Face-Lift 484: Zulaire
Dear Benevolent Editor,
Special Forces Captain Tom Deverane is thinking about how to spend his retirement bonus when HQ assigns him one last mission: rescue a civilian woman stranded on a planet on the verge of violent civil war. Someone has pulled some serious strings to get her plucked out of the hot zone by Deverane and his team.
Andrianda Markriss isn’t about to pack up and leave Zulaire just because of Deverane’s orders, though. Deverane’s never met anyone so hard-headed—or so appealing. Just as he manages to persuade her to leave with him, rebel fighters infiltrate the village to brutalize and massacre everyone.
Andi, Deverane, his team, and two young natives manage to escape the slaughter. The weary group are themselves forced to hike through dense forest and enemy territory to get to the relative safety of the capital. On their frantic journey through the mountains they discover evidence that Zulaire’s so-called civil war is part of a larger plot in a terrifying alien race's attempt to subjugate the entire Sector.
Deverane, busily falling in love with Andi, fights his way across half of Zulaire, trying to protect her from rebel fighters and the dangers of the planet’s formidable wilderness. His only hope: that he can get his people to the capital in time to stop the planet from being consumed in a massive bloodbath that would destroy all of Zulaire, and maybe take the rest of the Sector with it.
Complete at 80,000 words, "Zulaire" is a science fiction romance novel. Thank you for taking the time to consider my work.
I think this query starts out strong then loses just a bit of ground at the end.
My first question is whether this is truly an SF romance OR is it SF with romantic elements? Why is that important? Because if it's a romance, it gives short shift to Andi and the romance and completely ignores any dark moment between them. It's interesting to see a romance focused more on the hero than the heroine, but the genre is really geared more to the woman's story and you don't want to stray too far away from the conventions. As a reader, I think I'd be more forgiving if you called it romantic elements.
There's redundancy between the third and fourth 'graphs that can be edited out that would leave room for maybe a little more about Andi and the relationship before you bow out of the query. There's mention of a hike, a journey and fighting across half of Zulaire. The terrain is dense forest, mountains and formidable wilderness. They're trying to get to the capital twice. The Sector is threatened twice. I think all of that can be tightened to single mentions each of the journey, the terrain, the capital and the Sector. I also wasn't entirely clear how the small team was going to influence the war if they got to the capital.
Maybe reorganize it along the lines of:
Andi, Deverane, and his team escape the slaughter, but they've lost [mode of travel] and communications. Faced with no other choice but to flee, Andi [something here about the circumstances helping A&D's relationship along and maybe why Andi finds Dev appealing/irritating/however she feels about him since we don't really get her side of things in the query.] Busily falling in love with Andi, Deverane fights his way across half of Zulaire, trying to protect her from rebel fighters and the dangers of the planet itself.
On their frantic journey through the wilderness they discover evidence that Zulaire’s civil war is actually part of an alien race's larger plot to subjugate the entire Sector. Their only hope: get to the capital with their secret in time to stop the massive bloodbath about to destroy all of Zulaire -- and beyond.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Query Revision 21
Face-Lift 484: Zulaire