Saturday, October 18, 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.

Seventy-three years from now, people around the globe struggle to survive on a ravaged planet as resources dwindle and the Earth is thrust back into the dark ages. Amid the chaos, an ancient Goddess returns to power- will she rescue mankind from self-destruction, or accelerate the annihilation of the human race? I like the idea here, but I definitely need to know why the Goddess would suddenly return to power.

Loki, a lonely and disoriented Goddess, has spent seven decades on Earth adjusting to her returned powers. I need a feel for what / who Loki physically is. Is she a 70 year old woman? An ageless teen? Seeking atonement for the heinous deeds of her past, Loki attempts to salvage the devastated land as she clings to her fading humanity. Determined to transform herself into the hero she’s always yearned to be, she joins a crew of hardcore survivalists led by Lance; a courageous man who draws Loki in with his vision of a better world. But when the wife of Loki’s mortal descendant activates a sword belonging to the missing God of war, Loki becomes the obsessed woman’s target. Why? Now, in order to defeat the power-blind woman, Loki must tap into her primordial energies and risk losing her valued humanity, or else sacrifice the world she helped rebuild, along with the humans closest to her.

Greetings. I’m seeking representation for my adult action series Altered Earth. Complete at 113,000 words, Altered Earth: Return of the Fallen is a gritty speculative adventure geared toward mainstream urban fantasy bibliophiles, general suspense lovers, and literary thrill seekers. This first installment focuses on the hardships and mysteries of thriving in a chaotic realm of enigma, and the obstacles inherent in relationships between mortals and Gods.

My novel is reminiscent of Anne Rice's The Witching Hour with its deep family roots, intense romantic connections, and use of magic in practical situations. There are also elements of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones as the characters labor to build and maintain territories while grappling for power. At its heart, however, Altered Earth explores an ancient God’s struggle to connect with the humans closest to her while suppressing the urge to spread chaos and deception I definitely didn't get that she had an urge to spread chaos and deception, even as Earth’s fate hangs in the balance.

This is well-written, but if a big part of the plot is that Loki is at odds with herself and her need to spread chaos and destruction, that needs to be worked into the query as plot, not as a sentence with the comp titles. In the same vein, you make reference to Loki's dark deeds of the past, but someone not familiar with the goddess / mythology is not going to have a clue what that entails. You'll need to get those details into the query.

2 comments:

Jamie Zakian said...

Thank-You Mindy! These comments are excellent. I'm going to get right to work on implementing your suggestions. It's so incredible that you offer this kindness to us newbies. Thanks again, Jamie

Mindy McGinnis said...

Best of luck Jamie!