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Hats of Light Gray - spec fiction/sci-fi


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#1 squillin

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 05:55 PM

Hello all! Making my third round of queries on my first novel (now heavily revised) with a brand new query. Thought I'd try it out here first. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Yesterday Maddie Harrison was bored. To tears. To death. Then, with the help of a few odd ducks, she escapes actual death. Twice. And boring becomes the stuff of dreams.

 

Her new friends recruit her to help them fight the fight and offer to (get this) pay her for it. Sweet deal. Soon she's facing off against wannabe gods, Nietzsche fanboys on a mission, and ghosts who mug old ladies. Then she finds a prophecy foretelling her heroic death (of course) and things spiral out of control.

 

The gang assures her prophecies are made to broken while she assures herself it's all a load of pulp. Literally. But it becomes clear that some big bad out there doesn't care what anyone thinks. Also clear: they have no idea who he is or how to stop him.

 

But the worst part? Maddie has a feeling her new boss doesn't want to stop him at all.

 

HATS OF LIGHT GRAY is an episodic  sci-fi fantasy best described as the novelization of an imaginary television dramedy. It channels the lexicon and tone of Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed with the speculative realism of Fringe. It's Douglas Adams and Dean Koontz having a book-baby. Complete at 175,000 words, this is an epic standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.



#2 Ilovesoup

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 07:40 PM

Hello, Squillin! It's nice to meet you. I'm an old AQC member who pops in every once in a while, and you query caught my eye because we pretty much write in the same genre :)

 

Congrats on writing a novel that's 175,000 words long, but I'm not too sure how that's going to fare in the agenting world as a debut novel. If it's epic fantasy, can you try to shave it down to 120,000 to 130,000?

 

Before I get into the query, overall, I had a bit of a difficult time following what's going on in this book because it's very vague. My thoughts below.

 

Hello all! Making my third round of queries on my first novel (now heavily revised) with a brand new query. Thought I'd try it out here first. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Yesterday Maddie Harrison was bored. To  to tears. To death. Then, with the help of a few odd ducks, she escapes actual death. Twice. And boring becomes the stuff of dreams.

 

Her new friends recruit her to help them fight the fight and offer to (get this) pay her for it. Sweet deal. Soon she's facing off against wannabe gods, Nietzsche fanboys on a mission, and ghosts who mug old ladies. Then she finds a prophecy foretelling her heroic death (of course) and things spiral out of control.

 

The gang assures her prophecies are made to broken while she assures herself it's all a load of pulp. Literally. But it becomes clear that some big bad out there doesn't care what anyone thinks. Also clear: they have no idea who he is or how to stop him.

 

But the worst part? Maddie has a feeling her new boss doesn't want to stop him at all.

 

HATS OF LIGHT GRAY is an episodic  sci-fi fantasy best described as the novelization of an imaginary television dramedy. It channels the lexicon and tone of Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed with the speculative realism of Fringe. It's Douglas Adams and Dean Koontz having a book-baby. Complete at 175,000 words, this is an epic standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.



#3 Ilovesoup

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Posted 28 October 2018 - 07:48 PM

Sorry, pressed wrong button!

 

Hello all! Making my third round of queries on my first novel (now heavily revised) with a brand new query. Thought I'd try it out here first. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Yesterday Maddie Harrison was bored. To  to tears. To death. Today  Then, with the help of a few odd ducks (literal or figurative?), she escapes actual death. Twice. And boring becomes the stuff of dreams. -- > I would delete this part and go right into the thick of things.

 

Her new friends recruit her to help them fight the fight (What fight?) and offer to (get this) pay her for it. What's going on? Where are they? Why are they fighting? Sweet deal. Soon she's facing off against wannabe gods, Nietzsche fanboys on a mission, and ghosts who mug old ladies. Then she finds a prophecy foretelling her heroic death (of course) and things spiral out of control. I really think that for an epic fantasy you have to establish the world a little more. Be more specific about where Maddie is from and why she has to fight and why. What do you mean things spiral out of control? A lot of things can spiral out of control. You're telling, not showing.

 

The gang (Whoa, what gang? Her friends? The bad guys?) assures her prophecies are made to broken while she assures herself it's all a load of pulp. Literally.(?) But it becomes clear that some big bad (What big bad? Please be specific!!) out there doesn't care what anyone thinks. Also clear: they have no idea who he is or how to stop him.

 

But the worst part? Maddie has a feeling her new boss (What new boss?) doesn't want to stop him at all.

 

HATS OF LIGHT GRAY is an episodic  sci-fi fantasy best described as the novelization of an imaginary television dramedy. It channels the lexicon and tone of Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed with the speculative realism of Fringe. It's Douglas Adams and Dean Koontz having a book-baby. Complete at 175,000 words, this is an epic standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

 

So I typed my questions as I read through this in blue. You don't give me any specifics about the sort of world this is and what the character wants and why. All I know is that she dies twice, has to fight some people, and has to stop some "big bad"?

 

Please try to include some specifics and I think we can start expanding this a bit more.



#4 Koechophe

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Posted 01 November 2018 - 08:41 PM

Holy word count batman!

So I write high fantasy (which generally excuses longer word counts) and even my 135k will be a hard sell (and I'm trimming atm in the hopes of popping down to 115k). It's not impossible (Brandon Sanderson's break out novel was 215 words) but it'll be dang difficult. The best thing you can do for yourself right now is either split that puppy into multiple books, shave off around 40-50k, or invest in a lot of patience and prepare for a lot of form rejections based purely on the word count.

 

Hello all! Making my third round of queries on my first novel (now heavily revised) with a brand new query. Thought I'd try it out here first. Thanks for reading!

 

 

Yesterday Maddie Harrison was bored. To tears.  To death. Then, with the help of a few odd ducks, she escapes actual death. Twice. And boring becomes the stuff of dreams.

This is extremely clunky and awkward to read. The idea is fine for a hook, but rephrasing could work wonders. Something like, "Maddie harrison used to be bored to death. When she escaped actual death, boring became the stuff of legends.

 

Her new friends recruit her to help them fight their fight and offer to (get this) pay her for it. Sweet deal. Soon she's facing off against wannabe gods, Nietzsche fanboys on a mission, and ghosts who mug old ladies. Then she finds a prophecy foretelling her heroic death (of course) and things spiral out of control.Reorder this: "Things spiral out of control when she finds a prophecy fortelling her heroic death."

 

The gang Okay, who is the gang? We've heard mention of them twice, but know literally nothing about them assures her prophecies are made to broken while she assures herself it's all a load of pulp. Literally. But it becomes clear "becomes clear" is super vague and uninteresting. Throw us a specific event. Like "When lightning bolts keep narrowly missing her, she realizes that some big..." that some big bad is out to get her out there doesn't care what anyone thinks. Also clear: they have no idea who he is or how to stop him.

 

But the worst part? Maddie has a feeling her new boss doesn't want to stop him at all.

 

HATS OF LIGHT GRAY is an episodic  sci-fi fantasy best described as the novelization of an imaginary television dramedy. It channels the lexicon and tone of Buffy the Vampire Slayer mixed with the speculative realism of Fringe. It's Douglas Adams and Dean Koontz having a book-baby These comps were such a turn off for me. I've read multiple agents stating that comparisons should be 1) books and 2) preferably recent, to show current market viability. Complete Some agents hate, with a passion, saying the word "complete" in a query because, "of course it's complete, or you wouldn't be querying me!" at 175,000 words, this is an epic standalone novel with series potential.

 

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

 

There's definitely a lot of unnecessary wordiness. That is particularly deadly with a long word count, because the agent will assume that you don't know how to be succinct. The longer the word count is, the more you need to demonstrate your skills of brevity. Cut away the fluff, and we just don't have enough content. We don't know who the MC is or what they want. We don't know what the world's like at all (you should definitely be able to tell it's sci-fi in the query without being told) and we don't know who the group the MC joins is, why she joins them, what their goals are, what the goals of the antagonist are, etc. Specific details entice readers. Work on adding a few more of those, as well as clarifying the plot. Once you take down fluff, you've actually got a pretty short query, so you have room to work here. 

I critique because I care. Good luck and all the best!






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