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Tales of a Reuinted Cubicer


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#1 ABerman

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 03:11 PM

Wasd Abcdef is a murderer, and he’s the best in the business.  That is, until one of his clients, Ray Fermat tries to pull a fast one with a ten million-dollar bounty on his head.  In a world where death is the only escape from student loans; legal murderers provide an indispensable service, helping the indentured fake their own deaths.  Little does anyone know that trouble is brewing on the edge of the world, and Ray could prove to be the catalyst for a devious plot threatening to upend the fabric of spacetime.  Now five unlikely allies, brought together by necessity, must work together to save the world- even as the laws of physics shift under their feet. 

North of the Arctic Circle, a group of truckers are preparing to cross through a wormhole, guarded in secrecy above a barren wilderness.  On the other side is Echo, a hostile world orbiting a neutron star, where bespoke scientists craft a second periodic table from the ashes of the distant world.  But soon they realize it’s not just other-worldly weapons they have to worry about coming back through the portal.  It’s the collapse of causality itself. 

Tales of a Reunited Cubicer is a hard science fiction, alternate history novel: a story of moral relativism wrapped in relativity.  Where Closed Time-like Curves pop up in every day life, vacuum collapse is lurking around every corner, and physics itself hangs by a thread.



#2 lnloft

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Posted 26 May 2019 - 06:51 PM

Before I dive into your query, might I just advise re-posting this in the query critique forum. Members peruse there more, so you're likely to get more responses.

Wasd Abcdef is a murderer, and he’s the best in the business.  That is, until one of his clients, Ray Fermat, [comma] tries to pull a fast one with a ten- [hyphen] million-dollar bounty on his head. A bounty on whose head? On Wasd's? The antecedent isn't clear.  In a world where death is the only escape from student loans;, [comma, not semi-colon] legal murderers provide an indispensable service, helping the indentured fake their own deaths Well then they're not really murders, are they? So the word choice here is a little misleading.  Little does anyone know that trouble is brewing on the edge of the world, and Ray could prove to be the catalyst for a devious plot threatening to upend the fabric of spacetime. Um, what? Now five unlikely allies, brought together by necessity, must work together to save the world- [dash, not hyphen] even as the laws of physics shift under their feet.  So I feel like we've shifted into an entirely different story here. From the first couple of sentences, I thought this would be a thriller, but apparently it's sci-fi, only nothing with the sci-fi seems to have anything to do with the beginning of the query.

 

North of the Arctic Circle, a group of truckers are preparing to cross through a wormhole, guarded in secrecy above a barren wilderness.  On the other side is Echo, a hostile world orbiting a neutron star, where bespoke scientists craft a second periodic table from the ashes of the distant world.  But soon they realize it’s not just other-worldly weapons they have to worry about coming back through the portal.  It’s the collapse of causality itself. 

 

Tales of a Reunited Cubicer is a hard science fiction, alternate history novel: a story of moral relativism wrapped in relativity.  Where Closed Time-like Curves pop up in every day life, vacuum collapse is lurking around every corner, and physics itself hangs by a thread.

Okay, before I dive into more details, I need to ask: have you posted something of this story before on AQ Connect? Because the name Wasd Abcdef is obnoxiously familiar. The main reason I ask is to make sure I heard it from you and not some other novel. It's the sort of name that really can't be used in more than one book.

 

But anyway, onto the main thrust... I started critiquing this as a query, but part way through I realized that this might actually be the blurb for the book on Amazon, which does change the way I look at it. I still stopped doing a line-by-line critique after the first paragraph, because it didn't feel worthwhile. If it is supposed to be a query, then pick a character and write it from their perspective. But, since I'm pretty sure it's a blurb, you are allowed to play it a bit vaguer with who the MC is. (Also, you can ignore my comment about re-posting in the query board. If it's a blurb, you were right about where to post it.)

 

But even as a blurb, this still has some issues. It is extremely disjointed, with basically three disparate points, one about Wasd, Ray, and legal murders; one about the five unlikely allies; and one about the truckers. And it may be obvious to you how these things relate or that they're the same things, even, but to me, they feel tangential at best. The bit about Wasd in particular is a complete disconnect from everything that follows, especially considering that he's the first thing we learn about but he's never mentioned again. So, I present to you two options: one, write this rather like a query, where you pick one of your characters (one of the five unlikely allies, maybe?) and write the blurb mostly from their POV. Or, write a blurb where no characters are definitively defined. So no names at all, place them all in situations with broad strokes. For this, I suggest you check out blurbs for books like Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer or Hyperion by Dan Simmons. Those might give you some ideas of how to paint a picture of your story without focusing too heavily on any one character.

 

Also really important: I found multiple punctuation errors. Those need to be cleaned up. Nothing would turn me off of buying a book on Amazon than finding typos in the blurb. That would suggest that I would only be finding more typos in the manuscript, and a book like that just isn't worth my time.

 

Sorry to be a buzzkill. We all have to start somewhere, and at least you've got something to build on. Good luck.


Please note I'm also posting on behalf of people who can't sign up, so if I provide a link in the main body of the post, make sure to reciprocate on that thread.

 

I've got 250 words I'd love your feedback on: Untitled fantasy project


#3 ABerman

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Posted 31 May 2019 - 08:29 PM

Hi!  Thanks for reading and great feedback!  Thank you so much!  Actually yes, I posted a first sentence review like 2 years ago, I'm amazed you still remembered the name.  That's a good sign, I guess?  And yes, I am terrible with punctuation and I can only catch so many things when editing my own work. 

 

http://agentquerycon...entence-review/

 

And no, it's not published or on Amazon.  I only finished the manuscript a few months ago and I've mostly been sharing it with friends and family.  I don't want to publish something until I'm good enough to publish traditionally, so I'm planning to do some more revisions, maybe query a dozen or so agents and if it doesn't go anywhere I'll move on to my next project. 

 

I am still struggling with how to write a good query versus a good blurb (I'm still struggling with how to write a good story too, but I'm steadily improving in that department I hope).  It's difficult to condense 60,000 words into under 200 and still keep things interesting.  I suppose the difference between a blurb and a query is whether to reveal the twists that make things interesting (i.e. how all the disjointed stories relate to one another).  I guess in this forum it just said 250 words so I'm not sure what I was aiming for haha! 






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