Saturday, March 26, 2016

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1305 would like your opinion of this revision:

Dear Agent,

When Val is sentenced to death Slim, a [form of execution worse than hanging or the guillotine, one] lowly crystal miner, must escape his master’s fortress to save her. Unfortunately, he serves the Crimson God, a being with unlimited power. A horrible execution awaits all slaves who rebel, [They're all thrown into a vat of Death slime.] but he can’t turn his back on the girl he loves.

With the help of a mysterious slave, [Remove that comma and put it after "death" in the previous paragraph.] who knows more than he should, Slim sets out to gain his freedom. A fifty-foot stone wall surrounds the fortress and Mechanical guards swarm like insects protecting their hive. The rebels have one night and one chance to escape. [Because their fifty-foot ladder will change back into a guitar neck at the stroke of midnight.] [By "the rebels" do you mean Slim and the mysterious slave who knows more than he should? Or is there a full-scale rebellion underway? I'm not sure trying to escape necessarily makes you a rebel.]

On their journey, [Their journey? I take it they managed to get past the fifty-foot wall?] they discover that the precious crystals they mine are the ruminants of a great comet that struck the Earth a long time ago. [Did you mean "great comet" or "great cow farm"? Ruminant: an even-toed ungulate mammal that chews the cud regurgitated from its rumen. The ruminants comprise the cattle, sheep, antelopes, deer, giraffes, and their relatives. Wait, did you mean "remnants"? Maybe you should just say the crystals originated on the comet.] The fallen meteor was so powerful that it gave any individual who touched it superhuman abilities, turning men, like their master, into gods. [If it fell to Earth, it's called a meteorite.] Now that the rebels know his secret the Crimson God means to kill them himself. [As a horrible execution awaits all slaves who rebel, is it really that much worse if the Crimson God kills you himself?] Defeating a legion of mechanical guards seems impossible, but escaping from a master who can wield fire, control minds and turn into a snake is suicide. [Escaping isn't suicide; escaping is incredible. Fantastic. Trying to escape may be suicide, but they already did escape, right? I mean, they've been on a journey since the first sentence of this paragraph.] [Were they on a journey to wherever Val is to rescue her, or did they rescue her from the fortress and now she's on the journey with them?]

Crimson Soul, is a fantasy/young adult manuscript set complete at 90,000-words. I think this story might be a great addition to your literary catalog [I don't think agents have catalogs.] because you have represented novels like... My manuscript is available, in part or full, upon request. Thank you for your consideration.

Best Regards,


Well, it's no longer mostly setup, but I wouldn't call it much of an improvement. It's not a cohesive, organized summary of a story. The goal is to rescue Val, and she isn't mentioned after the first sentence. I'm not sure what it is the slave who knows more than he should knows, or what he does, so he probably doesn't need to be in the query. 

What makes escape possible this one night as compared to any other night?

Is there anyplace where they would be safe from the god with unlimited power? Is there anything they can do to kill the god? If the answers are no, no, it's hopeless. If the answers aren't no, no, tell us what the plan is.


Anonymous said...

Spelling, punctuation, and using words correctly are important. Make sure you get them right. If you can't see the problems in this version of your query, find someone who does see them to check over your next version. Also, have them look at your manuscript.

khazar-khum said...

If Slim is a slave, how can he possibly know Val? Does Val know him, or is Slim in jail for being a stalker? Or has he always loved her from afar, like many do celebrities? Otherwise Slim is escaping for the sake pf escaping, which sounds reasonable enough--except that you mentioned Val.

JSF said...

At first, I thought maybe it was time to get back on my meds. But then I thought, no way, no way, will I let a master turn into a god and wield fire and control minds, that sounds too human, much too human. Especially when he turns into a snake. I’m not afraid of snakes. I think they are simple minded eating organisms. They eat. And bread. That’s it. I don’t get the scary here. Except the part about snakes baking bread. Which comes with crazy people trying to make sense. So maybe going back on my meds is a good idea. No way. This story, can work. The red meteorite seems, to be the key. Where did the red meteorite, come from? Why does, he, use, his commas, like, a spoken, captain, Kurt audition? To confuse us! But, the captain always has a girl so throw one in, why not. OMG. Evil Editor, the fortress of your sanity would withstand an alien invasion. You would be the only one left, with Natasha, asking, what’s the big deal?

PS. Death by Slim sounds like the skinny here. I got nothin' else. I'll need to read the whole book.

Tk said...

It’s a definite improvement to go beyond the setup. And you’ve provided a goal and stakes for the main character. Both good steps.

After you do a third pass showing why Slim has a chance against a god, you might try a fourth that gives an idea of what kind of personality Slim has. Is he cautious or reckless? Smart or error-prone? Compassionate or ruthless? Funny? Stubborn? Hypochondriac? Optimistic? Bitter?

Given the errors in the query, you definitely should consider some editing passes through the novel too to catch all those extra commas, word-use errors, etc.