Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

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Holly
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Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by Holly » November 1st, 2010, 6:00 pm

** Updated version at the end **

Hello, everybody. Here is a draft query. Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
Right now it's 327 words, about 350 with the missing info filled in.
Travis is the main character.
I tell the story from the POV of several characters.
I left out a lot of plot. The alien Tech 29 actually crosses paths with three couples with intersecting lives (Travis and Lexie are one couple).
I have several titles in mind and am not sure which one I will use.
Thanks!


Dear agent:

When college student Travis Maguire chases his dog into Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, he finds more than the dog--he discovers a Nikon with digital photos of a UFO crash. He finds the black triangle with two friends, Lexie Collins and her brother Burke, but when Burke steps in a trap, they have to leave him to get help. The police think they’re pulling a prank and the black triangle vanishes from sight. All Travis has left is an enigmatic souvenir that he stole from the UFO.

Six-eyed Galactic Animal Control Technician 29 wakes up from the crash to discover the murderous shapeshifter he was transporting has escaped. While Tech 29 hunts his cargo, he falls in love with Earth and longs to stay, until he watches TV, finds out about nuclear weapons and environmental destruction, and realizes he might be the luckiest soul on the planet--because he can leave. Maybe, if he can find the tracking device that someone stole from his ship.

Travis and Tech 29 finally meet on a dark Washington street. Travis has to decide whether to trust Tech 29 and return the tracker so the alien can capture his cargo and leave for the stars, or keep the tracker, which is the only proof the black triangle exists, and maybe the only hope to rescue Burke. And Travis has another problem. He’s fallen for Lexie, and if he guesses wrong, he might lose her, too.

BLACK TRIANGLE is a complete 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy with light romance, a shapeshifter who disguises herself as a pillar in a parking garage, and chases through the Washington streets and Metro. I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes place while I worked in advertising for ___________. My short stories have appeared in ____________. I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

(Short agent personalization)

Thank you for your consideration.
Last edited by Holly on November 2nd, 2010, 8:16 am, edited 2 times in total.

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androidblues
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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by androidblues » November 1st, 2010, 6:26 pm

When college student Travis Maguire chases his dog into Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, he finds more than the dogcut straight to the point--he discovers a Nikondoes the brand matter? just say camera with digitalknowing that they're digital photos don't matter either photos of a UFO crash. He finds the black triangleI'm assuming this is the name of the ship. Can you elaborate? with two friends, Lexie Collins and her brother Burke, but when Burke steps in a trap, they have to leave him to get help. The police think they’re pulling a prank and the black triangle vanishes from sight. All Travis has left is an enigmatic souvenir that he stole from the UFO.What about Burke? Do they rescue him from the trap or is he stuck or kidnapped or what?

Six-eyed Galactic Animal Control Technician 29 wakes up from the crash to discover the murderous shapeshifter he was transporting has escaped. While Tech 29 hunts his cargo, he falls in love with Earth and longs to stay, until he watches TV, finds out about nuclear weapons and environmental destruction, and Then he realizes that he might be the luckiest soul on the planet because he can leave -- but only if he can find the tracking device that was stolen from his ship.

Travis and Tech 29 finally meet on a dark Washington street. Travis has to decide whether to trust Tech 29 and return the tracker so the alien can capture his cargo and leave for the stars, or keep the tracker, which is the only proof the black triangle exists, and maybe the only hope to rescue Burke. And Travis has another problem. He’s fallen for Lexie, and if he guesses wrong, he might lose her, too.Why does he have to decide to trust Tech 29? Is there something shady about him? And why is falling in love with Lexie a problem? Is she like a supercool alien girl who hides a secret that could destroy life, the universe, and everything. Sorry for the Hitchhiker's reference, and the Scooby doo one for that matter, but why is falling in love with her relevant?

BLACK TRIANGLE is a complete 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy with light romance, a shapeshifter who disguises herself as a pillar in a parking garage, and chases through the Washington streets and Metro. that will appeal to readers of blank and blank.I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes placewhile I worked in advertising for ___________. My short stories have appeared in ____________. and I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Not bad but I need a greater sense of the conflict. And how old is Travis? I'm thinking that he's around 16 since the cops don't take him seriously. If so then this would be YA. If not, give me a sense of his age and his personality.
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Holly
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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by Holly » November 1st, 2010, 8:04 pm

Thanks for all your suggestions, androidblues. Travis is a college student.

Here's another version. It needs some more polish and zing, but is probably the direction to go. Once I add my contact info, bio details, and agent personalization, it comes to about 250 words.


Dear agent:

College students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins, and her older brother Burke discover the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. But when Burke steps in a trap, Travis and Lexie have to leave him to get help and face an indifferent city police department. The black triangle vanishes by the time they search the woods again, hoping to rescue Burke on their own. Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with an alien shapeshifter in human form who hunts the streets of Washington, D.C. His only allies are the girl he’s falling in love with and the six-eyed Galactic Animal Control technician who’s lost his murderous cargo.

BLACK TRIANGLE is a complete 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy with light romance, a shapeshifter who disguises herself as a pillar in a parking garage, and chases through the Washington streets and Metro. I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes place while I worked in advertising for __________. My short stories have appeared in _____________. I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

(agent personalization)

Thank you for your consideration.

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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by notw » November 1st, 2010, 8:28 pm

Holly wrote:Thanks for all your suggestions, androidblues. Travis is a college student.

Here's another version. It needs some more polish and zing, but is probably the direction to go. Once I add my contact info, bio details, and agent personalization, it comes to about 250 words.


Dear agent:

College students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins, and her older brother Burke discover the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. But when Burke steps in a trap, Travis and Lexie have to leave him to get help and face an indifferent city police department. The black triangle vanishes by the time they search the woods again, hoping to rescue Burke on their own. Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with an alien shapeshifter in human form who hunts the streets of Washington, D.C. I might make this sentence into the beginning of another paragraph. It just seemed to jump to something different than where you left off in the sentence before but that might just be me. His only allies are the girl he’s falling in love with and the six-eyed Galactic Animal Control technician who’s lost his murderous cargo.

BLACK TRIANGLE is a complete 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy with light romance, a shapeshifter who disguises herself as a pillar in a parking garage, and chases through the Washington streets and Metro. I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes place while I worked in advertising for __________. My short stories have appeared in _____________. I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

(agent personalization)

Thank you for your consideration.
I liked this query more than the first one. Sounds like an interesting plot. :)

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Holly
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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by Holly » November 1st, 2010, 8:38 pm

Thanks for the encouragement, notw. I appreciate it. I had a backwards sentence:


College students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins, and her older brother Burke discover the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. But when Burke steps in a trap, Travis and Lexie have to leave him to get help and face an indifferent city police department. They search the woods again, hoping to rescue Burke on their own, but the black triangle has vanished. Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with an alien shapeshifter in human form who hunts the streets of Washington, D.C. His only allies are the girl he’s falling in love with and the six-eyed Galactic Animal Control technician who’s lost his murderous cargo.

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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by notw » November 1st, 2010, 8:49 pm

Holly wrote:Thanks for the encouragement, notw. I appreciate it. I had a backwards sentence:


College students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins, and her older brother Burke discover the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. But when Burke steps in a trap, Travis and Lexie have to leave him to get help and face an indifferent city police department. They search the woods again, hoping to rescue Burke on their own, but the black triangle has vanished. Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with an alien shapeshifter in human form who hunts the streets of Washington, D.C.The alien hunts the streets? Maybe do you mean haunts? His only allies are the girl he’s falling in love with and the six-eyed Galactic Animal Control technician who’s lost his murderous cargo.
The sentence in bold makes a lot more sense now :) [color]

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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by D.Bond » November 1st, 2010, 11:27 pm

Dear agent:

College students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins, and her older brother Burke discover the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. But when Burke steps in a trap, Travis and Lexie have to leave him to get help and face an indifferent city police department. This definitely sets up the stakes, but it could be spiced up to be a bit more eye catching. The black triangle could also just say the UFO vanishes by the time when they search the woods again, hoping to rescue Burke on their own. Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with an alien shapeshifter in human form who hunts the streets of Washington, D.C. How is he in over his head? Is this the only mention of the conflict that we get? His only allies are the girl he’s falling in love with and the six-eyed Galactic Animal Control technician who’s lost his murderous cargo. You know, this could be turned into a good hook at the beginning maybe. Just a thought.

BLACK TRIANGLE is a complete 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy with light romance, a shapeshifter who disguises herself as a pillar in a parking garage, and chases through the Washington streets and Metro. Interesting, but this shouldn't be where the genre is. If you want it, put it somewhere above. I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes place while I worked in advertising for __________. My short stories have appeared in _____________. I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy. When adding a bit about yourself, you generally want to stick with just your publishing history. :)

--Sounds interesting. Good start with the query. :)

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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by Krista G. » November 2nd, 2010, 2:51 am

Holly wrote:Dear agent:

College students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins, and her older brother Burke discover the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park. But When Burke steps in a trap, Travis and Lexie have to leave him to get help and face an indifferent city police department. The black triangle vanishes by the time they search the woods again, hoping to rescue Burke on their own. This sentence is a little awkward. The clause "hoping to rescue Burke on their own" should refer back to the subject of the sentence, "The black triangle," but it actually refers to "they." I can't come up with a smooth rewording off the top of my head, so I'll leave that to you. Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with an alien shapeshifter in human form who hunts the streets of Washington, D.C. There isn't much connective tissue between this sentence and the one before it. Where does the alien shapeshifter come from, what is it hunting, and why is it hunting that? His only allies are the girl he’s falling in love with and the six-eyed Galactic Animal Control technician who’s lost his murderous cargo. This sentence made me smile, but again, I think we're missing a few pieces. Based on what I already know about your manuscript, I'm guessing the murderous cargo is the alien shapeshifter (or maybe the thing the shapeshifter's hunting), but you don't spell that out. You probably ought to tell us how the GAC technician relates to the other stuff you've mentioned.

BLACK TRIANGLE is a complete 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy with light romance (I scratched out this bit because the summary implied it), a shapeshifter who disguises herself as a pillar in a parking garage, and chases through the Washington streets and Metro (and I scratched this out because listing stuff after the summary isn't as effective as just telling us about it in the summary itself). I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes place while I worked in advertising for __________. My short stories have appeared in _____________. I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy. I like the rest of this paragraph. The Washington, D.C. sentence isn't terribly relevant, but I think it gives the query a little more of a human touch (it makes me feel like a person actually wrote this query and not a computer), so if you like it, I say keep it.

(agent personalization)

Thank you for your consideration.
The story definitely sounds intriguing, but I think you need to give us more details. You've got the character nailed down, but I'm a little fuzzy on the conflict and the stakes. It sounds like Travis is having to find whatever was in the UFO (with the help of the technician), but is that the main conflict? If it is, you just need to bring that out a little more and tell us what will happen to Travis (and the rest of Washington, D.C.) if he doesn't succeed. If it's not, we need to know what the main conflict is and how that will affect everyone else.

Best of luck with this, Holly. And if you need anything else, just let me know.
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
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Holly
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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by Holly » November 2nd, 2010, 11:00 am

Thanks, D.Bond, KristaG. and everybody else. I appreciate all your comments. Here's another draft, about 250 words.


** updated version **


Dear agent:

When college students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins and her older brother Burke find the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, Travis takes an enigmatic souvenir and Burke steps into a glowing grid in the floor. Travis and Lexie face a cynical police department as Burke and the black triangle seem to vanish overnight.

Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with a shapeshifter that disguises itself in human form, discovers he’s stolen a tracking device that he can’t quite figure out how to use, and fights with Lexie over the best way to rescue her brother.

Then Travis finally meets the pilot of the UFO, six-eyed Galactic Animal Control Technician 29. Travis has to decide whether to trust Tech 29 and return the tracker, or keep it, because the tracker is the only proof the black triangle exists, and maybe their only hope to rescue Burke. And Travis has another problem. He’s falling in love with Lexie, and if he guesses wrong, he might lose her, too.

BLACK TRIANGLE is an 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy novel about regular guys from Earth and the other side of the galaxy who meet over an accident. I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes place while I worked in advertising for ___________. My short stories have appeared in ____________. I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy.

(Short agent personalization)

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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by androidblues » November 2nd, 2010, 12:26 pm

When college students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins and her older brother Burke find the wreck of a black triangular UFO in Washington, D.C.’s Rock Creek Park, Travis takes an enigmatic souvenir and Burke steps into a glowing grid in the floor.This sentence is kinda long. I suggest re-wording it so that it packs more punch. A hook can't be this wordy, it literally has to shock, surprise, or force the reader to continue reading on. This doesn't. Make it short and to the point. Also, does Travis taking the souvenir cause the ship to go into safety mode and attack Burke? Travis and Lexie face a cynical police department as Burke and the black triangle seem to vanish overnight.This is confusing, too me anyway. Is there anyway to word it so that it makes more sense. It seems like Burke disappeared with the UFO -- then Travis and Lexie went to the police. And why wouldn't the police care that someone has fallen into a trap. More importantly why wouldn't they do anything afterwards? Does Travis - or Lexie - have a record which prevents the police from trusting them? Is one of the officers an alien?

I'm going to try and reword this below to what I think makes it sound fun and catchy. I'm just guessing on your character's personalities btw.

When college students Travis Maguire, Lexie Collins and her brother, Burke, discover a wrecked UFO in Rock Creek Park, they expect to be sky-rockted to fame. Or something to that effect. Tell me what they expect, I don't know what they're like.Travis takes a souvenir from the crash, hoping to use it as proof of their discovery. But their dreams of stardom are vanquished when Burke is taken hostage by the ship.

Travis finds himself in over his head as he tangles with a shapeshifter that disguises itself in human form, discovers he’s stolen a tracking device that he can’t quite figure out how to use, and fights with Lexie over the best way to rescue her brother.

Even worse, the police refuse to take Travis and Lexie seriously, believing that they are pulling a prank. When they return to the crash site, all evidence of the UFO is gone -- as well as Burke.

Then Travis finally meets the pilot of the UFO, six-eyed Galactic Animal Control Technician 29. Travis has to decide whether to trust Tech 29 and return the tracker, or keep it, because the tracker is the only proof the black triangle exists, and maybe their only hope to rescue Burke. And Travis has another problem. He’s falling in love with Lexie, and if he guesses wrong, he might lose her, too.


All Travis has left is the souvenir he took from the ship. He later encounters the pilot of the ship, a shapeshifter who is desperately searching for the dangerous prisoner he held captive on board. Travis is told that the souvenir he holds is a tracking device -- but he isn't sure that he can trust the shapershifter to return Burke if he hands over the device. And even if he does, he'll have no proof of the UFO ever existing. But Travis has fallen in love with Lexie and returning her brother is the only way she'll ever return his affection -- even if he'll be seen as a crackpot for the rest of his life.


BLACK TRIANGLE is an 80,000 word sci-fi/fantasy novel about regular guys from Earth and the other side of the galaxy who meet over an accident. I was born in Washington, D.C. and lived in the area where the novel takes place while I worked in advertising for ___________. My short stories have appeared in ____________. I am a member of the Online Writing Workshop for Science Fiction and Fantasy.
What I have written isn't very brilliant but I hope it helps you. The story sounds kinda Dean Koontz like. Maybe you can study some of his product descriptions on amazon and craft a killer query off of that. Here is one a book jacket summary of one of his books, not his best but I liked the first few chapters. The description builds, even if it doesn't have a good hook.

In a dusty trailer park on the far edge of the California dream, Michelina Bellsong contemplates the choices she has made. At twenty-eight, she wants to change the direction of her troubled life but can’t find her way — until a new family settles into the rental trailer next door and she meets the young girl who will lead her on a remarkable quest that will change Micky herself and everything she knows — or thinks she knows — forever.

Despite the brace she must wear on her deformed left leg, and her withered left hand, nine-year-old Leilani Klonk radiates a buoyant and indomitable spirit that inspires Micky. Beneath Leilani’s effervescence, however, Micky comes to sense a quiet desperation that the girl dares not express.

Leilani’s mother is little more than a child herself. And the girl’s stepfather, Preston Maddoc, is educated but threatening. He has moved the family from place to place as he fanatically investigates UFO sightings, striving to make contact, claiming to have had a vision that by Leilani’s tenth birthday aliens will either heal her or take her away to a better life on their world.

Slowly, ever more troubling details emerge in Leilani’s conversations with Micky. Most chilling is Micky’s discovery that Leilani had an older brother, also disabled, who vanished after Maddoc took him into the woods one night and is now “gone to the stars.”

Leilani’s tenth birthday is approaching. Micky is convinced the girl will be dead by that day. While the child-protection bureaucracy gives Micky the runaround, the Maddoc family slips away into the night. Micky sets out across America to track and find them, alone and afraid but for the first time living for something bigger than herself.

She finds herself pitted against an adversary, Preston Maddoc, as fearsome as he is cunning. The passion and disregard for danger with which Micky pursues her quest bring to her side a burned-out detective who joins her on a journey of incredible peril and startling discoveries, a journey through terrible darkness to unexpected light.
Hope I helped a little.
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Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

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In the real word as in dreams, nothing is quite what it seems.

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Holly
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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by Holly » November 2nd, 2010, 4:27 pm

Androidblues, thanks for all your suggestions. I understand from the comments that I haven't conveyed the story at all. When I write anything else, I rewrite a million times, so that's what I'll have to do here. Thanks again, everybody.

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Re: Query: BLACK TRIANGLE

Post by kans_007 » November 4th, 2010, 8:27 pm

It sounds like a very interesting story. I think I liked your first version slightly better than your latest updated version. The hook was pretty good on the first one. I agree with the other poster android, that the first sentence in your latest version is just too long. Try to rephrase that as an enticing hook. Try to capture the essence of your story in two paragraphs.

Good luck!

BTW thanks for replying to my other post!
K

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