Query: After Life, Inc.

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ellisrae
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Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by ellisrae » April 13th, 2012, 8:43 pm

Dear [insert name of agent/publisher],

In a world where death is not an end, but a new beginning, 19-year-old Clara Jean Fitzgerald and 20-year-old Joshua Turner battle a corrupt system that promises a blissful and eternal after life through a computer program for anyone who can pay, while those who can’t are assured a fate much worse than death.

Joshua has been confined to the After Life program for over 100 years and is put in charge of showing new arrival, Clara Jean, the ropes of living and surviving in the program. Joshua first introduces Clara Jean to the other members of Pod 223 and shows her their home located under ground in the deep caverns of the sewer system. Clara Jean soon realizes The After Life program is not the peaceful utopia she was promised or what she had paid for in the least. Anyone under the age of 30 is forced into slavery and is expected to obey the Elders' every command without question or complaint. Pod 223 has 5 other members, who now are the closest thing Clara Jean has to family. Together, Pod 223 begins the revolution to dismantle the most tyrannical corporation in Earth's existence and in doing so discover themselves and what they truly stand for.

After Life, Inc. is an Upper YA Science Fiction adventure that will span across three novels. My name is Rae Ellis and I am 20 years old. This is my first novel at approximately 61,000 words. I'm very interested in working with you to make After Life, Inc. a reality and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Rae Ellis

theepicwinner
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Re: Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by theepicwinner » April 13th, 2012, 9:41 pm

ellisrae wrote:Dear [insert name of agent/publisher],

In a world where death is not an end, but a new beginning, 19-year-oldClara Jean Fitzgerald and 20-year-oldJoshua Turner battle a corrupt system that promises a blissful and eternal after life through a computer program for anyone who can pay, while those who can’t are assured a fate much worse than death. This first paragraph seems long-winded. You need to break it up into shorter, snappier sentences. As is it reads like you don't have control over your writing, which might turn an agent off requesting pages.

Joshua has been confined to the After Life program for over 100 years and is put in charge of showing new arrival, Clara Jean, the ropes of living and surviving in the program. Joshua first introduces Clara Jean to the other members of Pod 223 and shows her their home located under ground in the deep caverns of the sewer system. Superfluous - you don't need this sort of detail in a query letter. Clara Jean soon realizes The After Life program is not the peaceful utopia she was promised or what she had paid for in the least We already know she had to pay to get here - also superfluous. Anyone under the age of 30 is forced into slavery and is expected to obey the Elders' every command without question or complaint. Pod 223 has 5 other members, who now are are now the closest thing Clara Jean has to family. Together, Pod 223 begins the revolution to dismantle the most tyrannical corporation in Earth's existence and in doing so discover themselves and what they truly stand for.

After Life, Inc. is an Upper YA Science Fiction adventure that will span across three novels. with series potential. My name is Rae Ellis and I am 20 years old. This is my first novel at approximately 61,000 words. You'll already be supplying your name when signing off so it's unnecessary here. I'd leave out your age and the fact that this is your first novel. Let the agent fall in love with your idea before they start worrying about your lack of experience. I'm very interested in working with you to make After Life, Inc. a reality and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Rae Ellis
All in all this sounds like a wonderful idea; definitely something I'd like to read. However, you need to focus on making your sentences shorter and snappier while cutting out unnecessary information.

I hope I've been of some help. Perhaps you wouldn't mind critiquing mine to reciprocate? viewtopic.php?f=13&t=4761
"If you can think it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it" - Evan Taubenfeld

Don't give up on your dreams.

ellisrae
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Re: Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by ellisrae » April 14th, 2012, 7:53 am

Yes you were a great help, thank you very much!

writersink
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Re: Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by writersink » April 15th, 2012, 10:33 am

Dear [insert name of agent/publisher],

In a world where death is not an end, but a new beginning, 19-year-oldClara Jean Fitzgerald and 20-year-oldJoshua Turner battle a corrupt system that promises a blissful and eternal after life through a computer program for anyone who can pay, while those who can’t are assured a fate much worse than death.

Yeah, this needs to be cut into shorter sentences. Also, you might want to elaborate on this "fate worse than death." Tell us what this fate is, and let us decide how terrible it really is, rather than simply stating this. If this computer system is corrupt... how come everyone doesn't know? Why is it only these specific characters? How is it corrupt anyway? What do they want from these people? Money? Control?

Joshua has been confined to the After Life program for over 100 years and is put in charge of showing new arrival, Clara Jean, the ropes of living and surviving in the program. Joshua first introduces Clara Jean to the other members of Pod 223 and shows her their home located under ground in the deep caverns of the sewer system.Clara Jean soon realizes The After Life program is not the peaceful utopia she was promised or what she had paid for in the least.Anyone under the age of 30 is forced into slavery and is expected to obey the Elders' every command without questionor complaint. What is stopping them from rebelling? Pod 223 has 5 other The other members of Clara's assigned... Also, members makes me think of a club or a gang or something, who now are the closest thing Clara Jean has to family. Together, Pod 223 this detracts from the MC. This should all be about Clara, not Pod 233. begins the revolution to dismantle the most tyrannical corporation in Earth's existence thre has been no mention of any corportation. As such, I feel as though the bad guys are nothing more than shadowy beings in the background. We need a main bad guy and in doing so discover themselves and what they truly stand for.

Okay, I thought that Joshua was still alive, and hence was battling this from the outside. The first paragraph makes it sound as though Joshua and Clare already know each other. Is Clara Jean meant to be Clara-Jean? I'd just have Clara. And what's Joshua doing here? It seems as though Clara is the main character, and Joshua is a side character. We're not given any information about him. "Most tyrannical corporation" is quite purple writing. Oh, and what about the people over the age of 30? Why aren't they forced into slavery? Why don't they say anything? Do you mean anyone over the age of 30 when they died? Because when you're dead I didn't think you could get any older.

After Life, Inc. of 61,0000 words is an Upper YA Science Fiction adventure that will span across three novels. with the potential to be turned into a trilogy My name is Rae Ellis and I am 20 years old.This is my first novel at approximately 61,000 words. I'm very interested in working with you to make After Life, Inc. a reality my first thought = of course you're interested. Why else would you be querying?and look forward to hearing from you soon.

Rae Ellis

This premise sounds like a fairly standard dystopian. What makes it unique? What is different about this world? Stories of people oppressed always have twist e.g Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four has the 24 hour survallience, and Collins' The Hunger Games has... well, the Hunger Games. What is unique about this world?

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wilderness
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Re: Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by wilderness » April 20th, 2012, 5:41 pm

Hi Rae,

I think you have a really cool sounding premise. There is a lot of dystopia currently, but with the right query I think you could still make yours stand out, especially with the computer program concept. However, as it reads, I'm not really sure what the computer program is. Is it a game? What does it do? More notes below. Good luck!
ellisrae wrote:Dear [insert name of agent/publisher],

In a world where death is not an end, but a new beginning, 19-year-old Clara Jean Fitzgerald and 20-year-old Joshua Turner battle a corrupt system that promises a blissful and eternal after life through a computer program for anyone who can pay, while those who can’t are assured a fate much worse than death. This sounds like a log line, but honestly those don't work well in query because they summarize the whole story before the pitch, giving away details that are not chronological. Also, this is a REALLY long sentence that has too much for us to take in right away.


Joshua has been confined to the After Life program for over 100 years [maybe tell us what the program is and how/why he has been confined there. I'm sure it's clear to you, but I can't picture this program or how someone is confined to one.] and is put in charge of showing new arrival, Clara Jean, the ropes of living and surviving in the program. This is the perfect spot to explain it to us, in one brief sentence. Joshuafirst introduces Clara Jean to the other members of Pod 223 and shows her their home located under ground in the deep caverns of the sewer system.

Clara Jean soon realizes The After Life program is not the peaceful utopia she was promised or what she had paid for in the least. This is telling us something the next sentence shows. You don't need it. Anyone under the age of 30 is forced into slavery and is expected to obey the Elders' every command without question or complaint. Maybe give us some examples of the types of unreasonable commands the Elders give.

Pod 223 has 5 other members, who now are the closest thing Clara Jean has to family. This sentence feels a little awkward and thrown in there. Together, Pod 223 begins the revolution to dismantle the most tyrannical corporation in Earth's existence and in doing so discover themselves and what they truly stand for. You're giving away your whole story here. Usually a query is more of a teaser. Maybe just mention a few things that Clara notices about Pod 223 that seem sinister, and end with a choice that Clara must make. Also, I find it a little odd that you started with Joshua but Clara seems to be the main character. Is it multiple POV? If not, start with the MC. If it is multiple POV, you should mention that in the paragraph below.

After Life, Inc. is an Upper YA Science Fiction adventure that will span across three novels.My name is Rae Ellis and I am 20 years old. You sign with your name, so you don't need to mention it here. No need to mention your age at this point either.This is my first novel at approximately 61,000 words.I'm very interested in working with you to make After Life, Inc. a reality and look forward to hearing from you soon. The last sentence is a given, and some agents have pet-peeves about saying you look forward to hearing from them soon -- because it may not be soon. Instead, just thank the agent for their time.

Rae Ellis

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GaoYuQing
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Re: Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by GaoYuQing » May 9th, 2012, 11:21 am

Very interesting premise I confess. Probably something I'd pick off a shelf to take a closer look at, if only to see how people reduced to programs could be enslaved, or live in a sewer, or any of that! Other reviewers have already stated the more obvious technical items. I confess what kind of tweaked me the wrong way was the hyperbole in the description ie "the most tyrannical corporation in Earth's existence." It comes across a little over the top. Beat the drum a little more subtly. But I admit that this might be more of a personal quirk. Hyperbole rubs me the wrong way, ask my wife who likes to use it. v.v;;

Joe Kosh
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Re: Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by Joe Kosh » May 13th, 2012, 1:05 am

I really, really liked the original query. It gave me just enough that I wanted to know how it all happens, how they organize participants in pods to control them, and how the characters fight back (if they can). If I was in a bookstore I would have bought this book based on that description! In fact, I'll go on record now and commit to buying a paperback copy or ebook copy of it when it's ready; I hate overpriced hardbacks as a reader. :evil:

The only phrasing I hated was "a fate worse than death". There is nothing worse than death for most people so it's confusing to read that and if it's a multiverse or afterlife situation that's worse than death, tell us what that is so that we are motivated to root for your character.

I would probably follow the recommendations that "wilderness" suggests, even though I was sold on it. He makes alot of sense from what I've read and makes fantastic points and recommendations.

Send me a mail and I'll send you my information so you can add me to your list once you get it sold or self-publish.

ellisrae
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Re: Query: After Life, Inc.

Post by ellisrae » May 13th, 2012, 8:22 am

Thanks so much everyone who commented for all of your input. I took advice from everyone and got a few responses asking for more chapters. They ultimately didn't pan out for whatever reason. I've decided to go the self publishing ebook route for this particular novel. Thanks again for all of your input. It even helped me tweak the actual story a bit and fix some plot holes. I really appreciate it!

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