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Beloved Weapon (commercial, sci-fi)


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#1 JAPrice

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:06 PM

In BELOVED WEAPON, when superhuman criminal extraordinaire Nia Black crosses the wrong corporation, things go wrong for her very, very quickly.

Nia Black always knew she was special. Mysteriously born with strength and senses far beyond those of normal humans, Nia believes she can do whatever she wants, whether robbing a high-tech facility for fun and profit, or secretly sharing a bed with her landlady's boyfriend. She revels in her freedom until her brazen antics draw the attention of the Hudson Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor and biological research firm whose goal is nothing less than the perfection of the human body as a weapon. Corp Hudson has set their sights on something that can take their plans to the next level: Nia Black herself. Yet for all their efforts and all the money they spend on mercenaries, Hudson can't lay a finger on Nia. She's too fast, too strong...too good.

Enter Jesús Alvarez, the newest member of Corp Hudson's Executive Security Branch. Suave. Cunning. And more than meets the eye. He infiltrates Nia's personal life, matches her in single combat, comes closer to capturing Nia than anyone has before. But only when he and Nia are face to face does Jesús reveal the truth: he's on her side. He knows where Nia's powers came from. He's eager to help Nia get Hudson out of her hair. But can he be trusted? And even with their combined might, are Nia and Jesús a match for the Corp? Now with her enemies doing everything in their power to hunt Nia down and destroying everything she holds dear, Nia turns away from her criminal lifestyle to fight, to find herself and embrace her true calling.

Complete at 97,000 words, BELOVED WEAPON is a modern, urban science fiction adventure novel. Thank you for your time and attention.

#2 Stephanie Diaz

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:26 PM

In BELOVED WEAPON, when superhuman criminal extraordinaire Nia Black crosses the wrong corporation, things go wrong for her very, very quickly.

Nia Black always knew she was special. (I feel like this phrase is very overused. I think you could just delete it.) Mysteriously born with strength and senses far beyond those of normal humans, Nia believes she can do whatever she wants, whether robbing a high-tech facility for fun and profit, or secretly sharing a bed with her landlady's boyfriend. She revels in her freedom until her brazen antics draw the attention of the Hudson Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor and biological research firm whose goal is nothing less than the perfection of the human body as a weapon. Corp Hudson has set their sights on something that can take their plans to the next level: Nia Black herself. Yet for all their efforts and all the money they spend on mercenaries, Hudson can't lay a finger on Nia. She's too fast, too strong...too good.

Enter Jesús Alvarez, the newest member of Corp Hudson's Executive Security Branch. Suave. Cunning. And more than meets the eye. He infiltrates Nia's personal life, matches her in single combat, comes closer to capturing Nia than anyone has before. But only when he and Nia are face to face does Jesús reveal the truth: he's on her side. He knows where Nia's powers came from. He's eager to help Nia get Hudson out of her hair. But can he be trusted? And even with their combined might, are Nia and Jesús a match for the Corp? (I'd find a way to get rid of these rhetorical questions. It gives the sentences a somewhat cheesy feel, and agents tend to frown upon them in queries. Now with her enemies doing everything in their power to hunt Nia down and destroying everything she holds dear, Nia turns away from her criminal lifestyle to fight, to find herself and embrace her true calling.

Complete at 97,000 words, BELOVED WEAPON is a modern, urban science-fiction adventure novel. Thank you for your time and attention consideration.


For some reason the first time I read this through I completely bypassed the first sentence...:P This is actually quite good. Nice job.

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#3 Joel Q

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:50 PM

This is a great first draft.
Nicely done.
Good voice.
It's a quality query, until the end.
JQ


In BELOVED WEAPON, when superhuman criminal extraordinaire Nia Black crosses the wrong corporation, things go wrong for her very, very quickly.

Nia Black always knew she was special. Mysteriously born with strength and senses far beyond those of normal humans, Nia believes she can do whatever she wants, whether robbing a high-tech facility for fun and profit, or secretly sharing a bed with her landlady's boyfriend. She revels in her freedom until her brazen antics draw the attention of the Hudson Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor and biological research firm whose goal is nothing less than the perfection of the human body as a weapon. Corp Hudson has set their sights on something that can take their plans to the next level: Nia Black herself. Yet for all their efforts and all the money they spend on mercenaries, Hudson can't lay a finger on Nia. She's too fast, too strong...(just a comma, or periods after each.) too good. ( I really like this paragraph.)

Enter Jesús Alvarez, the newest member of Corp Hudson's Executive Security Branch. Suave. Cunning. And more than meets the eye. He infiltrates Nia's personal life, matches her in single combat, comes closer to capturing Nia than anyone has before. But only when he and Nia are face to face does Jesús reveal the truth: he's on her side. He knows where Nia's powers came from. He's eager to help Nia get Hudson out of her hair. But can he be trusted? And even with their combined might, are Nia and Jesús a match for the Corp? No questions. Rework into her POV. Now with her enemies doing everything in their power to hunt Nia down and destroying everything she holds dear, Nia turns away from her criminal lifestyle to fight, to find herself and embrace her true calling. (This is telling, but doesn't tell us much. What's her true calling? What's her story goal? Show us what's at stake here.)

Complete at 97,000 words, BELOVED WEAPON is a modern, urban science fiction adventure novel. Thank you for your time and attention.


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#4 Tom Preece

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:04 PM

I like the general set up of your plot quite a lot, individuals versus the Corp, small guys against the world, is great set up for an adventure, but what sets this one apart? I know you're trying to write a hook, but I don't think you've got one yet. You might want to take a look at in the Query Questions and Conversations at the Brainstorming Hooks thread.

If you want how they evolved, I would invite you to look at either my query development or Stephanie's. I think they show we've both learned a lot.

What's helping me is remembering that I'm really not telling the story; I'm flirting with the would reader and trying to make him mad to read it.

#5 J. A. Stephens

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 07:08 PM

I like your query. Your story sounds like something that I'd enjoy reading. The only thing that I might change a little is your hook. I don't think that I would start off with your title. You already have it mentioned in the last paragraph where it seems to belong (for me at least). Also, instead of saying that things went very, very wrong you might reveal a little something about how they go wrong. Nice job!

#6 JAPrice

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 08:32 PM

Thanks a lot for all the feedback, everyone. I must say that I'm glad that the feedback was mostly positive with only a few issues. As this is the first query I've ever written, I was quite uncomfortable posting at first. I tried to take everything to heart and make some changes, though I'm certain I'll need to do a lot more tweaking before considering it ready.

Updated query below:

--

There’s no right way to do wrong, something Nia Black is destined to learn the hard way.

Mysteriously born with strength and senses far beyond those of normal humans, Nia Black is a do-anything-for-a-buck go-to girl for the criminal underworld, who believes she can do whatever she wants, whether robbing a high-tech facility for fun and profit, or secretly sharing a bed with her landlady's boyfriend. She revels in her freedom until her brazen antics draw the attention of the Hudson Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor and biological research firm whose goal is nothing less than the perfection of the human body as a weapon. Corp Hudson has set their sights on something that can take their plans to the next level: Nia Black herself. The Corp’s influence turns Nia’s allies into double-crossers and her friends into targets. Explosive battles erupt on the streets between Hudson’s forces and the lone, gunslinging young bandit. Yet for all their efforts, all the money spent on mercenaries, Hudson can't lay a finger on Nia. She's too fast, too strong—too good.

Enter Jesús Alvarez, the newest member of Corp Hudson's Executive Security Branch. Suave. Cunning. And more than meets the eye. He infiltrates Nia's personal life, matches her in single combat, comes closer to capturing Nia than anyone has before. But only when he and Nia are face to face does Jesús reveal the truth: he's on her side. He knows where Nia's powers came from. He's eager to help Nia get Hudson out of her hair. Sensing a kindred spirit, Nia sides with Jesús to take the fight to Hudson. But when Nia learns the true scope of Hudson’s plans—to unleash an army of unstoppable, perfectly obedient super soldiers onto the world and become the ultimate Private Military Corporation—she realizes that she is simultaneously the key to Hudson’s success and the only force that can stop him. Before she can, Nia must shed the darkness of her past. She must turn away from her self-centered nature, abandon her life of crime, and accept her true calling—that of a hero.

Complete at 97,000 words, BELOVED WEAPON is a modern, urban science fiction adventure novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.

#7 Moonshade

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:18 PM

There’s no right way to do wrong, something Nia Black is destined to learn the hard way.

Mysteriously born with strength and senses far beyond those of normal humans, Nia Black is a do-anything-for-a-buck go-to girl for the criminal underworld, who believes she can do whatever she wants, whether robbing a high-tech facility for fun and profit, or secretly sharing a bed with her landlady's boyfriend. Is this why she doesn't want to be a hero? It seems to be on a different track from the rest of the query, unless you can tie it in somehow later. She revels in her freedom until her brazen antics draw the attention of the Hudson Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor and biological research firm whose goal is nothing less than the perfection of the human body as a weapon. Corp Hudson has set their sights on something that can take their plans to the next level: Nia Black herself. The Corp’s influence turns Nia’s allies into double-crossers and her friends into targets. Explosive battles erupt on the streets between Hudson’s forces and the lone, gunslinging young bandit. Yet for all their efforts, all the money spent on mercenaries, Hudson can't lay a finger on Nia. She's too fast, too strong—too good. Exactly. She's too good. I think that's the problem here. I don't feel any urgency, even when you later bring up super soldiers. You've built up that she's unstoppable, and then take the one man who can stop her and say "Just kidding! he's on her side!" I don't doubt for one second that she can do this, and she doesn't have any reason to refuse. Give us that doubt. Up the stakes.

Enter Jesús Alvarez, the newest member of Corp Hudson's Executive Security Branch. Suave. Cunning. And more than meets the eye. He infiltrates Nia's personal life, matches her in single combat, comes closer to capturing Nia than anyone has before. But only when he and Nia are face to face does Jesús reveal the truth: he's on her side. He knows where Nia's powers came from. He's eager to help Nia get Hudson out of her hair. Sensing a kindred spirit, Nia sides with Jesús to take the fight to Hudson. But when Nia learns the true scope of Hudson’s plans—to unleash an army of unstoppable, perfectly obedient super soldiers onto the world and become the ultimate Private Military Corporation—she realizes that she is simultaneously the key to Hudson’s success and the only force that can stop him. Before she can, Nia must shed the darkness of her past. She must turn away from her self-centered nature, abandon her life of crime, and accept her true calling—that of a hero.

Complete at 97,000 words, BELOVED WEAPON is a modern, urban science fiction adventure novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.


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#8 Tom Preece

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:43 PM

I like the changes, but if I were you I would now try to shrink it.

You've almost written your synopsis. This is a flirtation game between you and the agent. You his first taste to make him want to read these details.

Now I like this hook.

#9 JAPrice

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Posted 24 June 2011 - 03:14 PM

Thanks for the additional critiques, Moonshade and Tom. Moonshade, you in particular gave me something new to consider...I don't really express the real issue that plagues the MC in my query, and as a result her success comes off as a foregone conclusion. There is a greater conflict in the story but I haven't quite worked out how I can write it into the query effectively yet, at least not without getting too wordy. I feel like I need to do an overhaul of the whole thing, trying to keep the tone but make the actual sense of conflict clearer. I need to spend some more time on this, I know that now.

Who'd have thought something so small could be so difficult...?

#10 wendywtw

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 11:23 AM

Hi,

Here's my two cents for what it's worth. First of all, your writing is wonderful. It's clear and you know right off the bat what's going on with your story. Also, I really like the dynamics between Nia and Jesus. It adds a whole other dimension. Maybe you want to elaborate on your hook up front. (You mention way below her enemies destroying everything she holds dear.) You may want to bring that into your hook. What goes wrong for Nia? Has an attempt been made on her life? What's been taken away? Also, I'd get rid of the first line in your second paragraph. As you can see below, it reads better without it. We already know she's special. Also, sharing a bed with the landlady's boyfriend isn't too extraordinary or wildly controversial. I'd consider getting rid of that too or spicing it up with conflict.

In BELOVED WEAPON, when superhuman criminal extraordinaire Nia Black crosses the wrong corporation, things go wrong for her very, very quickly.

Mysteriously born with strength and senses far beyond those of normal humans, Nia believes she can do whatever she wants, whether robbing a high-tech facility for fun and profit, or secretly sharing a bed with her landlady's boyfriend. She revels in her freedom until her brazen antics draw the attention of the Hudson Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor and biological research firm whose goal is nothing less than the perfection of the human body as a weapon. Corp Hudson has set their sights on something that can take their plans to the next level: Nia Black herself. Yet for all their efforts and all the money they spend on mercenaries, Hudson can't lay a finger on Nia. She's too fast, too strong...too good.

Enter Jesús Alvarez, the newest member of Corp Hudson's Executive Security Branch. Suave. Cunning. And more than meets the eye. He infiltrates Nia's personal life, matches her in single combat, comes closer to capturing Nia than anyone has before. But only when he and Nia are face to face does Jesús reveal the truth: he's on her side. He knows where Nia's powers came from. He's eager to help Nia get Hudson out of her hair. But can he be trusted? And even with their combined might, are Nia and Jesús a match for the Corp? Now with her enemies doing everything in their power to hunt Nia down and destroying everything she holds dear, Nia turns away from her criminal lifestyle to fight, to find herself and embrace her true calling.

Complete at 97,000 words, BELOVED WEAPON is a modern, urban science fiction adventure novel. Thank you for your time and attention.

#11 Smoothdalt

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 02:56 PM

In BELOVED WEAPON, when superhuman criminal extraordinaire Nia Black crosses the wrong corporation, things go wrong for her very, very quickly.

Nia Black always knew she was special. Mysteriously born with strength and senses far beyond those of normal humans, Nia believes she can do whatever she wants, whether robbing a high-tech facility for fun and profit, or secretly sharing a bed with her landlady's boyfriend. She revels in her freedom until her brazen antics draw the attention of the Hudson Corporation, a corrupt defense contractor and biological research firm whose goal is nothing less than the perfection of the human body as a weapon. Corp Hudson has set their sights on something that can take their plans to the next level: Nia Black herself. Yet for all their efforts and all the money they spend on mercenaries, Hudson can't lay a finger on Nia. She's too fast, too strong...too good.

Enter Jesús Alvarez, the newest member of Corp Hudson's Executive Security Branch. Suave. Cunning. And more than meets the eye. He infiltrates Nia's personal life, matches her in single combat, comes closer to capturing Nia than anyone has before. But only when he and Nia are face to face does Jesús reveal the truth: he's on her side. He knows where Nia's powers came from. He's eager to help Nia get Hudson out of her hair. But can he be trusted? And even with their combined might, are Nia and Jesús a match for the Corp? Now with her enemies doing everything in their power to hunt Nia down and destroying everything she holds dear, Nia turns away from her criminal lifestyle to fight, to find herself and embrace her true calling.

Complete at 97,000 words, BELOVED WEAPON is a modern, urban science fiction adventure novel. Thank you for your time and attention.



#12 Smoothdalt

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 02:59 PM

I liked everything about this. Good writing. Compeling words that draw strong attention to


your story. I would definately read the book. Hope you place it with Baen.

#13 Tom Preece

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 05:38 PM

You all wouldn't happen to work for Baen wouldya Smoothdalt? If you do fess up and I'll bet you get a lot of attention!

#14 DHero

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 05:42 PM

You all wouldn't happen to work for Baen wouldya Smoothdalt? If you do fess up and I'll bet you get a lot of attention!

Clearly, he is a mere pawn in Baen's sneaky plot to take over AQ Connect. Baen's minions will give poor query advice to users everywhere, giving him total control over the literary industry!

(for the record, I have no idea who Baen is--I guess that's his/her/its main advantage over other people I know who are trying to take over the industry)

#15 bkeats

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 10:14 AM

I'll wait for the next version for a line-by-line commentary, but for now I'll echo Moonshade. There's no real sense that Nia is in danger. You've built her up a little too much.

#16 JAPrice

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Posted 29 June 2011 - 11:03 AM

I just wanted to stop by and thank everyone who took the time to provide feedback. I've come to something of an impasse with this query letter now, thanks to the effective but somewhat conflicting feedback I've gotten. While I'm trying to revise this for the better, I'm working on other projects as well. I'll be posting a revision sometime later. Thanks again, everyone.




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