Workshop Your Query
Query for 'Crosswinds'
Forgive me, but I’m going to be a bit brutal. The problem is that you know the story, so what you say is meaningful to you. But you need to begin looking at the work as a reader, one who knows only what the words have told them—from their point of view. • Terra has built a past on the ancestors of cultures from around the world. Terra might be a name, but it could also mean the planet Earth. And my guess is that most agents will assume you mean Earth, initially. If so they’re confused from the start. But assume the name was Betty. Does it help? No, because we don’t know what you mean by “built a past.” It doesn’t matter if you clarify later, because there is no second first impression. • Her collections from recent trips bring little comfort in the frozen Vermont winter. Trips to where? Collections of what? Are we talking archeology or shopping? You know, but the reader has no context. We don’t know why she feels she needs comfort, or how whatever she brought from wherever she went might give comfort. I could go on, because it continues, but the problem, in all cases, is the same one: Your reader has no context. And in writing, context isn’t just important, it’s everything. Assume I write, “I’ll always remember that time in China, when Charlie had that thing with the chicken. We all laughed, but the chicken will probably never be the same.” Does it mean anything to you? No, because you don’t know Charlie or what happened. Part of the problem is that you’re trying to give a synopsis, and do it in 200 words. It can’t be done. After all, if you could meaningfully tell me the plot in so few words it wouldn’t be much of a story. Instead of focusing on plot, focus on what the story is about. By that I don’t mean the plot, but the thrust of the story, which might be learning to trust, growing up, or even be careful what you wish for. Try this trick: Describe the book in two sentences, the first declarative and the second a question. For example: Zack, along with an ailing hooker he finds by the side of the road, discover an ancient spacecraft, whose cargo of what appear to be floor tiles has taken over their kitchen and their life, and now has transported them to a primitive world, where they find themselves in the midst of a civil war. Will Zack and Ada, survive long enough to win the war, figure out what’s actually going on, and visit the world of the builders of that ship? - - - - - Yes, it’s a bit convoluted for a sentence, but it does define the thrust of the novel. And from that, a 250 word blurb can be built. Is there more to the story? Sure. I left out the other main characters, and lots of stops and events along he way. But all that simply supports the primary goal, which is to learn what’s really going on. You might want to spend some time on this site: http://queryshark.blogspot.com/ Lots of query help to be found there. You might also want to read a few books on the fiction writing process. Lots of them include hints on how to write a query.
Terra, a cross-cultural journalist living in Vermont, has always felt alone, and abandoned. Her latest assignment collecting stories in what should be the warmth of an Arizona winter; she faces her fear of building a family in the chill created by economic distress and despair within the village.
The village elder, Ke-ama, watches Terra, and guides her through the story collecting process. While doing so, Terra must stand up to Jaci, granddaughter of the tribal council leader, who desperately works to force Terra to take two cross-cultural orphans, and leave the village to its fate.
Terra won't abandon the children who have no family, and no future, as she feels she was discarded. In order to keep them, she must find a future economic source for the village, while maintaining its cultural past within the confines of the present, in the village she has come to call home.
Terra learns the history of the village, and its members, including the missing ones, in order to better understand how to help them. Most of the village wants to stay, though some aren't so sure.
In the end, Terra is able to help the community create a nearby satellite community of former village members who will build a solar panel production company; and a travel agency, networking communities online to help save the indigenous history of people around the globe. Their hope is to find lost members, and bring them back to their roots, and combine what histories they have into a workable current whole person and community.
I agree with the others - sounds like she is collecting stories in the second version, but the first sounds like she is collecting people - think Bill and Ted's excellent adventure (maybe I'm dating myself here). Also, why wouldn’t the people want to be rescued? Why would Terra feel the need to rescue them and protect the orphans? Couldn’t she just take the orphans and meet her goals that way? Is Jaci the orphan’s original mother? I don’t really get the connection there. It would be helpful to say this is a post-apocalyptic or dystopian world where states become independent countries somewhere in the beginning, . Good luck to you and I would love to see any updates on this.