1. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    No One to Save Her - blurb/query

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by Mckk, Aug 29, 2014.

    We're preparing a query - belong is the blurb that we'll put into the letter. If you were an agent and you read that - would it interest you? Would you request sample chapters based on this? (I know it doesn't follow standard query style, it's okay, as long as it works as a tool to pique your interest. It's written in first person because that's how the book's written where two characters alternate chapters)

    ******

    A slave marked for death…


    I run into the most impoverished level of our walled city, where poisons and toxins swirl in oily black puddles on the streets, and people are gathering in a square in line for food.

    But they can’t be here.

    I scream at them to get out, and the world explodes.​

    A Level 1 nonentity…

    She breaks into my life like a shard of sunlight shining in a squalid world just before the square explodes. Staggering out of the rubble, she offers me a month of health to get her back out of Level 1. Only thing is, she’s marked for death by a powerful man; she’s got protectors on her tail; her former master has been mind-wiped; and I have a sister to protect. I should refuse, should leave her mired in her own troubles.

    But there’s no one else to save her. So I take the month of health and do my damnedest to save her myself. Good thing, too, because if I get her to the lab on Level 3, her research might be the key to finding the cure for the virus that dooms us all to die at twenty-six.

    If I can keep her alive that long.​
     
  2. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    I did not get that the two blurbs are from the perspectives of two different characters until I read that it is your intent. I thought "A Level 1 nonentity..." means "I am a Level 1 nonentity [in addition to being a slave marked for death]", not "The following is from the perspective of a Level 1 nonentity [different character from the slave marked for death]."

    But once I know that, it is very interesting. There is something tantalizingly mysterious about the levels. I would definitely read the synopsis, and then I would start reading the manuscript if the synopsis seems to live up to the hype.
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  3. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's interesting, but I don't think that it serves the purpose of a query. My concern isn't only that it doesn't follow standard query style--though that worries me plenty too--but that it doesn't provide the information of a query. This tells me very little about what the book is about, and that's a query's job. If I were an agent, my feeling would likely be that this person doesn't want to follow standards and rules, and that they would therefore probably be difficult to work with.
     
  4. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    How about:

    A slave marked for death…

    I run into the most impoverished level of our walled city. Poisons and toxins swirl in oily black puddles on the streets, and people are gathering in a square in line for food. But they can’t be here. I scream at them to get out, and the world explodes—

    A Level 1 nonentity…

    —she breaks into my life like a shard of sunlight in a squalid world. Staggering out of the rubble of the ruined square, she offers me a month of health to get her out of Level 1. She’s been marked for death.

    I should refuse; I have a sister to protect. But there’s no one else to save her. So I accept the month of health and do my damnedest to save her myself. If I can get her as far as the lab on Level 3, her research might be the key to finding a cure for the virus that dooms us all to die at twenty-six. If I can keep her alive that long.

    ..................

    This bit is still kinda clumsy, but because I don't know the story, I don't know enough to comment. Do they know her research is actually "key?" Are they just hoping? If her research IS the key, that's a less wishy-washy statement than 'might be.'

    I think this approach is workable. It's certainly given me a good idea of what the story is about. Just make sure the connection between the two scenes is clear. I've tried to do this with a long dash at the end of the first scene, and another long dash to start the second, making the connection seem obvious.

    I've cut a lot and combined some of the paragraph breaks because you want to keep a query letter short, and not extend to two pages.

    You should follow this 'active' portion of the letter with a short (sentence or two) overview of what the story is about, where it's set, etc. This will be the more 'acceptable' information which query letters require, but you've done a good job of piquing interest as well. I very much doubt anybody's going to throw the letter down without finishing it. As long as the other query requirements are met within the allotted space, I don't see any harm in this approach.

    Anyway, just tinkering around...
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  5. PensiveQuill
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    PensiveQuill Contributing Member

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    Basically, no I wouldn't want a sample chapter based on this. It doesn't tell me much about the story and I did not understand what the two blurbs were about. If it came down to this and a query letter that outlined the story for me, I'd go with the latter.
     
  6. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    thanks all for the feedback so far :)

    @ChickenFreak @jannert - yeah we will include a few sentences that further sums up the story after the little blurb, but we're still trying to write that little bit up. Re "might be the key" - Jan, they're not 100% sure it is the key but it's the best lead they've had for centuries. I'm not sure I see anything wrong with "might be", but I'll as my co-author and see what she says.

    We'll go tinker around and update the original later and see if it's better :)

    Oh and @ChickenFreak - the non-standard format should be fine. My co-author's submitted to agents before and every time she's had responses. She's had full manuscripts being requested from her before. So I trust we'll be okay :)

    @daemon - what do you think might make it more obvious that it's two POVs? Glad to hear you'd be interested!
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2014
  7. theperiloustriumph
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    theperiloustriumph New Member

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    Everyone has given such great advice already. All I can say is that, with some clarification, this could work.
     
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