1. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel

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    The Brazos Formation (Adult Sci-fi)

    Discussion in 'Query & Cover Letter Critique' started by mrieder79, Dec 7, 2018 at 12:25 PM.

    Please critique. I am most interested in knowing whether there are any confusing parts or if parts of the plot, as presented, don't make sense. Thanks for the help.
    ***

    Southern Belle’s last transmission is nothing but screams, static, then silence. Richard Ford received that transmission, watched the doomed ship’s deck cams blink out, one by one, but he has no idea what happened. Nobody does. What he does know is that without the geological survey data locked in Southern Belle’s lab, Gulfco Oil is going under, taking his career and thousands of his employees’ jobs with it.


    As installation manager of Gulfco’s largest branch, it falls on Rich to find Southern Belle, retrieve the data, and save the company. Rich cobbles together a salvage mission consisting of his remaining survey ship, a floating deep-sea oil rig, and its aging sea tug. He finds the lost ship lying off the Texas coast in two thousand feet of water covered in strange markings nobody can identify. Beside the wreck is a mysterious, uncharted chasm.


    That night, the ocean comes alive with ghostly lights, and sightings of hunched, insectile shapes terrify Rich’s crew. The mission turns from recovery to survival when Rich’s divemaster is attacked while trying to access Southern Belle’s lab. He falls into the chasm, drawing the attention of its inhabitants. They emerge, find Rich’s ships, and begin to feed.


    Within hours, the oil rig is sinking, his crew is dying, and Rich must find a way to save them from the denizens of the Brazos formation.


    THE BRAZOS FORMATION is a science fiction novel which runs 80,000 words. It won first place for unpublished science fiction in the 2016 Florida Writer's Association Royal Palm Literary Awards.
     
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  2. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    First para

    - The opening sentence is not linear. [delete 'nothing']1.FORGET IT, people write in different ways
    - There is tense confusion in the second sentence. I can't see it anymore, I must have been cranky this morning :)
    - They might lose their jobs if they do not retrieve the data < Here, you are on the canvas. [cranky]

    Most questions answered in the first paragraph -'nobody knows,' etc...

    Second paragraph

    data repeated, plus an exciting premise presented in a tiresome fashion.

    leading to Brazos Formation which reads like 'math problem.'
    ...

    It has to sparkle. This is a gripping deep underseas adventure involving aliens. It should zing. It will in 2 or 3 hours. All best
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018 at 6:11 PM
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  3. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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    First impression: With the meat of it weighing-in at four paragraphs it’s on the beefy side (long) for a query letter.

    Oh, upon reading it, what you have here is the foundation for a solid one page synopsis (all it’s missing is the end).

    There is a way to distill this into a query. You’ve got an exciting story, and it’s very understandable—just too long.

    You also need a logline! What’s that sentence or two for your movie poster? Lead with that before dipping in to explain your book.

    You also do a good job leaving it with a cliffhanger to intrigue the agent to request a full.

    I’m assuming you’ll add a short bio at the end (just your education and any other pub credits (or omit if none to go with the award) and a personalized hook for the individual agent in a paragraph one.

    Good, but try and get it down from four paragraphs with one of those becoming a logline. The last one can be your teaser paragraph. Just put that stuff from the three into one. Make every word count.
     
  4. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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    I second this.

    Tighten it up, but also punch it up!
     
  5. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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    Logline chunk suggestions to get the juices flowing:

    "Some discoveries are best left alone..."
    "Something's lurking at the bottom of the sea..."
    "We found them. Or was it, they found us?"

    I dunno, come up with something cool that encapsulates your story
     
  6. matwoolf

    matwoolf Contributor Contributor

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    Rescue the people? Air pocket, are there survivors? That'll turn the page..?
     
  7. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    Loglines are far from necessary. Irrelevant education is... irrelevant.

    I agree that the summary could use a bit of tightening and pepping... fine tuning, though, not dramatic changes.
     
  8. Carriage Return

    Carriage Return Member

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    Source: https://writing.stackexchange.com/questions/4340/what-is-a-log-line-and-why-are-they-bad

    The above represents one of the best things I have found written on the internet concerning "loglines". The bolded are the parts I think are most important. Make of it what you will and follow the link to see the exchange that resulted in that comment.

    In Hollywood selling scripts they are boilerplate. The reason they are useful in a novel query is that they make every word count.

    Universally, agents will tell you that they want shorter more concise and more meaningful queries as they work their way through them in giant batches.

    @BayView I know you don't like me. It's not necessary to go around in every thread calling me "irrelevant".
     
  9. BayView

    BayView Contributor Contributor

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    I'm not sure... if you're joking? I assume so, I guess...
     
  10. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel

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    Thanks for the replies. They have been very helpful. Please keep the feedback coming. Did the query work for you? What did you like, what flopped?
     
  11. Cogito

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Instead of narrating ABOUT Richard, consider writing it AS Richard sees and hears, at least in the first paragraph. That brings the reader into the scene, not at a distant "hover viewpoint". For example:

    Richard Ford, his heart thudding, punched the playback button. Again, only screams and static issued from the speaker, followed by an even more disturbing silence. One by one, the Southern Belle's deck cams winked out.

    What has happened? The geological survey mission of the Southern Belle is critical to struggling Gulfco's survival...
    There's plenty of time in the story proper to explain Richard's role in the company, and I'd even leave more mystery about the nature of the threat in the subsequent paragraphs. I'd even leave out any reference to the Brazos Formation itself. The title is tantalizing enough.
     
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  12. mrieder79

    mrieder79 Probably not a ground squirrel

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    Cogito, that is very good advice. Thank you.
     

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