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When the Star Fell query
stephmcgee
Posted: Friday, March 18, 2011 10:43 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


Dear [agent name],

Into each hero's life a star must fall.

Derek Steventon's life has gone exactly to plan-- early graduation from college, Air Force, and now NASA.  Then the star falls.  While on the ISS for a short mission, he meets Alnair and is pulled into a world where nothing he knows about angels is entirely true.

Here, not all angels are the spirits of dead humans.  Nor are they at the beck and call of deity.  Instead, those who guard the Milky Way fight other galaxies to make sure humans keep their livable environment.  Now, Alnair leads him to the Council of Elders-- the angels who guard the planets, their moons, and the sun.  These angels tell him the disc, an object which opens passages between galaxies and universes and can kill angels if they so much as glance at it surface, has been stolen.  They also tell him they need his help to prepare against the upcoming war--that his particular talents are vital to their cause.

The Council determines through reason once-guardian Marah has taken the disc.  They feel its use but can tell nothing more.  If Derek can't reach the Sisters, a group of farseers who often lent their advice to the Council, their enemies could wipe out the entire galaxy, leaving humans to die off just as the space around them.

WHEN THE STAR FELL is an adult contemporary fantasy of 73,259 words.  [Insert witty but true biographical info here.]  Thank you for your time.

Michael R Underwood
Posted: Monday, April 4, 2011 4:18 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


I think the ideas are all here, but the execution is occasionally muddled. I think instead of 'early graduation from college' I'd go for something like 'B.A. at 19, Air Force for four years, NASA at 22' or the like.

The third paragraph is the roughest part, for me. I think you can condense and simplify the first three sentences into one to convey the information. Something along the lines of 'Angels aren't dead relatives or the first children of an absent god, they're the guardians of the Milky Way, protecting us from ourselves.'

Brevity is your friend, especially when you're establishing setting material -- spend as much time as you can on characters and their conflicts and work in only as much setting as you need. I learned that the hard way over many rejections and revisions.

I'd also suggest framing as much of the query as you can in terms of active, engaging verbs and terms. Keep us close to the characters rather than using distancing or passive language (The first sentence in the forth paragraph is very passive and somewhat unclear for me).

In short -- keep it brief, personal, and active.
stephmcgee
Posted: Monday, May 2, 2011 10:06 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


Okay, take two.


Dear [agent name],

Into each hero’s life a star must fall.

While on the ISS for a short mission, Derek Steventon meets Alnair, an angel who is as mysterious as she is familiar, and is pulled into a world where the things he thought he knew about angels aren’t entirely true.

Here, they guard our galaxy, and fight other galaxies to make sure humans keep their livable environment. Now, Alnair leads him to the Council of Elders who tell him the disc, an object which opens passages between galaxies and universes and can kill angels if they so much as glance at its surface, has been stolen and it’ll be up to him to recover it. They also tell him they need his help to prepare against the upcoming war.

The angels reason that a former guardian, Marah, has taken the disc. Their timeline is pushed to its limits as Derek seeks the tools – counsel from the Sisters and then from the Daughters of the Evening, the pelt of the Nemean lion, a golden spit, a sword, bow, and a shield – he needs in order to prevent the Milky Way from being consumed and trains their armies before their enemies break through.

WHEN THE STAR FELL is an adult contemporary fantasy of about 73,000 words. Between writing and chilling with friends, I can be found watching procedurals, taking photographs, or working my way through a bucket of balls at the driving range. Thank you for your time.
Michael R Underwood
Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 9:25 PM
Joined: 3/3/2011
Posts: 74


Steph,

I like this one much better and I think you can push it even more.

My biggest suggestion would be to pull more description toward what your main character is doing.

The line 'to make sure humans keep their livable environment' still isn't working for me. Is their protection notably different from something that can be described as 'the are the guardians of the Milky Way, protecting us from other galaxies' ?

I'd re-arrange the second big paragraph like this:

Here, they guard our galaxy, and fight other galaxies to keep us safe. Now, Alnair leads him to the Council of Elders, who need his help to prepare for the upcoming war. An object--a disk that opens passages between galaxies and universes and can kill angels if they so much as glance at its surface--has been stolen and it’ll be up to him to recover it.

And I'd tweak the last full paragraph along those lines. Condense when possible, and keep Derek at the center of your description.

The bio section at the end may be extraneous. I think there are some agents that want a personal bio, but most seem to want publications and sometimes the very applicable qualifications if present. (a good example would be that I have a friend who is a burn ward nurse and mentioned that in her query for a novel about a nurse who gets recruited to work in the special ward for supernatural injuries).

Good luck, and keep on it!
stephmcgee
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 5:24 PM
Joined: 3/13/2011
Posts: 245


Dear [agent name here],

Six months ago, Derek graduated from NASA’s training program, the goal he’d worked toward since his parents relented and bought him a telescope at age twelve. Now he’s on the ISS for a week-long mission. Then Alnair shows up on the Station. She should not be there, but she is.

She guides him to the moon where wait the Council of Elders, the angels’ governing agency of sorts. They stop short of begging, but Derek realizes they need his help if they’re going to recover the disc. It’s been stolen, by whom no one can tell, and if it is used against the angels, they’ll all be destroyed. And so will the galaxy.

It’s up to Derek to find the Daughters of Evening and get their counsel, for which they demand a golden spit and Derek’s company at a feast, the pelt of the Nemean lion, a sword and bow, and then save the human their enemy recruits to her side. Because if Derek is turned to the enemy’s side by this human, the angels will be destroyed for certain.

LODESTAR is an adult contemporary fantasy of XXX words.