Workshop Your Query
Query - Project Gibeon
Working on a query for my new novel and would love (and
welcome) and feedback, criticism or suggestions people may have. Thanks
never been easy for Jesse Solomon. He’s
lost everyone he’s ever loved; his parents dead for years, his grandmother
gunned down in front of him and his sister locked away in government
facility. But all that changes when a
mysterious family friend offers him the chance to free his sister and become
part of an extraordinary school.
Project Gibeon is a training program for the future leaders of
the galaxy. A starship that’s been
converted into a flying academy that travels the universe preparing the best
and the brightest to lead their planets into the future. It’s Jesse’s chance to give his sister a
better life; all he has to do is keep his grades up and not get expelled.
all odds, Jesse finds a new home on the Gibeon and a group of friends
that quickly become a family; despite the fact that they’re not all human.
everything’s not what it seems and someone Jesse has come to trust may be
working for a violent terrorist group that’s determined to cripple the
galaxy. Murder, sabotage and betrayal
lead Jesse and his friends to a final confrontation on a planet far from home
where they’ll have to risk their lives, and enrollment in Project Gibeon, in a
desperate gamble to save billions.
Project Gibeon: The Stillness
Between is a completed
young adult science fiction novel of 99,806 words. It is the first in a planned series from
Michael Melilli who currently oversees story direction for the Environmental
Design department at PlainJoe Studios. Michael also served as the Creative Director
and Script Writer for the Mob Attraction Las Vegas, an immersive, interactive
exhibit currently running at the Tropicana Las Vegas.
--edited by MichaelMelilli on 8/20/2013, 11:36 AM--
You need to tighten the focus.
Truthfully, I wasn’t sure of what the big problem was. You spent most of the
query giving background, then ran in an unspecified danger, and the told me there’s
a big finish, of some unknown kind. But all novels have a climax, so the fact
that yours does isn’t exciting, in and of itself.
Looking at the individual parts:
• Life has never been easy for Jesse Solomon. He’s lost everyone he’s
This works and sets the scene.
• his parents dead for years, his grandmother gunned down in front of him and
his sister locked away in government facility
Didn’t you just say he lost everyone? Defining them individually is as needful
as talking about how his pet turtle died. You’re dealing in the big emotional
items, not detail. And, what’s a “government facility?” Since we don’t know his
society, him, or the government, there’s no context other then to say, “Oh,
it’s another, “The government is evil,” book.
• But all that changes when a mysterious family friend offers him the chance to
free his sister and become part of an extraordinary school.What changes? His grandmother Wasn’t gunned down? His sister isn’t locked up? His life doesn’t get any easier,
per the query, so what does “all that changes” mean? And what does “extraordinary
school” mean? It’s too generic a statement to induce emotion in the reader.
• Project Gibeon is a training program for the future leaders of the galaxy.
You lost me here. There are between 750 billion to 1 trillion solar masses in
our galaxy. There is no way in hell that there can be “leaders” of a government
spanning the galaxy.
But substitute something like “The Stellar Federation,” and still, we’ve
learned too little. His sister is being held for unknown reasons. But you give
equal weight to freeing the sister and going to school. Were you him, which one
matters? In fact, we don't learn if he does free the sister, and what that means. She could be released. She could be broken out. She could be back with her family or on the run. It could have been a legal battle, a pardon, or our protagonist might be deemed a criminal now. Too many questions raised that aren't answered or handled.
• A starship that’s been converted into a flying academy that travels the
universe preparing the best and the brightest to lead their planets into the
I wish I had better news, but this seems a really hard sell. We have one “starship”
which trains the galaxy’s planetary leaders by wandering the universe? Forgetting the magnitude of the universe, would placing Harvard University on a ship cruising our
oceans in any way make it a better school? I try not to criticize plot
elements, as a rule, because it’s your story. But in this case I have to say
that the basic society the story is set in seems very contrived.
You might want to post a chapter or two for reaction before you query this.
I really wish I had better news.