dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

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Quill
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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by Quill » June 2nd, 2010, 1:19 am

lexcade wrote:
Broken lives, destroyed families, murders—geneticist Janelle Gray is responsible, and she doesn’t even know it.
This is an okay opening.
Her technology was supposed to revolutionize the Humani Project, the government-funded genetic cross-mutation experiment, by preserving the subjects’ larynxes, which before now had been mutated beyond repair. And it works. On her.
Streamline by omitting "the Humani Project" and "by preserving the subjects’ larynxes, which before now had been mutated beyond repair. And it works. On her."
She’s the crowning achievement of her own experiment, and she has no idea that she’s the one who perfected its technology.
Besides repeating ideas you've already covered, you repeat the words "experiment" and "technology". Omit.
Without any memories of her past, she’s a blank slate, and the panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting not only on her genetic code but also on her brain, slowly destroying any shreds of humanity she had left.
The main dynamic -- the panther -- is coming in pretty late in this query, another reason to delete a lot of what you have put first.
But she doesn’t really care. She loves the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her and she feels alive for the first time.
This is cool.
Plus, having claws is pretty sweet, and a tail’s not so bad, either.
This humor doesn't work for me, it slows things down. Unless your story has a good bit of humor, I'd omit.
However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last long.
Omit "However," and probably "long".
When she has to kill for the first time
Suggest streamlining to "When she kills for the first time..."
(an innocent little bunny, no less),
Not sure about the humor, the word "innocent" and the modifier "no less". Loses drama; again, does this reflect your manuscript style? I don't get that your story is light reading. Why not play up the violence. Is she appalled at her behavior? If so, that might be stronger than playing the cute angle.
her human disgust lashes out at her panther instinct, igniting the first strains of a long civil war inside her mind.
I like the idea here, but I think you have some awkward wording. Disgust lashing at instinct. Igniting strains. Strains of a war. These terms do not make sense to me.
She decides that the only way to avoid losing herself entirely is to hunt for her past, which is locked somewhere in the lab
I don't get this. Her past is locked in the lab?? Wouldn't it be locked within herself in the form of memories?
and in the scientists she thinks she knows.
Do you mean to say "knows where"?
Each of them contains a part of her story; she wants it back. But they’re not talking.
Oh. They know her past better than she does? She has a better chance of accessing it through them than through herself? How do they know her past?
When Janelle gets her third keeper, a mysterious man with no loyalty to the lab, she learns that he might be able to get her the information she wants, but with a past full of possibilities, she knows that there’s the chance she was someone worse than the scientists she loathes.
"When she gets, she learns he might be able to get, but she knows there's the chance she was someone."I think you can state this more artfully.
She has to decide: take the chance and discover what kind of monster she really was, or submit to the panther and lose any chance to make things right.
I think it is a mistake to use the word "chance" three times in two sentences. It just isn't that great of a word.

More important, you allude to her being some sort of monster before her transformation. It might pay to play this up a bit more.

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by Ghost in the Machine » June 2nd, 2010, 12:15 pm

Hi Lexicade,

I’ve only read this version, not the entire thread, so please keep that in mind.

Dear Agent:

Broken lives, destroyed families, murders—geneticist Janelle Gray is responsible, and she doesn’t even know it.

Her technology was supposed to revolutionize the Humani Project, the government-funded genetic cross-mutation experiment, by preserving the subjects’ larynxes, which before now had been mutated beyond repair. And it works. On her.


First impression: I like the idea, but the first two paragraphs make no sense to me. I have a BS in biology, so I’m not an idiot. Okay, not a complete idiot. At least, not on Thursdays.

I cannot see the connection between someone’s larynx and a panther DNA splice. Something is missing and you may not have enough query-space to describe it.

So what’s really important? The lady is a geneticist, her name is Janelle Gray, and she has a tail. ’Nuff said. Kidding. No, we need to know something went wrong in her lab and now she’s too altered to know exactly what that is.

The present intro: ‘Broken lives, destroyed families, murders’ is full of exciting words, but they are too general for my taste. There is so much going on in this query, I don’t think losing these consequences will hurt.

She’s the crowning achievement of her own experiment, but has no idea she perfected the technology. Without any memories of her past, she’s a blank slate. The panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting (not only-omit) on her genetic code (but also-change to and) on her brain, slowly destroying (any-change to her last) shreds of humanity (she had left-omit). But she doesn’t really care. She loves the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her and she feels alive for the first time. Plus, having claws is pretty sweet, and a tail’s not so bad, either.

Comment: I would shorten the first sentence here. See tweak. Break up the second sentence into two. Rest of paragraph is great.

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last long. When she has to kill for the first time (an innocent little bunny, no less), her human disgust lashes out at her panther instinct, igniting the first strains of a long civil war inside her mind. To avoid losing her humanity, Janelle must hunt for her past. The answers are locked somewhere in the lab with the scientists she thinks she knows. Each of them contains a part of her story; she wants it back. But they’re not talking.

Comment: First sentence rocks, but you could lose the “However,”. I would change ‘innocent little bunny’ to ‘baby rabbit’ because I think all bunnies are innocent no matter what size and compared to panthers, all bunnies are little. But hey, that’s just me. Take out ‘long’ in ‘long civil war’. It just slows the pace and adds little. I reworded the next one. See tweak. Don’t like ‘contains’ in last sentence. How about ‘holds’?

When Janelle gets her third keeper, a mysterious man with no loyalty to the lab, she learns that he might be able to get her the information she wants, but with a past full of possibilities, she knows that there’s the chance she was someone worse than the scientists she loathes. She has to decide: take the chance and discover what kind of monster she really was, or submit to the panther and lose any chance to make things right.

Comment: Third Keeper? Did I miss something? Do you mean zookeeper-keeper? Is she locked up? This came out of left field for me. Need orientation. Plus you have a whopper of a sentence starting the paragraph. Please chop. I like the ending.

Final Comment: This has a good “The Host” vibe going on with the mc’s struggle to keep her humanity. Do you know Kirril? He once had a query about an mc who got super powers and had to struggle with his humanity, too. His present query on the forum deals with spirits taking control of other forms of life. You two should meet.

I hope you’ll forgive my silliness. My blood sugar is getting low. Time for lunch.

Ghost in the Machine

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by Joel Q » June 2nd, 2010, 9:41 pm

I saw you posted the "one sentence" thing on R Gardner's blog contest.

And I have to ask, do you rewrite you pages and chapters this much? :-)

lexcade wrote:
Broken lives, destroyed families, murders—geneticist Janelle Gray is responsible, and she doesn’t even know it.

I like the idea of this first sentence, but I don't like the list. Not sure how to revise it though. Maybe pick one or two??

Her technology was supposed to revolutionize the Humani Project, the government-funded genetic cross-mutation experiment, by preserving the subjects’ larynxes, which before now had been mutated beyond repair. And it works. On her.

Like this

She’s the crowning achievement of her own experiment, Love this line.

and she has no idea that she’s the one who perfected its technology. Without any memories of her past, she’s a blank slate, and the panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting not only on her genetic code but also on her brain, slowly destroying any shreds of humanity she had left. Good

But she doesn’t really care. Not so good.

She loves the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her and she feels alive for the first time. Plus, having claws is pretty sweet, and a tail’s not so bad, either.
I like the showing here, but not the part about the tail. Claws are good, tail seems to be awkward. Maybe night vision, keen hearing.????

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last long. When she has to kill for the first time (an innocent little bunny, no less), her human disgust lashes out at her panther instinct, igniting the first strains of a long civil war inside her mind. Again, like the idea but not the wording. Long... I ask how long, months, years? Which makes me question the time frame ofthe book.

She decides that the only way to avoid losing herself entirely is to hunt for her past, which is locked somewhere in the lab and in the scientists she thinks she knows. Each of them contains a part of her story; she wants it back. But they’re not talking.

When Janelle gets her third keeper, a mysterious man with no loyalty to the lab, she learns that he might be able to get her the information she wants, but with a past full of possibilities, I think you can cut this sentence and not impact the query.

she knows that there’s the chance she was someone worse than the scientists she loathes. She has to decide: take the chance and discover what kind of monster she really was, or submit to the panther and lose any chance to make things right.
Good paragraph, but don't like the phrase at the end.

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by lexcade » June 2nd, 2010, 11:20 pm

thanks everyone for the strong input. i'm actually kind of excited about trying again. you guys are helping me focus a bit more. i really needed that. you guys are AWESOME.

joel, i don't even know how many times i've rewritten parts. i started the entire book over a few years ago because i didn't have the right antagonist. i realized it about 7 or 8 chapters in. i've done five revisions already, with more coming in spurts to get my word count down. but honestly, writing the novel was a whole lot easier than writing this thing...

thanks again, everyone!
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by lexcade » June 3rd, 2010, 4:41 am

ok. i've taken the feed back i got from here and query tracker, and i got this:


Dear Agent:

When the government tasked geneticist Janelle Gray with modifying its genetic cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.

A panther-human hybrid, she’s the crowning achievement of her own experiment, but she has no idea that she perfected the technology. Stripped of her memories, Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that the project has already ruined countless lives and will continue to ruin more. The panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting on her genetic code and on her brain, slowly destroying her last shreds of humanity. And she doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her, feeling alive for the first time.

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. After her first kill, disgust overwhelms her animal instinct, pitting human against panther for control of her mind. To avoid losing her humanity, Janelle must hunt for her past. The answers are locked somewhere in the lab with three scientists she thinks she knows. She’s convinced that they hold a part of her story. She wants it back, but they’re not talking.

With a past full of possibilities, Janelle knows that the woman she was might be worse than the scientists she loathes. But without any alternatives, she has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.


again, thanks for your help, everyone :) hopefully i can return the kindness.
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by Quill » June 3rd, 2010, 10:52 am

lexcade wrote:
When the government tasked geneticist Janelle Gray with modifying its genetic cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.
"Tasked" is a tough verb to start with. Awkward and uncommon, it made me to stop and think, which wasn't good on word number four of the query. I also wonder, can a government task?

Also, making the government subject of the first clause, and Janelle subject of the second clause, doesn't quite work for me, even if it might be grammatically correct as you've written it.

I do like the idea of the beginning.
A panther-human hybrid, she’s the crowning achievement of her own experiment, but she has no idea that she perfected the technology.
Good, but we are starting to repeat. You already said "experiment" and "technology" in the first sentence, and "never expected" is a lot like "no idea".
Stripped of her memories, Janelle barely remembers being human,
The second clause repeats the info of the first clause.
let alone that the project has already ruined countless lives and will continue to ruin more.
Countless lives? You started by calling it an experiment. One experiment ruined countless lives?

And, omit "continue to". And consider substituting another word for the second "ruin" in the sentence, for variety.
The panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting on her genetic code and on her brain, slowly destroying her last shreds of humanity.
"Shreds of humanity" is an old cliche, and doesn't even seem to fit the picture.
And she doesn’t care.
Good, but omit "And".
She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her, feeling alive for the first time.
How about "she thrills..." instead of thrives. Thrives makes it sound like she's living with it for a while, whereas I'm thinking you are going for something more immediate.
However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. After her first kill, disgust overwhelms her animal instinct,
Making "disgust" the sentence subject in "After her first kill, disgust overwhelms her animal instinct," seems passive, awkward, and anti-climactic.
pitting human against panther for control of her mind.
I like this. This seems the crux of your story. I wouldn't tuck it in the back of this sentence.
To avoid losing her humanity, Janelle must hunt for her past. The answers are locked somewhere in the lab with three scientists she thinks she knows. She’s convinced that they hold a part of her story. She wants it back, but they’re not talking.
Omit "She wants it back" which is by now obvious.
With a past full of possibilities, Janelle knows
This is enigmatic when you should be clear. And it is awkward. I think what you are saying is that J doesn't know who she was before the experiment. Say that, dramatically.
that the woman she was might be worse than the scientists she loathes.
All right, she suspects she may have been someone bad. But you haven't given us ANY clues to this so far, so it seems undramatic to bring it up now. Can't you weave this in earlier? Was she bad? So far she sounds like an almost innocent victim of her own experiment. She sounds like a nice person, disgusted by the animal instinct.
But without any alternatives,
Omit as weak and unneeded.
she has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.
Decent. The truth about her involvement IN WHAT? Again, if you have skeletons in the closet about her and if it is a major point in this book, I suggest alluding to it along the way, instead of painting her only as a scientist with a DNA dilemma.

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by HillaryJ » June 8th, 2010, 12:27 am

lexcade wrote:

Dear Agent:

When the government tasked geneticist Janelle Gray with modifying its genetic cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her. *I don't have a problem with "tasked". Having worked with government agencies (who set up task forces) and for federal subcontractors (who receive "task orders" regularly) that didn't get in my way. I also think it's one of your better openers*

A panther-human hybrid, she’s the crowning achievement of her own experiment, but she has no idea that she perfected the technology. Stripped of her memories, Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that the project has already ruined countless lives and will continue to ruin more. The panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting on her genetic code and on her brain, slowly destroying her last shreds of humanity. And she doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her, feeling alive for the first time. *This can be trimmed to reduce redundancy. No idea/stripped of memory, a panther-human hybrid/panther DNA spliced to hers. Also, I liked alive in italics...might just be me.*

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. After her first kill, disgust overwhelms her animal instinct, pitting human against panther for control of her mind. *WHOA. This makes the first kill sound inevitable, which leads me to believe it's an animal she kills. If not, is it in self-defense? Some clarification please.* To avoid losing her humanity, Janelle must hunt for her past. The answers are locked somewhere in the lab with three scientists she thinks she knows. *I like this* She’s convinced that they hold a part of her story. She wants it back, but they’re not talking.

With a past full of possibilities, Janelle knows that the woman she was might be worse than the scientists she loathes. But without any alternatives, she has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.


again, thanks for your help, everyone :) hopefully i can return the kindness.
Good lord. I've been out for a week and you've rewritten this bad boy sixteen ways from Sunday. :)

I feel like we get a bit off track on plot details, especially in the last paragraph. The internal conflict is excellent. The external tension/conflict - not so much. But, this one flows better.
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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by lexcade » June 13th, 2010, 1:55 am

yeah... i have a metric buttload of free time, so i have a lot of time to think about this. do you think if i add something about her befriending one of the other hybrids that that would add to the stakes? b/c then she wouldn't just have to deal with the consequences for herself, but also for her relationships with the other hybrids. will they abandon her, will they not? that sort of thing... i'm kinda trying to formulate a paragraph for that.
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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by lexcade » June 13th, 2010, 6:17 am

with new paragraph (like i said, lots of free time)


When the Department of Defense told geneticist Janelle Gray to modify its genetic cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.

A panther-human hybrid, she’s the Humani Project’s crowning achievement, but Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that she perfected the process used to combine human and animal DNAs. The panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting on her genetic code and on her brain, filling in the empty spaces her memories once occupied. She doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her, feeling alive for the first time.

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. After her first kill during a physical exam, disgust overwhelms her animal instinct, pitting human against panther for control of her mind. To avoid losing her humanity, Janelle must hunt for her past. The answers are locked somewhere in the lab with three scientists she thinks she knows. She’s convinced that they hold a part of her story. She wants it back, but they’re not talking.

Janelle’s only real friend is the first successful Humani, Sydel, a leopard-human hybrid. Janelle is Sydel’s first companion in nearly a decade, and though she remembers everything about her life, she can’t share the most painful parts—the torture she suffered during and after the process, the loss of her best friend due to the lab’s rigorous testing, or the fear in her fiancé’s eyes when he saw her after her mutation. And Sydel isn’t the only one suffering. Every few weeks, more victims populate the lab thanks to Janelle’s contribution.

Deep down, Janelle knows that the woman she was might be worse than the scientists she loathes. But she has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by lachrymal » June 13th, 2010, 7:23 am

Hi Lexcade--I've read several of your query versions here, and I really think you're on the right track. There are lots of really clever little phrases in here that make the query enticing and make me want to read more. However, in my humble opinion, your para about Sydel is unnecessary. I think it sort of muddles the conflict (whether she can/will get the info about her past from her colleagues) and bogs down your query. Further, the way it's written now, I thought you were still talking about Janelle. Try to read the following very objectively:
Janelle is Sydel’s first companion in nearly a decade, and though she remembers everything about her life, she can’t share the most painful parts—the torture she suffered during and after the process, the loss of her best friend due to the lab’s rigorous testing, or the fear in her fiancé’s eyes when he saw her after her mutation.
See--because Sydel is not a gender-specific name (and Janelle is), and because of the way the sentence is structured, you could very well be talking about Janelle, especially because she's the MC and I don't understand why you'd switch to talking about another character in the 4th para of your query.

Anyway, I think your query would be tighter if you just included one sentence about the other victims to make the stakes clearer.

A few other points:
The very first clause of your query almost lost me--first, because it's kind of complicated, and second, because "modify" is kind of weak and generic as a verb. The rest of the hook is pretty good.

"filling in the empty spaces her memories once occupied"--I know what you're trying to say, but my first thought was--if her memories were occupying those spaces, they weren't empty. An agent might think the same (for example, I've seen Nathan ding stuff like this in his critiques).

"After her first kill during a physical exam"--this is kind of awkward. Couldn't you say "She kills an innocent lab tech during a routine physical exam" or some other direct, declarative statement?

"She’s convinced that they hold a part of her story"--you don't need the "that".

Best of luck!

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by Quill » June 13th, 2010, 12:23 pm

This version seems a bit overwritten:
lexcade wrote:with new paragraph (like i said, lots of free time)


When the Department of Defense told geneticist Janelle Gray to modify its genetic cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.
Omit "genetic" as not needed and redundant to "geneticist".
A panther-human hybrid, she’s the Humani Project’s crowning achievement, but Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that she perfected the process
Good.
used to combine human and animal DNAs.
Omit as redundant to "panther-human hybrid".
The panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting on her genetic code and on her brain, filling in the empty spaces her memories once occupied.
Omit as adding no new info. Redundant to "panther-human hybrid" and "barely remembers".
She doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her, feeling alive for the first time.
Good.
However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. After her first kill during a physical exam, disgust overwhelms her animal instinct, pitting human against panther for control of her mind.
Awkward and passive making "disgust" the subject of the sentence. Is disgust the primary emotion (not horror?) to killing? Can disgust overwhelm instinct? Not sure what is doing the pitting. The way the sentence is structured it is the disgust. Can disgust pit?
To avoid losing her humanity, Janelle must hunt for her past.
Why?? I would think she needs to find her present! Her hope would be in consciousness, in connection with her self-awareness of who she is. Becoming 'now' in the moment. So it seems like a contrivance the way it is written. Please clarify.
The answers are locked somewhere in the lab with three scientists she thinks she knows. She’s convinced that they hold a part of her story. She wants it back, but they’re not talking.
Good in that it is fairly dramatic, but my question is, what answers? And why does she need answers. How will answers do anything to help her keep connection with her human side?? Answers seems a little dry, and is definitely unclear. Again, I would think she needs another strategy, that is, to connect within herself, to hold on to the human side, it's internal. Unless the process is reversible? What do these guys have that could help her??
Janelle’s only real friend is the first successful Humani, Sydel, a leopard-human hybrid. Janelle is Sydel’s first companion in nearly a decade, and though she remembers everything about her life, she can’t share the most painful parts—the torture she suffered during and after the process, the loss of her best friend due to the lab’s rigorous testing, or the fear in her fiancé’s eyes when he saw her after her mutation. And Sydel isn’t the only one suffering. Every few weeks, more victims populate the lab thanks to Janelle’s contribution.
This subplot can go. A query need only focus on the main conflict.
Deep down, Janelle knows that the woman she was might be worse than the scientists she loathes. But she has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.
Okay, but why bring in at the end the tidbit that she might be worse? She seems like a regular scientist and somewhat moral person, as you have painted her up to now. What do you mean by worse? What effect does this have on her actions? If you mean she might be bad for even being part of this experiment, I say play up her conflict a bit more. Wondering now about all the disgust over killing, but no allusion till now about turning people into animals...This is all ripe for inclusion in your query!

And, what do you mean by "fight for her humanity"? Forge a dual consciousness? Seek reversal? Find a decent pet owner to take care of her? This crux of the query/ story needs to be clarified, I think.

It does seem like an intriguing story. Good luck!

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by aswiebe » June 16th, 2010, 11:08 pm

lexcade wrote:with new paragraph (like i said, lots of free time)


When the Department of Defense told geneticist Janelle Gray to modify its genetic cross-mutation experiment Makes me want to know what it was *before* she modified it--what they were experimenting on, what she was supposed to modify--the next paragraph does not quite satisfy. I'd reword to something simpler like "Janelle Gray never expected the Department of Defense's genetic cross-mutation experiment to work, but it did--on her.", she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.

A panther-human hybrid, she’s the Humani Project’s crowning achievement, but Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that she perfected the process used to combine human and animal DNAs. Excellent. The panther DNA spliced to hers is imprinting on her genetic code and on her brain, filling in the empty spaces her memories once occupied. She doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her, feeling alive for the first time. I'd strike the part in red, kind of contradicts her "hardly remembering" and adds unnecessary wordcount.

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. After her first kill during a physical exam Sounds like she was examining someone and then just killed them!, disgust overwhelms her animal instinct, pitting human against panther for control of her mind. To avoid losing her humanity, Janelle must hunt for her past. The answers are locked somewhere in the lab with three scientists she thinks she knows. She’s convinced that they hold a part of her story. She wants it back, but they’re not talking. Last three sentences confusing!

Janelle’s only real friend is the first successful Humani, Sydel, a leopard-human hybrid. Janelle is Sydel’s first companion in nearly a decade, and though she remembers everything about her life, she can’t share the most painful parts—the torture she suffered during and after the process, the loss of her best friend due to the lab’s rigorous testing, or the fear in her fiancé’s eyes when he saw her after her mutation. Is Sydel also a POV character? If not, some of this doesn't belong here. And why can't she? Also, yes, confusion over who the "she" is.And Sydel isn’t the only one suffering. Every few weeks, more victims populate the lab thanks to Janelle’s contribution.

Deep down, Janelle knows that the woman she was might be worse than the scientists she loathes. But she has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.
I'm left kind of confused as to how this works. It sounds as if the panther makes her forget her human side--which seems like it would include most of the motivation for that last paragraph. I mean, her human side would be what was interested in this stuff, but if she's that in touch with it, then it wouldn't be the enemy....

Still, sounds like you've got some interesting characters and strong passions here, which is definitely something you've got going for it.

lexcade
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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by lexcade » June 20th, 2010, 8:43 pm

thanks, everyone, for the input. here's the latest attempt.



When the Department of Defense told geneticist Janelle Gray to fix its controversial cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.

A panther-human hybrid, she’s the Humani Project’s crowning achievement—the first success that retained the ability to speak human language. But Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that she perfected the process. She doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her.

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. Thrust into the brutality of the lab’s physical exams, she has to kill repeatedly to survive, including killing her own food; her horror overwhelms her more with each death, eventually leading to a battle between human and the panther for control of her mind. To reconcile her halves, Janelle must hunt for her past and reaffirm her humanity. Perhaps learning about the person she was can help her understand the creature she is.

As the process changes more victims, Janelle realizes that there’s a pattern—the subjects aren’t chosen randomly. Instead, they seem to be involved somehow with the lab or with the scientists in control of the program, forcing her to wonder if she fits with that pattern or if she’s an exception.

She has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.
Last edited by lexcade on July 12th, 2010, 4:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
"Art imitates nature as well as it can, as a pupil follows his master; thus it is sort of a grandchild of God." ~~Dante

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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by clara_w » June 21st, 2010, 10:24 am

When the Department of Defense told geneticist Janelle Gray to fix its controversial cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.

A panther-human hybrid, she’s the Humani Project’s crowning achievement—the first success that retained the ability to speak human language. But Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that she perfected the process. She doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her.

However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. Thrust into the brutality of the lab’s physical exams, she has to kill repeatedly to survive, including killing her own food; her horror overwhelms her more with each death, eventually leading to a battle between human and the panther for control of her mind. To reconcile her halves, Janelle must hunt for her past and reaffirm her humanity. Perhaps learning about the person she was can help her understand the creature she is. AWESOME! Although I have to say this reminds me of Dark Angel a lot.

As the process changes more victims, Changes? Like, more people become half beasts?Janelle realizes that there’s a pattern—the subjects aren’t chosen randomly. Instead, they seem to be involved somehow with the lab or with the scientists in control of the program, forcing her to wonder if she fits with that pattern or if she’s an exception.

She has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever

LOVED the duality here, if I were an agent, I´d definetly want to read pages! =)

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Quill
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Re: dirge of the desert - new attempt, new slant

Post by Quill » June 21st, 2010, 10:56 am

lexcade wrote:thanks, everyone, for the input. here's the latest attempt.

When the Department of Defense told geneticist Janelle Gray to fix its controversial cross-mutation experiment, she never expected her technology to work, but it did—on her.
1. I'd stick with present tense, even though this is basically backstory.

"...tells geneticist...expects her technology...but it does..."

2. It is awkward to read "When (they) tell (her) she never expects." She never expects when they tell her.

This would make more sense if reworded to say what she does expect (for it to fail), which would be more positively linked to time (when).
A panther-human hybrid, she’s the Humani Project’s crowning achievement—the first success that retained the ability to speak human language.
This might be more dramatic reworded, "Now she’s the Humani Project’s crowning achievement, A panther-human hybrid, and the first to retain the ability to speak human language." Or something to that effect.
But Janelle barely remembers being human, let alone that she perfected the process. She doesn’t care. She thrives on the power, ferocity, and grace the DNA grants her.
Good, but I wonder if "grants" is the best word. DNA grants ferocity doesn't quite make sense to me. I think of granting as something a sentient being does consciously.
However, Janelle’s love affair with her wild side doesn’t last. Thrust into the brutality of the lab’s physical exams, she has to kill repeatedly to survive, including killing her own food;
Wouldn't these be more behavioral exams, or tests? I can't picture a physical examination that would entail killing.
her horror overwhelms her more with each death, eventually leading to a battle between human and the panther for control of her mind.
This is good. You've developed this to where now it is fairly visceral and clear.
To reconcile her halves, Janelle must hunt for her past and reaffirm her humanity. Perhaps learning about the person she was can help her understand the creature she is.
This is still a little weak, specifically "hunt for her past" and "reaffirm her humanity", which don't give us much info. Same with "learning about the person she was". We could use something that pops here. What does she think she needs, specifically? What is her problem and how does she think she will solve it, specifically?
As the process changes more victims, Janelle realizes that there’s a pattern—the subjects aren’t chosen randomly. Instead, they seem to be involved somehow with the lab or with the scientists in control of the program, forcing her to wonder if she fits with that pattern or if she’s an exception.
This is a bit cerebral for someone in a panther skin. Can this be made more visceral, like the killing scene?
She has to choose: fight for her humanity and learn the truth about her involvement, or succumb to the panther and lose herself forever.
Not sure exactly what this choice really entails. Sounds like in both cases she's fated to be a panther in a cage. Can this be made clearer. "Learn the truth" and "lose herself forever" are kind of vague.

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