I was rebuffed rudely, presumptuously, and unhelpfully. If quests for understanding are synonymous with argument, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get where I’m going.

The reason I posted on this site at all was to gain constructive criticism and have so far been treated like I’m stupid and a liar by two people. What I’m learning is that this isn’t the right place to ask for help.

#8 PureZhar3

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 04:18 PM

I haven’t actually received any kind of constructive criticism thus far. I’ve been told my query is nonsense with no citations as to how, which I politely asked for in order to “grow”. I very literally and immediately took his advice and brushed up when I’ve been reading this stuff for two years. Not seeing at all what he meant after doing so, I politely asked Springfield to help me understand. I was rebuffed rudely, presumptuously, and unhelpfully. If quests for understanding are synonymous with argument, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get where I’m going.

The reason I posted on this site at all was to gain constructive criticism and have so far been treated like I’m stupid and a liar by two people. What I’m learning is that this isn’t the right place to ask for help.

 

​I'm sorry you feel this way. A few bits of constructive criticism:

​1) the incorrect POV is utilized. Regardless of what POV the novel is in, the query should be in third person, present tense

​2) a variety of characters are talked about, but the query should focus on one alone

​3) the plans of propelling a reader to an online site is fascinating, but the query is not a place to bring it up. Nor is the idea of an infinite series. Agents care only about this book, and this book alone... if they like it, if they decide to represent it, if they find a publisher, if the book does well... then a series/expanding into different media can be discussed. But in the query, the book is the only thing you can (and should) be trying to sell

​4) Your query is 510 words. It should be no more than 300.

 

​Perhaps Springfield was doubting you did research because these are often listed as the basics in articles on writing queries. Hopefully this helps.


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


#9 grayhouse13

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:04 PM

​I'm sorry you feel this way. A few bits of constructive criticism:

​1) the incorrect POV is utilized. Regardless of what POV the novel is in, the query should be in third person, present tense

​2) a variety of characters are talked about, but the query should focus on one alone

​3) the plans of propelling a reader to an online site is fascinating, but the query is not a place to bring it up. Nor is the idea of an infinite series. Agents care only about this book, and this book alone... if they like it, if they decide to represent it, if they find a publisher, if the book does well... then a series/expanding into different media can be discussed. But in the query, the book is the only thing you can (and should) be trying to sell

​4) Your query is 510 words. It should be no more than 300.

 

​Perhaps Springfield was doubting you did research because these are often listed as the basics in articles on writing queries. Hopefully this helps.

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to comment, this was very helpful. I have some questions if you have just a little bit more time. (If not, no worries.)

 

1. We've wavered back and forth on which POV to use in the query because the POV is special in the book and it's hard to imagine it being in 3rd person (or not-so-special or so far away from the voice of the novel), but I understand it's a matter of professionalism. We're straddling a line between professionalism and punk rock experimentalism, so I get this completely, but not something I missed in my research.

2. Even in the case of an ensemble cast? Naming only two and paring down the 13 members of the Family to just "The Family" seemed like enough (as per intensive research), but if it isn't, that's good information.

3. We feel like we're a special circumstance being that what an agent is getting with us isn't just a book, we're online performers. The book is meant to be connected to the site and actually doesn't work without it. They're one in the same. We were trying to make that clear, but if it isn't important, it isn't important. Is it really not?

4. The extra words (despite the industry standard I've researched many times) are almost all in regard to the site and what we're trying to accomplish with the book, which is not just a good read but a cataclysm. Are we being naive to think it would matter to be just a little long-winded just to explain that?

 

I supposed I'm still stumped as to how these things would reduce a query to not being a query at all (we didn't even rank bad query), but I'm very happy to hear your constructive criticisms. We're considering them very carefully.



#10 Springfield

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:07 PM

I haven’t actually received any kind of constructive criticism thus far. I’ve been told my query is nonsense with no citations as to how, which I politely asked for in order to “grow”. I very literally and immediately took his advice and brushed up when I’ve been reading this stuff for two years. Not seeing at all what he meant after doing so, I politely asked Springfield to help me understand. I was rebuffed rudely, presumptuously, and unhelpfully. If quests for understanding are synonymous with argument, I’m not sure how I’m supposed to get where I’m going.

The reason I posted on this site at all was to gain constructive criticism and have so far been treated like I’m stupid and a liar by two people. What I’m learning is that this isn’t the right place to ask for help.

 

Again, your query looks and is set up nothing like any query in any of the dozens of current threads containing queries people are working on. I suggested you look through the threads. Most of them have people discussing specifics and going over what works and doesn't in their queries.

 

Aside from that critiquing others is the fastest way to improve your own work, and that the queries here and on Reid's site are clearly, markedly different from what's here in very basic ways, If you can't be bothered to even attempt to figure that out, why would I spend my time enumerating them for you?



#11 grayhouse13

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:14 PM

Again, your query looks and is set up nothing like any query in any of the dozens of current threads containing queries people are working on. I suggested you look through the threads. Most of them have people discussing specifics and going over what works and doesn't in their queries.

 

Aside from that critiquing others is the fastest way to improve your own work, and that the queries here and on Reid's site are clearly, markedly different from what's here in very basic ways, If you can't be bothered to even attempt to figure that out, why would I spend my time enumerating them for you?

Yes, I can see that you cannot be bothered with me, the lazy liar I am. Thank you, I think I've learned all I can from you.



#12 Springfield

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:24 PM

Yes, I can see that you cannot be bothered with me, the lazy liar I am. Thank you, I think I've learned all I can from you.

 

:blink:



#13 rhwashere

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:30 PM

Ok, so here’s the problem with all this. Everyone thinks they’ve got something special, groundbreaking, yadda yadda. It’s part of the hubris of being the author. But nearly all successful authors have to push aside this hubris and play the game. The publishing industry’s game, that is. If you want to be traditionally published, you have to follow their guidelines, not your own. Agents are looking to sell books, not interactive online experiences. Same with publishers.

Honestly, this whole project of yours doesn’t seem well suited to traditional publishing at all. My suggestion for you (plural?) is to try something along self-publishing lines. Get an online following via social media and do your own thing.

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


#14 grayhouse13

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 05:40 PM

Ok, so here’s the problem with all this. Everyone thinks they’ve got something special, groundbreaking, yadda yadda. It’s part of the hubris of being the author. But nearly all successful authors have to push aside this hubris and play the game. The publishing industry’s game, that is. If you want to be traditionally published, you have to follow their guidelines, not your own. Agents are looking to sell books, not interactive online experiences. Same with publishers.

Honestly, this whole project of yours doesn’t seem well suited to traditional publishing at all. My suggestion for you (plural?) is to try something along self-publishing lines. Get an online following via social media and do your own thing.

Thank you for commenting, it's really appreciated. I couldn't agree more. You're absolutely right, everyone thinks they've got something special, some do and some don't. I absolutely don't want to be a person who breaks the rules because they think they're special and they're not. I believe in professionalism and pulling in the reigns wherever possible. It's important to know when/where the appropriate moment/venue is to show just how special we are and in what way. But the cold, hard fact is that what we have is absolutely special and groundbreaking. And too many times I've wondered why we're going to agents when we should really just be building our scene and making agents come to us. Hearing it from someone else is pretty vindicating, honestly.



#15 rhwashere

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Posted 27 March 2018 - 06:03 PM

I really think that’s probably the best bet for what you’re trying to do.

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


#16 PureZhar3

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 04:05 PM

Thank you for taking the time to comment, this was very helpful. I have some questions if you have just a little bit more time. (If not, no worries.)

 

1. We've wavered back and forth on which POV to use in the query because the POV is special in the book and it's hard to imagine it being in 3rd person (or not-so-special or so far away from the voice of the novel), but I understand it's a matter of professionalism. We're straddling a line between professionalism and punk rock experimentalism, so I get this completely, but not something I missed in my research.

2. Even in the case of an ensemble cast? Naming only two and paring down the 13 members of the Family to just "The Family" seemed like enough (as per intensive research), but if it isn't, that's good information.

3. We feel like we're a special circumstance being that what an agent is getting with us isn't just a book, we're online performers. The book is meant to be connected to the site and actually doesn't work without it. They're one in the same. We were trying to make that clear, but if it isn't important, it isn't important. Is it really not?

4. The extra words (despite the industry standard I've researched many times) are almost all in regard to the site and what we're trying to accomplish with the book, which is not just a good read but a cataclysm. Are we being naive to think it would matter to be just a little long-winded just to explain that?

 

I supposed I'm still stumped as to how these things would reduce a query to not being a query at all (we didn't even rank bad query), but I'm very happy to hear your constructive criticisms. We're considering them very carefully.

1. Almost every agent will automatically reject you if you aren't in the correct POV, so it isn't just a matter of professionalism, its a matter of getting anyone to even being willing to listen to your book. The POV should be mentioned in the paragraph with book details (genre, word count, title, etc.)

2. Paring down the members to just "the Family" was good, but you still need a main character who the query focuses on, generally. Bringing the reader in as a character, from what I know, is a 'no' (within the query, that is, not the book) - that will be concluded from you mentioning the book is second person . You may want to do some research on how to write queries for second person novels in particular. Sometimes focusing on two characters equally works, but until you switch this to third person, it will be hard to tell.

3. Like Rh said, agents want to publish books, not online interactive experiences. As I said, whether that's something that can be done will depend on the success of your book, or - if you decide to do it anyway - then it will be something the agent is not highly involved in. So it is important, but not to the agent. You are more likely to scare an agent away going on about your grand dreams than you are to draw them in.

4. Yes, that's straight naivety. This is similar to point 1, in which you're probably going to get an auto-reject for not following the standards. Agents receive hundreds of queries a day, and everyone thinks they have something special - an agent can't take everyone's word for it (sometimes people are flat out wrong). So they use things like word count to weed out those people who *it is assumed* aren't serious about getting published or don't know anything about the industry. The word count and POV are highly inflexible. Even if an agent doesn't autoreject your query for being so long, they're likely to pay it less attention (they know they have 100 more queries in the inbox, and they only have 30 seconds for this one - they'll either stop reading or they'll skim, neither of which you want).

 

I really think that’s probably the best bet for what you’re trying to do.

This is a thought I had as well. I answered your questions in case you were wanting to still go ahead with traditional publishing, but your work sounds far better suited for self publishing or the like.


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


#17 smithgirl

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Posted 28 March 2018 - 05:48 PM

I've looked through this thread and I have to agree with what the others have said. If you want to traditionally publish your novel, then you have to follow the guidelines by which the traditional publishing industry operates -- and that includes writing a query letter in the standard query letter format. If you don't abide by these rules, you will not get an agent. It doesn't matter whether you agree with the guidelines or not.

 

Plus, agents only sell books -- not interactive online experiences, so this probably isn't the right avenue.

 

If you want to do something that's really outside the box, then you should consider self publishing. 







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