Sunday, April 25, 2010

Query Revision 5

Face-Lift 746: Rage of a Hero

After getting killed, while trying to stop the corrupted Corporation Erebus, Arthur Van Rui strikes a deal with the Grim Reaper to come back from the dead. The Reaper only agrees to do so if Arthur takes the soul of a prisoner of hell with him, but little does Arthur know that this will wipe his memory.

The allies he left behind, The Legends, are losing the battle against Corporation Erebus, and unaware of his death and his deal with the Reaper, the group is frustrated by Arthur's memory problems. They need his memory in the fight though, or else Corporation Erebus will succeed, and complete their secret weapon, forcing all the world governments to fall under their control.

And that soul Arthur had to take with him? He is only known as Rage, a powerful lunatic who destroyed cities for pleasure when he roamed the Earth some eight hundred years ago. The Reaper knows this, and he also knows that Arthur won’t possibly be able to restrain this soul forever…

Rage of a Hero is complete at 75,000 words, and is ready to be sent upon your request. Thank you for your time.


After figuring out what elements go into your query, the most important thing to remember is to: Tighten. Tighten. Tighten. And once you think you've got it tight enough, turn those screws some more. You have precious few words in a query -- make sure every one of them counts.  Especially with action-adventure, you want it to be short and punchy. (By you I, of course, mean everybody.)
And here's a secret. Tightening doesn't just mean removing extranneous words. It also means using simple, short declarative sentences. Convoluted sentences with multiple, wandering phrases just feel long.
My version is shorter than yours by just four words. Which has a faster pace? Which sounds more plot-driven, action-adventury?
Still, kudos, author, for bringing your revisions -- here and at EE's -- in under 200 words!
After Arthur Van Rui is killed trying to stop Corporation Erebus from taking over the world, he strikes a deal with the Grim Reaper to return from the dead. The Reaper's price: Arthur has to bring the soul of a prisoner of hell back with him. The obligatory catch: Arthur's memory won't be going along for the ride.
What Arthur doesn't bargain for is his old allies, The Legends, needing those memories to destroy Erebus' newest secret weapon. Without him, The Legends lose the one shot they have to stop Erebus from forcing all the world governments to their knees.

But something far worse than Erebus is about to be unleashed. The soul the Reaper sends back with Arthur is known only as Rage, a powerful lunatic who destroyed cities for pleasure when he roamed the Earth eight hundred years ago. As long as the soul is bound to Arthur, it can do no harm. The Reaper, though, is counting on Arthur not being able to restrain his Rage forever.

RAGE OF A HERO, a superhero novel, is complete at 75,000 words. I look forward to sending you the manuscript.


Anonymous said...

Divine Miss Phoenix,
Thanks for the tips, I've copied and pasted them along with Evil's 15 things he cares about in order of importance in queries.

The query was very good. What Miss P did to it was amazing.

As an exercise, I'm rewriting the queries that appear on the blog BEFORE I read the new version. Then I see what magic you worked. There seems to be a slight teasing in the tone, an excitement that builds, a fun element worked in. Some kind of and THEN, for EXTRA measure for the close.
I wanted to keep reading. Lovely job. Doffing my hat to both of you. Bibi

Robin S. said...

I can't replicate the good stuff here, Phoenix, but it sure is good stuff!

Sarah Laurenson said...

Lovely as usual, Phoenix.