- More chances to win this month's First Impact prize. All critiques offered to these logline revisions will be entered for the monthly prize.
- There will be a deluge of posts on Friday (e-mail subscribers, I'm so, so sorry).
We always need more stuff to critique, so if you would like to submit your query/first page/etc, send it to firstimpactAE@gmail.com. Details here.
This week we have a sci-fi query from Patricia Moussatche. My inline comments are to the side, with overall thoughts at the end. And remember, this is just one guy's opinion. Your mileage may vary.
|This is a lot of setup. I think you can|
just put "they're a team" after the
first sentence and cut all but the last.
"Diligence to write down ideas" feels
like a lame ability next to David's.
David and Catrine, top graduates from the Academy of Demia, are more than friends and schoolmates. David has brilliant ideas and Catrine has the diligence to write them down. Catrine is shy, so David gives their thoughts a strong voice. When David’s temper flares, it is always Catrine who calms him down. They are a team. At least until the day he kisses her.
|Woah, this paragraph raises a lot of|
world-building questions. How does
the throne have authority if it doesn't
exist? What has David accomplished?
How does the throne represent
hypocrisy? What kind of hypocrisy?
That day, David notices a tiny tattoo hidden beneath her hair that marks Catrine as next in line for a hereditary throne that should not even exist on their planet. Will his own accomplishments count for naught when the next ruler is chosen? And how can he love her if she represents the hypocrisy of the utopian society he always believed in?
|More questions: What turmoil? How|
is his gov't deceitful? Why is David
the only one who can make Demia
prosper? Where's home and who's
luring him there? And most
importantly: what's the bait?
|I'm betting your work deals with|
science fact, not fiction ;-)
Thank you for your time and consideration.
World-building is so, so, so, so, so hard to get across clearly -- decuply so in a query. The trick in a query is to stay 100% focused on what matters: the main character, his goal, his conflict, and what terrible choice he must make. Don't hint at anything you can't explain, and don't explain anything you don't absolutely have to.
This query actually does feel focused on the main storyline, but it hints at a bunch of things we don't understand. You either need to explain things, or even better, cut the bits that raise questions.
For example, instead of saying "a hereditary throne that should not exist," go straight to what's sinister about it. "She's marked as the next Queen Poobah. The Poobahs were supposed to have been removed from power centuries ago, but they've been ruling the utopian Demia from the shadows. Now David's parents are conspiring to make him the next King."
Or instead of explaining it, skip his relationship with Catrine and the tattoo, and go straight to David's parents conspiring to marry him to Demia's next shadow ruler. Then explain why this is a bad thing (stakes) and why just saying no is not an option (sadistic choice).
Anyway, that's just my idea. What do the rest of you think?