1. mister m.
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    mister m. Member

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    Istanbul's Sky - Advice on Query

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by mister m., Oct 12, 2013.

    I have been working on that query for a while now and I don't know if I am getting closer to what it is supposed to be or not.
    I leave it to your judgment.

    Dear agent,


    Astyan seemed like an ordinary student with no money and hanging around pubs when he was working hard not to study - that is until he grows wings. A series of lucid dreams results in this strange transformation that leads him to Istanbul and the mysterious Ed, a member of Solak, an organized crime group that only recruits winged men.

    After teaching Astyan how to fly and seeing how skillfull he is in the air, he makes him an offer: Money in abundance and a good intake of adrenaline in exchange of using his wings for unscrupulous ends like robbery and extortion. Astyan accepts and while he enjoys his new life as an outlaw, he also falls in love with the woman Ed gave his heart to. Istanbul’s underground becomes the stage of a dangerous love affair.
    What Astyan doesn’t see is that Solak traps him by stealing his passport and threatens his loved ones to make him comply with all its rules.
    His wings were a promise of freedom, but instead they chained him. Astyan has no other choice but finding a way to escape.

    ISTANBUL'S SKY is a New Adult speculative fiction and is complete at 83,000 words.
     
  2. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Wording sounds off. I wouldn't use the word seem in a query - it's one of those vague words where the writer sounds like even he
    doesn't know what's going on. Keep it definite. I'd also clip or rework some of the romantic wording - gave his heart to, unscrupulous
    ends, dangerous love affair.
    Maybe come up with a logline and then work from there.

    Astyan, a skint student who'd rather kick back a few at the pubs than study, suddenly grows wings
    and is recruited into an aerial crime ring. - example.
     
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  3. mister m.
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    mister m. Member

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    Thank you for the advice Peachalulu. I actually do like your punch line , I hope you don't mind me reusing it.
    I took away the romantic wordings and I agree, it does sound better without.
    What do you think of the bold sentences. They say what is to be said, but they don't seem quite right.




    Astyan, a skint student who'd rather kick back a few at the pubs than study, suddenly grows wings
    and is recruited into an aerial crime ring

    A series of lucid dreams results in this strange transformation. To understand what happened to him and to learn how to use his new apparatus, Astyan goes to Istanbul and meets Ed, a member of Solak, an organized crime group that only recruits winged men.
    After teaching Astyan how to fly and seeing how skillful he is in the air, he makes him an offer: Money in abundance and a good intake of adrenaline in exchange of using his wings for robbery and extortion. Astyan accepts and while he enjoys his new life as an outlaw, he also falls in love with the woman Ed considers being his. Istanbul’s underground becomes the stage of a friend's betrayal.
    What Astyan doesn’t see is that Solak traps him by stealing his passport and threatens his loved ones to make him comply with all its rules.
    His wings were a promise of freedom, but instead they chained him. Astyan has no other choice but finding a way to escape.
     
  4. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Getting there. I still think it's a bit wordy in certain areas and some of the verbs need to be stronger to bring your story arch to life.
    results - is rather weak. create, produce, spark might work better.
    goes to Istanbul
    or is lead, or heads, or is driven
    I know you don't want to use wings in every sentence but I'm not sure calling them apparatus works. Have you checked out some query sites? Some give good examples of queries and Huffington post gives you the anatomy of a query letter.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/01/09/query-letter-_n_2434095.html
     
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  5. mister m.
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    mister m. Member

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    I actually meant appendage, not apparatus. Thank you for the link, I will go through it right now.
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm going to focus on a number of specific errors, mostly grammatical:

    > in exchange of using

    in exchange for using

    > the woman Ed considers being his.

    Fixing this would require a rewrite of the sentence.

    > What Astyan doesn’t see

    This isn't a grammatical error but a confusion of meaning--presumably when these things happen, Astyan does see them. Perhaps "What Astyan doesn't anticipate..."

    > is that Solak traps him by stealing his
    > passport and threatens

    "stealing" and "threatens" are inconsistent. It should either be "stealing and threatening" or "steals and threatens". To fit with "traps him..." it should be "stealing and threatening."

    > his loved ones to make him comply with all its
    > rules.

    "its" doesn't refer to anything. I realize that you're referring to the organization, but that's too many lines away. "his rules" or "the organization's rules" would correct this


    > His wings were a promise of freedom, but instead they chained
    > him.

    I think this should be "they have chained him"

    > Astyan has no other choice but finding a way to escape.

    "but to find"
     
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  7. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    sorry mm, that bored me so much I couldn't finish it. If I was the agent I'd bin it. I don't know your story so can't help you pull out the better points. From what I believe, your query should include the bit-on-the-back of your book. Would a buyer exchange hard earned cash after reading that on the back?
     
  8. mister m.
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    mister m. Member

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    Thanks ChickenFreak for the suggestion, it is very helpful.
    Erebh, thanks for the honesty, I will surely reconsider the points I included.
    Until then, here is the revised version.

    Dear agent,

    Astyan, a skint student who'd rather kick back a few at the pubs than study, suddenly grows wings
    and is recruited into an aerial crime ring

    A series of lucid dreams sparks in this strange transformation. To understand what happened to him and to learn how to use his new appendage, Astyan is driven to Istanbul to meets Ed, a member of Solak, an organized crime group that only recruits winged men.
    After teaching Astyan how to fly and seeing how skillful he is in the air, he makes him an offer: Money in abundance and a good intake of adrenaline in exchange for using his wings for robbery and extortion. Astyan accepts and while he enjoys his new life as an outlaw, he also undertakes a passionate affair with the woman Ed loves. Istanbul' underground becomes the stage of a friend's betrayal.
    What Astyan doesn’t anticipate is that Solak traps him by stealing his passport and threatening his loved ones to make him comply with all the organization's rules.
    His wings were a promise of freedom, but instead they have chained him. Astyan has no other choice but to find a way to escape.



    ISTANBUL'S SKY is a New Adult speculative fiction and is complete at 83,000 words.
     
  9. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why does he need a passport if he has wings???
     
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  10. mister m.
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    mister m. Member

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    Good point. The reason I said passport is because it is the only ID the MC has (having lost the rest). I should say identity documents, I guess it makes more sense.
    Now, that might be missing in my query, but he can't fly freely, he remains hidden as wings are not usual. Thanks for pinpointing it.
     
  11. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Was just curious, which I guess is a good thing, huh?
     
  12. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's exactly what I wondered. Maybe he has a ring on his ankle/wrist with his ID. Anyway - I much prefer the second draft - and you know I'm honest :)

    PS, I would suggest you look up mammamaia - she has a whole folder on writing query letters amongst other things and she will surely help you - Good luck getting published!
     
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  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    here i am, erebh!

    anyone wanting the links to my 'folder' contents is welcome to email me for what i have on query-writing and just about any other aspect of writing you can imagine...

    mm...
    you should read james patterson's 'maximum ride' series, if you haven't already... may give you some useful ideas re your own flying guys...

    love and hugs, maia
    maia3maia@hotmail.com
     
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  14. mister m.
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    mister m. Member

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    I will step back to rethink it and be back soon. Thanks for all the advices.
     
  15. mister m.
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    mister m. Member

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    I spent a bit more time thinking of the query, the plot and back to the query. Here is what came out. Please, be as honest as you'd like.



    When Astyan finds himself drawn into a spiritual introspection, a strange transformation occurs and he becomes a winged-man.

    Flying is not possible, Astyan, an outdoor young man, knows it. It is only when a series of lucid dreams leads him to grow wings, that he sees the sky at a stone’s throw away. To learn how to use his new appendage, Astyan heads to Istanbul to meet Ed and four other winged-men all members of Solak, a secret crime organization. Wings don’t seem to be that extraordinary anymore.


    As a student in London, Astyan is usually broke, but in Istanbul, the promise of a new wealthy and exciting life style arises when Ed offers him to take part in Solak’s illegal activities. Astyan doesn’t think twice, but before becoming an official member, he has to show his mettle. From Istanbul to the ghost city of Varosha in Cyprus, Astyan is put to the test through real situation training and has to show his new comrades that he can be a key element for the team. But this without counting the secret and passionate affair that he undertakes with Hayal, the woman Ed always loved.

    ISTANBUL'S SKY is my first novel and a new adult speculative fiction complete at 83,000 words.
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    unfortunately, possibly due to a language gap, if english is not your native tongue, the grammar errors throughout this query will sink your chances of getting agents or publishers to request your ms, as they will understandably have to assume it will be similarly flawed...

    and, if this is reresentative of the ms' quality, then you're clearly not ready to be querying for an agent/publisher and will need to upgrade your writing skills to a marketable level...

    love and consoling hugs, maia
     
  17. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I disagree with maia, I'm afraid. The English in the query is not so bad - some run-on sentences and punctuation errors, and some missing words like "that" or "when" etc (no clue what this category of words is called) - they're quite minor enough that hiring a proper proof-reader would probably do the job. However, it is true that you definitely need a proof-reader for your query and manuscript - as it stands, grammatically-speaking, it's not up to par and would certainly result in a rejection based on nothing else but this.

    However, the query doesn't work - first I haven't a clue why I should care that Astyan should be able to join the group, and why I exactly I should egg him on to get involved in crime. There's no real dilemma or suspense. And that final line about the love interest - unless it's essential to the main plot, ditch it. It's a tag-on that makes it sound off-topic. And if it's essential to the main plot, then it really needs more than one sentence and the love interest's connection with the main plot/MC needs to be clearly explained.
     
  18. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    But the price of hiring a proof-reader to fix an entire manuscript that hasn't yet been sold would be quite high. It might never be sold, and even if it is, the amount that it earns might not exceed what the proofreader was paid--the average book just doesn't earn that much for the author.

    I wouldn't be surprised if the average author doesn't even earn minimum wage for the work put into a book. The author may be perfectly content with that--the joy of writing and of being published may be payment enough. But hired editors and proofreaders aren't going to work on someone else's manuscript for joy and artistic expression--they'll work on their own manuscripts for that. For everybody else's, they're doing it to make a living.
     
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  19. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Everything you've said is true, but I guess for the OP, she's clearly already written the whole book, and in English at that. She therefore has two choices - go through with it by forking out a fortune to pay for a proof-reader to make her piece publish-worthy, at least on a grammatical level, and give her book a shot, or she would have to shelf it until if and when she decides she'd like to rewrite or translate it into her own mother tongue. There is a third choice, and that is not to publish it at all.

    Personally I'd say, translate it into your own mother tongue and try and publish that one. More work, but at least it's free lol. But I wouldn't give up on a book now if I'd got this far.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    since this is just what i said, but with slightly different wording, i don't see how you're disagreeing with me, mckk...

    and chicken freak is absolutely on target in re hiring an editor... as one who provides such writing services, i agree completely with cf's comments on the unlikelihood of money spent on an edit ever being recouped from sales of the book...
     

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