Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Feedback Request

 The author of the query featured just below this posting would like feedback on the following version:

Dear Agent,

Twelve-year-old Declan isn’t expecting any thrills on this field trip. A national forest with lots of boring moose hardly screams “awesome.” His dreary day gets a jolt when he glimpses a monstrous figure stalking through the wilderness. Seven-feet-tall and falcon-headed, the creature slips away before anybody else spots it. [I need to clean my glasses, I first thought that said "monstrous figure skater."] [Now that I think about it, would you consider changing your book so it is a monstrous figure skater? It's sure to be better than a seven-foot-tall guy with a  bird head.] 

Declan: Look, at 7-foot-tall monster with a falcon head!!!!

Teachers & the other 25 kids on the field trip with him: Where? Where?

Declan: Too late, it slipped away. But I saw it, I tell you.

Teachers: You know the rule, Dec. If you bring LSD, bring enough to share.]

With his two best friends, Declan follows the clues [feathers, talon prints, and massive bird droppings.] and finds the ruins of a long-dead civilization beneath the forest. They learn this advanced race once created human-animal hybrids. Led by the falcon-headed Ra, the rebellious hybrids seized control of ancient Egypt, claiming to be gods. After their creators banished them to the distant forest, the hybrids faced imprisonment in cold storage. Finally freed by a malfunction, Ra intends to salvage the technology and produce countless hybrid warriors, enough to enslave humanity. [I know you say "countless," but realistically, how many human-animal hybrids do they think it will take to enslave humanity? Humans with falcon heads aren't that scary. Falcons with human heads, on the other hand, can at least fly, so they might be able to enslave a few easily impressed humans. I'm not even sure human/lion hybrids or human/bear hybrids could enslave us all. Your best bet is to leave out the human part, and go with cheetah/shark hybrids.]

Stranded, Declan and his friends dodge swarms of mythical Egyptian beasts, from a rampaging Sphinx to the jackal-like Anubis. When his friends fall into Ra’s clutches, Declan embarks on a daring gambit. To rescue them and stop Ra’s murderous crusade, he must reach a failsafe device that can destroy the hybrids in one fell swoop. But first, he’ll need to brave explosive geysers, dizzying mountain heights, and crossbow-armed monsters. All of a sudden, those boring moose don’t sound half-bad. [Also all of a sudden, Declan realizes he can always find new friends.]

MONSTER GODS is a middle grade adventure, complete at 49,000 words. It blends the mythological focus of the Rick Riordan Presents series with the action of Laura Martin’s Edge of Extinction. I have my Honors degree in English Language and Literature. [Unfortunately, that will not influence the reader of your query any more than it will influence anyone you contact in your future job search.] Thank you for your time and consideration.


This is an improvement. Most of my comments focus on whether the reader will buy into the plot.

Wouldn't it have been easier for the hybrids' creators to use the failsafe device to destroy the hybrids in one fell swoop, than to banish them to a place no one knew existed?

Adding the friends helps, but only until they get captured and Declan now has to save them along with stopping Ra’s murderous crusade. Maybe leave out their capture and tell us how they aid the mission.

Apparently Ra is unaware of how much the population and weaponry have advanced while he was in cold storage. Otherwise he'd probably shoot a bit lower than enslavement of humanity. Like, enslavement of Delaware.


Anonymous said...

'beneath the forest' -- Actually under the trees among their roots? We talking a cave/bunker or something? Is this a small, easily overlooked outpost or something massive?

'faced imprisonment' -- I assume they were imprisoned/cryogenically frozen/something? And as EE said, why not just destroy them?

'stranded' -- where? by what?

A little confused-- the dead civilization in the forest created the hybrids, which then crossed half the world to enslave egypt and then their creators 'banished' them to the distant forest they originally came from where the creators are?????

Juxtaposing egypt critters with forest doesn't work well for me, although it does seem to be part of what makes the story unique, so might work for others. Out of curiousity, do animal-headed creatures from other legends/mythology, the minotaur springs to mind, show up?

good luck

Unknown said...

Hey, thanks for your comments.

Yes, the base/colony is underground. It was hallowed out by these Atlantis-like humans, so it's a big cavern.

You're right about cryogenics being used to preserve the hybrids. To be honest, I was uncertain over how I worded that. I'll be clearer. They were preserved rather than destroyed becuase the creators hoped that humans would one day find them/dissect them for scientific knowledge.

The kids get stranded in the midst of the monsters rampaging across the forest, similiar to "Jurassic Park," but maybe that was a poor word choice.

I am having some trouble effectively communicating this backstory. The creators had their original base in ancient Egypt, where they and the Egyptians struck a cordial alliance. But when these hybrids tried to take over, the creators left to a more remote corner of the world out of guilt. They brought the preserved hybrids with them.

Sorry the forest setting doesn't work. I thought about setting the story in Egypt, but I just couldn't envision much action in a desert. Maybe that was a mistake...

Minotaurs get mentioned. The implication is that creatures like Bigfoot, mermaids, fairies -- any hybrid monsters from folklore -- were actually spawned from these ancient lab experiments.

Again, thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I love this plot idea. You can take some liberties, especially since it's a fantasy anyway - I'd put in as many connecting dots as possible, and probably address the change of setting in the query with a few words since that's a big deal.

Anonymous said...

Plot twist. At the end, Ra discovers, that he really enjoys ice skating.

Author, action in the desert has potential. Enter sand surfing.

Actually, tbh, this has potential as a Netflix series, in the woods, or desert. I hope you nail this.