Saturday, June 18, 2011


This book is self-published and available from Amazon or At Lulu, you can read the first 111 pages. No need to gamble on quality when they provide that much of the book to help you make a buying decision. As the book was published two months after the query appeared, we can assume the author didn't even bother sending out a query utilizing our suggestions.

Guess the Plot

Fractured Veil

1. We all plant walls around ourselves. These walls slowly unravel and lives are smashed to shreds when Sally suddenly finds that she can't stop mixing her metaphors.

2. When a runaway tractor-trailer plows into a wedding party, killing the bride, bridesmaid Julie finally has a chance at the groom, Peter, whom she's secretly been lusting after since high school.

3. Hidden for years behind her concrete veil, Aisha’s world is rocked when she slips and falls – and Abdulrahman is there to pick up the pieces.

4. A longtime nun begins to question her life's choices when she falls in love with a man on a visit to Rome, a man who proves to be the Pope in street clothes.

5. Dave is revolutionizing his family's business: the manufacture of religious garments. Hip Mormons loved his spandex temple garments, and his edible yarmulkes are selling like hotcakes. But things go horribly wrong when he attempts to make a ceramic burqa.

6. A disaster survivor relives cloudy memories, only to realize they aren't his memories, but those of a woman so obsessed with architecture she's fallen in love with her house.

Original Version

Mr. Evil Editor [or insert whomever],

May I submit the following manuscript with the intention of publication?

FRACTURED VEIL is a novel of speculative fiction in which the identity of a brain damaged narrator is explored through fragments of memory, possibly not his own. Told in a floating first person narrative, the memories are of four separate people, constantly replaying and overriding his consciousness. The struggle has greater implications as, after awakening at the site of an apparent disaster, the narrator finds himself the only survivor.

Please see for sample chapters: ______________
or the E-book: _______________ [In other words, if you want to see if my book is something you want to publish, buy a copy and read it.]
(editors are credited back obviously) [Huh?]

More traditionally, the 169k word (courier meth.) [Yes, but how many words is it in Times New Roman?] manuscript is available for your consideration, in digital or print form.

It can easily fall into the literary or speculative fiction realm. You may just find it works on several levels: spiritual, psychological, symbolic, literal, mythic, surreal or even perhaps strongly science fictional. [Wouldn't it use less space if you just listed the levels on which it doesn't work?]


More Detailed Information Below [Just in case you haven't already decided to make an offer.]

The four identities each unfold through their own story lines within the novel, though they are experienced or interpreted through the narrator.

These main currents of the novel follow:

Jon Chivy Coyote, a disgraced former detective, teacher, and pseudo-celebrity of native/aboriginal descent, enlisted to use his tracking skills to find a bizarre serial killer hunting in a metropolitan park. [When you get enlisted to track down a bizarre serial killer, it's a good idea to take along backup.] The killer may be, in some way, the herald to the impending disaster.

Naiya McCloud, a gold-digging female scientist obsessed with architecture to such a degree she is gradually falling in love with her house. [Whatever else anyone says about this query, they have to admit that that is brilliant.] Her hypersensitivity and sexual episodes are indicative of the change in reality which is gradually taking hold.

Aurora Vitellius, one of three identical triplets born of royal ancestry, whom after the death of their parents, become the controlling force behind one of the biggest fortunes. Though still practically prepubescent, these legally emancipated girl-prodigies can now apply their sinister intentions without limit.

Guy Connel, a perpetually unlucky construction worker who survives a seeming industrial accident to a wholly new, bizarre, and transcendent life.

[These characters are hilarious. I say drop the brain-damaged guy, drop the plot (whatever it is) and build a comedy around these characters.] [I'll get you started. The sinister triplets hire the aboriginal pseudo-celebrity detective to investigate whether their uncle is trying to squeeze them out of the fortune. Meanwhile, the woman in love with her house finds that her lover has termites. She has the place treated, then hires the unlucky construction worker to replace damaged wood. The cops come to arrest the construction worker, thinking he's the serial killer, but before they get to him, he gets eaten by the coyote. And that's just the prologue.] [Take it and go with it. I guarantee it's a better book than this memory thing.] [If you don't get anywhere with this book, can I have your characters?]

Common themes throughout the novel are:

· The fluidity of perception, memory, self, and reality.
· Consciousness, physics, extinction, selection, and survival as forces both beyond, and sometimes within, human control.
· The main archetypes present in human nature, as expressed by the central characters, which are colored in mythic, spiritual, surreal, and often symbolic terms. [This is the same list of words you used to describe the levels the book works on. Except you forgot psychological and literal.] [You've taken three bullets to say as little as Evil Editor does below, with only one bullet:

The theme of the novel is:

· The fluidity of the main archetypes present in human nature (consciousness, perception, physics, extinction, selection, and survival), expressed in mythic, spiritual, surreal, and often symbolic terms by the central characters, and colored in memory, self, and reality: forces both beyond, and sometimes within, human control.]


As often seems to happen when an author forgets to include anything about the plot, Evil Editor finds himself at a loss to provide a revised version.


Xenith said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BuffySquirrel said...

I'm a bit concerned about the gentile wave being produced by the reactor, tbh.

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

That's it! I no longer write middle grades. I now write for the practically prepubescent.

Phoenix Sullivan said...

What's truly inspiring about this query is that it's our competition. And from all anecdotal evidence, it's the rule in the slush.

We start thinking it's the exception only because most folk who hang around crit sites like this educate themselves about what a query is before they submit to said crit sites.

Chances are, an agent/editor will read "this" query right before they read yours. In truth, we need more queries like this to stack the odds. Too bad this query likely never made it out into the submission world...

AlaskaRavenclaw said...

I dunno, Phoenix. I think ten years ago, 99% of the "competition" looked like this. But nowadays that crowd is being bled off by self-publishing.

And the real competition is the other manuscripts that have been brought before the acquisitions meeting-- the ones that are really really good.

And after that, the other books that are in the publisher's catalogue. And in other publishers' catalogues. And in the bookstores. And...