Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Query Critique #9: KINETIC: THE FIRST ALLIANCE

My thoughts are added in redEvery comment is my own opinion. Readers, feel free to leave your own comments below and help a fellow writer out!

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Original Version (with comments):

No one ever said being a hero was easy. At the very least, it definitely wasn’t smart.

Kinetic: The First Alliance is the story of intergalactic betrayal and revenge that will forever shape the lives of five teens back on Earth as they struggle to find the meaning of their existences and keep their humanity in the process. One by one, they’re forced them to fight a war light years away that they never asked for, or wanted to be a part of.

(This is all very, very interesting! Unfortunately it’s not necessarily needed. Instead of hurling your audience straight into the plot, you’re summarizing backstory—and what actually happens! I think you could do without this. After all, the real interesting part is the next paragraph!)

In the not-so-distant future, Alex Carter is a southern teen from Houston, Texas who had dreams of going to college and living a nice, boring existence. However, his life just took a turn for the chaotic when he is (I don’t think you need this. Jump straight into the action! His being visited by this “Shyra” is where your story really starts!) visited (Do you have a stronger word other than visited? Is he kidnapped at first?)  by Shyra, a beautiful and deadly alien from a far off world. After revealing Alex can control electricity, and must use his powers to try and save the world (I think something is missing in this sentence. Is Alex supposed to save Earth or Shyra’s world?). She manipulates his need to protect his grandfather (Could you show this? Maybe she threatens to kill his grandfather?), the only family he has left (Maybe earlier in the query letter consider showing how much Alex’s grandfather means to him. Otherwise it only comes off as a contrite plot device to get Alex to leave.), and he chooses to leave with her into the night.

The curt and brazen alien Shyra rips four more kinetics (Might want to explain what that is here), each with different amazing abilities (I can assume they’re amazing, if they’re anything like Alex’s!) from their homes and forces them to be conscripts them as soldiers for an upcoming interplanetary battle-royal I’m not quite sure what you mean by “battle-royal,” but I might just not know the term) to the death. Alex is forced to grow up and become a man and hero in just one year before the evil Zenakuu arrives.

Alex juggles a wide array of emotions for his team and mentor such as love, jealously, brotherhood, and hatred to name a few (Don’t tell us, show!). When war finally makes its way to Earth’s doorstep, Alex must choose between either surviving the day, or sacrificing himself to save the lives of his team.  The fate of humanity lies in the hands of a teenager who is only sure that he’s impossibly unsure (This ending doesn’t have quite the punch that it could, considering tons of planets’ fates rest in the hands of an insecure teenager! Try giving it more punch instead of summarizing what’s to come).

“KINETIC: THE FIRST ALLIANCE” is a 123,000 word Young Adult Sci-fi novel with series potential (Agents always worry that an entire series might not sell, so it's always good to say that the book can standalone). It the first installment in a Sci-fi, Young Adult series and is 123,000 words. It’s pace and theme will appeal to the readers of such books as Pittacus Lore’s “I AM NUMBER FOUR,” and “STEELHEART” by Brandon Sanderson.

Right off: your story sounds like a super cool YA sci-fi! I can already imagine what the movie would be like in my head (definitely saw I AM NUMBER FOUR!). The thing I think you really need to focus on with this query letter is to show instead of tell. You do a lot of glossing over and summarizing instead of going through what actually happens to Alex. The result is lack of empathy for anything he’s going through and lack of interest in his fate (as well as this not-so-distant Earth’s). Try to go through the book and jot down the most important parts as well as a fact about Alex that makes him relatable (other than his wanting to just have a perfectly boring life). Then take those pieces and weave them together to form your query letter. I wish you the very best of luck! Feel free to send the edited version to me, if you so choose!


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