The End Begins: A Science Fiction Novel [Sixth Draft]

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jzweig
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The End Begins: A Science Fiction Novel [Sixth Draft]

Post by jzweig » September 26th, 2010, 11:35 pm

Hello All! In light of a new query I have written for my WIP, I'd like to share and get some feedback.

The End Begins follows Rai coping as the only sorceress among a dystopian population on the verge of civil war. As she searches for her father for keys to her past, she offers herself as a mercenary to a friendly military nations to learn about the world at large.

For her latest assignment she must protect the Source of Sentient Free Will from C.U.T. the invading enemy force who splinters the United States government and takes down anyone in their path.

Against an army, aided by pockets of residential resistance, Rai must navigate dangerous territory while racing against C.U.T. to stop them from seizing control of the broken country.

The End Begins is a 106,000 word science fantasy story, with sample chapters available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.
Last edited by jzweig on November 3rd, 2010, 6:18 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by stephmcgee » September 26th, 2010, 11:51 pm

The End BeginsTHE END BEGINS follows Rai, coping as the only sorceressI'm not clear on the definitions of science fiction and dystopian, but I'm not sure that sorcery goes into them well. I'm not saying it can't be done, but it seems like you might need to stick with one genre: fantasy, dystopian, or science fiction. Where in the bookstore would it be shelved? among a dystopian population on the verge of civil war. As she searches for her father and for keys to her past, she offers herself as a mercenary to a friendly military nationsThis idea confuses me. How is a military nation friendly? Do you mean an nation that is acting as an ally to one side of the civil war? to learn about the world at large. This last sentiment seems very nebulous and almost cliche. What is she setting out to learn beyond the whereabouts of her father and more about her past?

For her latest assignment she must protect the Source of Sentient Free Will from C.U.T. the invading enemy force who splinters the United States To this point, I had the idea in my head that you'd created a fictional dystopian nation, not that this was taking place in the USA. Is there a way you can make it clearer earlier on that this is the setting? government and takes down anyone in their path.

Against an army, aided by pockets of residential resistance, Rai must navigate dangerous territory while racing against C.U.T. to stop them from seizing control of the broken country.I thought they already had, if they managed to break down the existing government?

The End Begins is a 106,000 word science fantasy story, with sample chapters available upon request. "available on request" seems like stating the obvious. Why else would you be querying if the book weren't available?Thank you for your consideration.

Overall, I think that it's a very strong start. I can get a sense of where the conflict is, but I'm unclear on the stakes beyond someone taking control in what seems a very disorganized setting. The government has been broken apart and that leads me to believe that the country could actually use a leader. I realize you can't put everything into the query but if you can't show them what the stakes are if Rai fails at her goals, agents may begin to wonder if there's anything to the story. And I know I'm generalizing. Very good go at it!

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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by Mark17 » September 27th, 2010, 12:11 am

I like how your query is concise and to the point, you get a sense of who the main character is and what's going on, but honestly I want more. It's only 152 words. You could get away with 100-200 more words.

I'm interested in this world, what happened to make it like this? If this is America, what is it like? Dystopian is very broad term, tell us what has happened to America. If this is America, why is it worth saving? Why are they on the verge of civil war? What does C.U.T. stand for? What is going on in the world at large that she could learn about? I think you could fit some of these facts into your query without over extending it.

I ask those questions because they're interesting. If the answers are as interesting as I'm picturing in my head, this could really separate it from similar queries.

I haven't posted before, but I read these boards often. I hope this helped a little. Good luck.

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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by thewhipslip » September 27th, 2010, 2:44 pm

I agree with stephmcgee that you get a feeling for conflict in this, but you're lacking in specifics to really hook me.

The End Begins title in capitalsfollows Rai coping as the only sorceress what kind of sorceress? what can she do?among a dystopian population how is it dystopian?on the verge of civil war civil war over what?. As she searches for her father for keys to her past why?, she offers herself as a mercenary to a friendly military nations to learn about the world at large while she's searching for her father? your MC has too many goals already. give her some focus.

For her latest assignment she must protect the Source of Sentient Free Will whis is what...?from C.U.T. which is who...?the invading enemy force who splinters the United States government in what way?and takes down anyone in their path how do they do this?.

Against an army don't need the comma here, aided by pockets of residential resistance, Rai must navigate dangerous territory dangerous territory where...?while racing against C.U.T. to stop them from seizing control of the broken country and what country is that? America?.

The End Begins is a 106,000 word science fantasy story, with sample chapters available upon request. Thank you for your consideration.[/quote]


Hope this helps demonstrate where you need specifics instead of generalities. This is a good start.
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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by WilliamMJones » September 27th, 2010, 5:51 pm

I think this is a good start, but it could be a lot stronger. Right now it seems like its biggest weakness is vagueness. Why does she need to cope? Wouldn't being a sorceress be cool, especially if there wasn't anyone else to pose a threat? Why is she searching for her father? What happened to him? Does she not remember her past? What are the keys to her past? What is C.U.T.? What's the dangerous territory she must navigate? How is she going to stop them?

Hope these questions help in some way.

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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by jzweig » September 27th, 2010, 10:15 pm

I appreciate the feedback folks, but I have a question. I seem to get that people have a lot of questions about this or that that's going on in the query. Isn't a query suppose to pop questions in the agent/publisher's mind so that they want to request material?

I can see a lot of areas that are too vague in my query, I am addressing those issues. But I'm just asking as a general question.
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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by thewhipslip » September 27th, 2010, 10:18 pm

Agents want to know about the main character and what challenges they face. They do not want to be teased - they want to be intrigued. At the end of a query they should be thinking "how does it end?", now "what's it really about?" Hope that answers your question.
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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by jzweig » September 27th, 2010, 10:34 pm

thewhipslip wrote:Agents want to know about the main character and what challenges they face. They do not want to be teased - they want to be intrigued. At the end of a query they should be thinking "how does it end?", now "what's it really about?" Hope that answers your question.
It does. Thank you.
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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by jzweig » September 28th, 2010, 10:23 pm

Second Draft.

I made some drastic changes. I tried not to leave so many loose ends and be more specific. I know it's not perfect but something struck me to work it like this. I'm sure it'll get torn apart, but half the fun of writing is rewriting, right?


THE END BEGINS follows Rai, an Elemental sorceress on the run, trading her freedom for protection as a mercenary among private military companies. Their aim is to disrupt the efforts of the Coalition for United Territories, who’re responsible for pushing the country to the brink of civil war.

But the C.U.T. struggles for resources and manpower to continue the fight. Intelligence suggests they will head for the countries last stockade of supplies. Rai must navigate the jaded continent and reach the stockade to stave off the C.U.T.’s looming threat of conquest.

The journey challenges Rai's ethical code when she discovers the C.U.T.'s true motivations for the invasion. And in the end, she'll chose to become their savior, or their executioner.

THE END BEGINS is a 106,000 word science fantasy story. Thank you for your consideration.
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." - Mohammad Ali

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Re: The End Begins - A Science Fantasy Novel

Post by thewhipslip » September 29th, 2010, 9:40 am

I think you're still missing a lot of specifics (I'll point out where), and I'm not getting a real sense for Rai's character in this.

THE END BEGINS follows Rai, an Elemental sorceress on the run, trading her freedom for protection as a mercenary among private military companies. Their aim is to disrupt the efforts of the Coalition for United Territories, who’re responsible for pushing the country to the brink of civil war why and how are they doing this? what is their aim and why?.

But the C.U.T. struggles for resources and manpower to continue the fight. Intelligence Intelligence from where? Who's reporting it and who's listening to it? I feel disembodied - where's your main character's involvement?suggests they will head for the countries last stockade of supplies what are the supplies?. Rai must navigate the jaded continent and reach the stockade to stave off the C.U.T.’s looming threat of conquest Why is she the one to do it? Was she hired?.

The journey challenges Rai's ethical code when she discovers the C.U.T.'s true motivations for the invasion What's her ethical code and what are the true motivations for the invansion - that's going make the agent salivate. And in the end, she'll chose to become their savior, or their executioner Okay, but explain how.

THE END BEGINS is a 106,000 word science fantasy story. Thank you for your consideration.[/quote]
http://elenasolodow.blogspot.com/ - Submit your 250-500 word excerpt to be read out loud in a vlog post!

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Re: The End Begins: A Science Fiction Novel [Third Draft]

Post by jzweig » October 15th, 2010, 7:31 am

Hello again. Thank you to everyone for your feedback. I think after my second attempt I realized I need to go back to the drawing board with my query (I also had taken a look at my book and made some revisions as well in between my last post and this one.)

So I decided to switch who to center the query around (basing off the theory that each character has their own "Script" so their play-out of the adventure is different from the next person's) and try to highlight some different things. It's not a reworking of the old one, but a brand new query.

I look forward to your feedback.

James Kesumare lived an ordinary life until the extraordinary came to him. Torn away from a life like our own he finds himself inadvertently linked to the End of Days in an alternate world on the brink of a second ice age. The human race struggles to adopt. Some turn to super science to save them.

Sifting through jaded memories trying to discover what his life was before now, James becomes a baton as he’s passed off from religious cults to military nations. All are interested in the Gate Device; a form of technology that makes parallel world travel possible.

His adventure turns for the better when he is rescued by Rai, a genetically engineered sorceress, who volunteered for service with a private military company. She’s charged with the task of protecting an armory that holds the secret to the work of the Kesumare family.

As they adopt to their news lives on the run, their fates are in the hands of traitorous double agents and foreign invaders. In their journey James must decipher the nature of his father’s last work and know how it ties into the end of the world before it comes.

The End Begins is my first 90,000 word Science Fiction Novel. Thank you for your consideration.
"He who is not courageous enough to take risks will accomplish nothing in life." - Mohammad Ali

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Re: The End Begins: A Science Fiction Novel [Third Draft]

Post by Quill » October 15th, 2010, 10:10 am

jzweig wrote:Hello again. Thank you to everyone for your feedback. I think after my second attempt I realized I need to go back to the drawing board with my query (I also had taken a look at my book and made some revisions as well in between my last post and this one.)

So I decided to switch who to center the query around (basing off the theory that each character has their own "Script" so their play-out of the adventure is different from the next person's) and try to highlight some different things. It's not a reworking of the old one, but a brand new query.

I look forward to your feedback.

James Kesumare lived an ordinary life until the extraordinary came to him. Torn away from a life like our own he finds himself inadvertently linked to the End of Days in an alternate world on the brink of a second ice age. The human race struggles to adopt. Some turn to super science to save them.

Sifting through jaded memories trying to discover what his life was before now, James becomes a baton as he’s passed off from religious cults to military nations. All are interested in the Gate Device; a form of technology that makes parallel world travel possible.

His adventure turns for the better when he is rescued by Rai, a genetically engineered sorceress, who volunteered for service with a private military company. She’s charged with the task of protecting an armory that holds the secret to the work of the Kesumare family.

As they adopt to their news lives on the run, their fates are in the hands of traitorous double agents and foreign invaders. In their journey James must decipher the nature of his father’s last work and know how it ties into the end of the world before it comes.

The End Begins is my first 90,000 word Science Fiction Novel. Thank you for your consideration.
This sounds like a very interesting premise. The main problem I see with the query, though, is that the main character is very passive. Everything happens to him, and he does nothing. The extraordinary comes to him, he is torn, he finds himself linked, he becomes a baton and is passed, his adventure turns, he adapts (not adopts) to his new (not news) life, his fate is in others' hands. We need him to do things, not have things done to him. Positive actions.

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Re: The End Begins: A Science Fiction Novel [Third Draft]

Post by priya g. » October 21st, 2010, 3:45 pm

jzweig wrote:
James Kesumare lived an ordinary life until the extraordinary TOO VAGUE- IT KIND OF PUT ME OFF BECAUSE GENERALLY, EVERY STORY IS ABOUT HOW SOMETHING OUT OF THE BLUE HAPPENS. BE CONCISE FROM THE FIRST SENTENCEcame to him. Torn away from a life like our own he finds himself inadvertently linked to the End of Days in an alternate world on the brink of a second ice age. The human race struggles to adopt. Some turn to super science to save them.

Sifting through jaded memories trying to discover what his life was before now HOW ABOUT 'THEN' INSTEAD OF NOW?, James becomes a baton as he’s passed off from religious cults to military nations. All are interested in the Gate Device; a form of technology that makes parallel world travel possible.

His adventure turns for the better when he is rescued by Rai, a genetically engineered sorceress, who volunteered for service with a private military company. She’s charged with the task of protecting an armory that holds the secret to the work of the Kesumare family BY NOW I HAVE FORGOTTEN THAT JAMES' SURNAME IS KESUMARE- HOW ABOUT 'HIS' FAMILY?.

As they adopt to their news lives on the run, their fates are in the hands of traitorous double agents and foreign invaders THE CONFLICT DOESN'T COME OUT TOO STRONG. In their journey James must decipher the nature of his father’s last work and know how it ties into the end of the world before it comes.

The End Begins is my first 90,000 word Science Fiction Novel. Thank you for your consideration.
the query is precise, true, but the conflict of the last paragraph doesnt come out too strong. however, it is an improvement from the first draft.

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Re: The End Begins: A Science Fiction Novel [Third Draft]

Post by jzweig » October 26th, 2010, 11:21 pm

Thanks everyone again for your input. This character's POV is more passive and isn't suitable for a query.

So I return back to Rai, and now with some new details that have been integrated into the story, I give you Draft No. 4! Critique away!

Out of the closed community of the Magic Academy of the Nine, the newest evolution of Man proceeds. But Raiana Draco, one of their top students, discovered its plot to use students as a means to power a warring nations’ fleet. But before her punishment of being made into a battery is carried out, she escaped into a fractured United States.

Hunted by the academy and its ally, The Coalition of United Territories, in a world nearly devoid of magic, she must survive a science driven society by soliciting her services to a military union who wages a secret war against them. She quickly gains her commander’s trust and is assigned to a special team to protect the countries last stockpile of vital resources.

But not all is what it seems.

Rai and her company must traverse the hostile territory as they are pushed to their limits by fatigue, persecution, and misled by a traitorous foot soldier. But the wolf among their sheep discovers the true nature of the stockade. It's an emergency wormhole device designed to retrieve other agents of war from alternate worlds. The C.U.T. need their homegrown batteries to make it work. And she must scourge the various C.U.T. outposts to find the answers that will stop them.

The traitor leads to the companies escape and advance on their mission, but they must remain vigilant. They race against time and decaying moral unsure what awaits them at the end of their road: salvation or destruction.

THE END BEGINS is a Science Fiction story at 90,000 words. It is my first novel.
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Re: The End Begins: A Science Fiction Novel [Third Draft]

Post by Quill » October 27th, 2010, 12:52 am

jzweig wrote:
Out of the closed community of the Magic Academy of the Nine, the newest evolution of Man proceeds.
Is it an evolution that proceeds or a version? Can an evolution proceed out of a community? Seems that is like saying a process proceeds.
But Raiana Draco, one of their top students,
Wouldn't it be "one of its top students"

discovered its plot to use students as a means to power a warring nations’ fleet. But before her punishment of being made into a battery is carried out, she escaped into a fractured United States.
Doesn't sound like such a unusual thing, to be used as a means to power a fleet. The greeks and romans did it with their rowing galleys. We use students to power our fleets today, if you count the seamen serving on ships. Maybe be more specific on how they are doing this powering.
Hunted by the academy and its ally, The Coalition of United Territories,
I think you can safely omit "and its ally, The Coalition of United Territories," as being more detail than we need for this query.
in a world nearly devoid of magic, she must survive a science driven society by soliciting her services to a military union who wages a secret war against them.
Unclear immediately who "them" refers to (probably the academy and its ally) but that was long ago, before world devoid of magic and science-driven society, as well as military union.

I think you need to simply the description of the plot. It is too thick, too verbose.

She quickly gains her commander’s trust and is assigned to a special team to protect the countries last stockpile of vital resources.
This does not seem like vital info for the query. This description is beginning to sound like a synopsis, a mini-blow-by-blow of the whole book.
But not all is what it seems.

Rai and her company must traverse the hostile territory as they are pushed to their limits by fatigue, persecution, and misled by a traitorous foot soldier. But the wolf among their sheep discovers the true nature of the stockade. It's an emergency wormhole device designed to retrieve other agents of war from alternate worlds. The C.U.T. need their homegrown batteries to make it work. And she must scourge the various C.U.T. outposts to find the answers that will stop them.

The traitor leads to the companies escape and advance on their mission, but they must remain vigilant. They race against time and decaying moral unsure what awaits them at the end of their road: salvation or destruction.
Yep, it's reading like a synopsis rather than an teaser. To me at least. And there are far too many terms to wrap my poor brain around (emergency wormhole device, C.U.T. outposts, decaying moral), while I'm trying to decide whether or not to ask for the full meal (your manuscript).

Could you give it to me as a single grilled meaty bone, an appetizer, with a taste of the book's special marinade?

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