Author Topic: The Crystal Margin  (Read 1131 times)

Offline MICRONESIA

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
  • Karma: 4
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2020, 11:27:15 AM »
Thanks, everyone! Apparently, I need to tinker a bit more with the order/clarity. And that penultimate, "stakes" paragraph still needs work. Hopefully I'm getting closer, at least... slowly but surely.

Offline MICRONESIA

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
  • Karma: 4
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #16 on: April 10, 2020, 09:16:56 PM »
Updated it. Better? Still confusing?

Query Hell is fun!

Offline Telesphorian

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 216
  • Karma: 42
  • Do what you love and don't apologize for it!
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2020, 08:15:51 AM »
great rewrite! still needs to be streamlined a bit. try to focus on one character and their goals.
if you HAVE to introduce the sisters, don't call them sisters because it makes it sound like they are the MC's sisters.
the idea of the apports is SO fresh and original. You did a much better job of explaining what it was in the last draft.
but then as the query progresses, each new aspect you introduce seems to throw me for a loop, until I'm dizzy.
Is it possible to focus on just the MC who has a crap life taking care of his bro, and then give him a noble reason to seek the apports wisdom? maybe he doesn't know what to do with his life, or if he's made the right decisions? the TV show aspect kinda confuses me. If at all possible, it should be left out along with all the other details that don't seem to fit the MC's journey for knowlege. or if the TV show is the main problem, focus on that rather than the other things. obviously you'll still need to talk about the apports, but those will mean more when we understand the problem they'll fix.

getting there! :yes:

Offline rugcernie

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 17
  • Karma: 0
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2020, 09:04:41 AM »
I'm seeing a group of deities that seek to maximize human potential subjectively, but in the original query, there were many grammatical issues, like a sentence beginning with "and." However, in the context of conversational writing, they may work.

Offline MICRONESIA

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
  • Karma: 4
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #19 on: June 26, 2020, 03:08:44 PM »
Just updated this.

Telesphorian (if you're still here), thanks for all your help!!!! This is the "simplest" version yet... I think.

Anyway, same offer applies: anyone who helps me out gets helped out in return!

Offline GarkMavigan

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 4
  • Karma: 1
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #20 on: July 06, 2020, 12:17:22 AM »
I'll gladly reciprocate critiques for everyone who helps me with this. Thanks in advance!


Lonely caregiver Nate Boone has three weekend goals:

1) Ditch his hayseed town for a Manhattan skyrise.
2) Rekindle a romance with Harriet, his lifelong crush.
3) Take part in the most important discovery in human history.

Hook is pretty solid

That discovery is called “the Apports”: dazzling visions that occur every day at 4:11pm, bursting from an office wall. Unique for everyone, they ignite personal breakthroughs and mind-melting spiritual experiences. Some think they’re alien communication. Others think they’re a gateway to God. Interesting first graph

But some witnesses are rumored to emerge as violent lunatics, with minds as mangled as their victims’ bodyparts.

To Nate, the reward is worth the risk. Parentless at thirty-three, he’s spent the past five years taking care of his mentally-disabled brother. Thanks to a bizarre murder he helped solve years ago (He's a caretaker who solves murders? Was he previously a detective?, he’s called to investigate the Apports with childhood friends: TV ghost-hunters Harriet and Geneva Vanflower. For one weekend, they’ll tackle the mystery together, secluded on the building’s sixty-seventh floor.

Under here is where it got a bit muddled. To me, the most important plot points worth mentioning from below are: the fate of the world resting in Nate's hands; and his disabled brother being in danger.

At first, the experience is blissful beyond words. There’s no doubt, if properly harnessed, the Apports could abolish mankind’s distraction and division forever. For Nate, they’re a ticket out of his subservient life. They offer freedom, prestige, a future with Harriet.

But the Apports have monumental plans of their own—and if Nate wants to prevent mass delirium, he must act as their earthly messenger. For some reason, they’re trying to dispose of his disabled brother, the person he loves the most. And the one who’s holding him back.

Because the more you learn about the Apports, the more they learn about you. I think the line before this is a better closer
   
THE CRYSTAL MARGIN is a sci-fi novel of 84k words. Consider it The Haunting of Hill House updated for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. Thank you for your consideration.

Offline junebug1969

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 17
  • Karma: 3
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #21 on: July 06, 2020, 09:17:22 AM »
Hi Micronesia, thanks for reviewing my query.  Below are some suggestions for yours.  I'm new at this so apologies in advance if I haven't got the html exactly right.

I'll gladly reciprocate critiques for everyone who helps me with this. Thanks in advance!


Lonely caregiver Nate Boone has three weekend goals:

1) Ditch his hayseed town for a Manhattan skyrise.
2) Rekindle a romance with Harriet, his lifelong crush.
3) Take part in the most important discovery in human history.

That discovery is called They're called “the Apports”: dazzling visions that occur every day at 4:11pm, bursting from an office wall. Unique for everyone, they ignite personal breakthroughs and mind-melting spiritual experiences. Some think they’re alien communication. Others think they’re a gateway to God.

But some witnesses are rumored to emerge as violent lunatics, with minds as mangled as their victims’ bodyparts.

To Nate, the reward is worth the risk. Parent-less at thirty-three, he’s spent the past five years taking care of his mentally-disabled brother. Thanks to a bizarre murder he helped solve years ago, he’s called to investigate the Apports with childhood friends: TV ghost-hunters Harriet and Geneva Vanflower. For one weekend, they’ll tackle the mystery together, secluded on the building’s sixty-seventh floor.

At first, the experience is blissful beyond words. There’s no doubt, if properly harnessed, the Apports could abolish mankind’s distraction and division forever. For Nate, they’re a ticket out of his subservient life. They offer freedom, prestige, and the hope of a future with Harriet.

But there's one big problem: The more you learn about the Apports, the more they learn about you.

But the Apports have monumental plans of their own The Apports have monumental plans, and they're not inclined to let Nate get in the way of them.   If Nate wants to prevent mass delirium Nate and his friends are to leave Manhattan with their minds intact, he must act as the Apports' earthly messenger.   That might be doable if they didn't want him to (what? kill?) his disabled brother. Nate must make the most difficult choice of his life : will he save his freedom and his sanity, or the one person on earth he loves the most?
   

THE CRYSTAL MARGIN is a sci-fi novel of 84k words. Consider it The Haunting of Hill House updated for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. Thank you for your consideration.
« Last Edit: July 06, 2020, 09:20:38 AM by junebug1969 »

Offline rewrighter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 140
  • Karma: 22
  • Writer, teacher, Alaskan
    • Forever Rewrighting
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #22 on: July 07, 2020, 01:20:24 PM »
I'm not going to comment on the structure/grammar of your query, bc I don't think your content is there yet.

My main question is about the stakes - what are they? Nate's brother might be killed? by whom? And so what?  You mention Nate is a lonely caregiver who wants to escape his subservient life. That's why he's going to the Apports in the first place. Perhaps play up Nate's love for his brother, instead of just his feelings of oppression over being a caregiver.

And mass delirium? How? These visions that come out of the wall (which I also scratched my head over) sound like they're being displayed to only a few at a time, due to the fact they're coming out of an office wall, which suggests a smaller space for people to view them all at once. How is mass delirium going to be achieved in that setting? Or maybe it's slow moving mass delirium? 

I also was confused by the Apports as described. First they're visions, then later, it sounds like they're aliens or a group working behind the scenes to create the visions. They learn more about their subjects. They have plans. They tap Nate as their earthly messenger.  Which are they?  More hints are needed here to stay hooked.

Maybe start with the ghost-hunter mention - Nate's been hired with his friends (no mention of the murder as it's TMI) to check out the visions. He's skeptical but happy to get away from his life for a while and see his lost love Harriet. Then the Apports grab him. If this was written more to set up a mystery - what are the Apports? and why do they want to kill his disabled brother? - it might work better.

Good luck!
 


Lonely caregiver Nate Boone has three weekend goals:

1) Ditch his hayseed town for a Manhattan skyrise.
2) Rekindle a romance with Harriet, his lifelong crush.
3) Take part in the most important discovery in human history.

That discovery is called “the Apports”: dazzling visions that occur every day at 4:11pm, bursting from an office wall. Unique for everyone, they ignite personal breakthroughs and mind-melting spiritual experiences. Some think they’re alien communication. Others think they’re a gateway to God.

But some witnesses are rumored to emerge as violent lunatics, with minds as mangled as their victims’ bodyparts.

To Nate, the reward is worth the risk. Parentless at thirty-three, he’s spent the past five years taking care of his mentally-disabled brother. Thanks to a bizarre murder he helped solve years ago, he’s called to investigate the Apports with childhood friends: TV ghost-hunters Harriet and Geneva Vanflower. For one weekend, they’ll tackle the mystery together, secluded on the building’s sixty-seventh floor.

At first, the experience is blissful beyond words. There’s no doubt, if properly harnessed, the Apports could abolish mankind’s distraction and division forever. For Nate, they’re a ticket out of his subservient life. They offer freedom, prestige, a future with Harriet.

But the Apports have monumental plans of their own—and if Nate wants to prevent mass delirium, he must act as their earthly messenger. For some reason, they’re trying to dispose of his disabled brother, the person he loves the most. And the one who’s holding him back.

Because the more you learn about the Apports, the more they learn about you
Melodie

On twitter: @rewrighter01
blog: http://foreverrewrighting.blogspot.com

Offline MICRONESIA

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
  • Karma: 4
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #23 on: July 14, 2020, 10:40:28 AM »
Thanks! That's exceptionally helpful and not dissimilar to what others have said (i.e. the Apports being "sentient").

Also thanks for ACTUALLY RECIPROCATING a critique. :up:

Offline FitzAdamant

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 8
  • Karma: 0
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #24 on: July 30, 2020, 06:09:19 PM »
Thanks for your critique on my own query! Much appreciated. Hopefully you find my critique of yours to be helpful. Overall I think it's a pretty strong letter. Just needs some focus in the first half. It's definitely a book I'd read!

I'll gladly reciprocate critiques for everyone who helps me with this. Thanks in advance!


They’re called “the Apports”: dazzling visions that occur every day at 4:11pm, on the sixty-seventh floor of a Manhattan office. This is incredibly specific, but I like that. It's just so odd that I'm definitely intrigued to find out more. However, as the next line says they're unique for "everyone" I get a bit thrown off. If this phenomenon is confined to a single floor of a Manhattan office, who is "everyone"? Everyone on the floor? Everyone who works in the building? Or is this publically known and people gather there to experience these visions daily? Unique for everyone, they ignite personal breakthroughs and mind-melting spiritual experiences. Some think they’re alien communication. Others think they’re a gateway to God.

But some witnesses are rumored to emerge as violent lunatics, with minds as mangled as their victims’ bodyparts. Good line, IMO.

To lonely caregiver Nate Boone, the reward is worth the risk. What exactly is the reward? A mind-melting spiritual experience? Why is that worth the risk of being turned into a murderous lunatic? How is this possibly going to help with his real problem, of no longer being able to take looking after his brother? Your query should have the reader asking questions, but I think this is having me ask too many and not the right ones. Parentless at thirty-three, he’s spent the past five years taking care of his mentally-disabled brother—and he’s damn near reached his breaking point. Thanks to a bizarre case he solved years ago, (Doing what? If he had the sort of job where he could solve cases, I want to know what this job was. I think that would be better to talk about than looking after his disabled brother.) Nate is called to investigate the Apports with his lifelong crush: TV psychic Harriet Vanflower. This weekend, they’ll tackle the mystery with two colleagues, secluded on the building’s sixty-seventh floor.

At first, the phenomenon is transcendent beyond words. There’s no doubt, if properly harnessed, the Apports could unify mankind forever. For Nate, they represent freedom, prestige and a future with the starry-eyed Harriet. But when the heavenly visions turn hellish, the friends become untethered from reality. Shadow beings stalk the halls. And people start going missing.

The intelligence behind the Apports has plans of its own, and it’s tapped Nate to be its earthly emissary. Soon, the spectacle will broadcast in the Manhattan sky—heralding a spiritual awakening mankind isn’t ready for. If Nate can’t stop it in time, mass delirium will erupt. But the Apports are also threatening to murder his mentally-disabled brother, the person he loves the most. And the one who’s always held him back.

Because the more you learn about the Apports, the more they learn about you. I think the rest of this query is pretty strong. Choosing between the fate of the world and his brother's life is a fantastic, impossible choice. I'm not too sure that this last line makes sense with the previous one, though. It's a great line, but it doesn't flow as well as it could.
   
THE CRYSTAL MARGIN is a sci-fi thriller (Obviously you know the book better than anyone, but I think you could get away with just thriller. It definitely sounded more like a thriller to me. If you had to, you could say "thriller with sci-fi elements". It's generally better to list one genre, if possible.) of 83k words. Consider it The Haunting of Hill House updated for fans of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy. Thank you for your consideration.

Offline auraesque

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 12
  • Karma: 0
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #25 on: July 30, 2020, 09:11:45 PM »
Thank you for your kind and helpful words. I hope I can return the favor.

Quote
They’re called “the Apports”: dazzling visions that occur every day at 4:11pm, on the sixty-seventh floor of a Manhattan office high rise. Unique for everyone, they ignite personal breakthroughs and mind-melting spiritual experiences. Some think they’re alien communication. Others think they’re a gateway to God.

But some witnesses are rumored to emerge as violent lunatics, with minds as mangled as their victims’ bodyparts.

I like this set up, but I wonder if it might be too much to get through in such a brief format. What if you culled it into a single sentence?

"Every day at 4:11 p.m., anyone standing on on the sixty-seventh floor of 666 Fifth Avenue will see "the Apports," dazzling visions that inspire--in equal measure--personal breakthroughs and raging madness."

I used 666 Fifth Avenue as an example (it only has 40-something floors, and 666 is a little on the nose), but you might include the fictional address in your novel?

Quote
To lonely caregiver Nate Boone, the reward is worth the risk. ParentlessOrphaned at thirty-three, he’s spent the past five years taking care of his mentally-disabled brother—and he’s damn near reached his breaking point. Thanks to a bizarre case he solved years ago, Nate is called in to investigate the Apports with his lifelong crush: TV psychic Harriet Vanflower. This weekend, they’ll tackle the mystery with two colleagues, secluded on the building’s sixty-seventh floor.

I immediately want to know why it's worth the risk to Nate. My suggestion here is to swap "lonely caregiver" for his profession to help me understand why he's hired to investigate. Is he a disgraced cop? A private investigator? A former detective?

Is it important that she is his lifelong crush? That may be an erroneous detail, and her profession led me to wonder if this is going to be filmed or televised, which could raise the stakes for Nate. I almost expected the last clause to continue "and broadcast to 67 million homes."

Quote
At first, the phenomenon is transcendent beyond words. There’s no doubt, if properly harnessed, the Apports could unify mankind forever. For Nate, they represent freedom, prestige and a future with the starry-eyed Harriet. But when the heavenly visions turn hellish, the friends become untethered from reality. Shadow beings stalk the halls. And people start going missing.

I would cut this paragraph or seriously condense it.

Quote
The intelligence behind the Apports has plans of its own, and it’s tapped Nate to be its earthly emissary. Soon, the spectacle will broadcast in the Manhattan sky—heralding a spiritual awakening mankind isn’t ready for. If Nate can’t stop it in time, mass delirium will erupt. But the Apports are also threatening to murder his mentally-disabled brother, the person he loves the most. And the one who’s always held him back.

"When Nate uncovers the truth behind the Apports, the intelligence behind the phenomenon threatens to murder his brother if he doesn't play along with it's plan. Nate must choose between X and Y."

Quote
Because the more you learn about the Apports, the more they learn about you.

I am not sure there is enough time for this--it feels right for the back of a book, but I am not sure you have the space here for the appropriate set up.

Offline MICRONESIA

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 33
  • Karma: 4
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #26 on: July 31, 2020, 12:26:22 PM »
Thanks, y'all. I've updated the original post. As you see, I went with most of your changes.

Two quick things:

1) Yeah, auraesque, that whole "first line" thing has been a struggle. It's all about the order of information -- when does it become overload? Should I put it all in one line? But will that be too dense? Should I introduce the character BEFORE the phenomenon? Ugh.

2) I've also been wrestling with the "old case he solved" thing for months. I feel like I have to include SOME purpose for Nate getting invited. Otherwise, why would they ask a lonely caregiver? On the other hand, explaining it in detail requires at least a whole new sentence of backstory* -- and I don't want to throw the reader off. Double ugh.

I'll have a look at your new queries pronto. Thanks again!


(*Basically, they might have some latent "psychic"/remote-viewing capabilities, which helped them solve a murder. Harriet got famous for this supposed ability, while Nate remained skeptical.)

Offline msluna

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 13
  • Karma: 0
Re: The Crystal Margin
« Reply #27 on: August 01, 2020, 07:01:37 PM »
I love the last line.  Regardless of any further revisions, I would keep that.  And I know you've probably gone back and forth about this, but the line with the colon doesn't look right and since it's your beginning sentence...

Quote
They’re called “the Apports”: dazzling visions

I could be wrong, but is there some way we can change that...

Would this possibly work:

They’re called the Apports -- dazzling visions....  And should it be double quotes or single quotes? A grammatical expert will know more than me for sure!

Or maybe, "The Apports are dazzling visions..."