Merm-8 (sci-fi/fantasy)

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theWallflower
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Merm-8 (sci-fi/fantasy)

Post by theWallflower » August 9th, 2012, 2:54 pm

Dear [AGENT],

Mermaids do not exist. No one knows that better than Gene, who's scrounging out a living on the flooded future Earth with salvage and smuggling jobs. He's traveled everywhere with his AI companion, Stitch, and never seen anything more majestic than a barnacled whale. So how and why did an honest-to-god mermaid get stuck in his ship's exhaust port?

He has no idea what to do with her, but she's frantically gesturing about something. So he takes her to Carl Rance, a scientist on a sea station, who grows obsessed with her beauty and mystery. Gene, too, must control his growing affection, which conflicts with his bachelor lifestyle.

Before anyone solves her mystery, an unknown silver ship attacks and destroys the station. Gene narrowly escapes with the mermaid, becoming the only person who can help her. But once Gene figures out what she wants, she'll lead him to a secret the world isn't ready for. One that has the potential to destroy the remnants of the planet.

MERM-8 is a 86,000 word science-fiction novel. I have been previously published in Electric Spec, Flash Me, The Dunesteef, and received an honorable mention in the 2010 Writers of the Future contest.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[NAME]

(Note, this a revision of this post: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4479&p=48532)
Waterworld meets The Little Mermaid
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MERM-8: Now available from Musa Publishing

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klbritt
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Re: Merm-8 (sci-fi/fantasy)

Post by klbritt » August 9th, 2012, 4:24 pm

I think the premise of your story sounds intriguing, but I'm struggling with connecting to your query. It reads better than your previous posts, in my opinion, but I'm still not quite getting it. My suggestions/questions are in blue.

=============

Dear [AGENT],

Mermaids do not exist. No one knows that better than Gene, who's scrounging out a living on the flooded future Earth [This should be made apparent right away in the opening sentence. The tense is off when you read flooded "future" earth - as a reader, I want to know why the earth is flooded and how far in the future are we talking?] with salvage and smuggling jobs. He's traveled everywhere with his AI companion, Stitch, and has never seen anything more majestic than a barnacled covered whale. So how and why did an honest-to-god mermaid get stuck in his ship's exhaust port? [A question is unnecessary, it could be more compelling if you reword it into a statement.]

He has no idea what to do with her, but she's frantically gesturing about something. [Take this out or reword it - it's not powerful, and unlike in some of your prior queries, you aren't made aware that she and Gene cannot communicate] So he Gene smuggles her on his ship and takes her to Carl Rance, a scientist on a one of the floating sea stations, who may have the answers, but quickly becomes who grows obsessed with her beauty and mystery. Gene, too, must control his growing affection, which conflicts with his bachelor lifestyle. [I like the line about conflicting with his bachelor lifestyle.]

Before anyone solves her mystery, an unknown silver ship attacks and destroys the station[Why? What's the purpose of the station being destroyed? Was the ship protecting secrets?]. Gene narrowly escapes with the mermaid, becoming the only person who can help her. But once Gene figures out what she wants, she'll lead him to a secret the world isn't ready for. One that has the potential to destroy the remnants of the planet.

MERM-8 is a 86,000 word science-fiction novel. I have been previously published in Electric Spec, Flash Me, The Dunesteef, and received an honorable mention in the 2010 Writers of the Future contest.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[NAME]

=============

I think you are definitely getting closer, keep it up!

~Kristie
~Kristie

-: Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read - Groucho Marx :-

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Shipple
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Re: Merm-8 (sci-fi/fantasy)

Post by Shipple » August 11th, 2012, 11:36 am

-I agree with Kristie, "future" throws you out of the story
-it might be nice to have some idea of how far in the future this story takes place. I actually think it would be quite appropriate to tell about the setting in the last paragraph. For example, "MERM-8 is a 86,000 word science-fiction novel that takes place on Earth 200 years in the future, after the world has flooded." That way you get to keep the reader involved in the little story you build in your query but still help the agent understand more about the book.
-I love your voice. One objection: I'm not sure why, but I dislike "which conflicts with his bachelor lifestyle". Maybe, for me, it makes Gene sound a little smarmy and sleazy after you've just set him up as the rugged survivalist type. Perhaps the problem is really the TV show "The Bachelor" but I'm afraid I can't help negative associations. I've read a lot of romances & I guess I also have an aversion to main characters who think of themselves and their lifestyles as "bachelor." Those usually turn out to be douches. Again, this may just be a personal problem.
-You've either a natural talent for queries or spent a lot of time on this one, so this is definitely me being picky, but I also don't like the Carl Rance part. The rest of the query had a voice and a tone. Carl feels thrown in. Do you really need to mention him by name? Gene and the mermaid seem to have a much larger part of the story. Because Carl had a name, I thought he was important, but then he's gone within a sentence or two.

Overall, I was definitely being nit-picky. This is a great query.
"Mr and Mrs Dursley, of number four Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much." - J.K. Rowling (an awesome opening line)
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kelseyebeach
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Re: Merm-8 (sci-fi/fantasy)

Post by kelseyebeach » August 14th, 2012, 8:43 pm

Good comments offered above. Here are a few additions.

Dear [AGENT],

Mermaids do not exist. No one knows that better than Gene, who's scrounging out a living on the flooded future Earth with salvage and smuggling jobs. [I love the word "scrounge", but I don't think "out" is right. Generally you scrounge "for", "up", or "around" something.] He's traveled everywhere with his AI companion, Stitch, and never seen anything more majestic than a barnacled whale. [Whales sound pretty majestic to me!] So how and why did an honest-to-god mermaid get stuck in his ship's exhaust port?

He has no idea what to do with her, but she's frantically gesturing about something. [<-- I agree with taking that sentence out. Also, why doesn't he just dump her back in the ocean? Why do anything with her?] So he takes her to Carl Rance, a scientist on a sea station, who grows obsessed with her beauty and mystery. Gene, too, must control his growing affection, which conflicts with his bachelor lifestyle. [I agree that "bachelor lifestyle" sounds a little sleazy and also distracts me as I think about the logistics of him and a mermaid.]

Before anyone solves her mystery, Then an unknown silver ship attacks and destroys the station. [Because it's trying to destroy the mermaid's secret?] Gene narrowly escapes with the mermaid, becoming the only person who can help her. ["becoming the only one" seems unnecessary. Also, is Carl dead? If so, I agree with cutting his name earlier.] But once Gene figures out what she wants, she'll lead him to a secret the world isn't ready for. [Is the world ever ready for a secret that will destroy it? Maybe a "horrible secret" or something more descriptive about the secret, like a secret technology or race.] One that has the potential to destroy the remnants of the planet.

[This ending is very powerful. It really makes me want to figure out what the secret is. Still, I feel like you need one more sentence after the station gets destroyed to suggest what happens next. Is the ship chasing them? Did he figure out how to communicate with him? How does Stitch factor in?]

MERM-8 is a 86,000 word science-fiction novel. [MERM-8? Does that mean there are 8 mermaids? Makes me curious.]I have been previously published in Electric Spec, Flash Me, and The Dunesteef, and received an honorable mention in the 2010 Writers of the Future contest.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
[NAME]

You've got a good amount of detail, with a little back story and a lot of action. You just need to clarify a few points. Great job!

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theWallflower
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Re: Merm-8 (sci-fi/fantasy)

Post by theWallflower » August 15th, 2012, 5:04 pm

New version baded on feedback. I am REALLY having a hard time with that last paragraph. At that point, we are midway through the novel and I am trying real hard not to spoil anything while at the same time, staying intriguing, while at the same same time, keeping under word count.

Mermaids do not exist. No one knows that better than Gene, who's hustling out a living on the flooded Earth with salvage and courier jobs. He's traveled everywhere with his AI companion, Stitch, and never seen anything more majestic than a barnacle-covered humpback. Until an honest-to-god mermaid gets stuck in his ship's exhaust port.

She can't speak, so Gene smuggles her to Carl Rance, a scientist friend on one of the floating sea stations. He starts finding answers, but becomes obsessed with her beauty and mystery. Gene, too, must control his growing affection, which conflicts with his unfettered lifestyle.

Before anyone solves her mystery, the station is attacked and destroyed. Gene narrowly escapes with the mermaid, earning Rance's wrath when he accuses Gene of stealing. While beached on a desert island, he and Stitch decipher her origin by teaching her to speak. But the return home involves diving into a world of more than just mermaids. And a secret that, in the wrong hands, could destroy the remainder of mankind.
Waterworld meets The Little Mermaid
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MERM-8: Now available from Musa Publishing

kelseyebeach
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Re: Merm-8 (sci-fi/fantasy)

Post by kelseyebeach » August 19th, 2012, 8:56 am

This is excellent. I really like the changes you've made, filling in the gaps and providing just enough detail and intrigue. A few small comments are below.

barnacle-covered humpback. Keep "whale" or make it "humpback whale" so you don't confuse anyone. I was teasing earlier about saying I thought whales were majestic.

He starts finding answers, but becomes obsessed with her beauty and mystery. He finds answers to what? Maybe, he starts figuring out/tracing her origins (but then I wonder how) or he starts taking apart her genetic code.

unfettered lifestyle I like this better

Gene narrowly escapes with the mermaid, earning Rance's wrath when he accuses Gene of stealing. Does Gene leave Rance to die? Maybe "earning Rance's wrath for abandoning him and running off with the mermaid." Or "earning Rance's wrath for saving the mermaid's life over his." Or you could change it to something like "Gene abandons Rance and narrowly escapes with the mermaid. Now he has a revengeful scientist and a mysterious ship chasing him, as desperate to get hold of the mermaid as he is to save her." Feel free to ignore this suggestion or put something in your own voice.

While beached on a desert island, he and Stitch decipher her origin by teaching her to speak. Nice to incorporate Stitch, as he didn't have more than a mention before. This also shows some of the plot. Also, are they crashed on the island or hiding out?

But the return home involves diving into a world of more than just mermaids. And a secret that, in the wrong hands, could destroy the remainder of mankind. Great ending. I was wondering if "home" is home for just the mermaid or for Gene too. I don't know if you want to create that question or not.

Again, great rewrite. Good luck with your query!

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