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  1. #1
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    Talking Revised QL, second attempt. Please help.

    Hi guys. Obviously, I skipped the intro again. Thanks to all that comment. It's greatly appreciated. The first two sentences are supposed to be in italics, but I don't know how to do that on here since the change lol.


    Welcome to the small town of Silvermines.
    Itís a nice place to visit, but whatever you do . . . leave before dark.

    Home is where you hang your hat. 31 year-old Robert Stone knows the saying, but he thinks itís complete bull****. Five years ago, he made the biggest mistake of his life - - after being falsely accused of sexual contact with a student, he resigned from his high school teaching position. Now his only companion is a dog he rescued from the pound, and the thing he most desires is a tiny slice of what many people take for granted - - a home and a family.

    Rats . . . thatís what people think when they hear the sly, rustling noises rising up from their basements and cellars. But the traps they set arenít nearly large enough. Because something strange is happening in Silvermines. Loving pets have turned vicious. Horses and cattle lie slaughtered in fields. People have vanished.

    Stone is completely unaware of the strange things occurring in Silvermines, until he receives an emergency call from the police. His home has been broken into. Trashed. Doors are smashed, pictures broken, the upholstery shredded. He thinks he knows who did it - - the same man who was responsible for the loss of his teaching job. The only thing he canít explain is what the odd marks are on his livingroom walls - - deep, symmetrical gouges that closely resemble claw marks.

    And just when he finds happiness and a real sense of belonging, events in the town spiral out of control, leaving him with a choice: turn his back on a friend, or risk his life and those of the ones he loves.



  2. #2
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    Tinman,

    You've got lots of drama here.

    But...

    Always the but.

    Look at how you end the Q. "And just when he finds happiness and a real sense of belonging, events in the town spiral out of control, leaving him with a choice: turn his back on a friend, or risk his life and those of the ones he loves."

    Look at how you begin. Let's leave aside the come-on lines you actually begin with and go straight to where your MC enters the scene.

    "Home is where you hang your hat. 31 year-old Robert Stone knows the saying, but he thinks itís complete bull****. Five years ago, he made the biggest mistake of his life - - after being falsely accused of sexual contact with a student, he resigned from his high school teaching position. Now his only companion is a dog he rescued from the pound, and the thing he most desires is a tiny slice of what many people take for granted - - a home and a family."

    Do you see the problem? Your Robert has nothing but a dog at his introduction. But the big finale has him with a friend, a life, and loved ones. When did that complete change happen? You start by pounding it into the reader that your MC has nothing to fight for, then, poof, he's got friends, life, loved ones.

    The only thing that comes between is rat noises, slaughtered livestock, missing people. If these elements change your MC's circumstances, you give no hint. In fact, you tell us that this is not the case as he's "completely unaware." So when does your MC get all these give-a-damn accouterments -- friends, loved ones? You've taken pains to give us a MC who doesn't care. You've tied your kicker to him having to chose between friends you said he didn't have, a life he didn't have, and loved ones he didn't have.

    Right?

    You see how you set him off at the start from the meaning you try to give his quest at the end?

    There's a missing middle statement. Or maybe a miss at the start. Or at the end. I don't know.

    Something's missing. Right? A guy who has nothing can't make a choice that determines whether he'll keep things you you said he didn't have.

  3. #3
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    Hey Tinman,

    This reads more like the back cover blurb.

    I agree with CK. To add to those comments, you're vague on what's at stake and why. You have crazed pets killing livestock but no inidication of why this is a threat to humans, why, can't the residents just get out a gun and take care of the rabid things? There's obviously something bigger but you don't lead your reader to this. What/who is your antagonist? It's not a bunch of crazy animals. A simple recipe to help:

    What's the conflict?
    Why does your pro care?
    What happens if Stone wins/loses?

    Keep at it.

    DK

  4. #4
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    I agree that the part when Stone acquires someone to fight for is missing

  5. #5
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    CK. Well, I can't answer ALL the questions in 250 words lol. Yes, first chapter he has no life, no friends - - except one he hasn't seen in 5 years. He runs into the old friend later (not important to say how or when). And he finds a life and loved ones, which is why, in the final paragraph of the QL, I say "Just when he finds happiness and a real sense of belonging". That's in reference to the "home and family" I noted at the beginning. So, do you think I left out too much of the middle of the novel, or maybe I should replace "happiness and belonging" with different wording?

    As Always, thanks for taking the time to read it and critique.

  6. #6
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    DK. Thanks. Yes, it does read like a back cover blurb...even more so if I could figure out how to do italics since the change on here. Lol

  7. #7
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    Zoe. Thanks. So you think it's important to include that part? I didn't think so, but maybe I'm wrong... again lol.

  8. #8
    Amy Lou
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    I know I'm a little late on critiquing this, you've already received great advice that I could never begin to offer. I did want to say that I really like your first two sentences, your hook. It's interesting and has me wondering why I need to leave Silvermines before dark. Okay, into the next paragraph. Do you need that 'he' in 'but he thinks it's complete bull****' ? you have another he coming in the next sentence. But I do like that sentence! Moving on - I think it would be more intriguing if we don't know that he is falsely accused just that he IS accused, instead what about - after being accused of having a sexual relationship with one of his high school students, he resigns as a teacher' Something like that. LOL 'Now his only companion is a dog he rescued (don't need from the pound) and what he desires most, many take for granted: a home with a family inside.

    Then we move on to rats???? What??? I was just beginning to care about poor Robert and wondering if he was in fact falsely accused of being a perv! And now we have moved on to rats and noises in the basement and pets turning vicious. It just seems out of place. I like the idea of going right into your next paragraph about Stone being unaware, that makes sense to me, because he's so occupied with his own desire for a normal life. But is it really likely that Stone wouldn't know that people around town are missing?

    The rest of the query, you lose me. But I still really like your voice, and totally interested in where you are going with this. You are doing a lot of telling us how he turns his back on a friend. And when did he find happiness??? Sorry if I'm repeating some of the other posts on here. I do like the sound of your story.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Miranda Clementine's Avatar
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    Hey Tinman,

    Your query is out of order in many ways. First does the timeline of the story go as follows: bitterness, police/ discovery of strange things, family/friends gained, big decision? or is it bitterness, friends gained, police/discovery of strange things, big decision? Because it reads like the former.

    Next, is your story told in omniscient 3rd POV? Because you switch POVs. It goes from omni to Stone to omni to Stone. If you were to put this in order from the time that Stone discovers the weird stuff, it will fix this. So it would be bitter Stone finding his friends, police/claw marks, unraveling of what's going on in town. OR you can start with your third paragraph (the one that starts with "rats") and work in the details of his bitterness and friend gaining in there. Am I making sense?

    It is much better than your first attempt. And the profanity was well placed IMO, but I didn't like the "home is where you hang you hat" part before it. I think I just didn't like where it was placed. It was a good use of a clichť line, but it was right after you used another clichť, omniscient statement.

    Hope this helps.

    Edit for Amy: Geez, what a nice way to show me just how long it was taking me to respond... lol I didn't realized how distracted I kept getting (lamb got loose) until I saw the time you posted, your post wasn't there when I started... hehe
    Last edited by Miranda Clementine; 05-09-2011 at 04:17 PM.

  10. #10
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    Tinman,

    I think you're splitting the tension of your Q in two here. You're not in touch with the central story.

    There are lots of ways to tell a story. And in a novel, you can bring in lots of viewpoints and lens and tell a complex story. In a Q, you've got to focus in on the core of what makes your story most appealing, what makes it stand out.

    It's not really a question of do you have to answer this set of questions or that set.

    You're choosing a plot-centric Q. So you have to get to the core of your plot and make it work.

    If we take your Q and break it down in terms of where the tension lies. It looks like this:

    Welcome to the small town of Silvermines.
    Itís a nice place to visit, but whatever you do . . . leave before dark.


    General sense of place. The reader is not placed with a character. The tension is that something is wrong in this town.

    Home is where you hang your hat. 31 year-old Robert Stone knows the saying, but he thinks itís complete bull****. Five years ago, he made the biggest mistake of his life - - after being falsely accused of sexual contact with a student, he resigned from his high school teaching position. Now his only companion is a dog he rescued from the pound, and the thing he most desires is a tiny slice of what many people take for granted - - a home and a family.

    Nothing about the town now. It's all sympathy for Robert's predicament and longing.

    Rats . . . thatís what people think when they hear the sly, rustling noises rising up from their basements and cellars. But the traps they set arenít nearly large enough. Because something strange is happening in Silvermines. Loving pets have turned vicious. Horses and cattle lie slaughtered in fields. People have vanished.

    We're back to nonspecifics, the town, people.

    Stone is completely unaware of the strange things occurring in Silvermines, until he receives an emergency call from the police. His home has been broken into. Trashed. Doors are smashed, pictures broken, the upholstery shredded. He thinks he knows who did it - - the same man who was responsible for the loss of his teaching job. The only thing he canít explain is what the odd marks are on his livingroom walls - - deep, symmetrical gouges that closely resemble claw marks.

    So we've got a division between Stone and the town, between the two elements you set up. People know and pets die but Stone is unaware. He becomes aware. But there's no tie in either with the plight of the town or with Stone's longing for a family and unashamed life. This graph just sits there, doing nothing for their the tension you set up in town nor for the tensions you set up for Stone.

    And just when he finds happiness and a real sense of belonging, events in the town spiral out of control, leaving him with a choice: turn his back on a friend, or risk his life and those of the ones he loves.

    Suddenly Stone has found all the things you set up as the tension of the story. Poof, he's got what you set up for the reader to long for with him. You developed some nice tension between his current circumstances and his desire, but didn't make that central to the story. You cheated us. We assume you cheated us in the manuscript.

    What's the line of tension that runs through the story? In this Q, you've simply told agents that you don't know, at best. At worst, that you didn't write a story with a line of tension. Right? Imagine you're reading a book and the first 200 pages have you all atither about whether Randy will get back on his feet after financial ruin. On page 201, the author tells you that Randy gets a check for a million in the mail and he's set. On page 203, Randy, still licking the check, hears that the if the town doesn't get a millions dollars to build a wall, it will be overrun with wolverines. All of a sudden the story is about whether Randy is not just a man who couldn't himself solvent, but about how he chooses to use his money.

    Probably that was what the story should have been about from the start. How Randy lost it all because he failed in his relationship with money. But the author didn't know that, didn't think through his plot, didn't write a taunt through-line of plot that tied Randy's first failure with his ultimate choice.

    I know. I know. That probably doesn't mean anything to you. You're like, "Who's Randy?" And, "Why should I include him in my Q?"

    Just stick him in and put in the millions and the wall and the wolverines.

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