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Query - Project Gibeon
MichaelMelilli
Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 11:35 AM
Joined: 4/28/2011
Posts: 1


Working on a query for my new novel and would love (and welcome) and feedback, criticism or suggestions people may have.  Thanks so much! 

Dear [Agent]:

 

Life has 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.

 

Against 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. 

 

But 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--


Jay Greenstein
Posted: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 9:27 PM

 

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 ever loved.

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 doesextraordinary 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 future.

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.




 

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