Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Saturday Slash

Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.

We all know the first line of a query is your "hook." I call the last line the "sinker." You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.

If you're looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don't be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey - the query. My comments appear in green.

Evlalia welcomes new technology in her life even less than she does people, but when her human servants choose the workhouse over her, a magical servant programmed to obey her every word becomes one Albion fashion she's interested in following. Hmm... I definitely like the hook because the idea here is fun and interesting, but you'll want to rephrase and possibly break up into two sentences. I had to read twice to understand what you were saying and you've also got a "servant" echo in there.

These 'units' are summoned from the Internet and come with unique software: some read or run definitely unsure what use of "read" or "run" is being used here. They are robots and you just mentioned technology so I don't know if we're talking about files, or more human verbs. quicker than a forming thought, others grow their toenails or eyelashes six times faster than normal why would this be a positive trait?. Tace is a rare teleporting unit left handless and on a ventilator by his last user, and days away from being switched off awkward phrasing here. But Evlalia is determined to find him worth saving awk phrasing again - is she determined to "find him" or determined that he is "worth saving?", if only to prove everyone else wrong. He'll be the one getting used to her unsure what this means, and a mute unit should ultimately make her life even quieter than before. Why is he mute? And wouldn't being handless be a detriment to a servant? 

Not everyone is as desperate to forget the past as she is. Units have perfect memories, and not all of them are fully controlled by humans after all. Evlalia never intended to become close to Tace, and certainly not close enough for him to be dragged into her arguments and hurt in her place. She's started seeing him as irreplaceable; but his old user has reappeared, and he always saw their separation as temporary. It's hard enough for Evlalia to ask for help, but now Tace's found other people to listen to. Why would him finding other people to listen to have anything to do with her asking for help? And who would she be asking for help from? 

Evlalia might have to trust more than her words this time. Not sure what this means? Is she a reader / writer? If so that needs to be made clearer, sooner.

THE MATTER THAT YOU READ is a 120,000 word slice of life/urban fantasy novel, set in an alternate Edwardian England. Hmm... in that case I'd say it's actually steampunk. Also, I had no indication in the query that this was Edwardian England. You'll want to do some rephrasing to get that in there before your specs state the fact.

Overall I like your concept, but you need to get more of your MC's personality out there. What do you mean by "her arguments?" It sounds like she's often in some kind of struggle one way or another, but why would that be, if she's antisocial? Also there's quite a few sentences that had to be untangled in order for me to grasp their meaning. Get the awkward phrasing smoothed out and maybe make your hook into two sentences. Other than I think your concept definitely sounds interesting.

No comments: