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GAL (YA sci-fi, villain protagonist)


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#1 booksbybrendan

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Posted 10 September 2019 - 11:24 PM

Hi everyone! This project has been through a lot of revisions... but I'm almost at the end of the tunnel. My objective for this letter is to bring out my villain protagonist's personality and voice, as well as the dark, irreverent humor prevalent throughout the novel. My main concern about this letter is her motivation for doing what she does, and whether or not it's obvious enough. Let me know what you think!

 

I don't know much about the market for books like this, but I myself have noticed a huge gap in their availability (after being obsessed with the BROKEN EMPIRE trilogy by Mark Lawrence) and want to rectify that. Thanks!

 

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Dear agent,

 

Galaxy “Gal” Hyland dreamed of a better Milky Way. Unfortunately for the Milky Way, her definition of better included burning cities, a dismantled government, and lots of senseless murder. She was tired of exacting revenge for her miserable life on criminals in dark alleyways. It was time to go big. It was time for revenge to become revolution.

 

She stumbles into a pair of unlikely allies: a sociopath with influence over the galaxy’s largest religion, and a space pirate with dark motives and the skills to bring them to fruition. They hatch a plot. Gal murders her abusive father, steals his armies, and leads his shattered nation on a crusade for the throne of the Director, high ruler of the Milky Way. The merry trio are well on their way to galactic domination. 

 

Then the unprecedented happens: along the way, Gal makes friends. She develops a crush on one. She even re-discovers a conscience. Suddenly, two paths split before her: one to the dismal Milky Way of her dreams, and another to a chance at redemption. To take one, she needs to kill all possibility of the other. Good thing she's so good at killing.

 

GAL is a stand-alone YA sci-fi with a villain protagonist. It's complete at 80,000 words. PRINCE OF THORNS meets RED RISING, with a heavy dose of irreverent humor. Thank you for your time and consideration.



#2 lionspaws

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 05:04 AM

I really like this and you have a lot of voice. The only part I balk at is the "lots of senseless murder." I start to like Gal in the rest of the query, and like the tension in whether or not she'll choose redemption, but senseless murder makes me dislike her right off the bat, given the cultural climate we're living in with *lots* of horrific shooting sprees, etc. 


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#3 IMB

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Posted 11 September 2019 - 08:23 AM

Don't be scared by all the red, I tend to write a lot!

 

Hi everyone! This project has been through a lot of revisions... but I'm almost at the end of the tunnel. My objective for this letter is to bring out my villain protagonist's personality and voice, as well as the dark, irreverent humor prevalent throughout the novel. My main concern about this letter is her motivation for doing what she does, and whether or not it's obvious enough. Let me know what you think!

 

I don't know much about the market for books like this, but I myself have noticed a huge gap in their availability (after being obsessed with the BROKEN EMPIRE trilogy by Mark Lawrence) and want to rectify that. Thanks!

 

----------------

 

Dear agent,

 

Galaxy “Gal” Hyland dreamed (Dreams. It is common practice for queries to be in present tense - even if the book is not - to give it a stronger punch.) of a better Milky Way. Unfortunately for the Milky Way, her definition of better included(s) burning cities, a dismantled government, and lots of senseless murder. (The 'senseless murder' bit kills everything cool you built up in this start. I know it's for her development as a villain - which is already clear enough with 'burning cities' - but nearly no great villain goes after senseless killings. They have goals, and tastes, and if she loves taking a life, if killing someone gives her a thrill, then it's not senseless; it's purposeful for her sadisfaction. You can even keep the 'lots of murder' part, just add a better adjective.) She was(is) tired of exacting revenge for her miserable life on criminals in dark alleyways. (I get what you're saying here, but maybe don't use criminals? It makes her sound like an inadvertent good person. Maybe use something else a little more vague, like bums, or nobodys, or something along those lines.) It was time to go big. It was time for revenge to become revolution. (Nice so far. If you notice, I'm mostly nitpicking on word choice and tense, which is good, because it means I'm understanding the story, and where it's supposed to go.)

 

She stumbles into a pair of unlikely allies: a sociopath with influence over the galaxy’s largest religion, and a space pirate with dark motives and the skills to bring them to fruition. (these don't seem all that unlikely to me. She's a villain, and they're generally bad people. They seem to fit together pretty well. Not to say that this would make me lose interest, I'm still pretty invested.)They hatch a plot. Gal murders her abusive father, (Why hasn't she done this already? I thought she was way into senseless murders and all.) steals his armies, and leads his shattered nation on a crusade for the throne of the Director, high ruler of the Milky Way. (Oh, so she's the daughter of a nation leader! You might want to start with that, because I thought she was just a nobody, a low-level criminal that has big dreams or something.) The merry trio are well on their way to galactic domination. (Love this last line. The voice shows through in a great way, and it exudes excitment.)

 

Then the unprecedented happens: along the way, Gal makes friends. (I love that this is unprecedented. Made me smile. And it's great, because you built her well as a villain in the above paragraphs.) She develops a crush on one. She even re-discovers a conscience. (love it! Voice voice voice! Well done.) Suddenly, two paths split before her: one to the dismal Milky Way of her dreams, and another to a chance at redemption. To take one, she needs to kill all possibility of the other. Good thing she's so good at killing. (Great stakes! I'm not sure 'dismal' would be my word of choice - sounds a little weak, considering her big plans - but the way you set up her choices is really working well!)

 

GAL is a stand-alone YA sci-fi with a villain protagonist. It's complete at 80,000 words. PRINCE OF THORNS meets RED RISING, with a heavy dose of irreverent humor. Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Overall, this is really good! I'd say your first two paragraphs need a little work, maybe mentioning she's the daughter of someone important somewhere up there in the first paragraph to give us a better idea of who she is, but your final paragraph is great, in my opinion. There is some wording and tense issues you have to adjust (which is the bulk of editing a query, trying to pick your words perfectly), but I think you'll work it out alright!

You have a great story here, good luck!


Current Query (YA Contemporary Fantasy): http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

Any feedback is appreciated :)


#4 dmsimone

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Posted 15 September 2019 - 03:14 AM

Hi there, my feedback is below. I hope you find it helpful.

High level - too many colons. I counted at least three? 

 

Hi everyone! This project has been through a lot of revisions... but I'm almost at the end of the tunnel. My objective for this letter is to bring out my villain protagonist's personality and voice, as well as the dark, irreverent humor prevalent throughout the novel. My main concern about this letter is her motivation for doing what she does, and whether or not it's obvious enough. Let me know what you think!

 

I don't know much about the market for books like this, but I myself have noticed a huge gap in their availability (after being obsessed with the BROKEN EMPIRE trilogy by Mark Lawrence) and want to rectify that. Thanks!

 

----------------

 

Dear agent,

 

Galaxy “Gal” Hyland dreamed of a better Milky Way. Unfortunately for the Milky Way, her definition of better included burning cities, a dismantled government, and lots of senseless murder. She was tired of exacting revenge for her miserable life on criminals in dark alleyways. It was time to go big. It was time for revenge to become revolution.

Since this is YA, right up front I would note Gal's age.

I was also thrown off by the past tense verb use - queries are usually told in present tense...which is what you have for the rest of your query. So you may want to change the tenses in this opening paragraph.

"She was tired" sounds passive because of the word "was." Maybe a simple rewrite like, Tired of exacting revenge for her miserable life on criminals in dark alleys, she decided to go big. Same thing for the last sentence, using the word "was." I'd try something like, Gal vowed for her vengeance to grow into revolution. But here, I would want to know (1) who is she revenging against, and (2) revolution against whom or what? Just a little detail, a little more, will go a long way.

 

She stumbles into a pair of unlikely allies: a sociopath with influence over the galaxy’s largest religion, and a space pirate with dark motives and the skills to bring them to fruition. Together, they hatch a plot. Gal murders her abusive father, steals his armies, and leads his shattered nation on a crusade for the throne of the Director, high ruler of the Milky Way. The merry trio are well on their way to galactic domination. 

We are getting a ton of information in the third sentence - Gal's father is abusive, but he's a general or leader of some kind - I would have liked to learn that in the opening. How does she "steal" an army? And how does she suddenly lead a nation after assassinating its leader? Is her father that Director person - or is that someone else? Any why does she want the throne? I'm sorry I have so many questions...I think if you narrow in on the one thing Gal wants most - really focus - and then tell me what happens if she doesn't get it...then that would be some good clarity here.

Colon #1 is in the first sentence :)

 

 

Then the unprecedented happens: along the way, Gal makes friends. She develops a crush on one. She even re-discovers a conscience. Suddenly, two paths split before her: one to the dismal Milky Way of her dreams, and another to a chance at redemption. To take one, she needs to kill all possibility of the other. Good thing she's so good at killing.

Colon #2 is in the first sentence .

Colon #3 is in the fourth sentence :)

I absolutely loved your closing paragraph. It's showing the character arc so very clearly. NICE JOB!

 

GAL is a stand-alone YA sci-fi with a villain protagonist. It's complete at 80,000 words. PRINCE OF THORNS meets RED RISING, with a heavy dose of irreverent humor. Thank you for your time and consideration.


My QL is here: http://agentquerycon...ght-ya-fantasy/

My synopsis is here: http://agentquerycon...ght-ya-fantasy/

I am happy to reciprocate with a critique.





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