14 December 2010


All right, folkses (I'm stuck on that word for some reason). If you're interested in my contest, click here. Otherwise, my query for Jodi's blogfest is below. You can check out the other participants by clicking here, and believe me, there are some really awesome queries in this blogfest. I'm having trouble critiquing them ;)

Here goes, based on Chris and Nicole's, and also Jodi's and Tracy's, and Roberta's suggestions:

Dear Super-awesome Agent of my Dreams:

If Subject 31 could remember her life, she’s damn sure she’d want it back.

The Humani Project’s latest experiment believes she’s human, but after seeing her sleek black fur, claws, and tail, she’s not so sure. Her only clue to an existence before panther DNA was spliced to hers is a fragment of a memory and a name—Janelle.

According to the scientists, she's the perfect blend of human and animal. Most importantly, she can still speak, making her the lab's most successful Humani to date.

Imprisoned in the Phoenix, Arizona lab, 31 must complete the grueling, and sometimes deadly, physical assessments administered by resident asshole Dr. Frederick James. Her failure means immediate termination. To survive, she must tame the wild animal that wants to take over—only she has no idea how. That ability wasn’t coded in her new DNA.

When she fails an assessment, death looms in the form of the lab-made creature she was supposed to kill. She’s surprised that the project's founder breaks his own protocol to save her without hesitation. When he calls her “Janelle,” 31 understands that somehow the scientists have erased the existence of someone they knew. Someone who deserves to understand her fate.

The closer she gets to piecing together her past, the harder she has to fight to stay alive. Buried in her past is knowledge that could bring the Project to its knees, and Dr. James will do anything to protect the Project, even if it means killing its greatest success.

DUALITY is a science fiction novel complete at 114,000 words.

Thank you for your time and consideration.




Chris Phillips said...

"She’s surprised that another Dr. Lorenzo, the project's founder, breaks his own protocol to save her without hesitation."

I think this is a typo. Take out the word another and that paragraph is gold.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Or use another doctor instead of his whole name. Since his name is only mentioned once, I would opt to remove his name so the query isn't bogged down by too many names.

Great query! :)

Roberta Walker said...

Well done!
I was going to suggest the same as above...(Also sure it was a type-O)

In addition, the last sentence confused me a bit. Dr. James is the 'evil' doctor, yet it seems he will terminate the project - to help? To hinder? Also the 'great success' of the project - maybe tell us in a sentence, what the success is. Why did they want to create a half human, half animal creature in the first place?

Sounds intriguing!

Jodi Henry said...

This premise sounds excellent. I don't read SF, but this I would consider.

That ability wasn’t coded in her new DNA.

When she fails a challenge(s<=omit)...

Those are my additions to the rest.

LOVE the title. I suck at titles for my own pieces.

Great job and good luck.


lexcade said...

Thanks, Jodi :) It took FOREVER for me to get that title. Forever, and a LOT of help from my writing buddies.

I'm glad you'd at least consider it. I saw on Pimp My Novel that a lot of women don't read SF, so when a woman tells me she'd consider it, I get all excited... :D

Tracy said...

Great, I'm a stereotype. A female who doesn't typically read SF. But, like Jodi, this is one I'd give a go after reading the back cover for sure.

I think this is a super strong premise and you've already got a pretty tight query here.

My suggestions:

1) I agree with Nicole. I'd probably opt to remove Dr. Lorenzo's name. The first time I read through, I confused him with Dr. James and it got jumbled in my head why he'd break protocol to rescue her when he's the resident asshole (love that line, btw).

2) I'd be careful about using the word termination/terminate three times in the same query. Maybe try to find another strong verb like eradicate or exterminate to replace one of those instances.

Otherwise, great job!!

lexcade said...

Thanks, Tracy! I'll tweak it with your and Jodi's suggestions. Also, I'll try to switch the "termination" thing just to spice it up a little.

J.C. Martin said...

Wow--this is a prime example of how constructive criticism from your peers can help truly polish a query letter! Loving this latest revision! Can't think of anything I would do differently! Only one question: when can I pre-order?

lexcade said...

OMG, JC you're so sweet!!! thank you!

Nicole Zoltack said...

I really like this version!

lexcade said...

Thank you, Nicole!

Dominic de Mattos said...

I love the hook line A++

My attention got snagged on "Imprisoned in the Phoenix, Arizona lab, 31...". Perhaps because I'm a foreigner my immediate reaction was that The Phoenix was some sort of cage ... and Arizona lab, 31 sounded like a newspaper report about someone with a slightly odd name! I jest, but it could flow a bit better. Maybe "Imprisoned in a secret lab in Arizona, 31 must complete..." We don't need to know it's in Phoenix for the query. (I know it might not be "secret", but it could be "high security" or "sprawling" or something else)
The next one was, for me, a BIG flashing light and siren: "and sometimes deadly". If it was sometimes deadly, she'd be dead! I am sure it is sometimes deadly to OTHER subjects, but you are talking about the tests that 31 is subjected to, not tests in general. You could use "potentially" instead of "sometimes", or simply say "dangerous" - that implies potentially deadly. Since you go on to say how she fails and is nearly killed, you are showing at that point, so do you need to tell here?
Out of interest when you say "Her failure means immediate termination" do you mean that the scientists would put her down like an animal if she failed, because that is how I read it. But I wonder whether she would be "terminated" because her tests are "kill or be killed (by the test creatures)" It's just about a choice of words to make everything crystal clear.
I know you got rid of the name Dr Lorenzo on everyone's advice, but I'm afraid I was confused by "project founder" who I sub-consciously assumed was James (as he seemed to be in charge). I then got totally confused as you can imagine.
Here's a thought - how about "...surprised when the project's founder over-rules Dr James and breaks his own protocol to save her...". OK I know in the book he may not have over-ruled Dr James as such, but you get the idea how mentioning Dr James clearly differentiates him from the project founder. (Mind you, having to over-rule Dr James makes Dr James sound an even bigger jerk!!)
My last little thought. Dr James seems to care more about the Project than the founder. There might be a plot reason for this, but I think you need to make it clear that this is a mystery that people will find out about, rather than it being a plot hole. It could be something as simple as "and Dr. James seems determined to protect the Project, even if it means killing its greatest success." The word "seems" suggests that all is not as it appears to be, and hints at a mystery to uncover.

Like I said on someone else's post - the more nit-picky the comments, the better the query! This is basically a really good query and an exciting plot. I read a lot of science fiction and I am looking forward to this one coming out. :)