Beweary of this Query

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BasilZyllion
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Beweary of this Query

Post by BasilZyllion » February 11th, 2010, 8:03 pm

Dear Nathan,

An Amber Alert is placed for Serena Crazyhorse; an orphaned, stubborn, and defiant ‘tween-ager. Who satiated her wanderlust by reading the notoriously banned book, Spaceschool.com. Everyone who reads it disappears, Serena included. But where do they go?
Bad timing though, this Book itself contains an evil plot. Before Serena’s arrival, her spaceschool is shanghaied by pirates hired for more than their usual slaving and dragon poaching.
The antihero that the pirates work for is known only as the Void. Whose extensive and vacuous power, unbeknownst to Serena, lurks within everyone in the universe and is the driving force of her own emotional turmoil. A power that she cannot escape.
But this Void has a secret Achilles’ heel: Yet the only way to learn of his secret is to look inside herself, which she and 20,000 of her closest alien friends and fellow students must. This answer and maybe even a lesson is hidden inside the ink of the infamously banned book Spaceschool.com.Beware of Spaceschool.com. 50,000 words dripping with evil and masquerading as a Sci/fi Mid-grade Adventure that has the audacity to unleash children to imagine a school where not even the sky is the limit.

Thanks for your time and consideration.
Basil Zyllion

Calliopenjo
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Re: Beweary of this Query

Post by Calliopenjo » February 12th, 2010, 12:53 am

BasilZyllion wrote:Dear Nathan,

An Amber Alert is placed for Serena Crazyhorse; an orphaned, stubborn, and defiant ‘tween-ager. Who satiated her wanderlust by reading the notoriously banned book, Spaceschool.com. Everyone who reads it disappears, Serena included. But where do they go?
I'm reading telling here. Show the MC as being stubborn and defiant. And beware of adverbs. What might work here is show why the book was banned instead of telling, or delete that sentence because the following shows it. Ex: Spaceschool.com was a new release by an anonymous author. The school banned it after they realized that the student population started dwindling.
Bad timing though, this Book itself contains an evil plot. Before Serena’s arrival, her spaceschool is shanghaied by pirates hired for more than their usual slaving and dragon poaching.
My suggestion here is to delete the first sentence. It seems as if you are telling with showing coming after to prove your point.
The antihero that the pirates work for is known only as the Void. Whose extensive and vacuous power, unbeknownst to Serena, lurks within everyone in the universe and is the driving force of her own emotional turmoil. A power that she cannot escape.
Suggestion? Reword. Skip antihero and start with the Void instead.
But this Void has a secret Achilles’ heel: Yet the only way to learn of his secret is to look inside herself, which she and 20,000 of her closest alien friends and fellow students must. This answer and maybe even a lesson is hidden inside the ink of the infamously banned book Spaceschool.com.Beware of Spaceschool.com. 50,000 words dripping with evil and masquerading as a Sci/fi Mid-grade Adventure that has the audacity to unleash children to imagine a school where not even the sky is the limit.
It's reading as if Serena is boasting. Instead of a specific number maybe categorize. Serena and her army or legion. Skip the dripping with evil as that's personal opinion. If it's dripping with evil then I think it should be shown above instead of told below. And delete the rest of the paragraph after midgrade adventure.

Thanks for your time and consideration.
Basil Zyllion

lachrymal
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Re: Beweary of this Query

Post by lachrymal » February 12th, 2010, 5:35 pm

When I read this, I thought that it described what could be a really interesting story. Quirky, with personality, and maybe with a cool message. All of that lurks behind this query. But, that said, I had some trouble understanding it because of some of the grammar and structure. So, I’ll offer two kinds of critique. Comments more focused on grammar are in the text of your query. The rest of the comments are below your query.

An Amber Alert is placed for Serena Crazyhorse; an orphaned, stubborn, and defiant ‘tween-ager [don’t use a semicolon when what comes after it is a dependent clause]. Who [Don’t start a sentence with who, unless it’s a question] satiated her wanderlust by reading the notoriously banned book, Spaceschool.com. Everyone who reads it disappears, Serena included. But where do they go?

Bad timing though, this Book itself contains an evil plot [Bad timing for what? Is there ever a good time for a bunch of kids to disappear? Are you saying it’s bad timing for a bunch of kids to be reading the book? This sentence feels weird, and is difficult to understand—like the comma is in the wrong place, but I can’t tell exactly where it should be]. Before Serena’s arrival, her spaceschool is shanghaied by pirates hired for more than their usual slaving and dragon poaching [I think this is my favorite sentence in the entire query—reveals more of your voice].

The antihero that [If he’s a person, “that” should be “who”] the pirates work for is known only as the Void [How about: The pirates work for the Void, whose…]. Whose [same thing here as in the first paragraph. “Who” and “Whose” are relative pronouns that introduce dependent clauses, not sentences] extensive and vacuous [all I can think of when I read this word is “stupid”. That’s only one meaning of the word “vacuous”, I know, but the other meanings are “empty of substance” and “meaningless”…maybe you could talk about what the power does, instead of using adjectives to describe it?] power, unbeknownst to Serena, lurks within everyone in the universe and is the driving force of her own emotional turmoil. A power that she cannot escape.

But [you could probably delete this but] this Void has a secret Achilles’ heel: [if there’s a colon here, it suggests you’re about to tell us what his Achilles’ heel is.] Yet [you could probably delete your yet and begin this as a stand alone sentence] the only way to learn of his secret is to look inside herself, which she and 20,000 of her closest alien friends and fellow students must. This answer and maybe even a lesson is [you need a plural verb—“are”—because both the answer and the lesson are the subjects of the sentence] hidden inside the ink of the infamously banned book Spaceschool.com.Beware of Spaceschool.com. 50,000 words dripping with evil and masquerading as a Sci/fi Mid-grade Adventure that has the audacity to unleash children to imagine [this is a pretty awkward phrase] a school where not even the sky is the limit [this is just a really long sentence. Put the title of the book in all-caps or italics. Does your title end in a period? If not, delete the one that comes right after your title, or it looks like you’ve started the sentence with a numeral].

Alright. That’s the nitpicky grammar stuff. Here’s the more general stuff:

I agree with Calliopenjo—there’s a lot of “telling” here. I wouldn’t describe the Void as an “antihero”-- first, because that’s not what you’re describing, and second, because you’re telling me what he is rather than showing me. I’d rather hear more of what the Void’s power is, what it does, etc. than hear that it’s extensive and vacuous. And when you say your book has the audacity to do something, well, I think that might be an invitation for an agent to think “yeah, right…” Instead, show the audacity of the book.

Beware clichés. Achilles’ heel, sky is the limit…

Finally, some of this, particularly when you get to the Void’s power, is really general, and therefore more difficult to understand what's different and unique about your story.

I hope this is helpful to you.

BasilZyllion
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Joined: February 11th, 2010, 7:10 pm
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Re: Beweary of this Query

Post by BasilZyllion » February 13th, 2010, 3:49 pm

Thanks for the feedback. I'll get back to you on this.

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