Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

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Anobile1
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Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by Anobile1 » October 5th, 2010, 7:08 pm

Second version is on page 2

Phew, it's stopped being hot where I live so the summer blues is wearing off. Time to get back into writing!

So, after spending a few hours reading Query Shark and other stuff about queries, I was once again inspired to work on my own query. This is the best version I've come up with so far, so I figured it was time to post it to get some feedback.

No word count because I'm still a ways from being done with the book. >_>

Thank you for stopping by! *bows low*

----------------------

Dear (insert wonderful agent of awesomeness),

Yora Garver is devastated when her parents are arrested and her three Artificial Living Organisms, her pets and best friends, are only hours away from being euthanized by the FBI. Her only chance to save them comes in the form of Laith, a friend of her parents' whom she doesn't know well enough to trust.

Stuck between trusting Laith and believing in her parents, Yora's last hopes are crushed when the FBI shows up and Laith has no choice but to rescue her and her three ALOs by force. But he only manages to save two.

Betrayed by her parents, dealing with the death of a loved one, and struggling to find something to latch onto in order to build a new life, Yora decides to trust Laith. According to him, false fears created by the military's desire for the perfect soldier have trapped ALOs in a form of mental slavery. When Laith invites her to join an organization that's trying to find a way to free them, she accepts.

It isn't long before the sight of humans and ALOs working together as equals causes her to devote her life to the organization's cause. But when her own ALOs are freed, she realizes that the hardest task won't be stealing court record or rescuing civilians from a tsunami. It will be earning her ALOs' forgiveness, and leaning to forgive herself.

FREE TO FORGIVE is a ________ word speculative science fantasy novel. It is my debut.

(Insert personalized bits here). Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Amorena Nobile

(address, e-mail, phone number, etc.)
Last edited by Anobile1 on October 12th, 2010, 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My Blog: http://amorenanobile.blogspot.com/ (Most recent post: Inspiration Patterns and an Old Friend)

ABFTomioka
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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by ABFTomioka » October 5th, 2010, 8:08 pm

Hello there! Wow - you have some really big ideas in this book. I'm intregued by the idea of a society where ALOs and people live together, but not equally. It's definitely interesting and has a lot of appeal. I do have a few suggestions for your query, though:

Yora Garver is devastated when her parents are arrested and her three Artificial Living Organisms, her pets and best friends, are only hours away from being euthanized by the FBI. Okay, I love the ideas you've set up here, but perhaps this is the place to give some background, since we don't yet know what ALOs are. I'd try something like this: Nora Garver's Artificial Living Organisms - insert brief description here; are they human-like? animals? robots? - aren't merely pets; they're her best friends. But when her parents are unexpectedly arrested, the FBI threatens to euthanize her ALOs in a matter of hours. Her only chance to save them comes in the form of Laith, a friend of her parents' whom she doesn't know well enough to trust.

Stuck between trusting Laith and believing in her parents, Yora's last hopes are crushed when the FBI shows up and Laith has no choice but to rescue her and her three ALOs by force. But he only manages to save two. I thought the FBI already took her ALOs...and you already mentioned not trusting Laith. in fact, it probably wouldn't hurt to delete this and move the key event (death of one ALO friend) into the next paragraph.

(Moving key point here....) Laith and Yora manage to escape the FBI, saving two of her beloved ALOs. But they fail to rescue one. Betrayed by her parents (how so? were they in league with the FBI somehow? Maybe a quick note about how they betrayed her, and how Yora finds out), dealing with the death of a loved one, and struggling to build a new life, Yora decides to trust Laith. According to him, the military's desire for the perfect soldier has trapped ALOs in a form of mental slavery. When Laith invites her to join an organization trying to free them, she accepts.

The sight of humans and ALOs working together as equals inspires Yora to devote her life to the cause. But when her own ALOs are freed, she realizes the hardest task won't be stealing court record or rescuing civilians from a tsunami (Why is stealing court records and rescuing civilians part of the organization's cause? They might do that, but in the query it's probably best to focus on what they do to free the ALOs, and the challenges they must overcome only for that task. What dangers do they face? Who is against them? Another line or two to increase the conflict might be nice here). It will be earning her ALOs' forgiveness, and learning to forgive herself. Ooooh, I love this ending! Leaves plenty of exciting questions to answer!

This looks like a fantastic book. Best of luck with the querying!

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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by elfspirit » October 5th, 2010, 8:32 pm

I agree fully with the comments above and I also think this sounds like a fantastic book. I'm very eager to see how you revise the query.

Anobile1
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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by Anobile1 » October 5th, 2010, 8:45 pm

Wow, thank you! You really gave me some good options for how to improve this thing, Tomioka. And thanks to both of you for saying it sounds like a fantastic book. I hope agents agree. ^^'
My Blog: http://amorenanobile.blogspot.com/ (Most recent post: Inspiration Patterns and an Old Friend)

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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by priya g. » October 6th, 2010, 8:47 am

Dear (insert wonderful agent of awesomeness),

Yora Garver is devastated when her parents are arrested and her three Artificial Living Organisms, her pets and best friends, are only hours away from being euthanized by the FBI GOOD BEGINNING BUT HOW ABOUT LIMITING IT EITHER TO HER PARENTS OF THE PET AND BEST FRIENDS? BEST YET, SPLIT THE SENTENCE INTO TWO. Her only chance to save them comes in the form of Laith, a friend of her parents' whom she doesn't know well enough to trust.

Stuck between trusting Laith and believing in her parents, Yora's last hopes are crushed when the FBI shows up and Laith has no choice but to rescue her and her three ALOs by force RAISES A LOT OF QUESTIONS: WHY ARE HER LAST HOPES CRUSHED WHEN HE DOES SAVE HER? AND WHY DOES HE SAVE HER? YOU CAN EXPLAIN IN ONE SENTENCE THAT, WELL MAYBE, TRUSTING HER PARENTS SHOULD BE HER NATURAL INSTINCT BUT SHE FEELS OTHERWISE. But he only manages to save two.

Betrayed by her parents, dealing with the death of a loved one, and struggling to find something to latch onto in order to build a new life, Yora decides to trust Laith. According to him, false fears created by the military's desire for the perfect soldier have trapped ALOs in a form of mental slavery I HAD TO READ THIS SENTENCE A FEW TIME TO UNDERSTAND IT- ITS A BIT CHUNKY. When Laith invites her to join an organization that's trying to find a way to free them, she accepts.

It isn't long before the sight of humans and ALOs working together as equals causes her to devote her life to the organization's cause MAYBE A BIT EXPLANATION ON WHERE THEY STOOD BEFORE AND WHY WOULD MAKE THIS SIMPLER. But when her own ALOs are freed, she realizes that the hardest task won't be stealing court record or rescuing civilians from a tsunami. It will be earning her ALOs' forgiveness, and leaning to forgive herself PERFECT ENDING SENTENCE.

FREE TO FORGIVE is a ________ word speculative science fantasy novel. It is my debut.

(Insert personalized bits here). Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Amorena Nobile

the hardest part of summing up a science fantasy novel is keeping it simple yet introducing the complexity of the characters as well. good attempt!
hope to see the revised version soon!

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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by androidblues » October 6th, 2010, 11:30 am

I'd like to see a bit more characterization. Let me know what the characters are like. You don't have to say much, just give me an adjective or two.
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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by Quill » October 6th, 2010, 11:42 am

Anobile1 wrote:Yora Garver is devastated when her parents are arrested and her three Artificial Living Organisms, her pets and best friends, are only hours away from being euthanized by the FBI.
Awkward construction:

1. Not clear if her ALOs are her pets and best friends or if in addition to ALOs her pets and friends are also hours away.

2. "Yora is devastated when her ALOs are hours away" doesn't quite make sense grammatically.

Also, the story is unclear by the sentence construction: her parents are arrested and her ALOs are also in custody?

Her only chance to save them comes in the form of Laith, a friend of her parents' whom she doesn't know well enough to trust.
"comes in the form of" is awkward. How about "Her only chance to save them is Laith..." or "is with Laith" or some such?

Also, it isn't clear whether she's trying to save her parents, the ALOs, or both.
Stuck between trusting Laith and believing in her parents,
About what? What do or did her parents say? Did she visit them in jail for them to say this? We might need more context here, or leave this part out.

Yora's last hopes are crushed when the FBI shows up and Laith has no choice but to rescue her and her three ALOs by force. But he only manages to save two.
Awkward construction: Yora's hopes are crushed when Laith has no choice.

Also, not immediately clear what "last hopes" refers to. To rescue her parents? How would rescuing her and the ALOs prevent this possibility? Saving the ALOs? Well, it seems she just did.
Betrayed by her parents, dealing with the death of a loved one, and struggling to find something to latch onto in order to build a new life, Yora decides to trust Laith.
Betrayed how? We need a bit more info here.

"to find something to latch onto in order to build" wanders. Can you streamline this idea?

Best not to use "trust" a third time in just a few sentences.

How about "Laith rescues" instead of "Laith has no choice but to rescue"?[/quote]
According to him, false fears created by the military's desire for the perfect soldier have trapped ALOs in a form of mental slavery.
Good idea but convoluted as written. You personify fears: "fears have trapped ALOs". You personify desire: "fears created by the desire." It might be better to say that the military has trapped the ALOs, using fear to create mental slavery.
When Laith invites her to join an organization that's trying to find a way to free them, she accepts.
Omit "When" "to find a way" and "she accepts".

Possibly rewrite to say "Laith brings her into..." or some such.
It isn't long before the sight of humans and ALOs working together as equals causes her to devote her life to the organization's cause.
Awkward: "It isn't long before the sight causes her to devote"

It is a weak beginning: "It isn't" has no real subject.

Personifying sight "sight causes her to devote"

Awkward: "causes her to devote to the cause"

Repeating "organization" from previous sentence. Can you find a synonym?
But when her own ALOs are freed,
From what? I thought they were saved: "Laith has no choice but to rescue her and her three ALOs"
she realizes that the hardest task won't be stealing court record
typo: records
or rescuing civilians from a tsunami. It will be earning her ALOs' forgiveness, and leaning to forgive herself.
typo: learning

This seems anticlimactic to the seeming seriousness of the parents arrest and betrayal, her trust issues and personal danger, and the ALO euthanasia threat, almost like we are switching to a middle grade novel.

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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by m.a.leslie » October 6th, 2010, 2:16 pm

Your story has my attention, it is extremely creative and interesting.

I have a few questions that I think might want to be answered in the query.

What are the ALO's like? I know that this was touched upon in previous posts but I am dying to know.

How did the parents betray her?

Why does she need the ALO's forgiveness? Do they blame her?

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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by glj » October 6th, 2010, 4:19 pm

My main problem with this query is that it doesn't "build" toward a conflict. It starts out that way, with her parents arrested and the ALOs siezed, and she must fight to free them, but then devolves into she joins an organization and they free the ALOs but the main point seems to be Yora's actions after they are freed. This reads as if the climax is Yora having to earn the forgiveness of the ALOs. Not much conflict there, and not much to make a reader want to read the book.

Stuck between trusting Laith and believing in her parents, Yora's last hopes are crushed when the FBI shows up and Laith has no choice but to rescue her and her three ALOs by force. But he only manages to save two. THIS sounds like your climax. There is no need in a query to discuss the aftermath of the climax. And no need to tell the reader how the action plays out. You have just destroyed any curiousity you may have generated in the reader's mind. Then rambled on about small details that, while they may add flavor to your denouement, do not need to be here.

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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by pavloviandoggy » October 6th, 2010, 4:48 pm

Anobile1 wrote:Phew, it's stopped being hot where I live so the summer blues is wearing off. Time to get back into writing!

So, after spending a few hours reading Query Shark and other stuff about queries, I was once again inspired to work on my own query. This is the best version I've come up with so far, so I figured it was time to post it to get some feedback.

No word count because I'm still a ways from being done with the book. >_>

Thank you for stopping by! *bows low*

----------------------

Dear (insert wonderful agent of awesomeness),

Yora Garver is devastated when her parents are arrested and her three Artificial Living Organisms, her pets and best friends, are only hours away from being euthanized by the FBI. Her only chance to save them comes in the form of Laith, a friend of her parents' whom she doesn't know well enough to trust.

Stuck between trusting Laith and believing in her parents, Yora's last hopes are crushed when the FBI shows up and Laith has no choice but to rescue her and her three ALOs by force. But he only manages to save two. Consider replacing "he" with Laith. It took me a second to figure out who "he" was.

Betrayed by her parents, dealing with the death of a loved one, and struggling to find something to latch onto in order to build a new life, Yora decides to trust Laith. According to him, false fears created by the military's desire for the perfect soldier have trapped ALOs in a form of mental slavery. This sentence feels a little too long. Consider cutting out "desire for the perfect soldier", and just have "false fears created by the military." When Laith invites her to join an organization that's trying to find a way to free them, she accepts.

It isn't long before the sight of humans and ALOs working together as equals causes her to devote her life to the organization's cause. But when her own ALOs are freed, she realizes that the hardest task won't be stealing court record or rescuing civilians from a tsunami. It will be earning her ALOs' forgiveness, and leaning to forgive herself.

FREE TO FORGIVE is a ________ word speculative science fantasy novel. It is my debut.

(Insert personalized bits here). Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Amorena Nobile

(address, e-mail, phone number, etc.)

Lora Palmer
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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by Lora Palmer » October 7th, 2010, 10:44 am

Sounds like a great story, Amorena! I hope to read it someday :).

You've gotten some very spot on feedback already. For me, the main thing I was left wondering after reading your query was what the heck the parents did to get arrested. Since you've alluded to the fact that it (whatever it is) is a huge betrayal, it's probably important to mention in your first sentence. If this also is connected to the issue of forgiveness in the title, having this specific detail at the outset will heighten the sense of conflict, I think.

I'm new to all this querying as well, but this is just my 2 cents. Looking forward to seeing how this query evolves!

-Lora

Anobile1
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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by Anobile1 » October 12th, 2010, 9:10 am

A big thanks to everyone for all the feedback! Quite a few of you seem to think it sounds like a good book too. *dances in circles of joy and relief*

Re-writing this thing took a lot longer than I'd expected. Luckily, I don't dislike writing queries. I actually enjoy it, though after spending so long on this draft, I'm not enjoying it quite as much >_> The query is much longer this time, but hopefully more clear. I'm hoping to gradually trim it down to an acceptable size.

Just a few things I'd like to mention before you wonderful people start tearing apart my hard work again ;):

-Describing ALOs is difficult in just a few words, since they can look like anything from a rabbit to a dragon to a six-legged wolf with three eyes and ten tails. I've gone with what makes them different from regular pets, other than their appearance.
- Yora's parents betray her in the sense of betraying her trust. I guess that was a lot less clear than I though, so I just took it out.
- glj's comment about the main conflict being unclear really made me rethink how I was going about writing this query, so I've gone with a different approach this time. I've taken the focus off of Yora running away to save her ALOs and instead focused on the ALOs being enslaved and Yora's desire to free them.

Also, I don't particular like my working title, but it's the least-awful one I've come up with. I know it's nearly impossible to come up with a title for a novel based on a query letter, but if you have some ideas, I definitely wouldn't mind them.

--------------------

Dear (insert wonderful agent of awesomeness),

Yora Garver's three best friends aren't human; they're Artificial Living Organisms: a race of intelligent, genetically engineered and fully customizable pets. But when her parents' sudden arrest puts her ALOs' lives in danger, she and her ALOs are forced to go into hiding with Laith, a close friend of her parents. But what she finds herself involved in just might get her ALOs killed anyway.

Yora is horrified to discover that Laith's calm, peace-loving, intellectual ALOs lack a Pet Intelligence Management chip. Without it, ALOs are said to become like wild animals. So when she discovers that Laith and her parents are part of an illegal organization trying to eradicate the PIM chip, she doesn't know what to think. Laith's ALOs prove one thing though: everything she knows about the PIM chip is a lie.

Starting to suspect that what Laith tells her is true—that the military is using ALOs as slaves—Yora joins the organization. There she finds a thriving society where ALOs and humans live together as equals, working to build a place where ALOs can live free. With her own ALOs freed of the PIM chip and their true personalities able to shine, she dedicates herself to the organization's cause. Problem is, she's treated her ALOs as pets her whole life, and if she can't change her habits fast enough, her ALOs may end up hating her forever.

To make matters worse, the organization is becoming too big to stay secret. But whether or not her ALOs remain her friends, she's willing to fight to the end to secure their freedom.

FREE TO FORGIVE is a ________ word speculative science fantasy novel. It is my debut.

(Insert personalized bits here). Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Amorena Nobile

(address, e-mail, phone number, etc.)
My Blog: http://amorenanobile.blogspot.com/ (Most recent post: Inspiration Patterns and an Old Friend)

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Re: Speculative Sci/Fan Query - FREE TO FORGIVE

Post by priya g. » October 12th, 2010, 9:56 am

Dear (insert wonderful agent of awesomeness),

Yora Garver's three best friends aren't human; they're Artificial Living Organisms: a race of intelligent, genetically engineered and fully customizable pets WONDERFUL BEGINNING. But when her parents' sudden arrest puts her ALOs' lives in danger AGAIN- WHY ARE THEY ARRESTED?, she and her ALOs are forced to go into hiding with Laith, a close friend of her parents. But what she finds herself involved in just might get her ALOs killed anyway DOES SHE CARE ABOUT HER LIFE OR NOT? IS AN IMPORTANT CHARACTER TRAIT SELFLESSNESS?.

Yora is horrified to discover that Laith's calm, peace-loving, intellectual ALOs lack a Pet Intelligence Management chip. Without it, ALOs are said to become like wild animals. So when she discovers that Laith and her parents are part of an illegal organization trying to eradicate the PIM chip, she doesn't know what to think. Laith's ALOs prove one thing though: everything she knows about the PIM chip is a lie. THIS PARAGRAPH IS A BIT CONFUSING. JUMPING TO LAITH'S ALOS MAY NOT BE A GOOD IDEA. SUGGESTION- IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH INTRODUCE THE ALOS WITH THE PIM CHIP. IN THIS PARAGRAPH, PUT HOW LAITH'S ARE DIFFERENT.

Starting to suspect that what Laith tells her is true—that the military is using ALOs as slaves—Yora joins the organization. There she finds a thriving society where ALOs and humans live together as equals, working to build a place where ALOs can live free. With her own ALOs freed of the PIM chip and their true personalities able to shine, she dedicates herself to the organization's cause. Problem is, she's treated her ALOs as pets her whole life, and if she can't change her habits fast enough, her ALOs may end up hating her forever.

To make matters worse, the organization is becoming too big to stay secret. But whether or not her ALOs remain her friends, she's willing to fight to the end to secure their freedom HOW DOES THIS AFFECT THE STORY? DOES THEM BEING EXPOSED MATTER HOW SHE LOVES HER PETS?.

FREE TO FORGIVE is a ________ word speculative science fantasy novel. It is my debut.

(Insert personalized bits here). Thank you for your time and consideration.

-Amorena Nobile

this draft is definitely more clear than the previous one!
hope I helped!

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