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THE PROPAGATION (science fiction/fantasy)


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#1 J. A. Stephens

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 04:49 PM

Dear __________ ,

When Tanner Corbin is confronted by a past that he’s been hiding, he is forced to utilize his skills as an assassin to survive, avenge the loss of his fiancé, and unwittingly save the future of all humanity.

For four years Tanner managed to conceal his true identity living a happy life with Shera Halsey who knows nothing of his past. After Shera is chosen to travel to the planet Paragon as a cast member of a survival/reality show Tanner finds himself targeted for termination when former fellow assassin, Daryl Campbell identifies him. Now the center of an intense manhunt, Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship collided with a giant asteroid. Grief-stricken, Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show and targets astrophysicist, Dr. Allen Stone for death.

After killing Campbell at Stone’s observatory Tanner learns that the entire show was a ruse to perpetuate the human race against an impending killer asteroid strike and that Shera is really alive and living on Paragon. The situation there is bleak, however, as one of Tanner’s former rivals, Mick Conover, has commandeered the project, killing two team members, and raping Shera. Tanner and Stone must travel to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from certain disaster.

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at 140,000 words with series potential. Inspired by a theory about the origin or our solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experience as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic.

Thank you for your consideration. Should you be interested in my story, I will be happy to send additional chapters or the completed manuscript upon your request.

Sincerely,
J. A. Stephens


(I am considering another rewrite as I have discovered that publishers shy away from new writers with a MS over 100,000 words...any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.)

#2 Yelle

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 05:08 PM

Dear __________ ,

When Tanner Corbin is confronted by a past that he’s been hiding, he is forced to utilize his skills as an assassin to survive, avenge the loss of his fiancé, and unwittingly save the future of all humanity.

For four years Tanner managed to conceal his true identity living a happy life with Shera Halsey who knows nothing of his past. After Shera is chosen to travel to the planet Paragon as a cast member of a survival/reality show Tanner finds himself targeted for termination when former fellow assassin, Daryl Campbell identifies him. Now the center of an intense manhunt, Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship collided with a giant asteroid. Grief-stricken, Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show and targets astrophysicist, Dr. Allen Stone for death.

After killing Campbell at Stone’s observatory Tanner learns that the entire show was a ruse was Stone aware of this? to perpetuate the human race against an impending killer asteroid strike and that Shera is really alive and living on Paragon. The situation there is bleak, however, as one of Tanner’s former rivals, Mick Conover, has commandeered the project, killing two team members, and raping Shera. Tanner and Stone must travel to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from certain disaster. How and when did Tanner and Stone become friends? In the paragraph above, Stone was a target.

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at 140,000 words with series potential. I've read several others who critique that you should only shop this book and it's after you get the agent or publisher that you talk about a series potential. Inspired by a theory about the origin or our solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experience as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic. I like this, not sure if it belongs in a query but hey I'm no expert.

Thank you for your consideration. Should you be interested in my story, I will be happy to send additional chapters or the completed manuscript upon your request. Not sure but I don't think this is necessary.

Sincerely,
J. A. Stephens


(I am considering another rewrite as I have discovered that publishers shy away from new writers with a MS over 100,000 words...any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks.)

This sounds like a very interesting story and I didn't know about the publishers shying away from novels over 100,000 words so thanks. Not much to critique except for what I marked above but good luck, it caught my interest.

Yelle :biggrin:

#3 TansyRagwort

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 06:14 PM

My first thought was your hook screams cliche. Then I read your synopsis and that thought died. So...I'm struggling with your hook. Rather than vague things like his past or secrets, talk about specifics that are awesome: like his girlfriend dying on a reality show. Kind of cool. Didn't see much problem with your synopsis paragraphs, so I'll leave that to other people.

You are correct about the 100k max for other genres. With Sci fi and fantasy you have more wiggle room. But you should consider cutting at LEAST 20k. I'd say more if you want to increase your chances. But! 100k is maybe a bit better.

I think the bio bit can stay where normally I might say cut it. I just read an article from an agent that I was referred to by an agent about what to put in the bios. Stuff about having kids: leave it out. Being an air force mechanic? Now that's kind of interesting. So go ahead and leave that in there. Its interesting. If its not interesting (like writing about your own experiences, which every writer does) then drop it.

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#4 Moonshade

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 11:25 PM

I think you can cut Daryl Campbell's name from the query. Just say that another assassin identifies him, because the only other mention of Campbell seems to be the fact that he's killed, which messes up the pace.

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#5 bkeats

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 07:44 AM

A few observations. First, your hook needs a major tune-up. First off, there's absolutely nothing in there which indicates his is a science-fiction story. I was thinking modern-day thriller.


Second, you can't be forced to rely on all your skills to "unwittingly" do a task. If you have no idea what you're trying to accomplish, how could you possibly know how to prepare for it? Your mini-synopsis indicates that at some point Tanner does learn what's going on, so he doesn't seem unwitting.

How do you "perpetuate" the human race against an impending asteroid strike? Perhaps "prepare" is a better word.

I agree with Moonshade. Eliminate Daryl from the query. He adds nothing.

And unless the rape of Shera is central to your plot, for God's sake leave that out. I'm sure Conover is a bad-ass. The fact that he's endangering all of humanity tells us that. Don't throw in details that don't matter. A query letter should generate anticipation, not titillation.

Having said all that- because it's easier to criticize than to prise- I think this is a cool idea, especially the reality shows of the future (humanity is truly doomed *sigh*) angle.

Happy Writing :smile:

#6 J. A. Stephens

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 08:34 AM

I appreciate the advice. I have already removed Campbell's name from my original and am struggling with the hook still (though it still kind of appeals to me). The whole thing is a little lengthy so I tried not to add too much. After some debate I think I need to add that the story does not begin on Earth. It takes place on a planet named Terradomus. I have also dreamt up some cool futuristic advances and other things which I have ommitted for brevity's sake. Maybe I need to look at adding other details to show that it really is a SF/F?

Thanks again for all your helpful input.

#7 J. A. Stephens

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 01:51 PM

(I reworked the first hook then wrote another. I wanted to see what others thought of both...still working on downsizing the MS.)

Hook #1:
When Tanner Corbin is confronted by the past he’s been hiding, he’s forced to utilize his skills as an assassin not only to survive, but to avenge the loss of his fiancé and save the future of humanity.

Hook #2:
On the planet Terradomus, former assassin Tanner Corbin’s world is turned upside down. He is being pursued by his old allies, his fiancé is killed in a bizarre accident, and his oldest friend has just been murdered. His plan? Suicide. But not until he has his revenge.

For four years Tanner managed to conceal his true identity living a happy life with Shera Halsey who knows nothing of his past. After fiancé, Shera Halsey, is chosen to travel to the planet Paragon as a cast member of a survival/reality show Tanner finds himself targeted for termination when a former ally identifies him. Now the center of an intense manhunt, Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship collided with a giant asteroid. Grief-stricken and with nothing left to live for, Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show and targets astrophysicist, Dr. Allen Stone for death.

After Tanner kills the other assassin at Stone’s observatory Stone reveals to him that the entire show was a ruse to propagate the human race in the face of a planet-killer asteroid bearing down on Terradomus. He also reveals that Shera is really alive and living on Paragon. The situation there is bleak, however, as one of Tanner’s former rivals, has commandeered the project, killing two team members, and raping Shera. Enraged at the rival, Tanner must now travel with Stone to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from certain disaster.

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at (now down to 138,000) words with series potential. Inspired by a theory about the origin of our solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experience as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic.

Thank you for your consideration. (Followed by reference to any attachments, etc… per individual agent’s submission guidelines)

Sincerely,

J. A. Stephens


(Thanks again for the helpful advice.)

#8 Stephanie Diaz

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Posted 25 June 2011 - 04:21 PM

(I reworked the first hook then wrote another. I wanted to see what others thought of both...still working on downsizing the MS.)

Hook #1:
When Tanner Corbin is confronted by the past he’s been hiding, he’s forced to utilize his skills as an assassin not only to survive, but to avenge the loss of his fiancé and save the future of humanity.

Hook #2:
On the planet Terradomus, former assassin Tanner Corbin’s world is turned upside down. He is being pursued by his old allies, his fiancé is killed in a bizarre accident, and his oldest friend has just been murdered. His plan? Suicide. But not until he has his revenge.

For four years Tanner managed to conceal his true identity living a happy life with Shera Halsey who knows nothing of his past. After fiancé, Shera Halsey, is chosen to travel to the planet Paragon as a cast member of a survival/reality show(comma) Tanner finds himself targeted for termination when a former ally identifies him (Does termination mean death? why does this guy want him killed?). Now the center of an intense manhunt, Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship collided with a giant asteroid. Grief-stricken and with nothing left to live for, Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show and targets astrophysicist, Dr. Allen Stone for death.

After Tanner kills the other assassin at Stone’s observatory(comma) Stone reveals to him that the entire show was a ruse to propagate the human race in the face of a planet-killer asteroid bearing down on Terradomus. He also reveals that Shera is really alive and living on Paragon. The situation there is bleak, however, as one of Tanner’s former rivals, has commandeered the project, killing two team members, and raping Shera. Enraged at the rival, Tanner must now travel with Stone to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from certain disaster.

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at (now down to 138,000) words with series potential. Inspired by a theory about the origin of our solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experience as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic.

Thank you for your consideration. (Followed by reference to any attachments, etc… per individual agent’s submission guidelines)

Sincerely,

J. A. Stephens


(Thanks again for the helpful advice.)


I like hook #2. The suicide bit is intriguing. I'm confused about how the manhunt ties into everything else. I'd try to simplify this, as the whole plot sounds a bit confusing at the moment. Pare it down to the bare essentials--who is the MC, what does he want, and what is in his way.

If you've got a sec, it'd be really helpful if you'd glance to my "Erhistaut" query and let me know if you think it's finished. Thanks! :)

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#9 J. A. Stephens

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 12:16 AM

Here is my latest attempt. It still seems overly wordy to me, but I already feel that I am leaving out some very important plot points. I tried to pare it down some like Stephanie suggested, but each time it felt like something was missing. I'm not there yet, but I think we're getting there. Help please. :wacko:


Dear __________ :

On planet Terradomus, former government assassin Tanner Corbin’s world is turned upside down. He is pursued by old allies, his fiancé is killed in a bizarre accident, and his oldest friend has just been murdered. His plan? Suicide. But not until he has his revenge.

For four years Tanner concealed his true identity, living happily with Shera Halsey. When she is chosen to travel to planet Paragon as cast member of a survival/reality show, he finds himself targeted for assassination. He has been identified by a former agency ally and you don’t just walk away from the agency. With assassins and their mutant trackers hot on his trail, Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship is struck by a giant asteroid.

The game has suddenly changed. Grief-stricken and with nothing left for which to live, Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show. The catch? Shera’s not dead. She is really alive and living on Paragon. Tanner finds out that the show was merely a ruse disguising a master plan to propagate the human race in the aftermath of a planet-killing asteroid bearing down on Terradomus. The situation on Paragon is bleak, however, as one of Tanner’s former rivals, has commandeered the project, killing two team members, and raping Shera. Reeling at the revelation, Tanner’s plans change yet again. He must now travel to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from disaster.

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at (now down to 138,000) words. Inspired by a theory about the origin of our own solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experience as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic.

Thank you for your consideration. (Followed by reference to any attachments, etc… per individual agent’s submission guidelines)

Sincerely,

J. A. Stephens



(Thanks again.)

#10 Moonshade

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 01:42 AM

Dear __________ :

On planet Terradomus, former government assassin Tanner Corbin’s world is turned upside down. He is pursued hunted, perhaps? by old allies, his fiancé is killed in a bizarre accident, and his oldest friend has just been murdered. His plan? Suicide. But not until he has his revenge. I was thinking "it's been done"... until I got to the suicide part. That got my attention.

For four years Tanner concealed his true identity, living happily with Shera Halsey. But When she is chosen to travel to planet Paragon as a cast member of a survival/reality show, he finds himself targeted for assassination. He has been identified by a former agency ally and you don’t just walk away from the agency. This sentence feels choppy. With assassins and their mutant trackers hot on his trail,I feel like this could be more active. "While he dodges assassins and their mutant trackers, perhaps? Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship is struck by an giant asteroid.

The game has suddenly changed. Grief-stricken and with nothing left for which to live, This reads awkwardly. Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show. The catch? Shera’s not dead. She is really alive and living on Paragon. Tanner finds out that the show was merely a ruse disguising a master plan to propagate the human race in the aftermath of a planet-killing asteroid bearing down on Terradomus. WOW that's a mouthful, and I have no idea what any of it means. Try chopping that up into two sentences. The situation on Paragon is bleak, however, as one of Tanner’s former rivals, has commandeered the project, killing two team members, and raping Shera. Reeling at the revelation, Tanner’s plans change yet again. He must now travel to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from disaster.

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at (now down to 138,000) words. Inspired by a theory about the origin of our own solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experience as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic.

Thank you for your consideration. (Followed by reference to any attachments, etc… per individual agent’s submission guidelines)

Sincerely,

J. A. Stephens



(Thanks again.)


You've done a good job simplifying and revising. Keep it up!

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#11 J. A. Stephens

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 10:35 PM

Thanks for some good ideas, Moonshade! Here's my newest, latest attempt. See what you think. I think it's getting betterer :biggrin: , but still a little lengthy (unsure what needs to go...).


Dear __________ :

On planet Terradomus, former government assassin Tanner Corbin’s world is turned upside down. He is hunted relentlessly by old allies, his fiancé is killed in a bizarre accident, and his oldest friend has just been murdered. His plan? Suicide. But not until he has his revenge.

For four years Tanner concealed his true identity, living happily with Shera Halsey. But when she is chosen to travel to planet Paragon as a cast member of a survival/reality show, he finds himself alone and targeted for assassination. A former agency ally has recognized him as a deserter…and you don’t just walk away from the agency. While evading assassins and their mutant trackers, Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship is destroyed by an asteroid.

The game has suddenly changed. Grief-stricken and contemplating suicide, Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show. The catch? Shera’s really alive and living on Paragon. He learns that the show was just a ruse to disguise a master plan to propagate the human race. A planet-killing asteroid is bearing down on Terradomus which will destroy all life there. To further complicate matters, one of Tanner’s former rivals has taken control of the project, killing two team members and forcing himself on Shera. Reeling at the revelations, Tanner’s plans change yet again. He must now travel to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from disaster.

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at (now down to 138,000) words. Inspired by a theory about the origin of our own solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experiences as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic.

Thank you for your consideration. (Followed by reference to any attachments, etc… per individual agent’s submission guidelines)

Sincerely,

J. A. Stephens



(Thanks again for all your help, folks!)

#12 imawriter

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Posted 26 June 2011 - 11:55 PM

Excellent novel! Sounds interesting!! Look forward to reading it one day!

Watch the tenses.
In the hook I would suggest: On planet Terradomus, a former government assassin's world turns upside down. Being hunted relentlessly by old allies, a bizarre accident kills his fiance, and an old friend has been murdered. Tanner Corbin's plan? Suicide, but only after he has his revenge.
(My suggestions, remember. only if YOU like them :) )

A former agency ally recognizes him as a deserter...there is no walking away from the agency.

Tanner learns tragedy destroyed the cast's spaceship and that ending the reality show. (I don't think the mention of the asteroid has to be in this sentence.)

The sentence that starts with grief-stricken---- Grieving, contemplating suicide, and now vowing revenge on the creators of the show.

He learns that the show----- He discovers a master plan to propogate the human race, a disguise by the show. Bearing down on Terradomus is a planet-killing asteroid aimed to destroy all life there. Further complicating matters, a former rival of Tanner's is controlling the project. Changing his plans and traveling to Paragon, Tanner is driven to save Shera along with the future of humanity, from disaster.

again just ideas...
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#13 bkeats

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Posted 27 June 2011 - 01:19 PM

Off your latest

Dear __________ :

On the planet Terradomus, former government assassin-turned-deserter Tanner Corbin’s world is turned upside down. He is hunted relentlessly by old allies, his fiancé is killed in a bizarre accident, and his oldest friend has just been murdered. His plan? Suicide. But not until he has his Revenge. (It only take a moment to kill yourself, but it takes a whole novel to exact your revenge. Stick with what's important.)

For four years Tanner has concealed his true identity, living happily with Shera Halsey. But when after she is chosen to travel to the planet Paragon as a cast member of a survival/reality show, he finds himself alone and (Unless Shera is also a retired assassin, her presence wouldn't make much difference against hired killers, would it?) targeted for assassination. A former agency ally has recognized him as a deserter- and you don’t no one just walks away from the agency. While evading assassins and their mutant trackers, (Mutant dogs? This is vague) Tanner learns that the reality show has ended in tragedy when the cast’s spaceship is destroyed by an asteroid.

The game has suddenly changed. Grief-stricken and contemplating suicide, Tanner vows revenge on the creators of the show, but then learns that The catch? Shera’s really alive and living on Paragon. He learns that the show was just a ruse to disguise a master plan to propagate (Again- you need to explain why you're using this word) the human race. A planet-killing asteroid is bearing down on Terradomus which will destroy all life there. (Yes. So?) To further complicate matters, one of Tanner’s former rivals has taken control of the project. Reelling at the revelations, Tanner’s plans change yet again. He must now travel to Paragon to save Shera and the future of humanity from disaster. (What disaster? Humanity isn't confined to one planet anymore, so how is all of humanity in danger?)

THE PROPAGATION is a science fiction/fantasy novel complete at (now down to 138,000) words. Inspired by a theory about the origin of our own solar system’s asteroid belt, I have attempted to incorporate other scientific facts and theories acquired from my experiences as a science teacher and former Air Force mechanic.

Thank you for your consideration. (Followed by reference to any attachments, etc… per individual agent’s submission guidelines)

Sincerely,

J. A. Stephens



(Thanks again for all your help, folks!)






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