Vicesteed Query - Revised!

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aswiebe
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Vicesteed Query - Revised!

Post by aswiebe » June 15th, 2010, 1:30 pm

New Version:
Dear Agent:

Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, living in a re-creation of crime-ridden Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her. One of her scripted encounters goes wrong, leaving the other actor dying at her feet. During Valinda's clinic visit afterward, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augmented strength and speed she's been given, she breaks out and plunges forward into an unfamiliar Victorian world. She'll kick as much ass as necessary to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and why.

On Buckingham Planet, at the same moment that Valinda kills the other actor, the Prince Consort falls into a coma that leads to his death. The only living witness to Valinda's viceride-gone-wrong is Rosemary, a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to a rebel underground. She believes the violence that she saw was a simulation intended to make her more ladylike. Troubled, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

A late-night knock on the door summons Quincy to investigate the death of the Prince Consort. The mysterious nature of the Prince Consort's fatal illness can only mean a conspiracy at the highest levels, but to find it, Quincy will have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that society depends upon. The key to unlocking the mystery lies with these two very different women: Valinda and Rosemary.

Vicesteed is a steampunk science fiction murder mystery of about 135,000 words.

My short stories have been accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.



Old Version:
I appreciate any suggestions. Thanks!
---

Dear [Agent]:

Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.

Rosemary is a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to an anti-homechulus rebel underground. Troubled by what she experienced during sensorium treatments for her unfeminine inclinations, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

Quincy is hired to investigate the sudden, mysterious illness and eventual death of the Prince Consort. The answer lies with these two very different women. To find it, he'll have to rise to investigate a conspiracy at the highest levels, and he'll have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that the society depends upon.

Vicesteed is a steampunk, locked-room murder mystery.

I have had short stories accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Abra Staffin-Wiebe
[contact info]
Last edited by aswiebe on June 20th, 2010, 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by Krista G. » June 16th, 2010, 2:33 am

aswiebe wrote:Dear [Agent]:

Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. I expect the subordinate clause to explain what a vicesteed is, but I have no idea what "a theme park of depravity" is, or how or why "her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience." One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. This sentence seems too vague to be useful. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed. Again, these last three phrases - "where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed" - are too vague to add much. Any sentence that could apply to half of the books in the genre probably isn't a worthwhile sentence to include in a query.

Rosemary is a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to an anti-homechulus rebel underground. Troubled by what she experienced during sensorium treatments for her unfeminine inclinations, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy. And this paragraph has nothing to do with the one before it. It's interesting (more interesting than the previous paragraph, I think), but the disconnect between Valinda and Rosemary is jarring.

Quincy is hired to investigate the sudden, mysterious illness and eventual death of the Prince Consort. Wait, the prince is dead? When did this happen? The answer lies with these two very different women. To find it, he'll have to rise to investigate a conspiracy at the highest levels, and he'll have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that the society depends upon. This last sentence seems a little awkward to me, although I'm not sure why.

Vicesteed is a steampunk, locked-room murder mystery. Not sure what you mean by "locked-room," but maybe that's just because I don't read much in the genre...

I have had short stories accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Abra Staffin-Wiebe
[contact info]
It's an interesting idea, but I have a hard time picking out the main plot arc with what you've given us. I suspect Quincy's investigation of the Prince Consort's death is the main storyline, but it's the last plot element you mention. Seems like it might be better to lead with that (if the investigation is indeed the crux of the plot), and fill in the details about the women from Quincy's perspective, as the investigation unfolds.

Good luck with this. And have you read SOULLESS by Gail Carriger? The tone of this reminds me of that.
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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by theWallflower » June 16th, 2010, 10:57 am

Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.
-what is a vicesteed? what does he/she do?
-I think you need a more tangible event here. What is the inciting event that causes one of her experiences to go wrong? what are those experiences?
-There's not much voice to this query. Agents are interested in queries with a lot of voice and personality. This is static.
-how does she break out of the theme park?
-what augments does she have? what does she use?
-theme park makes me think of something like Westworld or a brothel type atmosphere, where people live out fantasies. Id use a different word, or explain what sort of place it is.
-what is discerning about the audience?
-"breaks out and flees" is redundant
-who is she going to "fight" to find out who she is? Is this a boxing match? Say what tangible thing she's going to do? What's the first step for her?
Rosemary is a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to an anti-homechulus rebel underground. Troubled by what she experienced during sensorium treatments for her unfeminine inclinations, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.
-I dont think "unfeminine" is a word
-what is a anti-homechulus? Do you mean homunculus?
-that first sentence is too long.
-you use unfeminine twice
-subject-verb agreement in the second sentence
-who is that rebel leader? is he not important enough to be named?
-what did she experience during "sensorium treatments"?
-This sounds like a totally different novel. How does it tie in to what I read above?
Quincy is hired to investigate the sudden, mysterious illness and eventual death of the Prince Consort. The answer lies with these two very different women. To find it, he'll have to rise to investigate a conspiracy at the highest levels, and he'll have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that the society depends upon.
-these two women refer to Valinda and Rosemary? Im not 100% clear on that.
-who is the main character in this novel? Who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist?
-the homechuli definition needs to be placed higher
Vicesteed is a steampunk, locked-room murder mystery.
-murder mystery? who died?
-i have doubts about you being able to make a novel out of a locked-room mystery. They are usually relegated to short stories.

OVERALL:
I dont get a sense about what the plot is about, just the premises. This what I might read on the back of the book. What I read on the back of the book is not the same as what should go in the query. The query needs to state who the protagonist is, what problem he/she faces, and what he/she is going to do about it. You have too many vagaries. Give us some tangible events. And slip in some details about the world -- props, vehicles, etc. that make it steampunk, because that's not apparent from the query.
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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by J. T. SHEA » June 16th, 2010, 7:05 pm

Sounds like the Joss Whedon TV series DOLLHOUSE, not to mention SOULLESS and WESTWORLD and THE MATRIX and Ian Beck's novel PASTWORLD, not that anyone has a patent on the basic idea.

Like other commenters, I have a few questions:-
Are the discerning audience depraved? In what way?
What do the words 'vicesteed' and 'augments' and 'sensorium' mean? I can venture a guess in each case but I (and a prospective agent) could get it very wrong.

Again like other commenters, I'd like more specifics of action. The three character thumbnail paragraphs intrigue but lack focus. Who and what is at the core of the story? What is the spine or main thrust of the plot? How do the three characters relate to each other?

Perhaps you could incorporate some of the paragraph on your website describing VICESTEED:-
'Vicesteed is a neo-Victorian steampunk science fiction novel that is equal proportions locked-room murder mystery, exploration of how society forms identity, and high-octane quest for vengeance. The style it is written in can be compared in parts to Stephenson's Diamond Age. Think of it as the bastard love-child of Bladerunner and Sense & Sensibility.'

Another approach would be to describe VICESTEED informally, as if to someone who asked what it was about, and work from that description. This sounds like a novel worthy of a better query.

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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by aswiebe » June 16th, 2010, 10:47 pm

Krista G. wrote:
It's an interesting idea, but I have a hard time picking out the main plot arc with what you've given us. I suspect Quincy's investigation of the Prince Consort's death is the main storyline, but it's the last plot element you mention. Seems like it might be better to lead with that (if the investigation is indeed the crux of the plot), and fill in the details about the women from Quincy's perspective, as the investigation unfolds.

Good luck with this. And have you read SOULLESS by Gail Carriger? The tone of this reminds me of that.
Krista,

Thanks! Yeah, I do need some more showing of the connections between the characters and the mystery. It's kinda tough--the story's told in three equal separate storylines that only really come together at the end.

Haven't read Soulless--but it's on my to-read list!

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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by aswiebe » June 16th, 2010, 10:50 pm

theWallflower wrote:
Valinda only remembers life as a vicesteed, living in a theme park of depravity where her experiences are broadcast to a discerning audience. One of her scripted experiences goes wrong, leaving the other vicesteed severely injured. During the routine clinic visit afterwards, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augments she's been given to survive being a vicesteed, she breaks out and flees. She finds herself in an unfamiliar Victorian world where she must fight to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and what she really did in her role as a vicesteed.
-what is a vicesteed? what does he/she do?
-I think you need a more tangible event here. What is the inciting event that causes one of her experiences to go wrong? what are those experiences?
-There's not much voice to this query. Agents are interested in queries with a lot of voice and personality. This is static.
-how does she break out of the theme park?
-what augments does she have? what does she use?
-theme park makes me think of something like Westworld or a brothel type atmosphere, where people live out fantasies. Id use a different word, or explain what sort of place it is.
-what is discerning about the audience?
-"breaks out and flees" is redundant
-who is she going to "fight" to find out who she is? Is this a boxing match? Say what tangible thing she's going to do? What's the first step for her?
Rosemary is a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to an anti-homechulus rebel underground. Troubled by what she experienced during sensorium treatments for her unfeminine inclinations, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.
-I dont think "unfeminine" is a word
-what is a anti-homechulus? Do you mean homunculus?
-that first sentence is too long.
-you use unfeminine twice
-subject-verb agreement in the second sentence
-who is that rebel leader? is he not important enough to be named?
-what did she experience during "sensorium treatments"?
-This sounds like a totally different novel. How does it tie in to what I read above?
Quincy is hired to investigate the sudden, mysterious illness and eventual death of the Prince Consort. The answer lies with these two very different women. To find it, he'll have to rise to investigate a conspiracy at the highest levels, and he'll have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that the society depends upon.
-these two women refer to Valinda and Rosemary? Im not 100% clear on that.
-who is the main character in this novel? Who is the protagonist and who is the antagonist?
-the homechuli definition needs to be placed higher
Vicesteed is a steampunk, locked-room murder mystery.
-murder mystery? who died?
-i have doubts about you being able to make a novel out of a locked-room mystery. They are usually relegated to short stories.

OVERALL:
I dont get a sense about what the plot is about, just the premises. This what I might read on the back of the book. What I read on the back of the book is not the same as what should go in the query. The query needs to state who the protagonist is, what problem he/she faces, and what he/she is going to do about it. You have too many vagaries. Give us some tangible events. And slip in some details about the world -- props, vehicles, etc. that make it steampunk, because that's not apparent from the query.
Wallflower,

Thanks for your detailed comments! Unfortunately, I think if I expanded everything in the query you had questions about, it would end up being the summary! But I appreciate your pointing out some places where the connections are less than clear and others where I need to be more specific--or perhaps choose slightly different words.

Thanks!

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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by aswiebe » June 16th, 2010, 10:56 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote:Sounds like the Joss Whedon TV series DOLLHOUSE, not to mention SOULLESS and WESTWORLD and THE MATRIX and Ian Beck's novel PASTWORLD, not that anyone has a patent on the basic idea.

Like other commenters, I have a few questions:-
Are the discerning audience depraved? In what way?
What do the words 'vicesteed' and 'augments' and 'sensorium' mean? I can venture a guess in each case but I (and a prospective agent) could get it very wrong.

Again like other commenters, I'd like more specifics of action. The three character thumbnail paragraphs intrigue but lack focus. Who and what is at the core of the story? What is the spine or main thrust of the plot? How do the three characters relate to each other?

Perhaps you could incorporate some of the paragraph on your website describing VICESTEED:-
'Vicesteed is a neo-Victorian steampunk science fiction novel that is equal proportions locked-room murder mystery, exploration of how society forms identity, and high-octane quest for vengeance. The style it is written in can be compared in parts to Stephenson's Diamond Age. Think of it as the bastard love-child of Bladerunner and Sense & Sensibility.'

Another approach would be to describe VICESTEED informally, as if to someone who asked what it was about, and work from that description. This sounds like a novel worthy of a better query.
J.T.

Thanks for your comments! Yeah, I do need some more showing of the links between the three main characters and the mystery.

Unfortunately, when I try to describe Vicesteed to somebody who asks what it's about, I am reduced to gibbering. (I'm working on it.) And I was afraid that the bit on the website sounds a little too--overhyped? Not professional enough?

And thanks for pointing out areas where I need better word choices!

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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by Emily J » June 17th, 2010, 11:17 am

Alright, I'm going to be blunt here. I can't understand your query (which is a bad sign since I am an avid reader of Sci-Fi/fantasy and a steam punk afficionado, probably your target audience here). You really need to explain the inner workings of this world more. Starting with what a vicesteed is. I understand that it might be difficult to boil it down but that's why queries are hard to write. Right now the query is baffling rather than enticing.

Also, are you making reference to humunculi? Just wondering about the spelling there. Because aside from references in Full Metal Alchemist humunculi were a real theory in philosophy.

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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by fivecats » June 17th, 2010, 12:06 pm

J. T. SHEA wrote: Unfortunately, when I try to describe Vicesteed to somebody who asks what it's about, I am reduced to gibbering.
For me, your confusion comes through in your query. Reading it, I don't have a clear sense of anything that happens in the story nor feel any reason to care about any of the characters.

Boiling our writing down to a single sentence, then expanding it to two or three sentences is very hard. The purpose of this, though, is to show others that we really do know what we're writing about. You need to strip away all of the extras and get to the core of what is happening to your character. Rachelle Gardner had a One Sentence Summary contest over at her blog (http://cba-ramblings.blogspot.com/2010/ ... mmary.html) that included Randy Ingermanson's example of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone: "A boy wizard begins training and must battle for his life with the Dark Lord who murdered his parents." From this, Rachelle breaks down exactly why this sentence works, letting us see how we can use the same formula for our writings.

You clearly have a lot invested in the world of the Vicesteed. Your job now, though, is to step back from that world and view it with greater objectivity so you can explain the book in terms of what your main character wants and the conflicts that stand in her way.
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Re: Vicesteed Query

Post by aswiebe » June 17th, 2010, 12:20 pm

Emily J wrote:Alright, I'm going to be blunt here. I can't understand your query (which is a bad sign since I am an avid reader of Sci-Fi/fantasy and a steam punk afficionado, probably your target audience here). You really need to explain the inner workings of this world more. Starting with what a vicesteed is. I understand that it might be difficult to boil it down but that's why queries are hard to write. Right now the query is baffling rather than enticing.

Also, are you making reference to humunculi? Just wondering about the spelling there. Because aside from references in Full Metal Alchemist humunculi were a real theory in philosophy.
Thanks for your comments.

More connective tissue needed--got it!

And yes, homechuli are like homunculi, except they're based in a mechanical process.

Hopefully you'll find the next revision more appealing....stay tuned.

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Re: Vicesteed Query - Revised!

Post by aswiebe » June 20th, 2010, 11:25 pm

Dear Agent:

Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, living in a re-creation of crime-ridden Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her. One of her scripted encounters goes wrong, leaving the other actor dying at her feet. During Valinda's clinic visit afterward, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augmented strength and speed she's been given, she breaks out and plunges forward into an unfamiliar Victorian world. She'll kick as much ass as necessary to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and why.

On Buckingham Planet, at the same moment that Valinda kills the other actor, the Prince Consort falls into a coma that leads to his death. The only living witness to Valinda's viceride-gone-wrong is Rosemary, a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to a rebel underground. She believes the violence that she saw was a simulation intended to make her more ladylike. Troubled, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

A late-night knock on the door summons Quincy to investigate the death of the Prince Consort. The mysterious nature of the Prince Consort's fatal illness can only mean a conspiracy at the highest levels, but to find it, Quincy will have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that society depends upon. The key to unlocking the mystery lies with these two very different women: Valinda and Rosemary.

Vicesteed is a steampunk science fiction murder mystery of about 135,000 words.

My short stories have been accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Re: Vicesteed Query - Revised!

Post by notw » June 21st, 2010, 12:49 am

aswiebe wrote:Dear Agent:

Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, living in a re-creation of crime-ridden Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her. I know others mentioned this but maybe providing a little detail on what a vicesteed might help. I also think it will make the next sentence clearer.One of her scripted encounters goes wrong, leaving the other actor dying at her feet. During Valinda's clinic visit afterward, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Did she get hurt in her encounter? I wasn't positive but then again could just be me :)Using the augmented strength and speed she's been given, she breaks out and plunges forward into an unfamiliar Victorian world. She'll kick as much ass as necessary to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and why.

On Buckingham Planet, at the same moment that Valinda kills the other actor, the Prince Consort falls into a coma that leads to his death. The only living witness to Valinda's viceride-gone-wrong is Rosemary, a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to a rebel underground A little confused with how Rosemary saw Valinda's incident. Maybe talk about that to help connect the dots?. She believes the violence that she saw was a simulation intended to make her more ladylike. Troubled, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

A late-night knock on the door summons Quincy to investigate the death of the Prince Consort. The mysterious nature of the Prince Consort's fatal illness can only mean a conspiracy at the highest levels, but to find it, Quincy will have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that society depends upon. The key to unlocking the mystery lies with these two very different women: Valinda and Rosemary.

Vicesteed is a steampunk science fiction murder mystery of about 135,000 words.

My short stories have been accepted at publications including Jim Baen's Universe, Art Times, Allegory, and Strange, Weird, and Wonderful Magazine. I also maintain Aswiebe's Market List, a resource for science fiction, fantasy, and horror writers.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
While I am not an expert at query letters, I think you have an interesting story. I myself am finding querying hard as well. One thing I notice is you mention 3 different people. Maybe focus and name two of characters so it is easier to keep track? Just a thought :) Good luck!!

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Re: Vicesteed Query - Revised!

Post by clara_w » June 21st, 2010, 1:43 am

Valinda's only memories are of life as a vicesteed, living in a re-creation of crime-ridden Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her. Holly crap! Although interesting I find it a tad confusing. Maybe you could say "She lives in a re-creation of Old Earth..."One of her scripted encounters goes wrong, leaving the other actor dying at her feet. During Valinda's clinic visit afterward, she overhears a plan to wipe out her memory--again. Using the augmented strength and speed she's been given, she breaks out and plunges forward into an unfamiliar Victorian world. Kick ass! She'll kick as much ass as necessary to find out who she was, who took away her memories, and why.

On Buckingham Planet, at the same moment that Valinda kills the other actor, the Prince Consort falls into a coma that leads to his death. The only living witness to Valinda's viceride-gone-wrong is Rosemary, a gently bred young lady with an unfeminine inclination to build clockwork automata and dangerous ties to a rebel underground. She believes the violence that she saw was a simulation intended to make her more ladylike. Troubled, she seems to be easy prey for a charismatic rebel leader who plans an explosion to weaken the monarchy.

A late-night knock on the door summons Quincy to investigate the death of the Prince Consort. The mysterious nature of the Prince Consort's fatal illness can only mean a conspiracy at the highest levels, but to find it, Quincy will have to sink deep into a dark underbelly where the poor are put in workhouses to fuel homechuli, the artificial intelligences that society depends upon. The key to unlocking the mystery lies with these two very different women: Valinda and Rosemary.

Ok, so, a lot coing on, can be a tad confusing. I had to read it twice to get it, but I found it very, very interesting, solid concept and premise here. =)

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Re: Vicesteed Query - Revised!

Post by aswiebe » June 21st, 2010, 10:40 am

Hmm. A vicesteed is somebody who lives in a re-creation of crime-ridden Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her. I did intend the second clause as a definition.

Do I need to reword to something like "a vicesteed, an 'actor' living in a re-creation of crime-ridden Old Earth while her experiences are broadcast to an audience unknown to her." Would that be clearer without being too heavy-handed? (And should I leave in the quotes around actor?)

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Re: Vicesteed Query - Revised!

Post by Meredith » June 21st, 2010, 11:58 am

From the name 'vicesteed', I'm imagining that her experiences are broadcast to a single person at a time. Like a rider, along for experiences they wouldn't care for or wouldn't dare in real life. If that's true, you might want to emphasize it and if not, clarify.

Since you have a scripted performance, I don't think you need to say actor. If you do, I wouldn't put quotes around it.
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