questions on a speculative thriller query

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boatbuilder
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questions on a speculative thriller query

Post by boatbuilder » February 21st, 2013, 9:24 am

I would appreciate it if anyone can think of a way to shorten this query. Any other comments would also be welcome.

I hope the concept works. It is a rather long book but I think speculative, sci-fi and fantasies can support this length.

Hope you enjoy it.

Justin Thomas is an inventor with a few successes. The road to his latest invention is somewhat rocky though. This invention is a self generating electric vehicle. The smear campaigns by the oil industry, the scoffing by auto makers and the snide remarks from the Senate are over. It has become time for threats because Justin is in negotiations with China.

It is little wonder that Justin needs a break. Even his breaks are taking months of planning. The planned expedition will be a nice kayak trip for Justin and his friend Daphne Flowers, a vacationing FDLE Agent, but it is also a matter of pride for many southern colleges. The call was out for their brightest kids to put together the high technology side of the equation.

Things go awry when a storm forces them to shelter in a cabin maintained by the Forestry Service. There they meet a man with a story about being employed by a security contractor and terrorists with a bunch of military weapons in their hands. These stories turn out to be true and some of the weapons are recovered by Justin and Daphne in Tallahassee. DHS and ATF co-opt them because of insights they might have.

In Atlanta the terrorists have planned several feints including a possible siege of the CDC. Late at night with forces spread across the city, the true target becomes known. Just eight people, including Justin and Daphne, must confront the terrorist at Flat Rock Cemetery on the island at Hartsfield/Jackson Airport that the cemetery occupies.

Back in Tallahassee Justin remembers to turn on his phone only to find threatening messages from an obscure Texas oilman. A couple of the college kids from the expedition are hackers and start looking into the oilman. Ties to terrorist funding are found. Justin is invited to watch the arrest by a DHS Agent. The arrest doesn’t go as planned. The renegade Somali terrorist they had been chasing was tasked with removing the oilman because his ties to them were now in the open.


The OCHLOCKNEE IVORYBILL HUNT is an 116000 word work of fiction. Its genre could be called a speculative thriller.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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Quill
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Re: questions on a speculative thriller query

Post by Quill » February 21st, 2013, 12:18 pm

boatbuilder wrote: Justin Thomas is an inventor with a few successes. The road to his latest invention is somewhat rocky though. This invention is a self generating electric vehicle. The smear campaigns by the oil industry, the scoffing by auto makers and the snide remarks from the Senate are over. It has become time for threats because Justin is in negotiations with China.

It is little wonder that Justin needs a break. Even his breaks are taking months of planning. The planned expedition will be a nice kayak trip for Justin and his friend Daphne Flowers, a vacationing FDLE Agent, but it is also a matter of pride for many southern colleges. The call was out for their brightest kids to put together the high technology side of the equation.

Things go awry when a storm forces them to shelter in a cabin maintained by the Forestry Service. There they meet a man with a story about being employed by a security contractor and terrorists with a bunch of military weapons in their hands. These stories turn out to be true and some of the weapons are recovered by Justin and Daphne in Tallahassee. DHS and ATF co-opt them because of insights they might have.

In Atlanta the terrorists have planned several feints including a possible siege of the CDC. Late at night with forces spread across the city, the true target becomes known. Just eight people, including Justin and Daphne, must confront the terrorist at Flat Rock Cemetery on the island at Hartsfield/Jackson Airport that the cemetery occupies.

Back in Tallahassee Justin remembers to turn on his phone only to find threatening messages from an obscure Texas oilman. A couple of the college kids from the expedition are hackers and start looking into the oilman. Ties to terrorist funding are found. Justin is invited to watch the arrest by a DHS Agent. The arrest doesn’t go as planned. The renegade Somali terrorist they had been chasing was tasked with removing the oilman because his ties to them were now in the open.
Almost all your description is passive writing. I suggest rewriting with active verbs and subjects. One clue: notice how most of your subjects are inanimate objects.

The road is rocky
This invention is a vehicle.
The campaigns, the scoffing and the remarks are over.
It has become time
It is little wonder
his breaks are taking months
The expedition will be a nice trip
it is a matter of pride
The call was out
Things go awry
a storm forces them
These stories turn out to be true
weapons are recovered
the target becomes known.
Ties are found.
Justin is invited
The arrest doesn’t go as planned.
The terrorist was tasked
his ties to them were in the open.

These are all passive phrases. Most agents will want to see active writing.

Doug Pardee
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Re: questions on a speculative thriller query

Post by Doug Pardee » February 21st, 2013, 3:46 pm

First, what Quill said. This is a dry recitation of stuff. A query is supposed to be a tease that will make the reader want to read the manuscript to find out what happens, not an outline.

You want to shorten this? That's easy. Take out all of the junk that the book isn't about, which is most of the query. All the way down to the point at which, for unknown reasons, Justin and Daphne somehow recover unknown weapons from unknown terrorists. But at least we know where it happened: Tallahassee. Take out the irrelevant details (Tallahassee) and put in relevant details (what kind of terrorists, what kind of weapons, maybe how the weapons came into Justin's hands, and why Justin and Daphne took it upon themselves to get the weapons rather than notify proper authorities).

What about the terrorists? Did they get away? Are they upset about the loss of the weapons? Are they coming after Justin and Daphne? Or at least, are Justin and Daphne worried about that possibility?

Now take out the rest of the query. A query isn't a synopsis of the whole story. All you're trying to do is show the set-up in as intriguing a way as possible. Who are the main characters? What's the situation? What's the conflict? What are the stakes? Start by thinking about what you'd write on the back cover of the book.

A query is also a place to show off your writing skills. Sorry to say, but this query shows very little skill. The story doesn't even make sense the way its told.

boatbuilder
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Re: questions on a speculative thriller query

Post by boatbuilder » February 21st, 2013, 5:50 pm

Thank you both. Yes I am scientifically trained and it is a hard thing for me to get past the passive writing part. I'll let it stew for a couple of days and try again.

boatbuilder
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Re: questions on a speculative thriller query

Post by boatbuilder » February 21st, 2013, 10:36 pm

Is this this a query?

When Justin Thomas returned from Atlanta he had it all. He had a 10 million dollar a year contract, new friends and allies and his best friend at his side. He also had the nastiest bruise you will ever see on his shoulder. This came from the bulletproof vest that had done its job and stopped a bullet. The bruise was a memento from Justin and his new allies, ATF and DHS, thwarting an attack on Hartsfield/Jackson Airport. The terrorist, a Somali refugee and affiliate of al Shabaab who had joined a number of street gangs together for a jihad, had escaped. The last thing Justin learned about was a contract on his life.

Justin had not thought that it would be an easy road for his newest invention, an electric vehicle capable of over 1000 miles per charge. When he signed a contract with DARPA to provide the vehicles for the military he was thinking that he could see a light at the end of the tunnel. Big Bill must have thought otherwise. Big Bill was an old school member of the petroleum business. He decided that Justin was going to sell him the technology, or else. Signing on the dotted line with DARPA had put Justin over the line with Big Bill.

The OCHLOCKNEE IVORYBILL HUNT is an 116000 word work of fiction. Its genre could be called a speculative thriller.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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