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  1. #1
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    Query -- SUBSERVIA

    Hello All,

    Thanks in advance. Any and all feedback is welcomed and appreciated. Must. Get. This. Right. -D



    SUBSERVIA is a 90,000-word speculative/urban fantasy based on the premise that this world, here and now, is a veiled dystopian society. Picture The Matrix without the machines. Its literary flavor, underlying social issues, and theme of stretching the boundaries of human potential offer several options for crossover marketability.

    For Theo Adams, nearly anything is possible. Telepathy. Regeneration. Telekinesis. No problem. But where his head smacks a wall? Enlightening people that they possess these abilities too. His brother Jonathan and The Board of Knowledge prevent the big reveal, drugging products and water supplies with a denial-inducing, ability-hindering chemical. Worldwide. Theo wants to remove the veil his family has held over the world's eyes for centuries. Jonathan wants to remove and stuff Theo's head. It's nothing business, just personal.

    Theo swipes The Boardís list of people resistant to the drug and recruits a platoon of modern-day Jesuses, and a Jesusette. With Jonathanís supernatural assassins hunting them, Theo flies the crew to a remote island to cleanse from a lifetime of ingesting poison and bull**** propaganda. In turn, they school him on subjects his family has denied him: loyalty, love, and the very thing he fights to save. Humanity. By any and all means, subduing Jonathan is no longer a want; it's a necessity.

    SUBSERVIA is my first novel.

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



  2. #2
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    An interesting setting. I liked it(tu)

    I'm sure the experts will comment soon.
    Pre-Columbian North America

    http://blog.zoesaadia.com/

  3. #3
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    Awesome. Thanks so much, Zoe. It's taken me only two years, off and on.

    Thanks again. After perusing around a bit, I'm interested to see what kind of feedback Leslee has to offer.

  4. #4
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    Hey Adam,

    I think you are showing some good voice. Some things standing out for me:
    1. Move your word count bit to the end. Why start off with something boring?
    2. For me machines/Matrix isn't a good start. You're basically saying your MS is just like The Matrix without the technology, is that what you're aiming for because all the other details you tell us sounds just like The Matrix. BTW I don't think telling your agent what your MS is like is a good approach, you should show him/her with your writing.
    3. Your punctuation is off. You can get away with some quirky punctuation in the MS but IMO you should stick to the norm in your QL. For example "For Theo Adams, nearly anything is possible. Telepathy. Regeneration. Telekinesis. No problem." Should be "For Theo Adams, nearly anything is possible: telepathy, regeneration, telekinesis--no problem."
    4. I don't understand the Jesus'/Jesusette thing.
    5. If Theo finds people resistant to the drug then why do they need to cleanse?
    6. First you say Theo wants to unveil what the family is hiding but then you say he wants to subdue Jonathan (what does that mean anyway?) which is it?

    Not a bad start...good for you.

    DK

  5. #5
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    JUST MY OPINION, FEEL FREE TO IGNORE:

    I suppose you could just go ahead and send this, and see what bounces back. It certainly isn't a candidate for Worst Query I Ever Read.

    But, in my opinion, it could be a lot stronger. So, I tore it apart, as follows:

    SUBSERVIA is a 90,000-word speculative/urban fantasy based on the premise that this world, here and now, is a veiled dystopian society. Picture The Matrix without the machines. Its literary flavor, underlying social issues, and theme of stretching the boundaries of human potential offer several options for crossover marketability.

    You don't start a Q letter with a summary of the book. I would start the query with the second paragraph. Jump straight in to the storyline.

    But where his head smacks a wall?

    Very awkward.

    Enlightening people that they possess these abilities too.

    Ditto.

    His brother Jonathan and The Board of Knowledge prevent the big reveal, drugging products and water supplies WORLDWIDE with a denial-inducing, ability-hindering chemical.

    Worldwide.

    Move that up into the sentence above as indicated. It doesn't work standing alone.

    Theo wants to remove the veil his family has held over the world's eyes for centuries.

    Veil over eyes. Cliche. Lose it.

    Jonathan wants to remove and stuff Theo's head. It's nothing business, just personal.

    Ha, ha. You've now used up two valuable lines in a query to tell a shallow joke. Lose it. Stick to storyline. Don't try to be cute, just tell the story.

    Theo swipes The Boardís list of people resistant to the drug and recruits a platoon of modern-day Jesuses, and a Jesusette.

    Look at the tongue-twisting aspect of Jesuses/Jesusette. How much better does it run with Christs/Christette. Consider.

    With Jonathanís supernatural assassins hunting them

    We're almost at the end and NOW you insert supernatural assistants? It reads like a throwaway, too insignificant a detail to be included here, although it may be valuable in the book.

    Theo flies the crew to a remote island to cleanse THEM from a lifetime of ingesting poison and bull**** propaganda.

    Bull**** sticks out like a last ditch effort to insert something shocking. Ooh, a dirty word. Come up with a different word.

    In turn, they school him on subjects his family has denied him: loyalty, love, and the very thing he fights to save. Humanity.

    Oh, goodie, a list. You've managed to avoid them through the entire Q letter but now we get loyalty, love, and the very thing he fights to save. Since you haven't mentioned his lack of love and loyalty before, it reads like a summation, which you don't need. If he's fighting for humanity, either say so or recognize that you've said so in other words and don't need to summarize here. Also, "the very thing he fights to save" is cliche and not up to the quality of the rest of the writing, which is fairly smart.

    By any and all means, subduing Jonathan is no longer a want; it's a necessity.

    Subduing? Gee, do they just want to gag him ad put him in a closet? If you mean kill, say kill.

    SUBSERVIA is my first novel.

    Delete that. You don't include stuff like this. When an agent has shown some interest in you, then you can tell them it's your first novel.

    Now, back to that opening paragraph. This is where you could stick some of it.

    i]SUBSERVIA is a 90,000-word speculative/urban fantasy NOVEL.

    That's it. The rest is a self-serving summary and won't help you get an agent to read the book.

  6. #6
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    Well hell, I spent nearly an hour responding to each crit point, Leslee, only to receive a "You must log in to post in this forum" message. I lost the entire post. Is that standard for this board's software to do that? Anyway, frustrated and hopefully you don't think I'm full of it or unappreciative.

    I'll just summarize by saying that I agreed with quite a few things and disagreed with some as well. And that this was an excellent crit. Excellent. Your perspective was so forthright and sound, you forced me to look more in-depth on each point. I'll lose the cliches, figure a way to deliver more impact with the final line, toss the laundry list toward the end, and discard the "Matrix" comparison. As for the rest, I still haven't completely discarded all the suggestions--gonna let 'em marinate for a bit, then take another look. But even still, the query is already much tighter, and I can't adequately thank you for that.

    I value few things more in this life than sharp eyes. Yours, my friend, are arrow-tip sharp. Thank you again. I asked. I received. Very much appreciated.

    Adam

  7. #7
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    D K Wrote:
    -------------------------------------------------------
    > Hey Adam,
    >
    > I think you are showing some good voice. Some
    > things standing out for me:
    >
    >
    >[*] Move your word count bit to the end. Why start
    > off with something boring? Agreed 100%.
    >[*] For me machines/Matrix isn't a good start.
    > You're basically saying your MS is just like The
    > Matrix without the technology, is that what you're
    > aiming for because all the other details you tell
    > us sounds just like The Matrix. BTW I don't think
    > telling your agent what your MS is like is a good
    > approach, you should show him/her with your
    > writing. With this, I agree only in part. Many, many agents specify they do want a comparison to other works, to show that the author understands their genre and has an incling of market knowledge. That said, the ones who state this mean to compare literary works of the same vein, not film. For that reason, I'll discard the "Matrix" comparison. But thank you for forcing me to look deeper at this. -D
    >[*] Your punctuation is off. You can get away with
    > some quirky punctuation in the MS but IMO you
    > should stick to the norm in your QL. For example
    > "For Theo Adams, nearly anything is possible.
    > Telepathy. Regeneration. Telekinesis. No
    > problem." Should be "For Theo Adams, nearly
    > anything is possible: telepathy, regeneration,
    > telekinesis--no problem." I hear you, and I'll mull on this. Thank you.
    >[*] I don't understand the Jesus'/Jesusette
    > thing. Hmm. They have abilities that are comparable to Jesus/superman/any "chosen one" icon you can think of. Not sure if I need to use a ton of excess words to spell that out. Another point in which I'll braise.
    >[*] If Theo finds people resistant to the drug
    > then why do they need to cleanse? Good, solid point. I mistakenly thought "resistant" might come through as "not fully immune." I'll either find a different word or precede "resistant" with "who show small signs of". Meh. Or something akin anyway.
    >[*] First you say Theo wants to unveil what the
    > family is hiding but then you say he wants to
    > subdue Jonathan (what does that mean anyway?)
    > which is it? Agreed. This is too passive. I'll spice it up. Thank you. Thank you.
    >
    >
    > Not a bad start...good for you.
    >
    > DK

    'Preciate the hell out of your taking the time to offer feedback, DK. Some solid points here. Thank you again.

    Adam

  8. #8
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    Wow. Clearly I need to familiarize myself with the board's software. Sorry about the clunky reply, DK. :

    Adam

  9. #9
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    Yeah, the system times out. So what you have to do is type your post, then copy it, then hit post. And if there's a problem, then you haven't lost your text, you've got it to paste into a new blank reply box and you're not so frustrated.

    I value few things more in this life than sharp eyes. Yours, my friend, are arrow-tip sharp.

    Thank you. I want you to know that your open attitude toward critique will really help you, not just here but with agents and publishers.

    You're off to a good start.

  10. #10
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    Re: Query -- SUBSERVIA

    leslee Wrote:
    ------------------------. I want you to know that your open
    > attitude toward critique will really help you, not
    > just here but with agents and publishers.
    >
    > You're off to a good start.

    Absolutely true!

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