Friday, January 31, 2014

Become an Agent #18 - REMEMBER

Genre: NA Sci/F
Word Count: 66,000

Dear Agent,

Madness swept the Earth, killing nearly everyone. The alien Imani crafted the madness for just that purpose, and collected those of interest to them from the survivors. Coree was one of them. They took her to their home world and over the next few years they ‘perfected’ her with genetic manipulation and torture. She proved a troublesome prisoner. As they learned about her, she learned of them. When she came too close to secrets that even their medicines could not erase the memory of, the Imani disposed of her.

But Coree lived and survived through the magic of the land, an ability the Imani could not genetically master. She found the Fost who sheltered her and she found she had an unprecedented chance at love and vengeance if she was but strong enough to take it.

All she had to do was remember…

First 250:
Xade glared at me as he curled his lip. "You think you can kill me, Coree?"

I snarled and swung my blade at Xade as he danced out of the way. He moved back across the translucent bridge of the spaceship towards the helm sliding sideways. I tracked him, waiting for my shot.

My breath came out in pants, chest heaving. I rubbed my face on my sleeve as I flicked my hair behind me.

I sprang at him as he stumbled back and batted me away.

"I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you all!" I declared.

Xade sighed wearily and motioned to the men around us who stood silent witness to our fight. " I am done with this game."

All three of them closed in on me but I remained focused on Xade, my tormentor. Though they all had the same pale hair, same features; I always knew him. It was his eyes, the look in them that said he liked to hurt women. The Imani consider themselves superior but they get off on the same things as every other psycho in the universe.

He pulled a syringe from his pocket.


I backpedaled into one of the men. He grabbed my hand and twisted, disarming me. Another held my arms back over my head as I writhed and screamed and yet another grabbed my legs. Xade strode forward and inserted the needle into my jugular, depressing the plunger.

My vision blurred. "No not this again. Please."


  1. No.

    Sorry, but I have no idea what the plot is. Who is the main character? What do they want? What stands in their way? What are the stakes?

    Didn't get to the first 250.

  2. No. The first paragraph of the query is good. Two more like that and you're on your way. As it is, it seems vague and unfinished.

  3. No.
    Part of the problem is that while you spend a whole paragraph setting up the situation, I have no idea who your MC is. The second paragraph is confusing. Her ability to survive off the magic of the land adds a great deal of confusion to the query. Is there magic, or is her ability to survive seemingly magical. I ask because you have Sci/F listed as the genre, suggesting that it might be real magic, and if so, you might want to clarify that because I am confused. In the end, try to keep it simple (do you need to mention that she lives off the magic of the land?)

  4. (Entry #13)
    I agree with the above comments. Right off the bat, I need to know who your MC is and what the problem is. I need to know what is at stake, which isn't clear.

  5. #21 I need to know what they stakes are and unfortunately it didn't get there.

  6. You've written a good summary of your book. Now you need to write the query.

    Who is your character (name, species, age, magical gift, etc.) What does your character want? (Get back home? Save the world? Revenge?) Who and/or what is stopping her from achieving the want/goal? (Herself? A species? One villain? Five villains? A plague?) Then leave your reader hanging on what the consequences are if your character does not achieve the goal. (Loss of sanity? loss of life? n planet destroyed? ....)

    Your 250 starts strong. Good job there.

    Good luck!

  7. No.

    Take a look at the other queries and see whats different? There is a general rule for queries that you write in present tense. You wrote it in past. You might think thats a silly thing but it changes a lot. For example, its hard to tell whats backstory and what's really happening in the story.

  8. No.
    I think you've done well at giving us a sense of Coree's voice, but you've only hinted at the stakes and what Coree wants: a chance at love and vengeance as long as she remembers. As others have said, this query is too much summary and not enough hook and stakes.
    In your first 250, some of your action seems forced and hard to picture. How do you rub your face on your sleeve as you flick away your hair? Not trying to be mean here- I promise! Just trying to urge you to be careful when you describe physical movement - try not to string too many movements together (Chest heaving, face rubbing, hair flicking).
    Interesting idea - with a reworked query and a polished 250, I think this will be good.
    Good luck!

  9. Query:
    First thoughts: This is not how you write a query. This is all backstory. Actually this sounds like a dramatic introduction to a movie. Now I’m imagining Morgan Freeman reading this…

    Despite this not being query-like, I really liked it at the end and want to read more. I have a few questions, though. What does she have to remember? What does surviving through the magic of the land mean? What does the madness disease do exactly?

    The last sentence (“She found the Fost…”) also needs some work. You use “she found” twice and you’re missing commas around “who sheltered her”.

    Overall, I don’t know what to advice for your query. I found it interesting, but it’s entirely backstory, which people usually advice against.

    First 250:
    You have too many sentences with “as” in them. You can make them more powerful if you get rid of that word. For example, “I snared and swung my blade at Xade as he danced out of the way” could be “I snared and swung my blade at Xade. He danced out of the way.” Not only does the second make more sense (it makes it sound more like Xade’s move is in reaction to Coree’s swing) but shorter sentences up the tension, which is what you want for a fight scene.

    Besides the few sentences that need work, I love the voice and the scene. I would definitely read more.

    Verdict: Yes.

    I still think your query and first 250 need some tweaking, but I’m very interested and would want to read more. If I was an agent, I’d probably request that you revise first, but it would be a yes.

    Good luck!
    -Tiff (#3)

  10. Thanks for all the feedback!
    I am revising my query. Hope to have a better one soon. This is my first time writing a query so any suggestions are helpful, that is why we did this right!
    Colleen (#18)

  11. No--The query just felt like background and I have no idea what the stakes are.

  12. Query revision - How is this?

    Title: REMEMBER
    Genre: NA Sci/Fi/Fantasy
    Word Count: 67,000

    Coree was an average college student, content in her obscurity, until one day that all changed. Madness swept the Earth, a madness crafted by the immoral Imani. She was taken to their world as a research subject to face a short life of drugs, pain and torture. And while the Imani learned about her; she learned of them. She stumbled upon something, something important, but before she could act on that knowledge, they tossed her onto the mountainside, riding a wave of drugs meant to erase any memory she had left.

    She survived, through the magic of the land, and her own kindling power. She stumbled upon the Fost, their ancient enemy. They took her in and helped her. The Imani didn’t like unforeseen outcomes. The magic was the one ability that they couldn’t genetically manipulate into their own populace. They wanted her back.

    To save the people she had grown to care for, perhaps even love, Coree had to master her magic and above all, she needed to remember…

    First 250:
    White eyes stared at me through the amber glass, Imani eyes. Xade tapped on it, smiling. “Coree...Follow” He commanded.

    I scrambled up, out of my pallet. Xade entered the hallway ahead of me; I scurried to catch up, zipping my uniform. We exited onto the deck of a translucent spaceship.

    Stunned, I gazed around at the landscape. I had only ever been in the labs. The ship hovered near a mountainside, the peaks so close I could almost see animals scurrying. It drifted slowly across the landscape; a faint breeze blew my collar up to brush my face which I lifted to the sun. Daylight beat down on the deck, which pulsed with scattered red lights.

    "Silly girl, you think you can kill me?" Xade curled his lip in contempt. He tossed a blade to the ground in front of me.

    I froze, he knew. How?

    Grabbing the stiletto warily, I eyed him, waiting for the catch. Xade stood in the middle of the deck, calm. He was unarmed, but showed little fear of my weapon.

    I snarled and swung my knife at him. Xade danced out of the way, back across the bridge, toward the helm, sliding sideways. I tracked him, waiting for my shot.

    Xade spread his arms wide, taunting me. On a primal cry, I charged him. Twisting, he blocked my overhand thrust. His knee rose and plowed into my stomach.

    My chest heaved, breath coming out in pants. I rubbed my face on my sleeve as I flicked my long hair back.

    "I’ll kill you. I’ll kill you all!" I declared.

    Colleen (#18) just in cause it wasn't obvious =P

  13. Your query is definitely closer to looking query-like. :) You still have some tense issues that should be cleared up, and it reads more like a synopsis (this happens, then this, then this).

    But I definitely get a better sense of how her time with the Imani links to her time with the Fost. Before, when I read this, I didn't get that "she needs to remember" line at all, but now I see how it links to what she knows about the Imani. The intrigue is definitely there, but I still have questions. Do they want her back because she is the only one who has magic? Or because of this "something" she knows? Then you say there's magic in the land, and I'm not sure what that means - can anyone harness it? Then there are these two races with an ancient feud, but it doesn't connect with the first sentence. Is this an apocalypse story? So it starts out "normal" world, and gets crazy real fast?

    I'm not expecting your query will answer all of these questions, not by a long shot, but there shouldn't be so many unknowns. Try focusing it down a little more. Try to get rid of the extra information we don't need and connect the bits we do need.

    BTW, if this is your first query, it's pretty good for a first try! :) Mine was character soup (I think I named about 12 people in it) and it was probably close to 500 words long. Yikes.

    You're on the right track, but a little more work with this will pay dividends for you!

  14. I think the first paragraph of your query is great. There’s voice in it, which makes me want to read further. However, the second paragraph becomes a bit confusing. You lose the voice a little and the sentences read as a laundry list. But you’re almost there! Writing queries is so hard! I’m definitely no expert, either.

    I like how you added a little more to the beginning in order to prevent readers from getting smacked with a battle before getting to know and care for the protagonist. There’s a lot of voice in the 250 and I really enjoyed reading it! Judging just by the 250, I would definitely want to read more.

    One suggestion regarding your 250:

    “I froze, he knew.” This is a comma splice.

  15. thanks for all the feedback! I appreciate it. I keep revising it and all the info helps. Colleen #18