Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Query Revision 15

Face-Lift 776: Third Rainbow

The Narrator’s first memories are of hell, of being transformed into a demon, made into a slave, living life from one beating to the next. This all changes when Raven appears in his life. She awakens in the Narrator a desire for something more, however vague that sense of something may be, and together they devise their plan to escape hell.

The Narrator is forced to escape on his own when he finds Raven’s preserved head on the floor of his cave. Now he has one demon chasing him across hell and another planning to crucify him.

In another world, Beta is plagued by nightmares – nightmares of demons chasing each other through hell. He has written a program to stop his dreams, but the program isn’t working any more. He tries seeing a doctor. The doctor helps, until the demons appear in his waking life and his closest friends begin to die off one by one. He can’t understand why anyone would be hunting him or his friends.

Beta goes into hiding to escape those hunting him, but the demons find him once again and his fragile attempt at a normal life is shattered. His wife is murdered; his child is kidnapped; his home is burned to the ground. He decides to hunt those that have stolen his life. This decision leads him to hell, where he is transformed into a demon.

He is Beta no longer. Now he is the Hunter. And crucifying the one that calls himself the Narrator isn’t as much an end to his torment as it is a new beginning.

THIRD RAINBOW is a completed, 97,000 word science fiction novel about man-made demons and time travel.

Comments

I do apologize, author, but I'm really not understanding the story from the query. As a non-redemptive piece, I could maybe see it as a short story in one of the old pulp SF/Horror 'zines, but as a 97K-word novel? Well, I'm afraid I had tons of questions reading through the query that I felt weren't adequately answered.

The Narrator’s first memories are of hell, of being transformed into a demon, made into a slave, living life from one beating to the next. This all changes when Raven appears in his life.

Why does Raven appear? Does she remember more about her past life? Is she a demon, too?

She awakens in the Narrator a desire for something more, however vague that sense of something may be, and together they devise their plan to escape hell.

I don't think we need to know it's a vague sense in the query. Perhaps relook at the details you're choosing to relate.

The Narrator is forced to escape on his own when he finds Raven’s preserved head on the floor of his cave.

Why is Raven's head "preserved" and is it important for the query? Again, you seem to be focusing on inconsequential details. Raven herself seems rather superfluous in the query other than that she comes along and convinces the Narrator to grow some demon balls and get the hell out of hell.

Now he has one demon chasing him across hell and another planning to crucify him.

Why two demons? Do they want him for different reasons? If the one chasing him catches him, what will he do to him that's different than the crucifixion the second demon wants to impose?

In another world, Beta is plagued by nightmares – nightmares of demons chasing each other through hell. He has written a program to stop his dreams, but the program isn’t working any more.

You tend to repeat yourself a bit. If that's your voice, that's fine. In a short letter, though, it's somewhat distracting. "On another world, Beta dreams of demons chasing each other through hell. The program he wrote to halt those nightmares stopped working long ago."

He tries seeing a doctor.

As Yoda says, "There is no try."
"The doctor he sees helps -- until the demons step out of his dreams into his waking life ..."

The doctor helps, until the demons appear in his waking life and his closest friends begin to die off one by one. He can’t understand why anyone would be hunting him or his friends.

I'm not sure I follow this. The demons in his dreams are chasing each other. I'm not getting a sense of correlation -- help me, the reader, better fit the pieces together.

Beta goes into hiding to escape those hunting him, but the demons find him once again and his fragile attempt at a normal life is shattered.

Hiding works even for a little while? Where does one hide from a nightmare demon? And how is hiding an attempt at a normal life?

His wife is murdered; his child is kidnapped; his home is burned to the ground. He decides to hunt those that have stolen his life. This decision leads him to hell, where he is transformed into a demon.

Why would demons kidnap a child? I presume Beta wasn't hiding at home, so why do the demons destroy his family and home when they've found him again?

At this point, the reader still doesn't know the reason why the demons are hunting him. Is it that vague in the book, or is there something about Beta that attracts demons?

Who transforms him into a demon? Is this the fate of everyone who goes to hell or of a special few? Do the demons hunting him just abandon THEIR hunt and conveniently return to hell where he can follow them?

He is Beta no longer. Now he is the Hunter. And crucifying the one that calls himself the Narrator isn’t as much an end to his torment as it is a new beginning.

Was the Narrator one of the demons hunting him? Why is he after the Narrator? I'm so sorry, but I'm just not getting a sense of why any of this is happening.

THIRD RAINBOW is a completed, 97,000 word science fiction novel about man-made demons and time travel.

Time travel? Uh, where did that come from? I wasn't getting this being SF at all. The time travel element helps move it from fantasy or general spec fic to SF, but other than you telling me here that it's part of what the novel is ABOUT, I would never have seen it in the query.

And is "man-made" literal or figurative? These guys are transformed into demons, but I didn't get the impression humans were transforming them. If you mean it figuratively, such as we're all carrying our personal demons inside, I don't get the metaphor from the situations described in the query. I rather think you mean it to be ALL metaphor and I'm reading too literally, but I'm assuming reading agents will go in with the same frame of mind I have. Especially given the number of books out now where demons are all too real.

Perhaps others may "get" this story better than I do from this query or the original. Can anyone help?

4 comments:

Michelle Massaro said...

Well, I'm pretty confused myself, but when I read the part about a program to stop the dream-demons I figured it might be something like Total Recall or the Matrix linking human brains to computers. And I'm guessing maybe the program becomes sentient and rebels somehow. Is this in the right ballpark?

Anonymous said...

This is like Lost Highway; the more you learn, the more you're confused.

Anonymous said...

I am confused too, even after reading the original query. The main question I have or part that I find confusing is the mention of a "program"- define program to the reader, does it mean an actual computer program or more like a step by step program he follows? And why would said program have anything to do with escaping the demons that are after him? Why are they chasing him in the first place?

AA said...

Okay, here goes:
How is the Narrator turned into a demon? From what? And why?
How can Raven's head be preserved if he's spoken to her recently? It takes a while to preserve something.
Why are the two demons chasing him?
Is Beta an android? How can he have a wife and kid if he's an android?
How do you hide from demons?
How is Beta tranformed into a demon?
How will crucifying the Narrator solve Beta's problems? Is the Narrator the cause of his problems?
Who's the main character? Beta or the Narrator?
Assuming Beta is the demon referred to in the second paragraph who wants to crucify the Narrator, why isn't that part put first? And who is the other demon?
Do we really have to call him the Narrator through the entire book?