Speculative Fiction Query REVISED 3/14/10

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ahalaw
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Speculative Fiction Query REVISED 3/14/10

Post by ahalaw » March 10th, 2010, 1:40 pm

Please scroll down to read Draft 2 in RED --Thanks!

Hey guys,

I was hoping to get some feedback on my query. I've been working on it for a couple of weeks. If you get a chance, tell me what you think. Since I've reworked this several times, I'm concerned that I may have cut out important information. Also, am I being redundant in the first paragraph by mentioning "technology" twice?

____________________________________________________________________________________________

When a new technology reveals that a ten-year-old girl is the reincarnation of America's deadliest homegrown terrorist, her foster father must fight to protect her from those who want retribution for the crimes she committed in her past life. From Under The Wheel, my 98,000-word novel, explores what our world would be like if we had the technology to tell us who we were in our previous lives.

On the run, Val and his foster daughter Casey race to find a Karma Cleaner, a spiritual hacker capable of erasing Casey's past. Along the way, they must evade federal agents, terrorists, bounty hunters, and a deceitful foster mother eager to cash Casey in for the reward. But soon they learn that mercenaries and the police aren’t the only things chasing them—so are their pasts, which, like their karma, are inextricably interwoven. In the end, Val is confronted with the greatest challenge of his life: learning how to forgive Casey for the murder of his first wife and son.

From Under The Wheel is a story about finding redemption in an unforgiving world. Its balance of Eastern philosophy, spiritual introspection, and explosive action would appeal to readers of speculative or science fiction. Please contact me if you are interested in reading the novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

________________________________________________________________________________________
Last edited by ahalaw on March 14th, 2010, 7:16 am, edited 3 times in total.

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shadow
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by shadow » March 10th, 2010, 2:11 pm

When a new technology What technology exactly?reveals that a ten-year-old girl is the reincarnation of America's deadliest homegrown terrorist, her foster father must fight to protect her from those who want retribution for the crimes she committed in her past life. You mean her PAST life like before she was reborn?? Explain here more. Interesting premise though. But why would they are for a ten year old even if she happened to be a terrorist in her past life? From Under The Wheel, my 98,000-word novel, explores what our world would be like if we had the technology to tell us who we were in our previous lives. Yeah but why would we care? I mean it's a new beginning for her. The old her is dead and forgotten so it doesn't really matter.

On the run, Val and his foster daughter Casey race to find a Karma Cleaner, a spiritual hacker capable of erasing Casey's past. Along the way, they must evade federal agents, terrorists, bounty hunters, and a deceitful foster mother eager to cash Casey in for the reward. But soon they learn that mercenaries and the police aren’t the only things chasing them—so are their pasts, which, like their karma, are inextricably interwoven. How is that? In the end, Val is confronted with the greatest challenge of his life: learning how to forgive Casey for the murder of his wife and son. How did she kille them? I thought the foster mother was after Casey. This part needs to be clarified.

From Under The Wheel is a story about finding redemption in an unforgiving world. Its balance of Eastern philosophy, spiritual introspection, and explosive action would appeal to readers of speculative or science fiction. Please contact me if you are interested in reading the novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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ahalaw
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by ahalaw » March 10th, 2010, 4:24 pm

Thanks. I added "first" in front of "wife" in the last line of the second paragraph to clarify that it's not Casey's foster mother. Does this help? As far as "technology" in the first line, I originally had "past-life recall machine" but felt that was too detailed for the first line. What do you think?

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shadow
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by shadow » March 10th, 2010, 4:27 pm

past life recall machine... Hmmm... It's really hard to say because I honestly don't know if everybody will understand what you mean by that without reading the rest. You know what I mean? I see your difficulty though and I wish you luck!
All things writing, visit my blog http://arielemerald.blogspot.com/

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lachrymal
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by lachrymal » March 10th, 2010, 5:16 pm

I think your story sounds utterly fascinating. I do think the second sentence of your first paragraph is redundant, because it's kind of apparent what the book is about from your excellent first sentence. I'm not sure I'd miss the last part of that second sentence if it was deleted entirely, and then you can use "previous life" instead of "past life" in the first sentence. Apart from that, this seems like a very good query!

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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by SteveShakespeare » March 10th, 2010, 6:12 pm

When a new technology reveals that a ten-year-old girl is the reincarnation of America's deadliest homegrown terrorist, her foster father must fight to protect her from those who want retribution for the crimes she committed in her past life. From Under The Wheel, my 98,000-word novel, explores what our world would be like if we had the technology to tell us who we were in our previous lives.

On the run, Val and his foster daughter Casey race to find a Karma Cleaner, a spiritual hacker capable of erasing Casey's past. Along the way, they must evade federal agents, terrorists, bounty hunters, and a deceitful foster mother eager to cash Casey in for the reward. But soon they learn that mercenaries and the police aren’t the only things chasing them—so are their pasts, which, like their karma, are inextricably interwoven. In the end, Val is confronted with the greatest challenge of his life: learning how to forgive Casey for the murder of his first wife and son. (My only suggestion would be to include how they were killed. I assume they were caught in a terrorist attack orchestrated by her previous incarnation, but I think mentioning that would clear up any uncertainty, and create another connection to the story's hook.)

From Under The Wheel is a story about finding redemption in an unforgiving world. Its balance of Eastern philosophy, spiritual introspection, and explosive action would appeal to readers of speculative or science fiction. Please contact me if you are interested in reading the novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
Other than that one minor change, this query looks great to me, and it's definitely something I'd like to read.

Good Job.
"The difference between the almost-right word & the right word is...the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning." -- Mark Twain

CoachMT
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by CoachMT » March 10th, 2010, 6:20 pm

ahalaw wrote:Hey guys,

I was hoping to get some feedback on my query. I've been working on it for a couple of weeks. If you get a chance, tell me what you think. Since I've reworked this several times, I'm concerned that I may have cut out important information. Also, am I being redundant in the first paragraph by mentioning "technology" twice?

____________________________________________________________________________________________

On the run, Val and his foster daughter Casey race to find a Karma Cleaner, a spiritual hacker capable of erasing Casey's past. Here is your hook. This needs to be the first sentence of the query "meat" A new technology has revealed ten-year-old Casey is the reincarnation of America's deadliest homegrown terrorist. Along the way, they must evade federal agents, terrorists, bounty hunters, and Casey's deceitful foster mother— all looking to cash in on a big reward. But they soon learn that mercenaries and the police aren’t the only things chasing them—so are their pasts, which, like their karma, are inextricably interwoven.In the end, Val is confronted with the greatest challenge of his life: learning how to forgive Casey for the murder of his first wife and son.

From Under The Wheel, my 98,000-word novel, is a story about finding redemption in an unforgiving world. Its balance of Eastern philosophy, spiritual introspection, and explosive action would appeal to readers of speculative or science fiction. Please contact me if you are interested in reading the novel.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

________________________________________________________________________________________
Hopefully that helps and makes sense. It sounds like an interesting story — good luck with the query process!

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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by GeeGee55 » March 10th, 2010, 11:28 pm

This is a great idea for a novel. I think CoachMT has given you some very sound advice about how to begin. It all flows really well if you use the sentence he/she advises for the lead. You don't need to mention the name of the novel twice, once at the conclusion is sufficient. And you don't need the sentence saying contact me if you want to read the novel. That is a given. The query is really enticing and these little changes will make it ready to go. Look at all the interest you've raised with it! Good luck.

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StayPositive
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by StayPositive » March 11th, 2010, 12:07 am

One thing lacking for me is POV. Am not sure if this is YA and so much of the story will revolve around 10-year-old Casey - what happens to her, how she feels, etc.

Or is the story an adult-focussed action-thriller with Casey in the background?

ahalaw
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query

Post by ahalaw » March 13th, 2010, 2:45 pm

Draft 2

Thanks everyone for your feedback! I tried to combine all of the comments in my revisions. While this is shorter, I didn't actually cut that much; it was more of rearranging and combining sentences to work on my hook. Tell me what you think. Is it too short?
_________________

Dear XYZ:

When a new technology reveals that Val's foster daughter Casey is the reincarnation of America's deadliest homegrown terrorist, they must race to find a Karma Cleaner, a spiritual hacker capable of erasing her past. On the run from those who want retribution for the crimes she committed in her past life, Val and Casey must evade federal agents, terrorists, bounty hunters, and a deceitful foster mother eager to cash Casey in for the reward. But soon they learn that mercenaries and the police aren’t the only things chasing them—so are their pasts, which, like their karma, are inextricably interwoven. Val is then confronted with the greatest challenge of his life: learning how to forgive Casey for the murder of his first wife and son.

From Under The Wheel, my 98,000-word novel, is about finding redemption in an unforgiving world. Its balance of Eastern philosophy, spiritual introspection, and explosive action would appeal to readers of speculative or science fiction. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Re: Speculative Fiction Query REVISED 3/14/10

Post by KaylingR » March 14th, 2010, 12:41 pm

This sounds like a fascinating book! I think your query is pretty close, but here are a couple of picky things I'd do. Take or ignore them as you please. :)

Good luck!


>>When a new technology [2]reveals that Val's foster daughter Casey is the reincarnation of America's deadliest homegrown terrorist, they[1] must race to find a Karma Cleaner, a spiritual hacker capable of erasing her past[3].
[1] This 'they' confuses me. I think its a combination of wanting to somehow make it refer the the new technology and being unclear about who specifically is the main character.
[2]don't know that it really matters that its a new technology only what's revealed.
[3] a little clunky simplify.

"When Val learns his foster daughter is the reincarnation of America's deadliest homegrown terrorist, he races to find a Karma Cleaner to erase her past."
new paragraph.

>>On the run from those who want retribution for the crimes she committed in her past life, Val and Casey must evade federal agents, terrorists, bounty hunters, and a deceitful foster mother eager to cash Casey in for the reward. But soon they learn that mercenaries and the police aren’t the only things chasing them—so are their pasts[1], which, like their karma, are inextricably interwoven[2].
[1] something about the agreement here is off to my ear
[2] Val & Casey's pasts are woven together and so is their karma? or past and karma are inextricably interwoven? I'm not sure what this means and I'm not sure why I care. I'd probably drop this as telling.


So basically we have 3 things chasing them 1) those who want retribution for crimes committed in past life (federal agents, terroists, police and maybe Val?) 2) ppl who want a reward (mom, mercenaries) and 3) the past. This last doesn't quite make sense to me. I'm not sure if this is purely a figure of speech or you in some way mean this literally.

I'm not clear enough on what you mean to make a suggestion. Is it just a chase story or do you have other things going on?


>>Val is then confronted with the greatest challenge of his life: learning how to forgive Casey for the murder of his first wife and son.
I think this is what you mean by their pasts/kharma being interwoven, but its much cooler this way.

>>From Under The Wheel, my 98,000-word novel, is about finding redemption in an unforgiving world. Its balance of Eastern philosophy, spiritual introspection, and explosive action would appeal to readers of speculative or science fiction[1]. Thank you for your time and consideration.
[1] would leave out all the telling stuff.

"From Under The Wheel is a 98,000 word science fiction novel. Thank you for your time and consideration."

-K.

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gonzo2802
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Re: Speculative Fiction Query REVISED 3/14/10

Post by gonzo2802 » March 14th, 2010, 10:36 pm

Here are a couple of my thoughts:

1) Val is a unisex name. Since he isn't clearly defined as a male until the last sentence of the blurb, I was picturing a woman up until that point, which can be a little confusing.

2) The foster mom trying to turn Casey in for reward money confuses me a little. If Val is her foster dad (and we learn later on about his first wife and son) is the foster mom his current wife or one of Casey's previous foster moms?

3) "But soon they learn that mercenaries and the police aren’t the only things chasing them—so are their pasts, which, like their karma, are inextricably interwoven." This sentence is confusing and vague when compared to the rest of the blurb, and you could probably leave it out altogether. The line about Val learning to forgive Casey for the murder of his first wife and son, pretty much shows the same thing you said in this sentence, and its got much more punch to it.

As far as the book description paragraph, I've heard it's best to leave off information about theme, etc.

From Under The Wheel, my 98,000-word novel, is about finding redemption in an unforgiving world. Its balance of Eastern philosophy, spiritual introspection, and explosive action would appeal to readers of speculative or science fiction. Thank you for your time and consideration.

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