The Anasazi Conspiracy
[Author's Note: I decided to do a little different style, keeping some of the teaser elements of the first version, but coupling them with a clearer outline of the pertinent elements of the back story and present-day plot lines; all while escalating the tempo throughout with a more menacing approach. This largely parallels the book structure as well. Hopefully, this version addresses your previous concerns.]
1607 B.C.: Brothers Maska and Ahote come across a curious object. Surely this golden icon must be a gift from the Sun God? Ohhh, but this prize would be woefully cursed, thrusting the Chama clan into chaos and leaving a baffling legacy behind.
1867: Surviving a horrific train crash, broken and bleeding, Stanley is desperate for help. In the open, wild country of the American southwest, he stumbles across a cave. It turns out to be much more than shelter for the night when he discovers an enormous golden Shaman lurking inside, guarding a dazzling temple of untold riches. But would this knowledge die with him?
Two weeks ago: Powerful corporate magnate, Robert Bradley finds someone sniffing around one of his companies for information. Robert has hunch.
One week ago: That “someone” doesn’t know he’s picked up a tail, or that he’ll soon be dead. Robert believes the Anasazi ruins recently uncovered by this man may lead to hidden treasures. His instincts have never been wrong before…and now he has a malicious plan.
Right now: Jake’s strategy never included rescuing a beautiful archeologist from the man he was hired to kill. He certainly didn’t expect to be double-crossed by his shadowy employer either. There will be hell to pay.
Bradley didn’t count on mistakes…or failure. Now his men have a mess to clean up.
In a malevolent twist of fate, two disparate souls are plunged into a race against time and bullets to decipher the mystery of an ancient people and stop the enemy determined to kill them. To fail means the loss of an ancient culture, incredible wealth - and death.
But Jake and Courtney never anticipated the playful banter…the intense looks…or fiery passions escalating as they grapple with coded symbols that will ultimately disclose the location of a cavern of gold and unveil a hidden chronicle that will transform known Anasazi history forever.
THE ANASAZI CONSPIRACY straddles the Historic and Adventure genres and is a complete manuscript available for review at 163K words. This is my first novel and I appreciate your consideration.
I love the timeline structure. In fact, I loved the structure when Janet Reid recently showcased a for-the-win query that used it. And when JA Konrath hosted Blake Crouch whose description for Run uses the same setup. That means instead of thinking, "OMG, this is a fresh, exciting way to handle this query," I'm thinking, "I wonder if the author is trawling the same sites I am." I won't dissuade you from this approach. I'm just betting there's been and will continue to be in the next couple of months a rash of queries using this structure.
While I'm a fan of the structure, I think we're still not getting quite the right details in each time period. What this structure depends on is a fast, fluid style, and you're still writing long. Which, I bet, agents will clue in on when they see the 163K word count. Which then counters the fast-paced, thrillerish style of this query structure. So the thriller style doesn't seem to map to the thick historical fiction novel and then you throw in that the book straddles genres. Never point that out. Publishers still want books they can neatly shelve in one place. Call it action-adventure. Call it historical. Call it mainstream fiction. You can add "with XXX elements" if you absolutely must (and which some genres, such as romance, often demand). If you choose the "wrong" genre, that's OK. At least you don't set up that ambiguity in the reader's mind to begin with.
Another important part of this structure is keeping a clear thread through it. It's a little jolting going from 1607 BCE (I'd add the E) to 1867 to present day, but I'll follow along in this case because of the history. Once we hit present day, though, the query focuses on Bradley, then does an abrupt switch to Jake, after a vague interlude with a "someone" that I'm afraid I didn't understand.
If you go with this structure, cut, cut, cut. I've also used the treasure as the thread that ties the timeline together. It's mentioned -- or at least alluded to -- in each paragraph.
1607 BCE: Brothers Maska and Ahote discover a gift from the Sun God -- a golden idol that thrusts their Chama clan into chaos and leaves a baffling legacy behind.
1867: Barely surviving a train crash in the American southwest, a banker stumbles across a golden Shaman guarding a temple of dazzling riches. Too bad its secret will die with him.
Two weeks ago: A corporate spy sniffing around a new Anasazi dig site uncovers enough gold to rebalance the standard and leave investors dry. He doesn't know he's about to pick up a tail -- or that he'll soon be dead.
One week ago: Corporate magnate Robert Bradley hires professional gunman Jake to kill a spy and recover assets about to be sold on the black market. At least, that's the story he's using to double-cross Jake.
Right now: Jake isn't about to be a part of the mess Bradley has to clean up when he realizes he's being played and the bullets start flying. Enlisting the help of a beautiful archeologist, Jake chases the truth of the mystery that lies deep in a cavern at the Anasazi site.
What they find will transform the world's understanding of an ancient American culture forever.
THE ANASAZI CONSPIRACY is a 163K-word mainstream action-adventure novel. I look forward to sending you the completed manuscript.
Friday, April 8, 2011
Query 71: Redux
The Anasazi Conspiracy