Query: Black Hole Son

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theWallflower
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Query: Black Hole Son

Post by theWallflower » February 12th, 2010, 11:57 am

Here's my query, please critique.

Dear {AGENT},

I am querying because of {REASON}. I think Black Hole Son would be a good match for your interests.

Remy wakes up on a park bench. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And the psychic ability to read the history of objects.

Ash wakes up in an alley. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, and he can set things on fire with his mind.

Now they must strike out on their own in a cold mega-city where pharmaceutical drugs have pervaded everyday life. Neither knows the other exists, and their only ties to their respective identities are their instincts to protect and defend people. Remy becomes entangled with a woman in an abusive relationship and joins a "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash is mugged when he tries to get some food. Looking for a job, he joins the White Knights, a neighborhood crime patrol group, and forms a relationship with Ivy, a stripper.

Throughout their individual, but strangely parallel journeys, they must find their origin, the reason they have these powers, and who the private security agents pursuing them are. They find that their instincts to protect people were not far off. But what will they do when they discover the real threat to society – themselves.

BLACK HOLE SON is a 120,000 word cyberpunk novel set in the near future. I have been previously published in "Sorcerous Signals", "Inwood Indiana", and "The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine".

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
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Emily White
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by Emily White » February 12th, 2010, 1:04 pm

I really liked this. Lot's of tension while introducing your characters. I loved it! Maybe someone will be able to give more helpful feedback, but I think this is good.
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Bohemienne
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by Bohemienne » February 12th, 2010, 1:26 pm

Hey there! Your book sounds pretty intriguing. Here are my initial thoughts on reading it. Apologies if this comes off as too harsh--I really am trying to help!
theWallflower wrote: I am querying because of {REASON}. I think Black Hole Son would be a good match for your interests.
Whatever {REASON} ends up being, it tells me nothing about the book title, genre, or word count! Make sure to put BLACK HOLE SON in capitals, and I think a single-sentence summary (a "hook") would really help you out.
theWallflower wrote: Remy wakes up on a park bench. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And the psychic ability to read the history of objects.

Ash wakes up in an alley. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, and he can set things on fire with his mind.
I appreciate the effort at repetition here, but I'd look for a way to combine these paragraphs. The last sentence of the Remy paragraph is really exciting! Since it's a sentence fragment--a nice, snappy punch of a sentence--I'd combine the sentences before it in some way so that it's all the more jarring.
theWallflower wrote: Now they must strike out on their own in a cold mega-city where pharmaceutical drugs have pervaded everyday life. Neither knows the other exists, and their only ties to their respective identities are their instincts to protect and defend people. Remy becomes entangled with a woman in an abusive relationship and joins a "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash is mugged when he tries to get some food. Looking for a job, he joins the White Knights, a neighborhood crime patrol group, and forms a relationship with Ivy, a stripper.
"mega-city" seems a bit extraneous to me. City would probably suffice, or you could go for "megalopolis" or a "cold, overgrown city." Also--"pharmaceutical drugs" doesn't tell me very much. Are we talking blood pressure medicine? Are these designer pharmaceuticals? Boutique medicine?

Then, the sentences about things that Remy and Ash do are all in passive voice. Remy and Ash sound like they're just standing around letting these things happen to them, when I'm sure they're very active, charismatic characters. "etangled in an abusive relationship" and "forms a relationship" are also really flat, almost textbook-like in description.
theWallflower wrote: Throughout their individual, but strangely parallel journeys, they must find their origin, the reason they have these powers, and who the private security agents pursuing them are. They find that their instincts to protect people were not far off. But what will they do when they discover the real threat to society – themselves.
Unless they are identical twins or clones and you want to telegraph this, I'd go with "origins" instead of "origin." And the last sentence is really intriguing, but a little awkwardly phrased--it starts off as a question but then concludes as a statement. I understand wanting to make "themselves" the last word in the sentence for maximum impact but I'd tinker with some other ways to do it.

Hope you find this helpful!

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maybegenius
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by maybegenius » February 12th, 2010, 1:36 pm

A good start! I like the repetition of the first two sentences. I think the following paragraph can be strengthened:
Now they must strike out on their own in a cold mega-city where pharmaceutical drugs have pervaded everyday life. Neither knows the other exists, and their only ties to their respective identities are their instincts to protect and defend people. Remy becomes entangled with a woman in an abusive relationship and joins a "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash is mugged when he tries to get some food. Looking for a job, he joins the White Knights, a neighborhood crime patrol group, and forms a relationship with Ivy, a stripper.
Are the women they're with important to the plot you're trying to convey here? Right now, it looks like you tacked them on as an afterthought. Like "They're hyperpowered men with a desire to protect people, so they join appropriate organizations. Also, they get girlfriends." It doesn't quite flow with the rest of the query. Maybe work in how Remy "saves" the abused woman, or how they use their powers for the good of the people they're trying to protect?

I would change "Throughout their individual, but strangely parallel journeys" to "Throughout their individual, but parallel, journeys." I'd also mention earlier that they're being pursued by private agents.
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ddegreeff
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by ddegreeff » February 12th, 2010, 1:56 pm

"They find that their instincts to protect people were not far off. "
Far off from what? This line seems a bit squeezed in a the end.

"But what will they do when they discover the real threat to society – themselves."
This is your big closing, so be more bold -- turn it into a statement.

Good luck!
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by cjtrapp » February 12th, 2010, 2:32 pm

Overall I liked your pitch. I could figure out who was doing what right from the beginning, which is not always the case. I would say that the fourth paragraph maybe has too much info. I know the desire to include all of the cool parts of your story at a glance, but you have to resist in order to create intrgue.

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theWallflower
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by theWallflower » February 15th, 2010, 11:36 am

Here is a revision.

Remy wakes up on a park bench. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there, but he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And the psychic ability to read the history of objects.

Ash wakes up in an alley. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there, but he has some pills, some money. And he can set things on fire with his mind.

Neither knows the other exists. Now they must each strike out on their own in a cold mega-city ruled by a designer pharmaceutical company. Remy puts himself at risk to save a woman in an abusive relationship, then joins a "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash is mugged when he tries to get some food. Looking for a job, he joins the White Knights, a neighborhood crime patrol group. But the leader, Ivan, is a self-important bully whose tyrannical policies urge Ash to consider mutiny.

Throughout their individual, but parallel journeys, they must find why they have these powers, and the reason for their instincts to protect and defend people. But what will they do when they discover the real threat to society is themselves?
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by cjtrapp » February 16th, 2010, 10:59 am

Coo premise. I would say to show, not tell about the psycic and firestarting capabilities. If they just woke up with these powers, they wouldn't fully understand them. For example:

Images flash through Remy's mind, as if the objects were crying out to him. A woman in a pink sweater, the strange gun in the hand of a maniac....

See the difference?

Also think you could remove the "woman in an abusive relationship" unless she is instrumental in leading him to the black market pharmacy. Either way, I think she should be described as a "battered woman" rather than a woman in an abusive relationship. (Not very cyber-punky!)

That said, considering your genre, the whole thing could have a bit more attitude. I'd wager your MS is full of cyberpunk snarl.
theWallflower wrote:Here's my query, please critique.

Dear {AGENT},

I am querying because of {REASON}. I think Black Hole Son would be a good match for your interests.

Remy wakes up on a park bench. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And the psychic ability to read the history of objects.Give us a taste!

Ash wakes up in an alley. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there. But he has some pills, some money, and he can set things on fire with his mind.Did it just happen to him? What was the first thing he set on fire?

Now they must strike out on their own in a cold, mega-city where pharmaceutical drugs have pervaded passive voice how about just pervade?everyday life. Neither knows the other exists, and their only ties to their respective identities are their instincts to protect and defend people. Remy becomes entangled with a woman in an abusive relationship and joins a "Robin Hood" black market pharmacy. Ash is mugged when he tries to get some while scavenging forfood. Looking for a jobDestitute, he joins the White Knights, a neighborhood crime patrol group and forms a relationship with Ivy, a stripper.where he hooks up with a stripper named Ivy.

Throughout their individual, but strangelyparallel journeys, they must find their origin, the reason they have these powers, and who the private security agents pursuing them arewho or why?. They find that their instincts to protect people were not far off.?unclear But what will they do when they discover the real threat to society – themselves.Rephrase, this is a rhetorical question which should not be in a query. Also, find a way to say it without being a cliche.

BLACK HOLE SON is a 120,000 word cyberpunk novel set in the near future. I have been previously published in "Sorcerous Signals", "Inwood Indiana", and "The Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine".

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.

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theWallflower
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by theWallflower » April 28th, 2010, 4:01 pm

Here is a link to my second draft for those who want to follow the progress. viewtopic.php?f=13&t=945&start=0
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Re: Query: Black Hole Son

Post by Ermo » April 30th, 2010, 12:21 pm

Remy wakes up on a park bench. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there, but he has some pills, some money, a pink sweater, and a strange gun. And the psychic ability to read the history of objects.

Ash wakes up in an alley. He has no memory and no idea who he is or how he got there, but he has some pills, some money. And he can set things on fire with his mind.
I think this would work better if these two paragraphs were parallel.

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