Friday, October 15, 2010

Query Critique #5

Today's letter was submitted by lexcade.  Thanks for taking part! As is traditional (here at Disgruntled Bear, at least), original is in blue; comments are in black; suggested text is red.

Dear Ms. Agent,

Subject Thirty-one wants her life back; if only she could remember it. 
Nice opening hook.

The Humani Project’s latest success believes she's human, but the panther DNA spliced to hers dictates otherwise. Jet black fur instead of skin. Claw-tipped fingers and toes. Fangs. A tail. Her only clue to a previous existence is the name “Janelle,” uttered by a brunette scientist with a tear rolling down her cheek. 
This paragraph doesn't grab me. I think it may be the series of sentence fragments. I also find the description of the "brunette" scientist to be distracting, although the tear is a nice touch. 
The Humani Project’s latest success believes she's human, but her sleek black fur, claws, and tail make that seem...unlikely. Her only clue to an existence before she had panther DNA spliced to hers is a name--“Janelle”--uttered by a scientist with tear rolling down her cheek. 

Imprisoned in a sinister lab where failure equals termination, Janelle's survival depends on balancing her warring human and animal halves. But she doesn’t know the first thing about taming a wild animal, especially when it’s a part of her. And fantasies of escaping the lab become unbearable when it means leaving lead scientist, Lorenzo Fernandez, behind.
I like the way you establish the setting and the MC's internal conflict in the first two sentences. I winced a little at the introduction of a love interest here, though. I think it might work better if you pull the character info into the next paragraph and tighten it up.   
Imprisoned in a sinister lab where failure equals termination, Janelle's survival depends on balancing her warring human and animal halves. But she doesn’t know the first thing about taming a wild animal--especially when it’s a part of her.

After Lorenzo breaks protocol to save her life and calls her by her name, the woman she was rises up in a determined hunt for the truth. Why does the one scientist she should hate above all others love her? Why does she feel the same? As time runs out, her only hope is to harness the animal within to protect herself and the man she loves.
I don't usually like rhetorical questions in a query, but these seem to work.  I've also suggested a few minor word changes to avoid redundancy.
After Lorenzo Fernandez, the lead scientist, breaks protocol to save her life and calls her by name, the woman she was rises up in a determined hunt for the truth. Why does the one person she should hate above all others love her? Why does she feel the same? As time runs out, her only hope is to harness the animal within to protect herself and the man she loves.

Good thing cats have nine lives. She’ll need every one of them to uncover the truth.
Good lines--I could picture this written on the back cover. 
Good thing cats have nine lives--she’ll need every one of them to uncover the truth.

DIRGE OF THE DESERT is a science fiction novel complete at 114000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.
I think you'll be asked to change your title. This one doesn't give me any sense of the novel you've described. I think the experiment name, THE HUMANI PROJECT, or simply HUMANI, might give a better sense of it.
DIRGE OF THE DESERT is a science fiction novel complete at 114,000 words. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

XXX XXXXX

This is the last query of the week.  If you'd like to take part, please post your query letter here by Sunday.

If you have a few minutes, stop by Blkosiner's Book Blog and check out all the Minder-inspired cover-art!

Happy Weekend, everyone!

6 comments:

Disgruntled Bear said...

We've had some really intriguing books this week-thanks to everyone who submitted a query letter, as well as everyone who commented!

I'll post several critiques on Monday and Tuesday, then everyone will have a chance to revise and resubmit their query letters via email and we'll throw it open to voting!

lexcade said...

Thanks so much for the stellar critique, bear! I've been trying to think about a new title, but nothing has really grabbed me. I'll definitely have to think it over, as you're the second person to suggest it. Thanks again!

Disgruntled Bear said...

Thanks for allowing me to critique your query; your book sounds quite interesting!

StephTheBookworm said...

What a great query! It grabbed my attention! I really like the part about the nine lives.

lexcade said...

thanks, steph! i really appreciate that!

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