Thursday, November 4, 2010

Query 33

The Uberhuman Affair

Annie's reformed now; she's even tried to (anonymously) pay back what she stole. To remove herself from further temptation, she moves to Heronstower City, home to the 19th century's best industry, almost as many people as London, and the world's most famous uberhumans.

It's the latter that interests her most--other people like her. Together they can change the world, starting with the suspicious machinery in an old warehouse. Annie's convinced its creator, Dr. Witherspoon, is up to no good, and she'd shake the truth out of him if she could only find him. Instead she finds his butler/servant/assistant, Liam, who's kind, cute, and (mostly) honest--and she'd rather not hurt him if she can help it.

If Annie wants to stop these dastardly plans, whatever they are, she's going to need uberhuman help: Blink, an invisible 11-year-old pickpocket: Springs, a former airship pirate whose jumps are nearly as large as his ego; and Cogs, a student whose power is either talking or mind-moving. They'll be a match for any mysterious inventor if Annie can just beat some sense into their heads.

In short, Annie's going to need all the luck she can get.

Comments

This author has pre-written her query for NaNoWriMo, which is an excellent idea! Writing the query -- and passing it around for critique -- before the work is complete works two ways. First, it can help you stay focused on the big picture as you work your way through 80K words. Second, you don't have all the baggage of minor characters and subplots trying to worm their way into your query the way they do once they're completely fleshed out.

Annie's reformed now; she's even tried to (anonymously) pay back what she stole. To remove herself from further temptation, she moves to Heronstower City, home to the 19th century's best industry, almost as many people as London, and the world's most famous uberhumans.

If Annie's a thief, I'm not sure how putting herself in the middle of a large population takes away her temptation to steal. And the "best industry" is a tease, but a kind of loose end. Is "industry" cluing us in it's steampunk, or are you going for something else?

I love "uberhuman" -- it fits the period perfectly.

It's the latter that interests her most--other people like her. Together they can change the world, starting with the suspicious machinery in an old warehouse. Annie's convinced its creator, Dr. Witherspoon, is up to no good, and she'd shake the truth out of him if she could only find him.

A little more about what makes the machinery suspicious or why she's convinced the good doctor is up to no good would help.

Instead she finds his butler/servant/assistant, Liam, who's kind, cute, and (mostly) honest--and she'd rather not hurt him if she can help it.

I'd go with "--and him she'd rather not hurt if she can help it."

If Annie wants to stop these dastardly plans, whatever they are, she's going to need uberhuman help: Blink, an invisible 11-year-old pickpocket: Springs, a former airship pirate whose jumps are nearly as large as his ego;

I hope others weigh in here. It took a few reads for me to get the connection between "jumps" and "Springs". My head went to the airship making jumps (like space ships do), but I knew that wasn't right. Could be someone not so familiar with SF -- or sufficiently caffeined -- would get this right off.

and Cogs, a student whose power is either talking or mind-moving.

I'm assuming his power is still being worked out. ;o)

They'll be a match for any mysterious inventor if Annie can just beat some sense into their heads.

In short, Annie's going to need all the luck she can get.

Sounds like a fun steampunk story, with a great superhero hook for a cross-genre piece, and really good voice! Since we don't have an intended audience mentioned, my guess is that this is MG. You'll want to work in Annie's age somewhere in any case. (This author knows, but for others reading, genre and word count will be needed, too.)

This is a pretty solid query as is, so I have no doubt when the book is done and you're ready to send it out, your revised query will be awesome!

10 comments:

Lauren K said...

This sounds like a lot of fun. I like to pre-write my queries sometimes too.
I was a little confused about the industry remark. I think you should probably either cut it or show why it matters. I thought that the jumps referred to the airship as well. If you drop the part about Springs being an airship pilot then it's a bit more obvious.
Good luck with NaNo!

fairyhedgehog said...

Nice idea to prewrite the query! It sounds much more organised than my Nano, which is falling apart.

Good luck with it!

vkw said...

Very good idea to write the query first.

(I wish I would have done it. Next time I may write an outline and synopsis as well)

This is good.

I am not sure I like the idea of not being more specific about the dasterdly plans - I'm hoping your working on that. I also didn't like the vagueness of what Annie is reformed of. I'm assuming theft. I want to know what "best industry" is. I would define uberhuman because I didn't get it.

I would say "to get away from her old gang who want her back picketing she moves" or something like that. (specific to why she moved).

but very nice work.

lexcade said...

i wish i'd pre-written my query. but i started it in high school, so i didn't know all that then.

now, though, i think i'm going to pre-do everything as much as possible.

i'm also confused as to why she'd choose a highly-populated area if she's a recovering pickpocket. i personally think that the query as it is right now would work better without that portion. it just raises more questions than you can answer in the query right now.

i'm anxious to see how this one turns out. it sounds quite fun!

Matt said...

This one doesn't work for me. I have no idea what the plot is.

The uberhuman's have the power to change the world...what's wrong with it?

She needs to stop this mad doctor, but she doesn't seem to know what he's doing.

The hook seems to be that she's a reformed thief trying to make things right, but this doesn't tie into later events (Is the doctor using machines to steal?).

I know this is a pre-query, so there are probably no answers to these questions, and that's ok, but right now it's looking like a wanderer's story and those aren't very engaging.

Sarah Laurenson said...

airship pilot + jumps = hyperspace to me. Too much Star Wars. ;-)

I think it's a great idea to pre-write the query. But I also think this needs a few more specifics to solidify it and those won't come until later. Nice breezy tone and pacing.

_*rachel*_ said...

Annie's a 22-year-old, newly-saved former burglar; she's even tried to (anonymously) pay back what she stole. Trying to start over, away from her former friends, she moves to Heronstower City, home of the 19th century's best automatons, almost as many people as London, and the world's most famous uberhumans.

It's the latter that interests her most--other people like her. Together they can change the world, starting with the heavily armed automatons in an old warehouse. Annie's convinced its creator, Dr. Witherspoon, is planning something nasty for Queen Victoria's upcoming visit, and she'd shake the truth out of him if she could only find him.

Instead she finds his butler/servant/assistant, Liam--and she'd rather not hurt him if she can help it.

If Annie wants to stop these dastardly plans, whatever they are, she's going to need uberhuman help: Blink, an invisible 11-year-old pickpocket: Springs, a Canadian rebel whose leaps from building to building are nearly as impressive as his ego; and Cogs, a student whose power is either pedanticism or mind-moving.

They'll be a match for any mysterious inventor if Annie can just beat some sense into their heads.

In short, Annie's going to need all the luck she can get.
---
Thanks for the help, everyone!

Matt said...

The revision looks good for the time being. Still curious about the MC's motivation, though.

Phoenix said...

The "newly saved" (no hyphen -- yes, that's weird, but -ly modifier thingies don't take the hyphen) term sets up yet another expectation that isn't exounded upon. I expect some religious implications elsewhere, but there aren't any. I'd just go with "reformed" rather than "newly saved."

Do they find a singular or plural automaton (noun/pronoun agreement issue)?

I'd insert "huge" before "leaps" to make clear the comparison with the ego.

Cog's power still confuses me.

But you know you're close when I start correcting grammar ;o)

Phoenix said...

That should of course be "expounded" upon. My "p" and "g" keys have started sticking! New laptop coming soon, though...