Query for The During Time, a work of women's fiction

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Hilary
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Query for The During Time, a work of women's fiction

Post by Hilary » September 6th, 2010, 2:24 pm

Scroll down for the first revision. Thank you!

Oh, these queries. Aren't they fun. Any suggestions for improving this one would be greatly appreciated. Does it make sense? Does it not? Should I scrap it and start over?

Thank you in advance for your help!

******

Immortality is cruel. For Reichl, it means surviving the death of every woman he loves – an endless cycle of heartbreak and grief. When he loses Jessica, Reichl’s stoicism fades and he becomes desperate to find her again in an alternate reality. He’s traveled the portal system for centuries, searching telepathically for the woman he’s lost. His longing for Jessica leads him instead to Emily, Jessica’s enigmatic alter ego. She’s living in a darker, more sinister world than the one he knew. When Reichl falls in love with Emily, he’s ready to break all the rules and make her immortal. But his dreams come to an abrupt end when Emily goes missing on the night of her parents’ funeral.

She’s been sold by her government. Along with her assigned companions, she’ll serve as prey in an immense abandoned city on foreign soil.

For Emily, conscription means more than giving her life as payment on the nation’s debt. It means friendship and tenderness and camaraderie. All the things she’s been missing. But the relentless hunt takes its toll. Tension builds within the small group, culminating in a night of violent betrayal that leaves Emily alone and wounded in the broken city.

Now there’s only one way out. The portal is coming. If Reichl can’t find her in time to meet it, the city will become Emily’s tomb.

The During Time is a work of women’s fiction. It is complete at 75,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.
Last edited by Hilary on September 6th, 2010, 4:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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oldhousejunkie
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Re: Query for The During Time, a work of women's fiction

Post by oldhousejunkie » September 6th, 2010, 2:47 pm

Hmmm....

First, this doesn't strike me as a work of women's fiction simply because the main protag is a man. I even googled the definition of "women's fiction" and it seemed to me that the protag is usually a woman. This seems more like a fantasy or maybe....paranormal because of the while telepathic thing. If you're sure that it is women's fiction, then I would try to write the query from Emily's POV lest the agent be confused. You do need to stick with one POV though...I know--it's so hard!

Second, in general, I had a hard time following this query. Who is Reichl? Why is he immortal? Is there anyway to drop the Jessica reference and just stick to Reichl finding Emily? I think that sticking to one POV will help immeasurably with conveying the plot.

Third, in the last full paragraph, I was further confused by Emily's experience. It conveyed to me that Emily is kidnapped (generally a bad thing) but she enjoys the camaraderie (of who?). And who is she/they running from?

I think you do a good job of conveying voice, I just need a better grasp on the plot.

Best of luck!

Hilary
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First revision for The During Time

Post by Hilary » September 6th, 2010, 4:52 pm

Thank you, Junkie!

Okay, I'm going to keep working on this. The genre is definitely a puzzle. I might try calling it science fiction. Here's another attempt to clarify the plot:

*******

Immortality is cruel. For Reichl, it means surviving the death of every woman he loves – an endless cycle of heartbreak and grief. He’s traveled a fractured system of portals from one parallel universe to the next with stoic acceptance. When he falls in love with Emily, his innate discipline fails him. He’s ready to break all the rules of his society and make her immortal. But his dreams come to an abrupt end when Emily goes missing on the night of her parents’ funeral.

She’s been collected and sold by a clandestine wing of her government. Along with her assigned companions, she’ll serve as prey in an immense abandoned city on foreign soil.

For Emily, conscription means more than giving her life as payment on the nation’s debt. It means friendship, tenderness and camaraderie with her fellow prey. But eventually the relentless hunt takes its toll. Tension builds within the small group, culminating in a night of violent betrayal that leaves Emily alone and wounded in the broken city.

Now there’s only one way out. The portal is coming. If Reichl can’t find her in time to meet it, the city will become Emily’s tomb.

The During Time is a work of science fiction. It is complete at 73,000 words.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

thewhipslip
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Re: Query for The During Time, a work of women's fiction

Post by thewhipslip » September 6th, 2010, 6:35 pm

Hi Hilary -

It sounds like you've got a really cool plot, but it's getting lost in the madness that is trying to summarize that plot in a query letter. Here's what we need to know:

1) Main character. I can't tell if this is Reichl or Emily. If it's both, choose one and focus on that person. QueryShark calls it "character soup" when you try to give us more than one main character.
2) Who is that main character? i.e. what's their life like when the novel opens: Reichl is an immortal, heartbroken over the continued loss of his paramours.
3) What's the catalyst? i.e. what happens that sets your plot in motion? It sounds like it's Emily's kidnap, so go with that, but explain WHY she's kidnapped.
4) End with what's at stake, what Reichl needs to do to save her, what stands in his way, and what final choice(s) he has to make and what he stands to lose if he doesn't make the right one(s).

That's the core of a query: character, brief description, catalyst, the stakes. The agent does not need an rundown of the entire plot, and/or every bit of back-story and plot twist. All they need is enough to make them want to read the pages.

I hope this helps! I'll check back for your other revisions. Keep on truckin'...
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

Hilary
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Re: Query for The During Time, a work of women's fiction

Post by Hilary » September 6th, 2010, 10:04 pm

Thank you Elena! I really appreciate your help. It's back to the drawing board for me!

EllieAnn
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Re: Query for The During Time, a work of women's fiction

Post by EllieAnn » September 15th, 2010, 3:01 pm

Wow. I'm instantly mesmerized by your story. And honestly, I don't think it needs much more work. It sounds like an amazing book! So exciting!
Just a few notes:
-I'd agree that you should stick to one character's POV. If Reich is the main protag, then always paint Emily as the love interest-the side character instead of giving her the spot light in the third paragraph.
-I follows the plot effortlessly, you did a good job with it (left me wanting more details which is good!) The only part I think you should define and clarify is:
she’ll serve as prey in an immense abandoned city on foreign soil.
Does this mean that a monster is hunting her? Is she alien fodder? Is there any way that her and her comrades can defeat their predicament, or must they hide from it? Give us a sense of the antagonist! :-)

I love it. Good luck with your querying and I hope you get published one day.

JadePhoenix
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Re: Query for The During Time, a work of women's fiction

Post by JadePhoenix » September 15th, 2010, 3:18 pm

I think you could put a genre of romance/science fiction on it. Women's fiction, as I understand it anyway, is more of a "female empowerment" type fiction where the protag is a woman whose showing she's boss and can trump the men - this is where you get the snarky female detectives for example or the kickass female spy or something. This could definitely work as romance though I think. Anyway, I agree with what everyone else said and this is a really COOL sounding book! I also like that your query is really fast paced, like BamBamBam! Good job!

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