MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

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ryanznock
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MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by ryanznock » June 28th, 2011, 9:26 pm

How do you think this sounds, fellow author?



Dear [agent],

In MEETING OF THE WATERS, Jaime Adricks leads his online pirate crew in the video game Ages, battling time-traveling Nazis who have invaded the 17th century Caribbean. But when Jaime learns that his ex-girlfriend Afi has disappeared in the Amazon while working on the game’s finale, he sets out on a real-world adventure to bring her home.

The 2016 Olympics are about to kick off in Rio de Janeiro, and political tensions with the US have Brazil on edge. Needing a guide, Jaime recruits Alessandra Rocha, a Brazilian gamer claims to have met faeries in real life, and whose World War 2 superspy character in Ages is determined to sink the Nazi fleet.

Charmed but challenged by each other’s foreign worldviews, Jaime and Alessandra undertake a magical roadtrip from the urban glamour of São Paulo, through the festive slums of Rio, and on to the technoglitz city of Manaus on the banks of the Amazon River. While dodging anti-American protesters, stumbling into encounters with the surreal, and pursuing clues Afi left in Ages before she vanished, Jaime realizes that he has to let his reality and fantasy mingle if he’s going to solve the mystery of Afi’s disappearance, convince Alessandra to try a long distance relationship with an American, and stop a Nazi sorcerer from starting a real-world war in Brazil.

MEETING OF THE WATERS is a 109,000-word modern fantasy novel, inspired by my experiences with game design and my own travels in Brazil. At the game company E.N. Publishing I have authored two dozen products for Dungeons & Dragons, and one series I directed, War of the Burning Sky, has been adapted to a Facebook video game.

I have included [requested material], and can provide [a synopsis, sample pages, and/or the whole manuscript] if requested. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Ryan Nock

[Address and Contact Info]

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markimedes
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Re: MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by markimedes » July 9th, 2011, 1:32 pm

Dunno why I'm the first reply, cos your book certainly sounds intriguing, and on the whole the query seems to be very well written. A couple of things, if I may:
ryanznock wrote: In MEETING OF THE WATERS, Jaime Adricks leads his online pirate crew in the video game Ages, battling time-traveling Nazis who have invaded the 17th century Caribbean. But when Jaime learns that his ex-girlfriend Afi has disappeared in the Amazon while working on the game’s finale, he sets out on a real-world adventure to bring her home.
Love the title. You'll probably hate me for this, but though I like the name Jaime, I see it as a female name (a la Jaime Sommers, the bionic woman (who incidentally was supposed to be called Jamie, but someone spelt it wrong by mistake and it stuck)). It's a little unclear what his ex-girlfriend does; is she a game designer working on the finale, or a game player working on the finale? You perhaps need to mention why he'd bother with an ex-girlfriend, too--normally exes don't communicate unless offspring are involved.

The 2016 Olympics are about to kick off in Rio de Janeiro, and political tensions with the US have Brazil on edge. Needing a guide, Jaime recruits Alessandra Rocha, a Brazilian gamer claims to have met faeries in real life, and whose World War 2 superspy character in Ages is determined to sink the Nazi fleet.
"...a Brazilian gamer WHO claims...". I'm also thinking "Ages" needs to be in quotes, like that. Saying that, is it important what the superspy character is doing? If not drop it; if so, why?

Charmed but challenged by each other’s foreign worldviews, Jaime and Alessandra undertake a magical roadtrip from the urban glamour of São Paulo, through the festive slums of Rio, and on to the technoglitz city of Manaus on the banks of the Amazon River. While dodging anti-American protesters, stumbling into encounters with the surreal, and pursuing clues Afi left in Ages before she vanished, Jaime realizes that he has to let his reality and fantasy mingle if he’s going to solve the mystery of Afi’s disappearance, convince Alessandra to try a long distance relationship with an American, and stop a Nazi sorcerer from starting a real-world war in Brazil.
"...world views..." two words, no? Also, don't know if you realise, but this paragraph only has two sentences... i.e. the second sentence is way too long. Split it somewhere. It's a great paragraph though, and makes the story sound really exciting. Not sure "mingle" is the right word to use there, perhaps consider alternatives. That last bit is certainly intriguing, but perhaps drop the "world", it could be read wrong as in "world war" instead of "real-world", as I did (I could just be stupid). It's definitely important to explain the relationship Jamie has with his ex though, because now we know he's not still in love with her (or is he? making his new interest more complicated.)

MEETING OF THE WATERS is a 109,000-word modern fantasy novel, inspired by my experiences with game design and my own travels in Brazil. At the game company E.N. Publishing I have authored two dozen products for Dungeons & Dragons, and one series I directed, War of the Burning Sky, has been adapted to a Facebook video game.
Maybe move "own" to before "experiences"... "inspired by my own experiences in game design and my travels through Brazil." That last bit is a bit confusing, maybe re-word. "...I have authored two dozen products for Dungeons & Dragons, and "War of the Burning Sky"--one of the series I directed--has been adapted into a Facebook video game."

I have included [requested material], and can provide [a synopsis, sample pages, and/or the whole manuscript] if requested. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[Address and Contact Info]
Like I say, on the whole really good and it sounds brilliant. Best of luck.

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Re: MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by ryanznock » July 13th, 2011, 11:10 am

Thanks!

I came up with a different version. I think this one's punchier:


A fleet of time-traveling Nazis have invaded the 17th century Caribbean. Sure, it’s just a video game, but it’s one Jaime Adricks takes very seriously, and he thinks the cross-over has ruined it. He’s about to abandon his digital pirate ship and cancel his subscription in protest when an old ex-girlfriend who writes for the game calls for help, then disappears in Brazil.

Determined to find her, Jaime hops a plane right as the 2016 Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro. He recruits as his guide a beautiful spy named Alessandra, and while he’s not sure if she’s pulling his leg about having faerie powers, she’s able to navigate the two of them safely through protests, political unrest, and encounters with the supernatural. Together they road-trip into the Amazon, follow clues hidden in the virtual Caribbean, and dodge rioters and hostile natives, but to solve the mystery of his friend’s disappearance and convince Alessandra to be his girlfriend, Jaime’s going to have to stop a Nazi sorcerer from starting a real-world Third World War.

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Re: MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by oldhousejunkie » July 13th, 2011, 5:33 pm

I'm choosing to critique your first version because I think it is better than the most recent one posted. The second one is confusing, IMHO.
ryanznock wrote:How do you think this sounds, fellow author?



Dear [agent],

In MEETING OF THE WATERS, Jaime Adricks leads his online pirate crew in the video game Ages, battling time-traveling Nazis who have invaded the 17th century Caribbean. But when Jaime learns that his ex-girlfriend Afi has disappeared in the Amazon while working on the game’s finale, he sets out on a real-world adventure to bring her home. All this is backstory. I would take the pertinent elements from this paragraph and combine with the paragraph below.

The 2016 Olympics are about to kick off in Rio de Janeiro, and political tensions with the US have Brazil on edge. I'm not sure why you mention the Olympics. If you are trying to establish that this story takes place in the future, but naming an event to do so is confusing. It will lead the reader to think that the Olympics play into the plot. If they do, then something else needs to be said during the course of the query. Needing a guide, Jaime recruits Alessandra Rocha, a Brazilian gamer claims to have met faeries in real life, and whose World War 2 superspy character in Ages is determined to sink the Nazi fleet. I'm sure her faery powers have something to do with the plot, but it's not coming across very clearly in this query.

Charmed but challenged by each other’s foreign worldviews,Jaime and Alessandra undertake a magical roadtrip from the urban glamour of São Paulo, through the festive slums of Rio, and on to the technoglitz city of Manaus on the banks of the Amazon River. While dodging anti-American protesters, stumbling into encounters with the surreal, and pursuing clues Afi left in Ages before she vanished, Jaime realizes that he has to let his reality and fantasy mingle if he’s going to solve the mystery of Afi’s disappearance, convince Alessandra to try a long distance relationship with an American, and stop a Nazi sorcerer from starting a real-world war in Brazil.

MEETING OF THE WATERS is a 109,000-word modern fantasy novel, inspired by my experiences with game design and my own travels in Brazil. At the game company E.N. Publishing I have authored two dozen products for Dungeons & Dragons, and one series I directed, War of the Burning Sky, has been adapted to a Facebook video game.

I have included [requested material], and can provide [a synopsis, sample pages, and/or the whole manuscript] if requested. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Sincerely,
Ryan Nock

[Address and Contact Info]
I decided to stop half way through because there are issues. I can see that the book has a plot but it's not coming across clearly. It's getting lost in the gloss--there's a lot of dodging and being challenged, and as a result, the plot seems very vague. I think you are playing up the wrong parts as well. Try boiling this down to what key plot points you want to convey (and what moves the story along) and then dress it up with the voice. Best of luck to you!

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Re: MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by ryanznock » July 13th, 2011, 9:26 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I think I'll take a shot at making the second version less confusing; my local writers group preferred it, but I can see how some stuff wouldn't make sense if this if your first exposure to the plot.

Since you said it wasn't clear, here's the short version. Bear in mind, it's supposed to be mostly light-hearted fun with flashes of over-the-top action in the video game.

The basic gist is that the main character gets a call for help from an ex, who then goes missing. He goes to Brazil to find her, and gets help from a Brazilian woman. She plays the same game he does, which is the same game the ex writes for. This game is silly, with time-traveling Nazis attacking the 17th century Caribbean.

The MC can't fly straight to the city his ex was in because of overbooked flights for the Olympics and political tensions caused by a possible war in the south Atlantic, so the MC and his guide have to road trip from the safe part of Brazil (Sao Paulo) to the Amazon.

Meanwhile, the two of them continue to play the game, her because she loves it, him because he's finding hidden clues to what happened to his ex. Unbeknownst to them, the person playing the leader of the Nazis in the video game is also a politician pushing for war. When they finally get to the Amazon and learn what happened to his ex, it's tied to the Nazi/politician, and they realize that they can avert a war if they unmask the villain. But to do so they have to go into the game and defeat him and his fleet of Nazis.

I think I'm having a hard time condensing the plot to a simple synopsis because the two narratives -- the real world and the game -- are connected because they have the same character, but they don't seem related at first. Even with the full manuscript, I've struggled to make it clear to the reader that they both matter. Right now I'm kinda hoping folks just enjoy the action scenes like they would musical numbers in a Bollywood film, and stay invested enough to get to where it all fits together.

I appreciate the help!

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Re: MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by Joel Q » July 15th, 2011, 4:12 pm

ryanznock wrote:How do you think this sounds, fellow author?

Cool story idea.
And a nice job with the story in the query.
JQ


Dear [agent],

In MEETING OF THE WATERS, move to bottom Jaime Adricks leads his online pirate crew in the video game Ages, battling time-traveling Nazis who have invaded the 17th century Caribbean. Butwhen Jaime learns that his ex-girlfriend Afi has disappeared in the Amazon while working on the game’s finale (word choice, do you mean the last game in the series instead of the end of that game?), he sets out on a real-world adventure to bring her home.

The 2016 Olympics are about to kick off in Rio de Janeiro, and political tensions with the US have Brazil on edge. Needing a guide, Jaime recruits Alessandra Rocha, a Brazilian gamer claims (who claims, or claiming) to have met faeries in real life, and whose World War 2 superspy character in Ages is determined to sink the Nazi fleet.

Charmed but challenged by each other’s foreign worldviews, Jaime and Alessandra undertake a magical roadtrip from the urban glamour of São Paulo, through the festive slums of Rio, and on to the technoglitz city of Manaus on the banks of the Amazon River. While dodging anti-American protesters, stumbling into encounters with the surreal, and pursuing clues Afi left in Ages(current game or new game, see other comment) before she vanished, Jaime realizes that he has to (must, needs to, etc.) let his reality and fantasy mingle if he’s going to solve the mystery of Afi’s disappearance, convince Alessandra to try a long distance (maybe delete for the query, not needed) relationship with an American (who? him?) , and stop a Nazi sorcerer from starting a real-world war in Brazil.

let his reality and fantasy mingle if he’s going to solve I'd like more on that in the query.

MEETING OF THE WATERS is a 109,000-word modern fantasy novel, inspired by my experiences with game design and my own travels in Brazil. At the game company E.N. Publishing I have authored two dozen products for Dungeons & Dragons, and one series I directed, War of the Burning Sky, has been adapted to a Facebook video game.

I have included [requested material], and can provide [a synopsis, sample pages, and/or the whole manuscript] if requested. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Just an FYI...Find out who the agent for Scar Night was, the author, Alan Campbell was a game writer before the book--I think. The agent might be interested in another gamer turned writer.


Sincerely,
Ryan Nock

[Address and Contact Info]

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ryanznock
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Re: MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by ryanznock » July 16th, 2011, 4:24 pm

Thanks for the suggestion. His agency is British, so it's not top of my list, but it's a factor to consider, especially since I know another gamer-turned-writer.

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Re: MEETING OF THE WATERS - modern fantasy roadtrip

Post by TomLysander » July 18th, 2011, 7:40 pm

This covers a lot of ground. In terms of word count, I think you can actually expand -- which will clean up the density of this prose, which right now is going to sink you.
ryanznock wrote:I came up with a different version. I think this one's punchier:

A fleet of time-traveling Nazis have has invaded the 17th century Caribbean. Sure, it’s just a video game, but it’s one Jaime Adricks takes very seriously, and he thinks the cross-over has ruined it. He’s about to abandon his digital pirate ship and cancel his subscription in protest when an ex-girlfriend who writes for the game calls for help, then disappears in Brazil.

I recognize the snappiness of opening with Nazi-fleet-1700s-Caribbean -- along with the turnaround of it being a game. But it may be one twist too many, since you go from eye-catching anachronism --> only a game --> real-life unexpected situation, all in one paragraph. I'd lead with Jaime being a great gamer (what are his credentials? everyone likes a competent gamer), though he's jaded with how the developers have nerfed it. Lo and behold -- a game developer who happens to be an ex-girlfriend calls, but with a distress call and maybe a hint of the clues embedded in the game itself. (a la da Vinci code)

Determined to find her, Jaime hops a plane right as the 2016 Olympics kick off in Rio de Janeiro. He recruits as his guide a beautiful spy named Alessandra, and while he’s not sure if she’s pulling his leg about having faerie powers, (if you want to develop the real world magic angle, don't simply drop in a clause -- give Aless her own descriptive sentence) she’s able to navigate the two of them safely through protests, political unrest, and encounters with the supernatural. Together they road-trip into the Amazon, follow clues hidden in the virtual Caribbean, the parallel game-IRL action is a neat quirk -- draw it out, bring it in front and center and dodge rioters and hostile natives, hostile natives? be careful with this sort of campiness -- you don't want to seem culturally insensitive but to solve the mystery of his friend’s disappearanceand convince Alessandra to be his girlfriend, Jaime’s going to have to stop a Nazi sorcerer from starting a real-world Third World War.
To me, your big strength lies in the parallel "gamer culture meets real-world danger" movement -- it's the kind of stuff that makes people read Coupland, Gibson, et al. Draw it out, and unpack this dense paragraph, or you risk losing your reader in too many twists and turns in too short a time. Good luck! Kudos, Tom

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