Monday, July 20, 2015

The Evolution of a Query


So. I’ve started revising another manuscript (NO REST), figuring, hey, if I’m on the revision roll I might as well go with it, right? Anyway, I was working on the query for it and I thought I’d share how it starts off, NOT looking like a query but rather the disjointed ideas for one. This is what my query looks like in the beginning. As I revise, make it better, I’ll share those drafts with you as well. Maybe this will be interesting. Or not…

Query – NO REST



Character/setting – Camille Zinn who wants to follow her mother’s footsteps into space and secretly hopes to find her – it’s the future and it looks like this [name three things: super luminal tunnels are coming soon along with the latest chemical enhancement. Want to be smarter? Try the Einstein enhancement. Poor Eyesight? Ask for Eagle Eye. This is the world Camille Zinn grows up in and while she’s never been off her homeworld she’s about to leave for the first time, courtesy of the Corporation who owns her world, CGE, the same company Cam’s mother worked for before being declared MIA.

Conflict – But After a hazing gone wrong, Cam gets a chemical enhancement she didn’t want whose effects are permanent: Cam can’t sleep. More amazing? She finds a way to deal with not sleeping without going crazy. Bad news: the company she’s signed on with to follow her dream wants to use her to replicate the enhancement to make super workers

Choice: …what she finds isn’t what she expected and the choices she’ll have to make will have deep repercussions [really?]

In the future, Corporations own everything and are constantly scouting blah blag blah. Most people are okay with that, including Camille Zinn, who grows up on the backwater world of Cedar, the latest addition to CGE’s  holdings.


In the future, Corporations own everything, including the planet Camille Zinn grows up on. But that’s okay with Cam, because the company that owns her homeworld (Carina Genetics Engineering) is going to give her the opportunity to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a scout, looking for new worlds – and new profits. But after a hazing gone wrong, Cam gets a chemical enhancement she didn’t want whose effects are permanent: Cam can’t sleep. More amazing? She finds a way to deal with not sleeping without going crazy. Bad news: the company she’s signed on with to follow her dream wants to use her to replicate the enhancement to make super workers….volunteers, among them, her boyfriend, Jin. If she doesn’t help, the volunteers won’t make it, but if she does, CGE will make more super-workers who can’t sleep, even though some of them are dying to. Literally. 

[yes, start with grandfather and his distrust of CGE, Cam’s not to worry attitude, and her plan to follow in her mother’s footsteps] Grandfather says they’re lucky. Cedar was one of the last free planets and it’s retained more local rights than most under the CGE banner.
***


So, what do your queries look like in the beginning?

14 comments:

  1. Probably worse than that. Wait, definitely worse than that.
    Smart to break it down with character, conflict, and choice.

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  2. I agree with Alex that is has to have character, conflict, and choice. My queries tend to be a big mess for quite awhile while I work on them.

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  3. I always tried for a hook first -- a two sentence hook/elevator pitch -- and then moved into a paragraph that delved deeper into character, conflict, and choice.

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  4. Thank you for the sneak peek into a writer's world. A mystery revealed.

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  5. *smiles* mine ramble a lot too. I think I do more revisions on a 200-300 word query than the 90k novel.

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  6. I like how you've listed each of the elements. It'll be interesting to see how they come together to form the completed query.

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  7. Mine look about like that. Neat story. Very creative!

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  8. Pretty close to this - I usually end up with many versions by the time I'm done and I save every version in case I had something good in an old one and want to go back and retrieve it. :) This MS sounds cool. :)

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  9. I agree. Those three Cs are vital to a successful query. Best of luck revising!

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  10. where can I get me some chemical enhancements too? :)

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  11. I like the beginning outline of the query very much, especially the Einstein and Eagle Eye things. I love the premise & conflict. The choice has me a bit confused. Too vague. Your "blah, blah, blah," later cracked me up! I always write a query before I begin a novel. It helps keep the main conflict and goals front and center in my mind. Good luck with yours and have a great weekend! :)

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  12. Best of luck with what I am sure can be an arduous process.

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