Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
User avatar
Josin
Posts: 98
Joined: December 7th, 2009, 1:07 pm
Contact:

Re: Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Post by Josin » February 10th, 2010, 6:50 pm

personality disorder =/= insanity

True insanity thinks it's sane, sees nothing wrong with its actions or is incapable of judging its actions, and feels no remorse for its actions.

People who are insane can have moments of lucidity where they will realize what they've done and feel remorse, but once that moment passes, they're back to being insane.

Yoshima
Posts: 93
Joined: January 3rd, 2010, 4:34 pm
Contact:

Re: Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Post by Yoshima » February 10th, 2010, 6:52 pm

Hi Remus! I saw your title, giggled, and just had to drop by. :)
Remus Shepherd wrote:Okay, fair enough.

(And yes, aspiring_x, I am using Nathan's checklist for what to include in a query.)

Let's try this iteration then:
They are mad geniuses; ugly but adaptable, stubborn but strong. They are a secret cabal called the Platinum Donkeys, and Maggie -- a sexy TV host turned serial-killer -- is their latest recruit. (I like this hook. Though, I think since she developed her murderous side before being recruited, maybe instead of "turned" say serial-killing is her double life or something to that effect, so we know she's been that way for awhile. That way you don't have the reader asking what critical event JUST HAPPENED TO MAKE HER TURN SERIAL AND WHY AREN'T YOU TELLING ME ABOUT IT, you know? Just a suggestion. Only other comment is due to personal preference: I think instead of the semicolon, you should just end it with a period. It gives more punch, I think, and to stand out in the slush a little extra oomph wouldn't hurt.)

When Maggie murders an important guest on the orbital station where she grew up, she escapes to Earth to find it a world of omnipresent, shapeshifting electronics and frightening social control. (I'm thinking 1984 and Thought Police, lol. How fun!) Hunted by the (Thought!! Ahem. Sorry. 1984 is one of my fav books.) police, Maggie tries to discover the cause of and cure for her insanity (I know what you mean about the personality disorder thing and knowing you're insane, but the "turned" up there does make her seem like a mad-dog killer with no remorse, so it seems weird when you say she wants to find a cure. It's mostly word choice that's tripping up the query, I think. If you're going to condense and keep it short and sweet, you have extra pressure to really make sure every word says exactly what you mean.). But the Platinum Donkeys want her insane, and they give her a choice: Either (no caps) save the world, or destroy it and rule as their queen. (Not getting why she's so special that they want her as queen, to be honest. I get that you just want this to be a teaser, but if she's so important to the PD's, that sounds like a crucial bit of plot you need to have in here to help tease the reader. Just something to consider. :) )

I know you think you're being clear about them not being actual donkeys, but keep in mind that some weird stuff can go on in sci-fi. I personally expect weird/abnormal when I pick up sci-fi. I assumed they were human because Maggie was human. But that's the only reason.

Platinum Donkeys is a fast-paced, 87,000 word science fiction novel. An excerpt, a synopsis, and the full manuscript are available at your request.

I am a satellite physicist, and I am a graduate of the 2007 Viable Paradise writer's workshop. I have had short fiction published in the semi-pro magazines Futures Mystery Anthology and Inquest, and I have had a sci-fi webcomic with over 1000 readers.

Platinum Donkeys will be my first published novel. I am at the beginning of what I hope will be a lengthy second career writing science fiction, and at this stage I am seeking long-term representation.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time.
Some give, some take. Some improvement?
Since your title is FABULOUS, an agent will likely pick it straight up and have high expectations for your query. As for the length, a little (LITTLE, keyword) extra teasing never hurt anybody. :)

Serzen
Posts: 139
Joined: February 6th, 2010, 11:42 pm
Location: Upstate NY
Contact:

Re: Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Post by Serzen » February 10th, 2010, 7:26 pm

Remus Shepherd wrote: They are mad geniuses; ugly but adaptable, stubborn but strong. They are a secret cabal called the Platinum Donkeys, and Maggie -- a sexy TV host turned serial-killer -- is their latest recruit.

When Maggie murders an important guest on the orbital station where she grew up, she escapes to Earth to find it a world of omnipresent, shapeshifting electronics and frightening social control. Hunted by the police and aided by a multiphobic lawyer, a psychopathic chemist and a precognitive megalomaniac, Maggie fights against corporate intrigue, doomsday machines, and her own traumatic past to discover the cause of and cure for her insanity.

But the Platinum Donkeys only recruit the insane, and they force her to make a choice: Either defeat them to save the world, or destroy it and rule as their queen.
Please note, I mostly only like to offer advice on things like grammar, structure, tempo, word choice, etc. I'm not going to try and tell you what you need to write in order to convince someone to buy your book; I'll try to help you make your writing stronger and more clear, which should help your book sell itself. To be a successful author, one (should) be a good writer.

Okay, that's out of the way. I'm not going to tackle this inline as I normally would because I want to make points whilst I work and it will be easier to do this way, I hope. As a result red for changes/suggestions/offerings, black for commentary.

They are mad geniuses. Ugly, adaptable, stubborn, strong, they are The Platinum Donkeys. Maggie--sexy TV host turned serial killer--is the latest recruit in their secret, psychopathic cabal. A previous comment was, in effect, "don't say it's fast-paced, demonstrate it." You asked how, this is how. Make the punctuation work for you. Think of punk rock and its greatest creed, "Stand up, spit it out and sit the f*ck back down." If you want your reader to get that your story is fast-paced, you need to deliver your lines like Henry Rollins mainlining caffeine.

Maggie murders an important guest on the orbital station she calls home and seeks refuge and respite down on the surface. Earth is contaminated: omnipresent shape-shifting electronics, social control. Freedom is dead. Hunted by the Law, aided by the Strange, Maggie fights back. The Corporate System, Doomsday Machines, past trauma made present, Maggie battles for one thing: to free her own mind. Carrying on with the hardcore delivery. I might be letting the punk in me make a few too many broad strokes, particularly re: social commentary, but them's the breaks. This paragraph covers everything you have, save for defining her Band of Merry Companions, but lays them out with force.

But The Platinum Donkeys thrive on crazy, they force Maggie's hand. Destroy the Donkeys and save the world or damn it and be the Donkey Queen. Okay, I'll admit that Donkey Queen is kinda uncool but it is what it is. I think you get the point.

It's about voice, style, the ineffable "feeling." You want to engage your reader, you want them (hopefully there will be a lot!) to connect with your story. I've really been heavy-handed with the punk tempo here, used it to the extreme, but it's to make a point: if you want to show someone that your novel is fast and full of energy you need to pull out all the stops to make it so. It means using the right words in the right order and punctuating (or refraining from doing so) in a way that drives things forward at increasing speed. Take my second paragraph, first sentence. Just the period at the end, no commas, nothing but what looks like a couple of extra 'and's towards the end. They make the sentence read faster as you get to the end because your mind tumbles over them, compelling itself whether you want it to or not. My introduction to the Donkeys works similarly, but with different punctuation. "They are X." No room for any discussion, no wishywashyness. Then, "bang, bang, bang, bang, they are." Rapid-fire, get it across.

Regardless, that's my input on the topic for now. If I were reading this on the back of a book, I'd still be doubtful. I'd want to know more, but I'd want the author to tell me what is important for me know. I won't tell you what I want you to tell me. I read because I enjoy having someone else tell the story, but they'd better do a good job of it. So, if you want me to walk out of the bookstore with your book in hand, YOU tell ME what I need to know.

~Serzen
Il en est des livres comme du feu de nos foyers; on va prendre ce feu chez son voisin, on l’allume chez soi, on le communique à d’autres, et il appartient à tous. --Voltaire

User avatar
Remus Shepherd
Posts: 27
Joined: February 1st, 2010, 2:30 pm
Contact:

Re: Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Post by Remus Shepherd » February 10th, 2010, 9:05 pm

Yoshima, thank you! I didn't realize that the word 'turned' was causing such trouble. Now that the problem's been pointed out to me, I think I know how to fix it. Maybe, "-- a sexy TV host and corporate-sponsored serial killer --" I worry that gives the wrong impression, that this is normal in that setting, but strictly speaking it is true. I just don't like to lie on my resume. Hmmn, maybe another wording...I'll think about it.

I'm sorry to say that the title alone hasn't been that helpful. I've already sent out to a half dozen agents, and my initial query was not getting results. The revamp will, I hope.

Serzen, I love what you wrote. It's very, very not-me, but if I read that in someone else's query I would love it. :) I'm going to appropriate some of your language.

User avatar
christi
Posts: 166
Joined: January 31st, 2010, 3:54 pm
Location: Texas
Contact:

Re: Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Post by christi » February 10th, 2010, 10:03 pm

"Destroy the Donkeys and save the world or damn it and be the Donkey Queen."

OMG. That was hilarious.
Would you sign my story for a Klondike bar?

http://christigoddard.blogspot.com/

KappaP
Posts: 58
Joined: December 9th, 2009, 12:44 pm
Location: Macedonia
Contact:

Re: Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Post by KappaP » February 11th, 2010, 2:45 am

Bah, sorry I was reading/responding to a few different versions of the query so I didn't catch the change to "they are called the". My bad. I still stand by the rest of my comments, but you, of course, know your work and style better than I do. Good luck!
www.patchesandsara.blogspot.com

Not a writing blog... at all.

austincambridge
Posts: 7
Joined: February 10th, 2010, 11:49 pm
Contact:

Re: Query -- Platinum Donkeys

Post by austincambridge » February 11th, 2010, 10:36 am

I like the title and I would start the query with it, thus: The Platinum Donkeys are mad geniuses. I don't get the sense of whether Maggie is inherently good or evil. What's her motive for committing murder? How come she's suddenly insane? At this stage, you should wrote too much, rather than too little. This is the forum to pare down the non-essentials. And drop the fast-paced reference - show this in your query writing style.
Remus Shepherd wrote:Okay, fair enough.

(And yes, aspiring_x, I am using Nathan's checklist for what to include in a query.)

Let's try this iteration then:
They are mad geniuses; ugly but adaptable, stubborn but strong. They are a secret cabal called the Platinum Donkeys, and Maggie -- a sexy TV host turned serial-killer -- is their latest recruit.

When Maggie murders an important guest on the orbital station where she grew up, she escapes to Earth to find it a world of omnipresent, shapeshifting electronics and frightening social control. Hunted by the police, Maggie tries to discover the cause of and cure for her insanity. But the Platinum Donkeys want her insane, and they give her a choice: Either save the world, or destroy it and rule as their queen.

Platinum Donkeys is a fast-paced, 87,000 word science fiction novel. An excerpt, a synopsis, and the full manuscript are available at your request.

I am a satellite physicist, and I am a graduate of the 2007 Viable Paradise writer's workshop. I have had short fiction published in the semi-pro magazines Futures Mystery Anthology and Inquest, and I have had a sci-fi webcomic with over 1000 readers.

Platinum Donkeys will be my first published novel. I am at the beginning of what I hope will be a lengthy second career writing science fiction, and at this stage I am seeking long-term representation.

I'm looking forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time.
Some give, some take. Some improvement?

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 9 guests