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  1. #1
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    My Query Prompt: Space Opera Novel

    This is my first draft, I really have no clue as to how to structure these things. I always freeze up when people ask, "What's your story about?" so this portion of the project was a little more challenging. I could use some serious critique and suggestions. For example, I think it's a bit too long... but am not too certain what agents and publishers look for in this.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


    In the year 2129. Despite all of humanity’s accomplishments, they have yet to move beyond the solar system they’ve called home since their inception. Corruption and graft plague their society, and Earth is as close to incapable of supporting life as it can get without becoming devoid of it.

    Phobos M. Moore has been ostracized from the society he was trying to fix, for crimes he didn’t commit. Now he’s Mr. Sionis’ prime choice to bring the human race to the stars and save it from destroying itself from within.
    He quickly finds himself on an interstellar starship, the first of its kind, with a ragtag grouping of crew members of similar social status traveling to a star system preset by Sionis himself, (a man who has used machinery and medicine to live far past his time). When they arrive in the outer reaches of the Upsilon Andromedae system, they’re kidnapped by an alien race that bears striking similarities to humanity.

    These aliens, who the crew have nicknamed the Krafla for their unique prone stature, soon come to believe that Phobos and his crew mates are members of their sister race. Believing that the two races were meant to compete for the favor of their masters, their creators. It’s determined by those who agree with Sionis’ desires and views, that this alien society is a direct threat to humanity… and must be exterminated.

    Phobos now finds himself in a difficult position, will he stop Sionis and the Krafla government from trying to tear each other apart in an interstellar war, or will he choose one world over the other?


    The novel, does not have a title just yet.



  2. #2
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    The first sentence of a query (or in rare cases, the first two) needs to grab the reader's attention and keep him or her reading. That's why it's called "the hook." Not only doesn't yours, it's not a complete sentence. The rest of your "query" is awkwardly written and contains at least one other sentence fragment. If this is a typical example of your writing, your book is nowhere near ready for you to be querying. And, if you've just finished the first draft, I can assure you it's not ready. Unless you've polished your MS until it's as good as you can get it, you've no business even thinking about your query.

  3. #3
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    Honestly, I haven't even spent all that much time on this. That's why I've posted this here.

    This is not a clear example of my writing. I was attempting to keep this short. Though, you're right, now that I look at it the first two sentences are a bit awkward. It might feel fragmented because I was struggling to break down quite a bit of information into something quite a bit shorter.

    The novel is no where near completion, Joe. This is a very rough draft of the summary, as I said before I'm quite terrible at these things. Story telling comes easier.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Diane Theron's Avatar
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    David - so glad you posted! There will be others that will offer you critiques, but in the meantime, queryshark.blogspot.com and misssnark.blogspot.com gives great examples of what are good, bad and useless Query Letters. Read their blogs and you will be rewriting the QL in no time. And then rewriting it a couple of times thereafter.

  5. #5
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    Thanks, Diane. Those sites look like they'll help quite a bit. Arg, I feel like a newbie now, though I suspect that isn't necessarily a bad thing at the moment.

    I'll get contemplating on how to restructure the information and make it pop right away.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Diane Theron's Avatar
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    You will be fine! Most of the critters are constructive and even those that aren't have something viable to offer.. you just need to ignore the tone (or your perception of a tone) and find the gem beneath it. I can't even tell you how my confidence bruised when I started posting here. At first I just wanted to defend my story and my writing. And then I pushed my ego out of the way and found that I was learning stuff that is ultimately going to make my work worthwhile. Good luck!

  7. #7
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    Heh, yes my ego did react a little abrasively toward his comments at first... but I'm a firm believer in that fact that one must accept that they know nothing, to begin improvin their work. I promised myself that I wouldn't let my confidence get bruised by anything said here, after all, I just want to learn how to communicate my stories and characters better. A little sarcastic punch to the gut isn't going to stop me from getting these ideas out of my head.

    Now that I think about it, my writing's improved since starting the novel... I might have to post the first chapter on here to get a good reaming of how it's constructed if I draw blanks on it later on. XD Thanks again!

  8. #8
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    All right, because I simply can't stop obsessing over it. I know the novel is only at about 20,000 words... but I simply want to get this to the point where it works semi effectively. Comments?

    Second Attempt:

    Phobos Moore has been ostracized from the society he was trying to help fix, for unspeakable crimes that he swears he never perpetrated. Homeless and forced to steal from the very people that he foolishly swore to free from the corruption that plagues Earth: His simple scavenger lifestyle is brutally interrupted, when he suffers an accident that lands him in the hospital. Fortunately for him, in the year 2129, even the most severe injuries are easily cured… at a price.

    Mr. Sionis is a man who has abused his resources, technology and superior intellect to live far past his time, even if he’s nothing more than a corpse on life-support; all for a secret obsession, a mission that won’t quit until he’s long since forgotten. Little does Phobos know, that this mysterious technological philanthropist has targeted him for a dangerous experimental mission. His leverage is simple, he saved Phobos’ life and now he owes him a service. With the promise of the restoration of Phobos’ livelihood, he’d be incredibly stupid not to accept his terms. Sionis has some rather simple goals, if you call launching Phobos and a crew composed of sociopaths forty-light-years into the deep of space to find a suitable replacement for Earth simple.

    With a crew filled with criminals, it quickly becomes evident to Phobos that Mr. Sionis is not as good natured as he let on. Stumbling upon a thriving alien civilization, Mr. Sionis’ indoctrinated servants make plans to exterminate them and make way for a re-educated human race. With Earth just years away from being completely inhospitable, and his moral conflict with Mr. Sionis’ doctrine, Phobos is stuck between two worlds that he regards as home. Will he choose one world over another, despite their flaws, or will he find a way to bridge the gap from these two very different societies?
    Last edited by David Nova; 05-19-2011 at 05:50 PM.

  9. #9
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    No, David, I didn't say it sounded fragmentary, I said that your first sentence was a sentence fragment, and that I spotted at least one other sentence fragment in your query. This isn't a critique of your writing quality, it's pointing out a basic problem with your syntax. And, if the novel isn't even nearly complete, you've no business wasting time on your query that should be sent on finishing your novel.

  10. #10
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    I knew you were taking issue with my sytax, I'm not an idiot. But, quite frankly, you shouldn't be concerned with what I "should" be doing. It's absolutely none of your business how I go about a project. For all you know, I could have just been playing around with the idea of a query to prepare in the future.

    I'm beginning to believe that you're nothing more than an internet troll. If you weren't, you would have taken a look at the corrected query and offered some insight into its positives and negatives. I have time to experiment with things, but I don't have time for trolls.

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