Military Urban Fantasy Query

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rstearns
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Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by rstearns » June 25th, 2012, 11:38 am

Dear [NAMEOFAGENT]:

OPERATION RESOLVE is an 80,000-word urban fantasy novel set in one of the deadliest months of the war in Afghanistan: October 2009.

Callie Law's helmet stopped a sniper's bullet, but she was left with a traumatic brain injury and some disturbing side effects. Cal's stronger and more agile than she was when she deployed, but the seizures, violent temper, and voice in her head alienate her from her family and earn her medical separation from the Army. She feels like a dangerous waste of space.

That's why Cal's willing to listen to a representative of the Sevarian Order, the CIA for people under extraplanar influence. He attributes her symptoms to a mountain spirit that possessed her in Afghanistan. The Order might be able to exorcise the spirit, after she does something for them. Two agents of the Order were captured in Afghanistan by the same type of mountain spirit as the one inside Cal.

Coalition forces are pulling out of Nuristan Province, but Cal and a team of Order agents are going in. She needs the spirit's power to rescue the captured agents and protect American troops. The spirit needs bloody vengeance against both the coalition and the Taliban, and it can take over Cal's body to get what it wants. Cal may be a possessed epileptic former soldier but she'll take on anyone, extraplanar or otherwise, to regain control of her life.

OPERATION RESOLVE is complete and available upon request. I expect this novel to entertain fans of Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock novels and Myke Cole's Shadow Ops series. I'm contacting you about it because [REASONS]

I'm an Army brat and I contributed a chapter to The Practice Environment of Nursing (Cengage Learning: 2010). Thank you for your consideration.

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wilderness
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by wilderness » June 28th, 2012, 2:28 pm

Wow, what a cool and unique premise! I would like to see more of Cal's voice in there though.
rstearns wrote:Dear [NAMEOFAGENT]:

OPERATION RESOLVE is an 80,000-word urban fantasy novel set in one of the deadliest months of the war in Afghanistan: October 2009.

Callie Law's helmet stopped a sniper's bullet [nice], but she was left with a traumatic brain injuryand some disturbing side effects. You tell us this next. Cal's stronger and more agile than she was when she deployed, but the seizures, violent temper, and voice in her head alienate her from her family and earn her medical separation from the Army. She feels like a dangerous waste of space. Good, but this feels more like a doctor's summary rather than Cal's point of view. I imagine she would use more slang and less clinical terms. Also, I'd like an example about of how she alienated her family (showing v. telling). I can guess but an example would be more moving.

That's why Cal's willing to listen to a representative of the Sevarian Order, the CIA for people under extraplanar influence. He attributes her symptoms to a mountain spirit that possessed her in Afghanistan. The Order might be able to exorcise the spirit, after she does something for them. Two agents of the Order were captured in Afghanistan by the same type of mountain spirit as the one inside Cal. Whoa. I I felt like the supernatural part came from nowhere. I think you need to hint at something unnatural in the first paragraph before leading to this. Cool idea though.

Coalition forces are pulling out of Nuristan Province, but Cal and a team of Order agents are going in. She needs the spirit's power to rescue the captured agents and protect American troops. The spirit needs bloody vengeance against both the coalition and the Taliban, and it can take over Cal's body to get what it wants. This seems to be the spirit's POV instead of Cal's.How does she know what it wants? Cal may be a possessed epileptic former soldier [nice!] but she'll take on anyone, extraplanar or otherwise, to regain control of her life. Good, but maybe give us more specifics about what she faces when it comes to this spirit.

OPERATION RESOLVE is complete and available upon request. I expect this novel to entertain fansThis novel is in the vein of Faith Hunter's Jane Yellowrock novels and Myke Cole's Shadow Ops series. I'm contacting you about it because [REASONS]

I'm an Army brat and I contributed a chapter to The Practice Environment of Nursing (Cengage Learning: 2010). Thank you for your consideration.

rstearns
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by rstearns » June 29th, 2012, 8:40 am

Thank you so much for your advice! I rewrote the middle the way Cal might say it (beware, there is one bad word):


Callie Law's helmet stopped a sniper's bullet, but coming that close to death has consequences. Cal returned from Afghanistan with supernatural agility, seizures, and a voice in her head that tells her to beat the shit out of people who make her mad. Not even her little sister is safe. Cal feels like a dangerous waste of space until the Sevarian Order, the CIA for people under extraplanar influence, introduces her to the extraplanar entity that’s possessing her: A bloodthirsty spirit of the Hindu Kush mountains. The Order might be able to exorcise the mountain spirit, but first they need something from Cal.

Coalition forces are pulling out of Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province, but Cal and a Sevarian Order rescue team are going in. With the mountain spirit's influence she can negotiate for the lives of two Order agents captured by other spirits of the Hindu Kush. The one inside Cal demands vengeance against both the coalition and the Taliban, and if she doesn’t fight the spirit’s compulsions she could kill the very people she came to save. Cal may be a possessed epileptic former soldier but she will take on anyone, extraplanar or otherwise, to be one of the good guys again.

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wilderness
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by wilderness » June 29th, 2012, 1:16 pm

rstearns wrote:
Callie Law's helmet stopped a sniper's bullet, but coming that close to death has consequences. Cal returned from Afghanistan with supernatural agility, seizures, and a voice in her head that tells her to beat the shit out of people who make her mad. I think that's an effective use of cursing. Not even her little sister is safe. Hmm, I wonder if you could be more specific. This makes it sounds like she beat the shit out of her sister--I am guessing something lesser happened? We want to think that she has a problem, but not that she's a sociopath. :D

Cal feels like a dangerous waste of space until the Sevarian Order, the CIA for people under extraplanar influence, introduces her to the extraplanar entity that’s possessing her: A bloodthirsty spirit of the Hindu Kush mountains. There's a lot going on in this sentence. Maybe break it down to multiple sentences. The Order might be able to exorcise the mountain spirit, but first they need something from Cal.

Coalition forces are pulling out of Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province, but Cal and a Sevarian Order rescue team are going in. With the mountain spirit's influence she can negotiate for the lives of two Order agents captured by other spirits of the Hindu Kush. The one inside Cal demands vengeance against both the coalition and the Taliban, and if she doesn’t fight the spirit’s compulsions she could kill the very people she came to save. Cal may be a possessed epileptic former soldier but she will take on anyone, extraplanar or otherwise, to be one of the good guys again. Great ending. I like how you clearly state her goal: to be one of the good guys. I wonder if it sounds better to break it up into two sentences:

Cal may be a possessed epileptic former soldier but she will take on anyone, extraplanar or otherwise. Anything to be one of the good guys again.

I think it puts an extra emphasis on the goal there, but whatever sounds good to you. :)
I like it. I think you might tweak some of the sentences to make them shorter, more dramatic, or include even more of that voice. But you're definitely close and I think you've got the necessary content. Good luck!

elbowpatch
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by elbowpatch » July 3rd, 2012, 12:39 am

Wonderfully written. I'd read it.

Here's a minor tweak to consider. Perhaps you might want to highlight the struggle between Cal and the spirit that possesses her. Something like But the spirit does not want to negotiate. It is hell bent on vengeance against the coalition and the Taliban. Cal must fight off the spirit's powerful compulsions or she could kill the very people she came to save.

Callie Law's helmet stopped a sniper's bullet, but coming that close to death has consequences. Cal returned from Afghanistan with supernatural agility, seizures, and a voice in her head that tells her to beat the shit out of people who make her mad. Not even her little sister is safe. Cal feels like a dangerous waste of space until the Sevarian Order, the CIA for people under extraplanar influence, introduces her to the extraplanar entity that’s possessing her: A bloodthirsty spirit of the Hindu Kush mountains. The Order might be able to exorcise the mountain spirit, but first they need something from Cal.

Coalition forces are pulling out of Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province, but Cal and a Sevarian Order rescue team are going in. With the mountain spirit's influence she can negotiate for the lives of two Order agents captured by other spirits of the Hindu Kush. The one inside Cal demands vengeance against both the coalition and the Taliban, and if she doesn’t fight the spirit’s compulsions she could kill the very people she came to save. Cal may be a possessed epileptic former soldier but she will take on anyone, extraplanar or otherwise, to be one of the good guys again.

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Brian_H
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by Brian_H » July 3rd, 2012, 10:03 am

This sounds good, but I want to warn you about something. You are writing to an audience that is extremely difficult to win over. It's the whole "supension of disbelief" thing.
I can watch a cowboy movie with alien spacecraft and have no problem accepting the premise, but if the dirt road they are riding horses down has a tire tracks on it, I'm done.

Militarty personnel are MUCH MUCH more critical about accuracy (regarding their profession) than the average person. There is a reason Tom Clancy spends so much time writing out pages and pages of detail about seemingly unimportant aspects; he has to convince his readers he knows his stuff. There is a reason why almost any successful movie in this genre starts by hiring a military advisor. It has to look and feel real to the people who actually do this kind of thing, or they will not give it the time of day.

The easiest way to get around this issue is to set the story a few years into the future. That way, if the rifle you describe, or the helmet that gets shot doesn't sound JUST like the ones they use it could be a "newer model." You chose to set it in 2009, which is fine, just don't take shortcuts please. You will lose your readers.

That said, if you tell me there are mountain spirits possesing epileptics, I'm fine with that. You tell me she has super powers, needs an exorcism, and has a seven foot vertical leap, COOL!
But if you tell me she got shot by a sniper while part of a Ranger squad doing light infantry assaults, I'm going to cry foul.

The two things in all of this query that I question are this:
1. former soldier - It's an accurate statement. But I bet if you asked Callie to desribe herself she would drop "former."
2. What was Callie's role in the military before the sniper shot her? Some background there might be helpful. Help us identify with her a little bit before she becomes half of the main character.

just my take, hope this was helpful to you. I like the premise, and wish you luck.
It always seems impossible until it's done.

rstearns
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by rstearns » July 3rd, 2012, 11:18 am

You all rock! Thanks so so much for your help.

Brian_H: The military is definitely an exacting audience. I just wrote what I find fun to read, so I'm sure there are inaccuracies. I've worked around my lack of personal experience by researching, interviewing, and making some details the responsibility of a fictional organization. Things won't be the same as they would if the Army ran the show, even without the extraplanar superpowers. Hopefully the differences won't be too irritating.

Let's try this again:

Callie Law's helmet stopped a sniper's bullet, but coming that close to death has consequences. She’s supernaturally fast and stronger than she was when she deployed, but the Army doesn’t need a helicopter crew chief with seizures and a voice in her head that makes her beat the shit out of people. Cal feels like a dangerous waste of space until the Sevarian Order, the CIA for people under extraplanar influence, teach her to talk to source of the voice: A mountain spirit which possessed her seconds after she was shot. The Order might be able to exorcise the spirit, but first they need something from Cal.

Coalition forces are pulling out of Afghanistan’s Nuristan Province, but Cal and a Sevarian Order rescue team are going in. Their objective is to free two Order agents captured by other mountain spirits. Her spirit’s connection to the land is their best chance of locating the prisoners, but the spirit wants to use her as a weapon against coalition. If she doesn’t fight its compulsions, she could kill the very people she came to save.

Cal’s not going to let that happen. She may be a possessed epileptic soldier without an army but she will take on anyone, human or spirit, to be one of the good guys again.

elbowpatch
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by elbowpatch » July 3rd, 2012, 11:33 am

Looks good to me. Read it aloud and then send it out. I caught a missing "the" before "coalition."

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Brian_H
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Re: Military Urban Fantasy Query

Post by Brian_H » July 3rd, 2012, 12:19 pm

I read the same thing, 'patch. I think you missed a "the."

Other than that, I really like the way it reads now. Good work.
It always seems impossible until it's done.

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