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Genocide To Genesis (Fantasy Genre)


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#1 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 09:19 PM

It seems wrong that this part of the forum is completely empty. So, even though this is a WIP, I'm posting it to help invigorate the new forums. As always, harsh criticism is welcome! I <3 tough love.

Dear (agent),

Eighty years after World War Three, in a time when humanity believes the apocalypse has already come and gone, the immortal Val is one of the few who lives long enough to see the modern world of science crumble into a medieval world of magic.

Claiming to be a vampire gives Val a convenient way to explain his immortality. It also attracts interesting clients to his detective agency, but his life takes an unpredictable turn after a case turns sour and he's shot in the head. Upon resurrecting, he finds eight years have passed and the real apocalypse has decimated the world even more than the war. Val has to survive while all trace of post-modern society is erased by storms, earthquakes, and destructive breeds of mutated wildlife. He must keep his sanity when the only available companion is a former client who is delusional. And, as if that weren’t enough, the environmental problems aren’t entirely natural--they're spiritual.

The Earth--awakened during the years it tried to recover from World War Three’s ravages--has sent four incorporeal Manifestations to mankind as its arm and legs. Their mission: to keep humanity from repeating its past mistakes. Their plan: to use the immortals as mouthpieces. There's one major problem. Val is a skeptic who only believes in hard evidence. With a millennium of experience behind him, can he change enough to take the leap of faith needed to become the High Priest in the new world? His answer will decide the future of mankind: another genocide or a new genesis.

As a post-apocalyptic fantasy, GENOCIDE TO GENESIS is complete at 120,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

(Updated)

"Until the last breath leaves my body, I'll keep walking."  --Allen Walker, "D. Gray-man"


#2 RC Lewis

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 09:59 PM

Wow, sounds like a fascinating story--one I'd love to read. That said, the query leaves me a little overwhelmed, which is an interesting reaction since you didn't make it overly lengthy. I think it's the second paragraph. There's a LOT of information in there, tightly packed, so reading it feels like passing through a whirlwind. I'm not sure what should stay, what should go, and what just needs a smoother transition. Do we need to know quite so much about Val's specific immortality? The fact he runs a detective agency? (That especially feels out of nowhere, but it's a quirky detail that could be good ... is there a way to build it in more naturally/smoothly?)

Going back to the first paragraph, the word "naively" spoils it for me. It makes it just a little too obvious that another apocalypse is coming and is a bit of a tension-killer.

In the third paragraph, last sentence, both Val's skepticism and the idea of becoming a High Priest for an incorporeal manifestation are raising too many question marks for me. I'm feeling a little disconnected between this paragraph and his struggle to survive and keep his sanity in the paragraph before.

Great start, though. Just needs streamlining and/or refining as far as I can tell.
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#3 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 05 September 2010 - 10:35 PM

LOL Now you see why I said it was a WIP. The entire story is a whirlwind where nothing is set in stone. I'm actually really worried about it because you start out with one story, an urban post-apocalyptic fantasy.... then there's a sudden, violent rug-pull (a real apocalypse) and the story flips on you. It transitions into a medieval fantasy.

Val's ability to drink aether? It's no longer psychic vampirism. Now it's MAGIC.

Nope... those aren't hallucinations. They're elemental Manifestations.

Val's prostitute ex-girlfriend? When Val reconnects with her at the end of the novel, she's the retired Queen of Dandelium and her grandson is the freaking King.

LOL And that's not even the parts I'm worried about. The part I'm worried about is because there IS such a violent rug-pull, the first ten chapters don't seem important to the second half... even though nothing in the second half would make sense without the background of the first half.

Confused yet?

I appreciate the feedback, though. I guess I'm still trying to explain too much in the query. I can't tell you how many times I've already edited it, but it can't hurt to edit it some more. ;) Maybe I can pull out the aether part all together. It's not as important since I cut out almost all the references to Val's partner-in-survival.

Edit: Already edited the OP with your advice although I'm not sure what to do about the last paragraph. I thought raising questions was good?

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#4 Alaeis

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:04 AM

Actually, I like it very much! The story is very good, and eventhough I scarcely read apocalyptic novels I'm interested in this one. I can only find one thing that confuses me : "he has far more important things to worry about." What were the other things he had to worry about?

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#5 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 04:43 AM

Actually, I like it very much! The story is very good, and eventhough I scarcely read apocalyptic novels I'm interested in this one. I can only find one thing that confuses me : "he has far more important things to worry about." What were the other things he had to worry about?

Good luck,
Alaeis


I guess the way I wrote that was confusing. The things he has to worry about are the things he finds when he resurrects. The apocalypse, surviving in a changing world, solitude, etc. I'll see if I can go back and transition that more clearly.

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#6 Pete Morin

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 06:41 AM

An immortal non-vampire detective in a post-post-apocalyptic world. How did you keep it below 200,000?

I don't read this kind of stuff, but I think the query works very well. It doesn't have the classic "hook" that the mantra demands, but it still works. If you decide that you DO want to employ a more conventional (odd word to use in this context) hook, I'd vote for the "shot in the head" angle.


Glad you posted this - I was thinking the same thing last night that someone has to post something!
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#7 C. Taylor

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 08:18 AM

I really liked this! And it's quite a different spin to the previous versions that were posted on the old AQ (if it's the same one I'm thinking of). I like this take on it much more.

My only problem was with the last sentence "Whether Val...". I found it to be sort of a jumbled mouthful. Up until then though, I thought the story was so unique, and since you get that unique aspect across, that I doubt the little details of the query would really matter. I think any agent would look at it and think "wow! send me pages. Haven't seen anything like this before." :smile:


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#8 Cheryl B. Dale

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 10:39 AM

I think I must be reading a revised version since others refer to 'naively' and 'aether'. But I can't tell as I could on the old site. I'm sure there's a way.

I think the story sounds great. I'm with Peter re hook's not conventional but it works. And I also think you could lose the detective - clients stuff; those details don't seem that necessary.

However, I see some unnecessary stuff and at 120,000 words, I'm wondering if the ms is written the same way. E.g., ...after the end of World War Three... could become ...after World War Three... while ...decimated the world even more than the war could... could be ...decimated the world more than the war. And 'its' is the possessive of it, not it's (it is).

The last para of the blurb is confusing to me. The stuff about the Manifestations seems vague. Which one is he supposed to be high priest for? What exactly do they stand for?

I think this story is so original, you stand a good chance with it. So good luck!

Just my opinion, naturally.

#9 Redfae

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 11:00 AM

I think it sounds really good. The best bit for me was the description of your character as he sounds really intersting. It was the paragraph starting 'The Earth' that was unclear for me. It left me puzzled instead of intrigued. That is only a small thing (plus I worked over 18 hours yesterday so maybe I'm just too tierd to get it).

Personally, I felt the whole thing was really well written and I know how hard it is to write one as mine too six drafts. I'm going to post it as another thread and would really appreciate your feedback too.

#10 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 12:58 PM

I think I must be reading a revised version since others refer to 'naively' and 'aether'. But I can't tell as I could on the old site. I'm sure there's a way.

I think the story sounds great. I'm with Peter re hook's not conventional but it works. And I also think you could lose the detective - clients stuff; those details don't seem that necessary.

However, I see some unnecessary stuff and at 120,000 words, I'm wondering if the ms is written the same way. E.g., ...after the end of World War Three... could become ...after World War Three... while ...decimated the world even more than the war could... could be ...decimated the world more than the war. And 'its' is the possessive of it, not it's (it is).

The last para of the blurb is confusing to me. The stuff about the Manifestations seems vague. Which one is he supposed to be high priest for? What exactly do they stand for?

I think this story is so original, you stand a good chance with it. So good luck!

Just my opinion, naturally.


You're reading the revised. The detective part--I thought the part about him being shot in the head would raise too many questions if I didn't mention that. The client part--a lot of the story revolves around his interaction with this client.

LOL The novel started out at 141k. Trust me, I've been cutting down wordy phrases like mad.

I really liked this! And it's quite a different spin to the previous versions that were posted on the old AQ (if it's the same one I'm thinking of). I like this take on it much more.

My only problem was with the last sentence "Whether Val...". I found it to be sort of a jumbled mouthful. Up until then though, I thought the story was so unique, and since you get that unique aspect across, that I doubt the little details of the query would really matter. I think any agent would look at it and think "wow! send me pages. Haven't seen anything like this before." :smile:


I sat on it for a while and thought about everyone's advice. This new angle was born from the need to cut Dick out of the query equation and the importance of getting more info about the Manifestations into it.

Let's hope agents like it. ;)

An immortal non-vampire detective in a post-post-apocalyptic world. How did you keep it below 200,000?

I don't read this kind of stuff, but I think the query works very well. It doesn't have the classic "hook" that the mantra demands, but it still works. If you decide that you DO want to employ a more conventional (odd word to use in this context) hook, I'd vote for the "shot in the head" angle.

Glad you posted this - I was thinking the same thing last night that someone has to post something!


LOL "How did you keep it below 200,000?" Very, very carefully considering the entire story spans ~45 years. I kept it to the most important scenes and cut out a lot of the day-to-day living fluff. The hardest part was deciding where to end it. I wanted equal portions of post-modern, post-apocalyptic, and new world.

I tried and tried and tried to create a hook, but I'm starting to think the story itself doesn't follow conventional protocol. The story is more about progression and the way time can affect a person more than 'hero beats bad guy'.

I'm glad I posted it too. I was thinking it was a shame that such an important forum was still empty. I wasn't expecting much since I know everyone is still busy with the forum changes, but the feedback I'm getting is awesome.


I think it sounds really good. The best bit for me was the description of your character as he sounds really intersting. It was the paragraph starting 'The Earth' that was unclear for me. It left me puzzled instead of intrigued. That is only a small thing (plus I worked over 18 hours yesterday so maybe I'm just too tierd to get it).

Personally, I felt the whole thing was really well written and I know how hard it is to write one as mine too six drafts. I'm going to post it as another thread and would really appreciate your feedback too.


The last paragraph seems to be throwing off a lot of people. I've rewritten it and added a transitional statement to the previous paragraph. I'm not sure if it's any less of a shock, but I think I like it.

;) I think this is draft 13, but I'm not positive since I've lost track.

"Until the last breath leaves my body, I'll keep walking."  --Allen Walker, "D. Gray-man"


#11 Angie Sandro

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Posted 06 September 2010 - 07:47 PM

Hi Ashley,
I love post apocalyptic stories and this sounds intriguing. It's something I would buy. I don't have any suggestions to tighten the query that haven't been mentioned. But I think you're on the right track with this version.

#12 Darke

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 11:12 AM

You know, this sounds more like an epic novel series than a stand alone book. Have you ever though about making it into two or three novels? Just a thought. :D *ducks*


Dear (agent),

Eighty years after World War Three, in a time when humanity believes the apocalypse has already come and gone, the immortal Val is one of the few who lives long enough to see the modern world of science crumble into a medieval world of magic. I really like this. It set up the mood of the book nicely. You have your MC and what the world is like.

Val is not a vampire, Interesting as most people think of immortals as vamps but claiming to be one gives him a convenient way to explain his immortality and it attracts interesting clients to his detective agency. However, after a case turns sour and he’s shot in the head, his life takes an unpredictable turn. This made me laugh out loud, I don't know why. :D Upon resurrecting, he finds eight years have passed and the real(another catastrophy?) apocalypse has decimated the world even more than the war. Val has to survive while (as) all trace of post-modern society is erased by storms, earthquakes, and destructive breeds of mutated wildlife. He (must)has to keep his sanity when the only person available to keep him company is a former client who is delusional. And, as if that weren’t enough, the environmental problems aren’t entirely natural--they're spiritual.Okay, the second half of this paragraph confused me. What happened that caused this horrible event? IMO, I really think you should put in what happened. Try something like;

Upon resurrenctin, Val discovers that the veil between this realm and the next has been destroyed and has decimated the world even more than the war, or something like that.


The Earth--awakened [from the ravages of WW3]during the years it tried to recover from World War Three’s ravages--has sent four incorporeal Manifestations to mankind as its arm and legs. Their mission: to keep humanity from repeating its past mistakes. Their plan: to use the immortals as mouthpieces. There's only one problem.[;] Val is a skeptic who only believes in hard evidence. With a millennium of experience behind him, can he change enough to take a leap of faith? His answer will decide the future of mankind : another genocide or a new genesis.

As a post-apocalyptic fantasy, Genocide to Genesis is complete at 120,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

~I am neither an author nor a writer; I am a storyteller with good grammar.~

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#13 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 11:33 AM

You know, this sounds more like an epic novel series than a stand alone book. Have you ever though about making it into two or three novels? Just a thought. :D *ducks*

Interesting as most people think of immortals as vamps

Okay, the second half of this paragraph confused me. What happened that caused this horrible event? IMO, I really think you should put in what happened. Try something like;

Upon resurrenctin, Val discovers that the veil between this realm and the next has been destroyed and has decimated the world even more than the war, or something like that.



My hope is to build a series around this. I have dozens of avenues for sequels and a very interesting prequel covering WW3.

Val has a lot in common with vampires: he can contaminate humans (although he can't make them immortal, too), he can vamp life-energy, he burns from the sun and birds hate him. But there's also major differences. His vamping of life-energy is psychic in nature instead of 'I vant to suck yer blud.' Instead of a couple hundred years, he's been around since the dawn of time. No one 'created' him. And he actually forgets things. He's lived so long, he can't remember everything about his 'youth'. He was alive before the myth of vampires existed, so he's actually more of a Lazarus than a vampire. The only reason he chose vampire over Lazarus is because there are others like him in the world.

The horrible event--I thought it'd be too wordy to put in: "Upon resurrecting, Val discovers that the pollution hovering in the sky combusted into a wave of fire, the resulting fallout killed 99.9% of humanity, and there were mass-mutations of the region's vegetation and wildlife." I was trying to keep things simple, but I'll take a look at it. ;)

"Until the last breath leaves my body, I'll keep walking."  --Allen Walker, "D. Gray-man"


#14 Cat Woods

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:16 PM

From what I remember on the Old AQ, this is a vast improvement. Kudos for working through it so well when you haven't finished the novel!

At the moment I have nothing to add except to say that this would get me to read the first few pages. And as I get older and more curmudgeony with my time, that's saying something.

best~

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#15 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:28 PM

From what I remember on the Old AQ, this is a vast improvement. Kudos for working through it so well when you haven't finished the novel!

At the moment I have nothing to add except to say that this would get me to read the first few pages. And as I get older and more curmudgeony with my time, that's saying something.

best~


LOL Don't remind me of my old query... really.

As for it not being finished, I think that's more because of a lack of beta-readers than anything. Thanks to AQC, I've got one and I'm on my way to a second. Hopefully, with some outside feedback, I can run it through the final mill and finally stick it in my outbox. I'd WANTED to save it until it had historical value, but my wallet disagreed vehemently and... as you probably know, wallets always win. They take cheap shots. ;)

Of course, I'm not quitting my day job, but I might have to start looking for a second one pretty soon.... Which means I won't have as much time to write. Only by writing can I afford to write-- Erk. That doesn't sound right, but it is...


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#16 Cat Woods

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Posted 07 September 2010 - 01:33 PM

Good luck with the betas. Good ones are worth their weight in ink!

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#17 RobbG

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Posted 10 September 2010 - 12:36 PM

I like it. I also like the fact that he was a detective - just a quirky, odd detail that adds some color and depth to the story and character in the query.

#18 Brendacarre

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 02:27 AM

I guess I'm still trying to explain too much in the query.


I think you hit the post apocalyptic nail on the head. IMHO it's incredibly hard to narrow down fantasy into that one piece of info that is going to make them say, WOW.

#19 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 13 September 2010 - 12:13 PM

Dear (agent),

Eighty years after World War Three, in a time when humanity believes the apocalypse has already come and gone, the immortal Val is one of the few who lives long enough to see the modern world of science crumble into a medieval world of magic.

Claiming to be a vampire gives Val a convenient way to explain his immortality. It also attracts interesting clients to his detective agency, but his life takes an unpredictable turn after a case turns sour and he's shot in the head. Upon resurrecting, he finds eight years have passed and the real apocalypse has decimated the world even more than the war. Val has to survive while all trace of post-modern society is erased by storms, earthquakes, and destructive breeds of mutated wildlife. He must keep his sanity when the only available companion is a former client who is delusional. And, as if that weren’t enough, the environmental problems aren’t entirely natural--they're spiritual.

The Earth--awakened during the years it tried to recover from World War Three’s ravages--has sent four incorporeal Manifestations to mankind as its arm and legs. Their mission: to keep humanity from repeating its past mistakes. Their plan: to use the immortals as mouthpieces. There's one major problem. Val is a skeptic who only believes in hard evidence. With a millennium of experience behind him, can he change enough to take the leap of faith needed to become the High Priest in the new world? His answer will decide the future of mankind: another genocide or a new genesis.

As a post-apocalyptic fantasy, GENOCIDE TO GENESIS is complete at 120,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

(Updated)


I've updated the OP with some changes. In the second paragraph, I took out 'Val is not a vampire' since it might confuse the issue when/if an agent asks for a partial/full. I also added in the 'needed to become the High Priest in the new world' part in the third paragraph. I'm hoping it helps reiterate that the story doesn't stay post-apocalyptic--it turns into medieval (high) fantasy.

"Until the last breath leaves my body, I'll keep walking."  --Allen Walker, "D. Gray-man"


#20 KenMenzies

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  • Literary Status:emerging
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Posted 13 September 2010 - 08:24 PM

Here comes Johny Come Lately, but I felt obliged to contribute even if a trail is cold, since I am eager for critiques of my own query :biggrin:. That said I am very happy I chose to dig into this one. You hooked me quite well. The classic conflict of a skeptic confronted with an apparent spiritually laced calling is spectacular. Skeptics who continually end up just re-proving the basis of their skepticism bore me. Likewise, people of amazing faith who never doubt. In real life such folks are the cornerstones of valued elements of our society, but in fiction they only torture us with predictability.
Ken Menzies




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