Entry 9 – LOGOS

Title: LOGOS
Genre: Science Fiction Thriller
Word Count: 75,000

Query:

Dear Agent:

I’d like to tell you about my latest novel, LOGOS (75,000 words) a Science Fiction Thriller. It’s based on a true life event that happened thirty years ago, when my husbands uncle got on a plane and was never seen again. (This story was featured on “Unsolved Mysteries”.)

Eve was nine when her grandfather boarded a commercial flight and disappear. He left behind a single clue, locked and hidden inside her cross pendant. Thirteen years later, Eve took the same flight to her new home. Rome.

Rome was supposed to be a fun, new adventure.  Eve was going to be a modern day Indiana Jones, finding ancient artifacts and exploring. Her reality is altered forever, once she discovers an ancient Sumerian tablet stamped with a symbol matching the medallion secreted away in her locket. She learns the truth behind her grandfather’s disappearance and discovers that an ancient power is being harvested and smuggled within artifacts bought and sold by her employer. This energy is being used for genetic engineering and as a weapon by a powerful and mysterious organization.  They have sacrificed thousand –her people. From the watery streets of Venice, underground Rome, the mystique of The Vatican, Eve must race to find her grandfather and to prevent a weapon of mass destruction from detonating inside St. Peter’s Square.

I have written short stories that have been featured in Go Read Your Lunch and the IDAHO Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

First 250:

My grandfather boarded a commercial plane and didn’t get off; he just disappeared.

It happened thirteen years ago; I was nine. I spent that Sunday, like any other Sunday, with my grandfather and family.   That was before he disappeared; before I became an orphan.

Every Sunday after church there was a guarantee of two things: food and family. Our family wasn’t prolific compared to the rest of the families that attended Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church. It was just me, Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, but anyone who broke bread with us was considered family.

Our house was a white and brick, blue-collar colonial in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.  Back then, we left our doors unlocked and the wooded lot across the way was our playground. On this Sunday, neighbor kids weaved in and out of doors as my father argued with Father Halpin whether the Phillies had a chance against Boston. It was an old argument because every good Catholic knew that God was on the side of Boston but my father’s loyalty was to his hometown. The women were in the kitchen stirring bubbling pots and frying dough while I was where I always wanted to be, with my grandfather.

I breathed in the smell of Italian gravy, fresh bread and the black licorice smell of my grandfather as I gripped his hands tighter pausing mid-climb. This was home.

“Evie, act like a lady,” my mother scolded as she caught me climbing my grandfather like a jungle gym.

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13 thoughts on “Entry 9 – LOGOS

  1. Query
    words 10/10
    hook 5/10 The hook can be more interesting. Why would the reader care about the main character’s grandfather when the grandfather is already gone for so many years? In general, why would the reader care about any main character’s relative when he/she hasn’t started to care about the main character yet? It’s harsh, but it’s a reality.
    plot 8/10
    amount character 10/10
    show/tell 7/10
    stakes 6/10
    overall 7/10 Need colon instead of period in second paragraph before “Rome.” “They have sacrificed thousand–her people” doesn’t make sense.

    First page
    first line 8/10
    voice 7/10
    originality 7/10
    character development 7/10
    setting 8/10
    overall 7/10

    • Thanks for the feedback! Yeah, I need to work on the hook WHICH is why I entered the contest. 🙂 Man, I hate query writing, second to writing the summary. **pulls hair**

  2. Entry #10

    Query
    words 10/10 (Second paragraph…should be disappeared)
    hook 8/10
    plot 8/10
    amount character 7/10
    show/tell 7/10
    stakes 9/10 Very interesting concept.
    overall 8/10.

    First page
    first line 8/10
    voice 7/10
    originality 8/10
    character development 6/10
    setting 6/10 Hard to tell this early in book!
    overall 7/10

  3. Query: 5/10 There’s a missing apostrophe in the second sentence (husbands should be husband’s) and disappear should be disappeared in the second paragraph. The next sentence has a superfluous comma. I’m not sure why Rome is all by itself. Perhaps it could be integrated into the previous sentence with a colon. This sentence reads strangely: “They have sacrificed thousand – her people.” Who are “her people”?

    Hook: 6/10 It takes a long time to get to the hook, since it’s more than just Eve taking the same flight her grandfather did before he disappeared.

    Plot: 7/10 There’s a bit too much going on…when/how did she get to Venice? Is that important for the query?

    Characters: 10/10

    Showing vs. Telling: /10 This reads more like a synopsis than a query that teases the reader.

    Stakes: 10/10

    Overall: 7/10

    First Line: 9/10 Consider losing the semicolon and integrating the disappeared part into the first part. (You use three semicolons in the first four sentences.)

    Voice: 9/10

    Originality: 8/10

    Character Development: 8/10

    Setting/World Building: 9/10

    Overall: 9/10 Watch out for info-dumps this early in the story.

  4. Query:
    Words: 9/10. There are some spelling/grammar errors.
    Hook: 7/10. I like that it’s based on a true story. The hook of the story, though, could be more interesting.
    Plot: 8/10. It’s a bit confusing and could use some elaboration.
    Characters: 9/10
    Showing vs Telling: 6/10. Elaborating on the high points of the plot may help stop the “jumpy” feel of “first she goes here, then she goes there”.
    Stakes: 8/10
    Overall: 7/10

    First 250:
    First Line: 8/10
    Voice: 9/10
    Originality: 9/10
    Character Development: 6/10. There is really more setting here. I imagine the characters come soon after.
    Setting: 9/10.
    Overall: 8/10

  5. Query:
    Query is 250-300 Words: 9/10
    
Hook: 8/10 The first paragraph would be better suited for the end of the query, but I am intrigued.
    
Plot is Easily Understandable (MC, Goal, Conflict): 6/10 It was really hard for me to follow once we start to learn about the Sumerian tablet. Are aliens about to unleash a weapon of mass destruction, and what does that have to do with Eve’s missing grandfather?

    Amount of Characters Listed: 8/10

    Showing vs. Telling (Doesn’t Read like a Synopsis): 6/10

    Stakes Clearly Listed: 6/10 The stakes are really vague, as are the circumstances behind Eve’s grandfather’s disappearance.
    
Overall: 6/10 There’s a little too much focus on the grandfather here and not on Eve. Why is she going to Rome? What does a weapon of mass destruction, an ancient Sumerian tablet, and her grandfather’s long ago disappearance have to do with her?

    First 250:
    First Line: 8/10 I don’t think you need a semicolon after “off.” A period would work better.

    Voice: 7/10

    Originality: 6/10

    Character Development: 8/10
S
    etting/World Building: 6/10 After the descriptions of Rome and the Vatican in the query, it’s a little jarring to be transported to a house in Pennsylvania.

    Overall: 7/10 Lots of backstory at the beginning. I like the description near the end of how she associates her grandfather with the smell of black licorice. That might be a more compelling start than an infodump.

    from entry number 8

  6. Query:
    Words: 10/10
    Hook: 8/10 Interesting opening. Though the second paragraph could end on a stronger note. I thought it would end up with her flight disappearing to the same place and finally we would find the mystery behind her grandfather’s disappearance. But I’m still intrigued.
    Plot: 9/10.
    Amount of Characters: 9/10
    Showing vs Telling: 7/10
    Stakes: 8/10. Loved the concept!
    Overall: 8/10.

    First 250:
    First Line: 8/10.
    Voice: 8/10
    Originality: 8/10.
    Character Development: 7/10 Wish I could get more from the character because she’s describing and explaining how her family is and the house…though I do like the mood built up from that.
    Setting: 8/10.
    Overall: 8/10.

    From entry 3

  7. Query
    Words: 8/10–There are quite a few grammatical errors
    Hook: 6/10–The hook itself doesn’t grab me. You started well w/ Eve’s grandfather disappearing, but her taking the same flight to her new home (btw, Rome should not be a separate “sentence”) isn’t dynamic. You also already mention the locket in the query; you don’t need to say it in the hook.
    Plot: 8/10–I love how its inspired by a true event.
    Characters: 10/10
    Showing vs. Telling: 7/10
    Stakes: 7/10
    Overall: 7/10–You mention great plot points, but I think that may be the issue – you mention too many. It needs to flow smoother. Make us care (whether we like her or not) for Eve.

    First 250
    First Line: 9/10
    Voice: 8/10
    Originality: 8/10
    Character Development: 6/10–You spent more time talking about what happened the day her grandfather disappeared. I have no insight into who Eve is really.
    Setting/World Building: 8/10
    Overall: 7/10–I would have rated this higher, but the first 250 is nothing but backstory. You mentioned it’s a prologue. Honestly, if the prologue is just backstory into her grandfather’s disappearance, then you can forego the prologue and weave the details into the MS itself. *I* would prefer if you start right off with Eve boarding her flight.

  8. Entry 9: LOGOS

    Query:
    Length: 10
    Hook: 0
    Plot is Easily Understandable (MC, Goal, Conflict): 8
    Amount of Characters Listed: 6
    Showing vs. Telling (Doesn’t Read like a Synopsis): 3
    Stakes Clearly Listed: 5
    Overall: 3

    First 250:
    First Line: 6
    Voice: 2
    Originality: 3
    Character Development: 5
    Setting/World Building: 3
    Overall: 5

    Total score: 59

    Query:
    Length – although the word-count is spot-on, it still reads long, maybe because of the average word length.
    Hook – there isn’t one.
    Characters – Eve obviously isn’t the only important character here. Who is the villain?
    Telling – most of what you have written is synopsis material – very little excitement.
    Stakes – so there’s a weapon of mass destruction (presumably a bomb of some kind), but it feels very impersonal.
    Overall, the query was hurt by numerous grammatical and punctuation errors. The book is labeled as a thriller, yet the query is boring to read. Also, the plot doesn’t work for me – if thousands are being sacrificed, how is it that Eve has any expectation that her grandfather is still alive after so many years?

    First 250:
    Voice: After the first sentence, this 250 is mostly backstory. You must get into some action before doing this.
    Originality/setting: For something listed as sci-fi, it’s a pretty boring setting.

    General notes, applicable to all:

    Query length:
    250-275 is the sweet spot to aim for (300 words is too long). I used a simple formula. Any query of appropriate length scored 10/10. Anything over 275 words (excluding salutation and sign-off) lost one point, and then another point was deducted for every 10 words extra. I did not deduct points for short queries as this is not likely to be a problem with agents, provided all the important information is presented.

    Number of characters:
    I awarded the maximum to every entrant, unless it read like a character soup, or it was clear that something was missing.
    (Note for next time: I think this category should have been a little broader to include depth of character)

    Other categories:
    I figured that 6 is an average score, appropriate for an average query as seen in the “Query Critiques” forum (polished & revised versions, not first drafts as this is a contest and entries should already be polished). I adjusted the scores up or down based on how I felt it would stack up on that forum.

    Overall:
    I skewed the overall scores slightly depending on whether or not the entry left me wanting to read more.

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