Author Topic: 2nd Query for Shift novel  (Read 3718 times)

Offline Dave Reynolds

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2nd Query for Shift novel
« on: May 19, 2009, 01:15:01 AM »
Okay, how is this for a second attempt adapting Pilot's and Violets observations:

I am seeking representation for SHIFT, an 80,000-word novel of paranormal suspense.

Sandy thinks a night of baby-sitting five-year-old prodigy Cassie will be fun, and that maybe she can get to the bottom of Cassie’s nightmares and a secret she is keeping. When an experimental weather-control device falls off the Navy jet carrying it and it crashes just blocks away up in the hills, it ramps up, out of control, and they awake to a massive electrical storm and utter darkness.

With the power outage, the only working radio Sandy can find is one that her dearly departed husband had stored in the garage. Sandy and Cassie then learn that there is an exodus to the local Police Station for shelter. The faulty weather apparatus has transported their chunk of town away in a bubble of time and space where creatures are at war. Little Cassie believes they are angels and demons because that is what they resemble, while still others believe they are marooned with waring aliens.

Cassie confesses her secret to Miss Sandy and says she can see “other rainbows” around all things and that she can “move” on them. Sandy is worried, not because of the girl's claim, but because she finally witnesses it herself. As Sandy and Cassie fight for their lives with other survivors, it’s Cassie and the “rainbows” she sees that may offer them a second chance. They must find the weather-control device and prevent it from expanding and destroying the planet. Chased by the ‘demons’, the two get some unexpected help from an ‘angel’. But in the end, it’s Cassie who must stop the infernal device.

Thank you so much for your time.

Offline violet

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #1 on: May 19, 2009, 12:47:33 PM »
Okay, how is this for a second attempt adapting Pilot's and Violets observations:

I am seeking representation for SHIFT, an 80,000-word novel of paranormal suspense.

David-Better, but it still needs work...there's still a lot of extraneous info IMHO. Also, why do you term a mother as babysitting?? This is confusing to the reader.

How old is Sandy?
Sandy thinks a night of baby-sitting five-year-old prodigy Cassie will be fun, and that maybe she can get to the bottom of not only Cassie’s nightmares, but a secret she is keeping. When an experimental weather-control device falls off from the Navy jet carrying it, and it crashes just blocks away up in the hills, it ramps up, out of control, and they awake to a massive electrical storm and utter darkness. Maybe something like...when a weather control device falls from the Navy jet carrying it, their town falls into darkness...or something like that.

With the power outage, the only a working radio Sandy can find is one that left by her dearly departed husband had stored in the garage. Sandy and Cassie then learn that there is an tells her there is an exodus to the local Police Station for shelter.

Ok, this is where things get confusing...The faulty weather apparatus has transported their chunk of town away in a bubble of time and space where creatures are at war. Little Cassie believes they are angels and demons because that is what they resemble, while still others believe they are marooned with waring aliens. I would just state what Cassie believes...otherwise it's too much info

Cassie confesses her secret to Miss Sandy ok, so is this her teacher then?? Confusing!  ;D and says she can see “other rainbows” around all things and that she can “move” on them. Again, confusing...and the fact they are in quotes makes it seem like they aren't what they appear to be. Sandy is worried, not because of the girl's claim, but because she finally witnesses it herself. As Sandy and Cassie fight for their lives with other survivors, it’s Cassie and the “rainbows” she sees that may offer them a second chance. They must find the weather-control device and prevent it from expanding and destroying the planet. Chased by the ‘demons’, the two get some unexpected help from an ‘angel’. But in the end, it’s Cassie who must stop the infernal device.

David, first of all, anything in quotes doesn't work...it just makes the reader think that what you're stating isn't reality. While one use of quotes may work, there are too many in your query. Also, I've now re-read your last graph many times and I still am having problems figuring out what is going on!

My sense is you're apprehensive about telling what the real story is, hence the quotes...I really do recommend the exercise I mentioned before. While it seems impossible, we all eventually do it...even if you can't do 3 sentences off the bat, just try to do 50% less of what is in this query. It will really help.

 :)

Thank you so much for your time.

Offline Dave Reynolds

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2009, 10:57:00 AM »
Violet,

I did do the exercise and this is how I arrived at my earlier version. Some of the questions on another forum were, "Well, how do they get to the police station?" "How do they find out that..." and "well what is the exact danger posed to Sandy and Cassie; why don't they just ride the storm out?" So, more and more was added in to clarify and it grew. Now, it is too much :eek:

I will see if I can rework it so it does not raise those questions. I, personally, thought it was the point. Raise curiosity. Make them want to read it. Opinions vary I guess and it is partly the reason I detest the query process.

About Sandy and Cassie's relationship, Sandy IS the babysitter, as indicated in my earlier post. I still don't get where you see something different, but I have the advantage (disadvantage?) of knowing the whole story. Oh, and the quotes you saw were from within Pilot's suggested changes.  :wink:

So, as the site is back up, I will post what I have been playing with Wednesday.

Offline Dave Reynolds

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2009, 10:59:19 AM »
Sandy thinks a night of baby-sitting five-year-old prodigy Cassie will be fun, and that maybe she can get to the bottom of Cassie’s nightmares and a secret she is keeping. When an experimental weather-control device falls off the Navy jet carrying it and it crashes just blocks away up in the hills, it ramps up, out of control, and they awake to a massive electrical storm and utter darkness.

The faulty weather apparatus has transported their chunk of town away in a bubble of time and space where creatures are at war. Little Cassie believes they are angels and demons, while still others believe they are marooned with waring aliens.

Cassie confesses her secret to Miss Sandy and says she can travel, as Sandy understands the little girl, hyper-dimensionally. Sandy is worried, not because of Cassie's claim, but because she finally witnesses it herself. As Sandy and Cassie fight for their lives with other survivors, it’s Cassie and her gift that may offer them a second chance. They must find the weather-control device and prevent it from expanding and destroying the planet. Chased by the demons, the two get some unexpected help from an angel. But in the end, it’s Cassie who must stop the infernal device.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 12:25:23 PM by Dave Reynolds »

Offline newday11

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2009, 12:12:59 PM »
 :draw: I gave you your 1st karma. Look, what you have is good for this genre but for me it's too much. Too paranormal! :) Not trying to offend! I guess it's because I'm a NF guy. newday11
« Last Edit: May 21, 2009, 12:53:44 PM by newday11 »
SECRETS OF THE COLD WAR. In the Libraries of West Point, Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Pentagon, FBI Academy, DIA, Yale, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Rice, Alabama, Lancashire Library Service, Derbyshire Libraries, Dorset County Libraries,The Heidelberg American Regional and many more.

Offline Dave Reynolds

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2009, 01:10:20 PM »
:draw: I gave you your 1st karma. Look, what you have is good for this genre but for me it's too much. Too paranormal! :) Not trying to offend! I guess it's because I'm a NF guy. newday11

Thank you, Newday

Offline newday11

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2009, 02:07:55 PM »
 :sad: Look, I'm a sucker for hoping I did not hurt someones feelings. Like I said I can see a lot of creative thought went into this. newday
SECRETS OF THE COLD WAR. In the Libraries of West Point, Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, Pentagon, FBI Academy, DIA, Yale, Cornell, Harvard, Princeton, Vanderbilt, Rice, Alabama, Lancashire Library Service, Derbyshire Libraries, Dorset County Libraries,The Heidelberg American Regional and many more.

Offline Dave Reynolds

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2009, 11:25:18 AM »
Oh not at all! Hey, if it ain't yer style then it ain't.

Everyone is different. Right? Keeps things interesting. I can barely stand gangster (Mafia) movies and books. I have a low tolerance for fantasy stories where a magical wand (or some object) will get the hero out of trouble. I don't have trouble with ALL fantasy or if other things happen to mix it up, but if someone is in danger and all they have to do is invoke a silly spell, that kind of makes things, er, not so dangerous. That is, unless the stakes are raised.

Tastes are what they are and we are all shaped by our experiences. In fiction, we shape our stories with what has shaped us. I spent a lot of time daydreaming in school because it was easy and boring. Got a lot of mean notes on my report cards for daydreaming. If daydreaming is what I do best I may as well get paid for it, even if I will never write "The Great American Novel."

Thanks again!

Offline DHE

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Re: 2nd Query for Shift novel
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2009, 09:26:32 PM »
Sandy thinks a night of baby-sitting five-year-old prodigy Cassie will be fun, and that maybe she can get to the bottom of Cassie’s nightmares and a secret she is keeping. When an experimental weather-control device falls off the Navy jet carrying it and it crashes just blocks away up in the hills, it ramps up, out of control, Don't need this.  Too much explanation for something that really doesn't have an explanation, if that makes sense.  I don't read this and go "Ah yes, obviously that would cause a time warp" so skip for now and focus on the experience of the characters, because you've set up a really cool character dynamic here. But afterand they awake to a massive electrical storm and utter darkness segue here into finding out from the radio that their chunk of the town has been transported away.  We can assume it's from the electrical storm somehow instead of the apparatus.  That's fine and makes just as much sense here and keeps us from getting away from the problem happening now.

The faulty weather apparatus has transported their chunk of town away in a bubble of time and space where creatures are at war. Little Cassie believes they are angels and demons, while still others believe they are marooned with waring aliens. I could be wrong, but this seems irrelevant.  The only info I gain here is that there are other people there with them, but I'd rather be given this information by seeing them interacting with others or hearing it through the radio or something

Cassie confesses her secret to Miss Sandy and says she can travel, as Sandy understands the little girl, hyper-dimensionally. Sandy is worried, not because of Cassie's claim, but because she finally witnesses it herself. Um, the image I'm getting here is the little girl being like "I can transport to other dimensions, so I can get back home!  See?" Then popping off, leaving Sandy.  So I don't really get why she's suddenly back here.  I also don't get how she knows she can travel hyper-dimensionally.  Has she done so before and this is old-hat to her? As Sandy and Cassie fight for their lives with other survivors, it’s Cassie and her gift that may offer them a second chance. They must find the weather-control device and prevent it from expanding and destroying the planet. Chased by the demons, the two get some unexpected help from an angel. But in the end, it’s Cassie who must stop the infernal device. Ah, I see why the device is important now.  I think, though, you could introduce this information here as a glimpse of hope after setting up the confusion, that they find out there was a cause to this...a crash, and if they find what crashed down from the sky..etc.  BUT, I don't really get the connection between Cassie's gift and this problem. Why does inter-dimensional travel give her the ability to work with broken weather machines?  Also, their goal is outlined to be keeping the weather device from destroying this planet, but why do they care?  Wouldn't their main goal be to get home, screw this dimension with all it's crazy problems? I'm not trying to throw tons of questions at you saying you should cover all these points, but I'm finding the problem hard to follow logically, so I think you should focuse on a streamlined, clear explanation of what they're facing and what their goal is and why, without getting bogged down in trying to explain why this all happened in the first place

I think you're getting too bogged down in trying to make this sound plausible.  It's not plausible, but that doesn't matter.  What matters is that the characters are in a crazy situation and they want out of it and need to figure out how to do that. 

I do really love the idea of a babysitter and her charge ending up in this situation.  That's a really fun dynamic right there and very unique.  I think you could really work with this throughout your query.  What is a babysitter's role?  To protect their charge.  Why is this different than a parent?  Because a babysitter usually doesn't have a parent's experience.  This is a job.  They don't necessarily know what they're doing.  So now you've got this babysitter suddenly with the most extreme babysitting job ever.  Worst, her charge seems to be a central key to this whole mess.  So, play this up by showing us that there's danger to Cassie here and that Sandy's trying to protect her but may not be adequate, espcially since keeping Cassie away from the conflict and letting someone without a kid figure it out isn't an option with Cassie being their "only hope."  I personally think that's the most special part about your query and think that's something to really bring focus to. 

Best of luck!!