Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Query Revision 10

Face-Lift 769: Beyond the Dreams

Axia is a gladiator born out of genetic changes, but when she discovers she was created illegally, surviving the arena is no longer her main problem; she now also has to survive freedom.

In a world where death is entertainment, Axia knows only one purpose to her life: fighting to the death. A genetically and physically created gladiator, she has been trained to survive the arena. When she finally wins her freedom, she thinks herself safe from death and ready to embrace life rather than survival. But she discovers some of the alterations in her genes were illegal and part of a secret project.

In an outside world she barely knows anything about, she may be more in danger than in the arena. Her creator comes after her and has one goal: using her for her true purpose, to kill the Ruler of the Universe.

I am seeking your representation for BEYOND THE DREAMS, a young-adult science-fiction novel of 55,000 words.

A complete manuscript is available upon request.

Comments

Axia is a gladiator born out of genetic changes,

This doesn't really say what you mean it to. Her birth was genetically manipulated, perhaps, but she wasn't really 'born out of those changes.'

but when she discovers she was created illegally, surviving the arena is no longer her main problem; she now also has to survive freedom.

There's a bit of a cause-and-effect logic slip here. The discovery itself does not lead to her freedom. Also, once free, surviving the arena is not only not her main problem, it's no longer a problem at all. I think, cleaned up, this is a good start for your hook sentence, but that it can be stronger.

In a world where death is entertainment, Axia knows only one purpose to her life: fighting to the death.

Hmm. Sounds like she fights, dies, is resurrected, fights, dies, comes back, etc. She knows how to kill, not how to die.

A genetically and physically created gladiator, she has been trained to survive the arena.

"physically" isn't your best word choice here. "Trained" gets what you want across just fine.

"genetically created" also isn't precise. We're ALL genetically created.

When she finally wins her freedom, she thinks herself safe from death and ready to embrace life rather than survival.

The reader doesn't know she's a slave until we find out here she wins her freedom.

"rather than survival" needs some finessing as living is surviving.

But she discovers some of the alterations in her genes were illegal and part of a secret project.

In an outside world she barely knows anything about, she may be more in danger than in the arena.

I think you can tease in the hook or at the end, but not so much in the middle -- I would go with a declarative here: "is in more danger" rather than "may be".

Her creator comes after her and has one goal: using her for her true purpose, to kill the Ruler of the Universe.

Let's try something other than "Ruler of the Universe," shall we? Honestly, IMO, this phrase alone will elicit form rejections.

This still seems to be all setup. As indicated by what's written here, your climax seems to be whether her creator will capture her or not. You certainly don't have to "spill the beans" in the query, but I have no idea where this story goes plotwise. Does her creator catch up to her? Does she resist his/her purpose? Is the Ruler a despicable despot or a benevolent dictator? Is she faced with a moral dilemma in killing the Ruler? Or is she quite willing to kill him, it's just HOW she'll do it that's the challenge?

I am seeking your representation for BEYOND THE DREAMS, a young-adult science-fiction novel of 55,000 words.

I'm assuming Axia is still a teenager if this is YA? She wins her freedom as a teen? Where's the return on investment for whoever stuck her in the arena to begin with? I could see a gladiator winning their freedom after years in the arena, but before they're 18? It seems a bit of a plot hole.

A complete manuscript is available upon request.

Here's A Revision Prompt

Since I'm at a loss as to what the real plot is, I used a rather generic one to illustrate how you can get some details in without going over word count. You'll note I have two paragraphs devoted to [made-up] plot because it's that important. Plus, the last plot paragraph also shows that this isn't just a story about fighting and killing, but that there are emotional choices involved, too.

For Axia, a gladiator bred for fighting, surviving the arena was easy; it's freedom that may kill her.

On a world where death is entertainment, 17-year-old Axia knows only one purpose to her life: killing. A genetically engineered gladiator slaved to the State, she has been trained to survive the arena. But when she wins her freedom in a rigged fight, she finds that in the outside world she barely knows anything about, she may be in even more danger.

First comes the kidnapping attempt, a failure that lands her in the hospital where she's tipped that some of the alterations to her genes are illegal ones. Further investigation uncovers a secret project aimed at bringing down the State and giving back control to the citizens: Proletariat geneticists have created a small army of assassins the State has unwittingly trained. Now they want to use their most superb specimen, Axia, to assassinate the caesar.

As a weapon, Axia will need to call on every bit of her enhanced strength, speed and reflexes. But it's her beliefs that are challenged most when she infiltrates the caesar's palace only to discover that the differences in philosophy between the Proletariat and the State may not be so black-and-white as what they first seemed. Faced with the proverbial rock and a hard place, it's up to Axia to decide where her allegiance lies.

I am seeking your representation for BEYOND THE DREAMS, a YA science fiction novel of 55,000 words. A complete manuscript is available upon request.

1 comment:

Tom said...

I would say lose the first paragraph, the second is better and basically repeats the first anyway.