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The Circuit (will return critique)


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#1 NerdWitch

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 12:32 PM

2nd attempt in Third Post

 

 

Trying again after having let it rest for a few months.

 

 

In Laura Bishop's world there are two types of people; those who still believe in the free will of man kind and those who'd do anything to take it away. And it all started with the drug that made her a criminal. Because the keys to political control are in the hands of the drug’s maker, Bishop's immunity makes her a dangerous woman. Outlawed and hunted, Bishop’s salvation lies with the Circuit; a faction of mercenaries dwelling in the London Underworld. For years, they’ve been trying to bring down the corporate regime that rules the city with an iron fist.

 
Because of her reckless actions during a heist gone wrong, Detective Jonah Nolan is one step closer to catching the criminal he’s been hunting for months. Bringing in Bishop would give him the promotion he’s always wanted. But more than money, Nolan wants closure. Years ago, Bishop’s father was arrested for the murder of Nolan’s childhood sweetheart.  
 
What he doesn’t know is that Bishop’s serum-proof secrets contain the missing link between his murdered love and the drug that holds a nation in an authoritarian nightmare. Now, Bishop must make a choice: she can either convince Nolan to betray the government that gives him power or bury the knowledge that could finally give them both peace.
 

Due to your interest in commercial fiction, I'd like to send you the CIRCUIT. Complete at 70,000 words, the novel has series potential and will appeal to fans of William Gibson’s Virtual Light and Claire North’s 84K


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#2 W.P.

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Posted 15 December 2018 - 04:56 PM

In Laura Bishop's world, there are two types of people; those who still believe in the free will of man kind and those who'd do anything to take it away. ((I think this is a good hook, but it was a bit too wordy and it wasn't punchy enough before. Those words could be removed because they are implied and, in a way, redundant.))And it all started with the drug that made her a criminal. (it's a bit confusing because you jump from free will to a random drug and her being a criminal then to politics. I suggest skipping to the next sentence and keeping it tight.)) Because the keys to political control are in the hands of the drug’s maker, Bishop's immunity makes her a dangerous woman--a criminal. Outlawed and hunted, Bishop’s salvation lies with the Circuit; a faction of mercenaries dwelling in the London Underworld. For years, they’ve been trying to bring down the corporate regime that rules the city with an iron fist.

 
Because of her recklessness actions during a heist gone wrong, Detective Jonah Nolan is one step closer to catching the criminal he’s been hunting for months. Bringing in Bishop would give him the promotion he’s always wanted. But more than money, Nolan wants closure. Years ago, Bishop’s father was arrested for the murder of Nolan’s childhood sweetheart.  ((this paragraph reads like a completely different novel. Books with complex plots are tough to summarise.))
 
What he doesn’t know is that Bishop’s serum-proof secrets contain the missing link between his murdered love and the drug that holds a nation in an authoritarian nightmare. Now, Bishop must make a choice: she can either convince Nolan to betray the government that gives him power or bury the knowledge that could finally give them both peace. ((I'm not sure about these stakes. It sounds like one choice is way better than the other, so why would she go for the second one? The stakes aren't clear enough.))
 

Due to your interest in commercial fiction, I'd like to send you the CIRCUIT. Complete at 70,000 words, the novel has series potential and will appeal to fans of William Gibson’s Virtual Light and Claire North’s 84K

 

 

 

I think the first paragraph is pretty good, then the second one reads as a different novel, completely neglecting the Circuit and the politics, focusing on the detective (I know he's a crucial character but the transition is too jarring) and lastly the third paragraph sets the stakes but they are a bit weak--or at least they sound weak because they aren't very clear?

 

I think this is a very tough story to summarise in a query, but it can be done for sure. My suggestion is to make it about Bishop. Even in the second paragraph, by using her perspective rather than the detective's. That might help.

 

Anyway, I hope this helps. :)

 

 

 

The link to my query: http://agentquerycon...tique/?p=359521



#3 NerdWitch

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 10:03 AM

Dear (Agent's Name),

 

In Laura Bishop's world, there are two types of people; those who believe in free will and those who'd do anything to take it away. Unfortunately, the latter is her own brother Marius, who created the new miracle drug Vocacium. Bishop’s immunity to Vocacium brands her as a dangerous woman – a criminal, because it means she can keep her own secrets. Outlawed and hunted, Bishop’s salvation lies with the Circuit; a faction of mercenaries dwelling in the London Underworld. As the keys to political control are in the hands of the drug’s maker, the Circuit has been trying to bring down the corporate regime that rules the city with an iron fist for years.

 

Because of her recklessness during a heist gone wrong, Bishop is captured by Detective Jonah Nolan. He’s been chasing her for months, driven by greed, anger and revenge. Years ago, Bishop’s father was arrested for the murder of Jonah’s childhood sweetheart. Marius has promised Jonah power in exchange for his sister.

 

At the brink of execution, Bishop realises that not only can she prove the dangers of Vocacium but also her father’s innocence. The only problem is that she needs Jonah’s help. Can she convince Jonah to betray the government that gives him power or will she have to bury the knowledge that could finally give them both the closure they seek?

 

Due to your interest in commercial fiction, I'd like to send you the CIRCUIT. Complete at 70,000 words, the novel has series potential and will appeal to fans of William Gibson’s Virtual Light and Claire North’s 84K


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#4 NerdWitch

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Posted 17 December 2018 - 04:28 PM

Laura Bishop mourns her family even though they’re still alive.

 

Her brother Marius heads the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-fist. Her father was executed for a murder she believes is a set-up and her mother chose to wipe her memory instead of a processing the grief. Bishop herself is on the run because in her world there are two kinds of people; those who are still able to keep their secrets and those take the new miracle drug Vocacium. She hides with the Circuit - a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underground.

 

Because of her recklessness during a heist gone wrong, Bishop is captured by Detective Jonah Nolan. He's been hunting her for months and believes the Circuit are responsible for a series of mysterious disappearances. The truth is,  years ago, Bishop’s father was arrested for the murder of Jonah’s childhood love and he wants revenge. 

 

Marius wants Jonah to hand him his sister in exchange for power and revenge. Bishop believes Jonah can help her prove both the dangers of Vocacium and her father’s innocence. But will Jonah willingly betray the nation that gives him power or will Bishop have to bury the knowledge that would give them both the closure they seek?


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#5 brandonyoung

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 12:29 AM

Laura Bishop mourns her family even though they’re still alive. (I don't mind this start at all, although I get basically NOTHING about her character -- which, depending on the agent, may turn some off. Skimming through, we seem to learn more about the people around her than we do about her. A sign of a potential problem within the story itself: the "Harry Potter problem," where the protagonist is the least interesting character. Just something to think about. Wait for more feedback, I reckon.)

 

Her brother Marius heads the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-fist. Her father was executed for a murder she believes is a set-up and her mother chose to wipe her memory ("her" being the mother or Laura?) instead of a processing the grief. Bishop herself is on the run because in her world there are two kinds of people; those who are still able to keep their secrets and those take the new miracle drug Vocacium. She hides with the Circuit - a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underground. (If I would recommend one thing to get this entire query back on track, it's to focus DIRECTLY on Laura. She's the one you need to sell us on. Not her brother. Not her father. Not her mother. Until I know who Laura is, and what drives her, and what her main concern is in this very moment, I don't care about anything else. It seems her first problem is that the government is making people take this drug to learn their secrets, but she says hell no. I think THAT should be the focus of this paragraph.)

 

Because of her recklessness during a heist gone wrong, Bishop is captured by Detective Jonah Nolan. (What heist?) He's been hunting her for months and believes the Circuit are responsible for a series of mysterious disappearances. The truth is,  years ago, Bishop’s father was arrested for the murder of Jonah’s childhood love and he wants revenge. (I think now with this "the truth is" line, we're getting into more detail than is necessary. The needle is drifting too far away from Bishop and getting into backstory. Backstory, for me personally, is more often than not unnecessary in a query and can be cut without losing much.)

 

Marius wants Jonah to hand him his sister in exchange for power and revenge. Bishop believes Jonah can help her prove both the dangers of Vocacium and her father’s innocence. But will Jonah willingly betray the nation that gives him power or will Bishop have to bury the knowledge that would give them both the closure they seek? (A lot of people don't like questions like this in queries. I've never had an issue with it, but I'm in the minority. You're better off getting rid of it so you don't immediately cut yourself off from a whole group of agents who DESPISE such things. Also, just too many things happening. You've got bits devoted to Bishop, Marius, Jonah, and the Circuit, and then you also give parts to her mother and father, and there's a mention of Jonah's childhood love, adding another aspect. Hone it in on Laura if you can. Single in on her, and the CENTRAL problem she faces. No backstory. Don't give us other characters' problems, just hers. What does she want? What's stopping her? How does she plan to achieve it? That's it.)

 

See how you go with that, but I would suggest also waiting until you get some more feedback before making any changes. See what others think. But the main thing is just forgetting the scope, and focusing on character. If you can get us to care about Laura and her mission, it will work.


If you have time, I'd love your feedback on my query...

 

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/39047-this-cosmic-graveyard-space-fantasy/

 

...or my synopsis:

 

COMING SOON


#6 NerdWitch

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 04:10 PM

Trying again :) thanks everyone for your input

 

In Laura Bishop's world there are two kinds of people - those who are still able to keep their secrets and those who take Vocacium; a government sanctioned substance that strips people of their free will. Bishop's immunity to Vocacium makes her a dangerous woman - a criminal and because of that she's on the run. She hides with the Circuit, a group of mercenaries hidden in the London underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-fist. For years, Bishop has been working with the Circuit to find a way to infiltrate the corporation responsible for creating Vocacium but to no avail.

 

Bishop takes on a mission to steal valuable tech that might just give them the upper hand but because of her recklessness, she's caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He's been hunting her for months because he believes the Circuit are responsible for a series of mysterious disappearances. Bishop thinks Jonah's real motivation is revenge. years ago, her father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love - a murder Bishop believes to be a set-up.

 

The authorities want Jonah to execute Bishop in exchange for power. Bishop believes Jonah can help her prove both the dangers of Vocacium and her father's innocent. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could finally give them both closure.

 


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#7 kassamarandra

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 06:05 PM

In Laura Bishop's world there are two kinds of people - those who are still able to keep their secrets and those who take Vocacium; a government sanctioned substance that strips people of their free will. I like this opening, except for the use of the proper noun, vocacium. considering you bring in a 3rd person in the next paragraph, I wonder if this should be "a drug" or supplement, or implant, or something to let us know what it is.  Bishop's immunity to Vocacium makes her a dangerous woman - a criminal (why a criminal b/c of an immunity she cannot control? perhaps another word here would clear it up... something like "Bishop's on the run b/c her immunity makes her a dangerous woman in the eyes of....") and because of that she's on the run. She hides with the Circuit, a group of mercenaries hidden in the London underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-fist. For years, Bishop has been working with the Circuit to find a way to infiltrate the corporation responsible for creating Vocacium but to no avail.

 

Bishop takes on a mission to steal valuable tech that might just give them the upper hand *period. (I think by splitting this sentence you'll give each more punch.) but because of her recklessness ​(vague--how was she reckless), she's caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He's been hunting her for months because he believes the Circuit are responsible for a series of mysterious disappearances. Bishop thinks Jonah's real motivation is revenge. years ago, her father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love - a murder Bishop believes to be a set-up. 

 

The authorities want Jonah to execute Bishop in exchange for power. Bishop believes Jonah can help her prove both the dangers of Vocacium and her father's innocent. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could finally give them both closure. I like the stakes you've outlined, although I'd be more explicit about what will happened; are you implying she'll be killed when you say buried? or do you mean literally buried? 



#8 Koechophe

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 04:03 AM

Heya, hope I can be of help. Fair warning, I go pretty deep, so treat my critique like a buffet and take what you'd like.

 


 

In Laura Bishop's world there are two kinds of people - those who are still able to keep their secrets and those who take Vocacium; a government sanctioned substance that strips people of their free will This just doesn't grab me. It's way too long for a hook sentence, and reads as more of an info-dump than an exciting twist. Something more succinct that makes me want to learn more would be better. Try something like:

"Laura Bishop is one of the last people in the world capable of keeping a secret. Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug..."

. Bishop's immunity to Vocacium makes her a dangerous woman - a criminal and because of that she's on the run The next sentence renders this bit unnecessary, and the flow here is super awkward.. She hides with the Circuitsemicolon a group of mercenaries hidden in the London underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-fist. For years, Bishop has been working with the Circuit to find a way to infiltrate the corporation responsible for creating Vocacium but to no avail.Backstory, we don't need it. 

 

Bishop takes on a mission to steal valuable tech that might just give them the upper hand but because of her recklessness, she's caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He's been hunting her for months because he believes the Circuit are responsible for a series of mysterious disappearances. Bishop thinks Jonah's real motivation is revenge. years ago, her father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love - a murder Bishop believes to be a set-up. This is all back story. We don't need to know any of this for the purposes of the query. Cut it and move on.

 

When Bishop is caught, The authorities want Jonah to execute Bishop in exchange for power. Bishop believes Jonah (you've got to find a more organic way of working him in than that blurb of backstory we get in the paragraph above this) can help her prove both the dangers of Vocacium We really don't need to know the whole "falsely convicted father" story arc in the query. It's not much of a stake, and it detracts rather than adding. and her father's innocent. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could finally give them both closure.

 

 

There's way too much info dump going on here. We need to feel more immersed in the story (which is why queries are written in present tense to begin with). Introduce the characters more organically, and give us a bit more on Laura's personality. I also seriously question the decision to call Laura by her last name, as it feels very depersonalizing to me. 

Hope this helps. Good luck and happy writing! If you'd like to take a whack at my query, feel free, they always say 13th time is the charm. Hopefully. 

 



#9 NerdWitch

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 08:14 AM

Thank you so much, this is super-helpful. I'll work on a new edit with your critique in mind and I'll have a look at your query as well :) 

 

Heya, hope I can be of help. Fair warning, I go pretty deep, so treat my critique like a buffet and take what you'd like.

 


 

In Laura Bishop's world there are two kinds of people - those who are still able to keep their secrets and those who take Vocacium; a government sanctioned substance that strips people of their free will This just doesn't grab me. It's way too long for a hook sentence, and reads as more of an info-dump than an exciting twist. Something more succinct that makes me want to learn more would be better. Try something like:

"Laura Bishop is one of the last people in the world capable of keeping a secret. Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug..."

. Bishop's immunity to Vocacium makes her a dangerous woman - a criminal and because of that she's on the run The next sentence renders this bit unnecessary, and the flow here is super awkward.. She hides with the Circuitsemicolon a group of mercenaries hidden in the London underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-fist. For years, Bishop has been working with the Circuit to find a way to infiltrate the corporation responsible for creating Vocacium but to no avail.Backstory, we don't need it. 

 

Bishop takes on a mission to steal valuable tech that might just give them the upper hand but because of her recklessness, she's caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He's been hunting her for months because he believes the Circuit are responsible for a series of mysterious disappearances. Bishop thinks Jonah's real motivation is revenge. years ago, her father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love - a murder Bishop believes to be a set-up. This is all back story. We don't need to know any of this for the purposes of the query. Cut it and move on.

 

When Bishop is caught, The authorities want Jonah to execute Bishop in exchange for power. Bishop believes Jonah (you've got to find a more organic way of working him in than that blurb of backstory we get in the paragraph above this) can help her prove both the dangers of Vocacium We really don't need to know the whole "falsely convicted father" story arc in the query. It's not much of a stake, and it detracts rather than adding. and her father's innocent. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could finally give them both closure.

 

 

There's way too much info dump going on here. We need to feel more immersed in the story (which is why queries are written in present tense to begin with). Introduce the characters more organically, and give us a bit more on Laura's personality. I also seriously question the decision to call Laura by her last name, as it feels very depersonalizing to me. 

Hope this helps. Good luck and happy writing! If you'd like to take a whack at my query, feel free, they always say 13th time is the charm. Hopefully. 

 

 


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#10 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 10:52 AM

In Laura Bishop's world, there are two kinds of people: those who are still able to keep their secrets and those who take Vocacium, which is a government sanctioned substance that strips people of their free will (You start out kind of cliche). Bishop's immunity to Vocacium makes her a dangerous woman - a criminal and because of that she's on the run. She hides with (people known as) the Circuit, a group of mercenaries hidden in the London underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-fist (cliche). For years, Bishop has been working with the Circuit them to find a way to infiltrate the corporation responsible for creating Vocacium (said this in the last sentence in a way. Is there a way to combine the two sentences?) but to no avail.

 

Bishop takes on (kind of cliche to say "takes on") a mission to steal valuable tech that might just give them the upper hand, but because of her recklessness, she's caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He's been hunting her for months because he believes the Circuit is responsible for a series of mysterious disappearances. Bishop thinks Jonah's real motivation is revenge though. Years ago, her father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love - a murder Bishop believes to be a set-up. (This is getting to be too much new information.)

 

Authorities want Jonah to execute Bishop in exchange for power. Bishop believes Jonah can help her prove both the dangers of Vocacium and her father's innocence. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could finally give them both closure (The second part of the sentence sounds awkward to me).

 

Overall, I like the concept. A general rule I learned years ago: never introduce over 5 new concepts in a query, no more than 2 characters, which count as 2 concepts. So, you have Laura, Vocacium, Authorities, Circuit, Jonah, father, murder, take down corporation, etc. in like the first two paragraphs. Honestly, I'd base the whole query around just Laura and the Authorities or so. That might help with the info dump.



#11 NerdWitch

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 10:57 AM

New attempt. I had a look at your suggestions and I also looked at some old versions of this query to come up with something that might work. Here it is. 

 

 

Dear Agent,

Laura Bishop is one of the last people in the world capable of keeping a secret.

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a dangerous woman. She hides with the Circuit; a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-first.

 

When she is spotted at the scene of a crime she believes she committed for the right reasons - but at the cost of two innocent lives, she soon finds herself a criminal on the run. Desperate and guilt-ridden, Laura takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive, in exchange for protection. When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret; a fatal pathogen that has been used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she abandons her mission and keeps it for herself.  

 

Her recklessness becomes her downfall when she is caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He has been hunting her months, driven by revenge. Years ago, Laura's father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love. The authorities tasks Jonah with Laura's execution but she needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions.

 

 


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#12 W.P.

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 04:32 PM

Laura Bishop is one of the last people in the world capable of keeping a secret. ((I'm not sure how this works as a hook. It doesn't really hook me, it mostly confuses me. I'm not sure what to think. I think you could use her immunity as a hook. Like "Laura Bishop's blood makes her a dangerous woman/terrorist/target" or something of the sort))

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a dangerous woman ((target? --dangerous woman is in the government's POV.)). She hides with the Circuit; a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-first.

 

When she is spotted at the scene of a crime she believes she committed for the right reasons ((this is too wordy and vague. I like what you had before way better: "Because of her recklessness during a heist gone wrong, Bishop is captured by Detective Jonah Nolan."))but at the cost of two innocent lives, she soon finds herself a criminal on the run. Desperate and guilt-ridden, Laura takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive, in exchange for protection. When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret; a fatal pathogen that has been used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she abandons her mission and keeps it for herself. ((This paragraph seems a bit more confusing now than it was before. Honestly, this whole paragraph could be removed and would not affect the query, except that it wouldn't explain how she got that flash-drive. But that could be explained in a quick line after the second paragraph, something like, In exchange for protection, Laura takes on a mission from a crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive but soon she discovers it contains a deadly secret ..." ))  

 

Her recklessness becomes her downfall when she is caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He has been hunting her months, driven by revenge. Years ago, Laura's father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love. The authorities tasks Jonah with Laura's execution but she needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. To succeed, she needs ((but what does she do? She only has one option: to convince him, therefore she has no dilemma. the detective is the one that needs to make that choice. I think it's important to give off the idea that it all depends on Laura (the main character) rather than on the antagonist (soon to be ally I'm guessing, because if the MC dies, the story ends with her)him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions.

 

 

I think with a bit of tweaking it'll get in shape, but I'm worried about the last paragraph since it seems to focus too much on the antagonist, giving him the spotlight that should belong to Laura. 

 

Anyway, I hope this helps!

 

Thanks again for the critique. :)



#13 SnowFox23

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 06:14 AM

Hi mate! I will read your query for the first time ever, and let you know my thoughts.

 

Laura Bishop is one of the last people in the world capable of keeping a secret. Eh. A hook should be sharp and punchy as hell. Consider:

Laura Bishop cannot keep a secret. Especially this one.

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a dangerous woman. I love dangerous women. She hides with the Circuit; a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-first. Cool, I'm following ya. Sounds Divergent-y

 

When she is spotted at the scene of a crime she believes she committed for the right reasons - but at the cost of two innocent lives, she soon finds herself a criminal on the run. This sentence is too long and not very interesting. Maybe: When she is spotted (insert the bad thing she did here) she runs for her damn life, too afraid to look back. sorta thing.

 

Desperate and guilt-ridden, Laura takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive, in exchange for protection. When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret; a fatal pathogen i'm so impressed with myself that I know what this word is, high-five to me that has been used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she abandons her mission and keeps it for herself.  so this pathogen is Vocacium?!

 

Her recklessness becomes her downfall eh, try and show me more stuff instead of telling me (how is she becoming reckless?) when she is caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He has been hunting her months, driven by revenge. Years ago, Laura's father was arrested for the murder of Jonah's childhood love. I'm not convinced we need to know this, it is slowing the query down and losing its urgency. The authorities tasks Jonah with Laura's execution but she needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions. There are great stakes here but the line is so long that it's losing its potency. Chop it up a bit, and you're good to go.

 

What I like about this query: It is relatively easy to follow. I'm understand the stakes, which is half the battle of writing a good query.

What needs work: The voice. Laura is coming across as a bit passive. I'm being told she's reckless and guilt-ridden, but I'm not being shown it.

The bones of this query are really good. Just shove some voice in, and I think it will kick-ass.



#14 NerdWitch

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 07:20 AM

5th revision, thanks everyone for your input :) 

 

 

Laura Bishop has a secret; she's the person in the world still capable of keeping them. 

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a dangerous woman. She hides with the Circuit; a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-first. 

 

When she is spotted next to the bodies of two dead civilians, she soon finds herself a criminal on the run. Desperate for protection, Laura takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive. When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret; a fatal pathogen used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she abandons her mission and keeps it for herself.

 

Laura’s eagerness to decrypt the flash-drive's secrets quickly becomes her downfall when she is caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He has been ruthlessly hunting her for months. The authorities task Jonah with Laura's execution. She needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power, or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions. 


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#15 brandonyoung

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 08:06 AM

Laura Bishop is incapable of keeping secrets. I think this works. Raises the question of why she's incapable of this.

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a dangerous woman. (How does this relate to her being incapable of keeping secrets?) She hides with the Circuit; a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the city with an iron-first. (Seems pretty stock-standard to me so far. Girl who's different joins rebels to take down authoritarian regime. The drug and her being incapable of keeping secrets is the new part. More of that please.)

 

When she is spotted next to the bodies of two dead civilians, she soon finds herself a criminal on the run. (So is this before or after she's hiding with the Circuit? Do they care about her? Why aren't they offering her protection?) Desperate for protection, Laura takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive. When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret; a fatal pathogen used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she abandons her mission and keeps it for herself.

 

Laura’s eagerness to decrypt the flash-drive's secrets quickly becomes her downfall when she is caught by Detective Jonah Nolan. He has been ruthlessly hunting her for months. The authorities task Jonah with Laura's execution. She needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power, or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions. 

 

There's a lot of stuff in here that you simply gloss over. So what I think is: too many elements, not enough clear focus. You mention the secrets in the hook -- this is never mentioned again. You mention her immunity to Vocacium -- never mentioned again. She's a dangerous woman, but why and to who? You mention the Circuit in that same paragraph -- you literally never mention that word again. So I'm thinking, are these things important to the story -- important enough to be included in your query? Since it's unclear in the query what's important, I don't know what's important, so I don't know what to focus on or care about... if that makes sense?

 

I think you're just going to have to keep rewriting through trial and error, picking and choosing different elements to drill into, until you figure out what EXACTLY you need and what can be ignored for the sake of getting into the heart of the story. Good luck!


If you have time, I'd love your feedback on my query...

 

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/39047-this-cosmic-graveyard-space-fantasy/

 

...or my synopsis:

 

COMING SOON


#16 NerdWitch

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 09:26 AM

6th Revision - darn this is difficult.  :smile: 

 

Laura Bishop has a secret; she's the last person in the City still capable of keeping them. 

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a target. She hides with the Circuit; a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the City with an iron-fist. Laura is useful to the Circuit because she knows people on the inside who can help their cause. 
 
During a failed terrorist attack, she is spotted next to the bodies of two dead civilians. The Circuit now risks exposure and Laura finds herself a criminal on the run. Desperate for protection from anyone who will help her, she takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive. When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret; a fatal pathogen used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she keeps it for herself. 
 
Laura's eagerness to decrypt the flash-drive and learn its origins quickly becomes her downfall when she is captured by the police. Detective Jonah Nolan has been ruthlessly hunting her for months and won't let her go until he gets what he wants; a confession. The authorities task Jonah with Laura's execution. She needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power, or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions. 

Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#17 kassamarandra

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 11:03 AM

 

6th Revision - darn this is difficult.  :smile: 

 

Laura Bishop has a secret; she's the last person in the City still capable of keeping them. (I like this new opening line, but I'm not so sure about the semi-colon. maybe "and" would help the flow.)

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a target. She hides with the Circuit; a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime that rules the City with an iron-fist. Laura is useful to the Circuit because she knows people on the inside who can help their cause. (is this the only reason she is useful to this group?) 
 
During a failed terrorist attack, she is spotted next to the bodies of two dead civilians. The Circuit now risks exposure and Laura finds herself a criminal on the run. (I think the flow would feel better if you combined the first 2 ssentences -- something like "The circuit now risks exposure when, during a failed terrorist attack, Laura is spotted next to the corpses of two civilians.") Desperate for protection from anyone who will help her, she takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive. When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret; a fatal pathogen used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she keeps it for herself. (is this too far into the story? how does she find out what's on the drive if it's encrypted?) 
 
Laura's eagerness to decrypt the flash-drive and learn its origins quickly becomes her downfall when she is captured by the police. Detective Jonah Nolan has been ruthlessly hunting her for months and won't let her go until he gets what he wants; a confession. The authorities task Jonah with Laura's execution. She needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. (this paragraph opening is hard to parse, and makes me think this is way too far into the story) To succeed, she needs him to willingly betray the government that gives him power, or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions. (I think these stakes need to focus on the drug, not the detective that was only introduced in the final paragraph)

 

 

Hello, 

 

I still think there are too many proper nouns in your query. You have your MC, the detective, the drug, the circuit. I also wonder if you've gone too far into the story in this query. I've read from several sources that a query shouldn't go past the first turning point/ point of no return/ pg 50 (however you'd like to look at it). But this is only my 2 cents. Hopefully you find something of use. 

 

My updated query is here, any thoughts you may have on it is appreciated. 

Thanks in advance. 



#18 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 11:54 AM

I feel you on the difficult part... Queries are always the hardest.

 

 

Laura Bishop has a secret; she's the last person in the City still capable of keeping them (My first instinct was to ask who is "them," but then I remembered your other draft. Perhaps there is a better wording for the end there.)
 
Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a target. She hides with the Circuit, who are a group of mercenaries hidden in the London Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian regime (perhaps just say "government" here to keep the wording the same.) that rules the City with an iron-fist. Laura is useful to the Circuit because she knows people on the inside who can help their cause. (I'm not sure the last sentence here works. Perhaps just mention if she wants to fight the government or if she just wants to hide and why.)
 
During a failed terrorist attack, she is spotted next to the bodies of two dead civilians' bodies. The Circuit now risks exposure (? Because of one person?) and Laura finds herself a criminal on the run (Do they think she's the killer?). Desperate for protection from anyone who will help her, she takes on a mission from an infamous crime-lord to obtain an encrypted flash-drive (How would that protect her?). When she discovers the flash-drive contains a deadly secret, a fatal pathogen used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, (Shhhhh. Don't spill the secret just yet! : P) she keeps it for herself. 
 
Laura's eagerness to decrypt the flash-drive (Flash drive is usually spelled without the line by the way.) and learn its origins quickly becomes her downfall when she is captured by the police (Is this still the beginning of the book? A lot has happened.). Detective Jonah Nolan The government (I wouldn't introduce new characters this late into the query. )has been ruthlessly hunting her for months and won't let her go until they gets what they want: a confession. The authorities task Jonah with They call for her Laura's execution. She needs his help to prove the fatal nature of the pathogen before people begin to die. To succeed, She needs him someone on the inside to willingly betray the government that gives him or her power. Or she'll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions. 
 
​Sounds a lot better this time around! Definitely more interesting. I hope my comments help!


#19 NerdWitch

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 12:42 PM

Here we go again :) thanks again everyone. 

 

Laura Bishop has a secret and she's the last person in the City still capable of keeping them.

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a target. She hides with the Circuit, who are a group of mercenaries hidden in the City's Underworld. Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian government that rules the nation with an iron-fist. Laura’s past and knowledge of the drug makes her a useful asset.

 

The Circuit suddenly risks exposure when, during a failed terrorist attack, Laura is spotted next to the corpses of two civilians. She seeks help from an old friend who offers her protection in exchange for a favour – she needs to steal a valuable flash drive. When she discovers it contains proof of a fatal pathogen used in vaccinations on almost every citizen, she keeps it for herself.

 

Laura comes up with a plan. Instead of hiding, she allows herself to be captured by Detective Jonah Nolan who’s been hunting her for months. She needs someone on the inside to help prove the fatal nature of the pathogen but the authorities have tasked Jonah with Laura's execution. To succeed Laura needs Jonah to willingly betray the government that gives him power, or she’ll have to be buried along with the knowledge that could save the life of millions.


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#20 callalilly

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 03:58 PM

Hi NerdWitch, below are a few ideas that you can use or ignore. :)

 

Here we go again :) thanks again everyone. 

 

Laura Bishop has a secret and she's the last person in the City still capable of keeping them. (Oh, curious, I like it. My only thought is about the "and" -I have a little issue with the "and" being used in the hook. I would suggest playing with it slightly, maybe something like: "Laura Bishop has a secret; lucky for her, she's the last person in the City still capable of keeping them." Or something like that, I know that's being a little nit-picky, so ignore me if you don't agree.)

 

Her immunity to Vocacium, a government-controlled brainwashing drug, makes her a target. She hides with the Circuit, who are a group of mercenaries hidden in the City's Underworld (Maybe a short explanation on what the Underworld is. Is it the Greek mythology Underworld? An actual world under the surface of the earth?). Their sole purpose is to bring down the authoritarian government that rules the nation with an iron-fist. Laura’s past in the City, and knowledge of the drug makes her a useful asset.

 

The Circuit suddenly risks exposure when, during a failed terrorist attack, Laura is spotted by the City's government next to the corpses of two civilians. She seeks help from an old friend (Does this mean the Circuit is no longer protecting her? Did they kick her out when they were exposed? If so, maybe info on that and how Laura deals with it. Also, info on this old friend: do they live in the City? Does Laura have to risk going back into the City to find them?) who offers her protection in exchange for a favour – she must steal a valuable flash drive (from the City?). When she discovers it contains proof of a fatal pathogen used in vaccinations (the brainwashing drug?) on almost every citizen, she keeps it for herself (why? How will she use it? To blackmail the City? Or as leverage with the Circuit?).

 

Knowing the information she has is powerful to possess, Laura allows herself to be captured by Detective Jonah Nolan who’s been hunting her for months. She needs someone on the inside to help prove the fatal nature of the pathogen and Jonah might just be that someone. But when the authorities task Jonah with her execution, Laura has to convince Jonah to betray the very government that gives him power. Succeed and she'll save the lives of millions, fail and she’ll be buried along with the knowledge that could have saved the lives of millions.

 

I really love the story idea here -I think it's really cool. I simply played around with the sentences which you may like, you may hate, so of course do what is best for your query. I think maybe the hook or the body needs to be played with some because you start with this concept of secrets but then it isn't used pass the hook. So I think (though I like the hook), you either need to re-write the hook to match more of the information in the body, or you need to re-introduce the concept of secrets in the body. There's also the concept of brainwashing that I think would benefit with more information -why is the government doing it? How does it effect people? Are they just walking zombies? Also, how does it affect Laura's life in regards to her family -if she has one? If she sees her family under the spell of the brainwashing, it could add some great conflict to your query (just a thought). Explanation of the Circuit I think would be helpful, do they just ditch her when she's exposed? If so, how does it affect her? Then you have the friend, again more info I'd love to know. Then there's Jonah, maybe more on what type of person he is -does he seem likely to help her or not?

 

I like your story. I think there's many plot points and not enough info though. You have: 1) the brainwashing 2) The Circuit 3) The friend 4) Jonah. It sounds like great elements for your book, but in the query seems like too much. I would suggest picking maybe 2 of the above and expanding on them. I think the brainwashing and Jonah are two main points you could focus on and expand with answering some of the questions I ask.

 

BUT again, this is your query, you'll know what's best. I hope this helps, good luck!






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