Author Topic: Query: Outlier (scifi)  (Read 2436 times)

Offline KyleHarris

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2018, 10:08:49 PM »
Hey all, I haven't had a chance to reply for a while, so anyway:

JBeachum, I see what you mean by "revenge story." My main intention there is to communicate to the agent what the remaining tone of the novel is and what they should expect. I do consider "dystopian" to be the main genre (and mgmystery, I would absolutely consider dystopian to be a genre--it's just a subgroup of science fiction). I just didn't want to be completely unoriginal and say "OUTLIER is a dystopian novel." But maybe I'm overthinking it.

And it's definitely adult, which I hoped would be implied by the comparisons, but I could definitely throw that in there. OUTLIER is a 99,000-word adult revenge story set in a dystopian future or some such.

RockWhitehouse, thanks for the feedback. I think your suggestion is more wordy than I need (though "ruthless" is such a damn good word). I might reconsider simplifying it to how it was. And I'm 99% certain it should be "is", since "value" in that sentence is uncountable and treated as singular. But yeah, that tripped me up too when I was writing the query, so maybe it's too much.

Offline Jaaane

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #16 on: July 20, 2018, 02:10:27 AM »
Hi Kyle,

I would definitely go with "OUTLIER is a dystopian novel (99,000 words)" rather than "OUTLIER is a 99,000-word adult revenge story set in a dystopian future". Agents want to see you being creative and original in your writing. When you're categorising your genre, they want to know where they'd put it on a shelf.

that's my view anyway!

Offline mgmystery

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #17 on: July 20, 2018, 07:27:28 AM »
I agree that comps should be a good indicator of age level, so I don't think you need to mention adult. And don't sweat calling this dystopian--it's not an automatic turn-off and it comes after a solid summary that makes your story stand out.

Offline Sabreur

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #18 on: July 20, 2018, 07:53:38 AM »
I think this latest version works quite well, but I stumble on the fourth paragraph. With the main query taking only 229 words, you have some room to offer more info (and, as far as I can tell, most agents won’t take exception unless you top 350). Something like:

When her developing feelings for Libby carry her into the Pruitt family circle, Chaz realizes she is entering a war zone. Libby, a devout Christian, has been bullied by her absolutist father because of her sexuality all her teenage life: stalkers, public shaming, a pain-inducing implant—the list goes on. Worse, it appears that Pruitt has ties to a powerful, psychotic cult linked to the murders of a number of gender and sexual minority victims (seventeen seems WAY too high for the police not to care—in any universe).

For the last paragraph, how about:

Complete at 99,000 words, OUTLIER is an adult dystopian fantasy set in a universe where BLADE RUNNER meets THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB. The story has series potential.

I also include the genre in the email title, to set the agent’s expectations at the outset. It sounds great--good luck!


Offline KyleHarris

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2018, 01:55:21 PM »
Made some edits:
-----

Dear [Agent]:

In a future of surveillance and interconnectivity, nineteen-year-old Chaz has made a name for herself as a ruthless computer hacker for hire. Her specialty: exposing secrets.
      
Her reputation attracts a businessman with a proposition: to steal a computer program from Matthew Pruitt, Crystal City's wealthiest financier. Sounds straightforward, except for one tiny catch—the safest strategy to access Pruitt's home computer involves wooing his lesbian daughter, Libby. Like hell she's going to fake some feelings for a spoiled snob.

Until she hears the reward: five hundred thousand dollars.

After gaining Libby's friendship and being drawn into the Pruitt family circle, Chaz realizes she is entering a war zone: Libby, a devout Christian, has been bullied by her absolutist father because of her sexuality all her teenage life. Stalkers, public shaming, a pain-inducing implant—the list goes on. Worse, Pruitt has possible ties to a sadistic cult known for lynching gender and sexual minorities. Seventeen people are already dead.

Now the cult is after Chaz, and the police don't care.

She knows she should walk away, save her own neck. But with her feelings for Libby becoming genuine, this is no longer just about herself. Rescuing Libby from her father's persecution and stopping the cult will take teamwork, faith, and Chaz's prosthetic legs—for cracking some skulls.

Oh, and there's still the job. Her employer—and his armed henchmen—won't accept failure.

Complete at 99,000 words, OUTLIER is an adult dystopian novel set in a future where BLADE RUNNER meets THE GIRL IN THE SPIDER'S WEB. A stand-alone story, it is also written for series potential.
   
I have made a living as a self-published author of short stories for six years.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

-----

Sabreur, I liked "Pruitt family circle", so I added that in there. The seventeen dead without any police involvement is a sizeable plot point in the novel that gets explained in the climax; I kind of just insert that in there for shock value for the agent, the sh**-is-pretty-serious statistic, if you will. The general public doesn't know they're dead. Chaz only finds out about them by uncovering photos of the victims on a cult member's computer.

I moved some things around in the last paragraph, but I really think it's fine. I also removed "universe", because I think that was tripping people up. My intention of "universe" was more for the sequels, implying that they may involve several new characters and protagonists, but they would still be follow-ups to the events that take place in this book.

I also reworked the opening paragraph to something simpler and touched upon Chaz's profession in reference to the setting of the book, which i think works better.

And I added "armed henchmen" to bolster the danger from Chaz's employer.

Thanks everyone for the feedback. I do see a clear improvement from the first version.

Offline Sabreur

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2018, 02:16:20 PM »
I do think this is much improved. My only cavil is still the cult’s murders: but it’s the fact that they’re known. How about:

sadistic cult suspected in the deaths of gender and sexual minorities. Seventeen have died dead, but the police have nothing, and aren’t looking hard.


It's a bit longer, but then again I didn't work too hard at it.  :emb:  Almost there!

Offline KyleHarris

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2018, 11:50:19 AM »
Yeah, I see exactly what you mean there. I changed a few words around:

Worse, Pruitt has possible ties to a sadistic cult suspected in the disappearances of gender and sexual minorities. Seventeen people are feared dead.

Now the cult is targeting Chaz, and the police don't care.

I focus on "disappearances" and instead say they're "feared dead." Hopefully that establishes a layer of mystery and uncertainty that is more believable instead of blatantly saying they've been murdering people and nothing is being done, while still being a credible threat to the protagonist.

Thanks!

Offline Pineapplejuice

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #22 on: July 23, 2018, 01:59:33 PM »
Just wanted to say that last idea regarding the murdered 17 works. 'feared dead' etc I mean.  ;D

Offline Sabreur

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Re: Query: Outlier (scifi)
« Reply #23 on: July 23, 2018, 03:11:07 PM »
Yep, me too. I think this works.