#QueryKombat Mini Mutants

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I entered Hunted Souls, formerly titled Centerra: Awake into a contest called #QueryKombat. 64 out of 230 entries are chosen to battle head to head, competing for the attention of an agent. Now, I’ve entered various contests in the pass for the learning experience alone. Pitching a novel is a skill all on its own, and these contest have taught me volumes. I’ve also met numerous writer friends on twitter *waves ecstatically* who have given me great feedback! I’ve even beta swapped. Say what? Writers giving writers critique is a fabulous thing. No, we are not a group of cut throat, jealous nerds hiding behind our keyboards and words. We care.

Within 3 months, I’ve entered #PitchMadness, #PitMad, #PitchSlam, and #TheWVoice, all ending in nada. Didn’t get in. But each time I made quantum leaps forward in improving my pitching skills and the first 250 words. Cause let’s face it- first impressions are everything.

Then along came #QueryKombat, which requests an entry nickname, query, and first 250. The day of, I had an MRI to test if my Crohn’s is active. After months of feeling rotten and antibiotics doing nothing for me, I entered the test nervous, to say the least. I hoped beyond hope it would show SOMETHING so I can get more medicine and be on my merry way.

After the test finished, it was about time to send my entry into #QueryKombat. With contrast slushing around in my belly and nerves twitching my fingers, I paused over “send.” Seriously. Why be nervous? Probably won’t get in anyway.

And eek! I did! I made it! The contest isn’t over- there are five rounds total. But so far I’ve learned volumes. Here’s my updated query and would love any last minute feedback.

When eighteen-year-old Bixby codes in a hospital, his soul takes a detour to Centerra, a world where giants hunt humans for magic, harvesting it from their blood to gain temporary super powers. Prisoners are kept as specimens for experimentation, as giants seek to make magic permanent, since the gods stripped it from them as part of an ancient Punishment. If the humans in Centerra, all eighteen and under, rescue any of their friends, giants retaliate by killing another prisoner. They call it “insurance.”

A band of teens and kids adopt Bixby into their system of underground forts, so long as he follows rule number one: Don’t be a hero. His choice is to hide below the forest floor when giants’ hunting parties pass through, doing nothing for those who get captured, or risk expulsion from the group. For the first time in his life, the art of fitting in will determine his survival. Given he’s already the odd one out since he can’t seem to discover his own power, Bixby is going to have to do some serious pride swallowing around his bossy leader and overprotective roommates.

But love makes one do stupid things. His house mate, Sacheen, shared a hospital floor with him on Earth, where he watched her suffer and die once before. When the giants take her, he knows he can’t live with himself if he does nothing. He leaves for the giants’ territory, searching for a way to rescue all the prisoners. When he reaches the castle, he hears rumors of four humans who will possess limitless power and destroy the race of the giants. These Four will be identified by a delayed manifestation of specific abilities. By entering the castle before developing his hidden strength, Bixby has just given the giants the key to their survival.

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One thought on “#QueryKombat Mini Mutants

  1. This seems like a good strong query. I get a clear picture of the plot and the stakes and Bixby’s character and motivation (love the name Bixby, by the way). My only concern was that it seemed a bit long, so I checked, and it’s about 300 words, which is just a tiny bit on the high side.

    Mainly as an exercise for myself, I tried to trim it down and managed to get it below 250. I also tried to stick to just your words as much as possible, adding my own only to smooth out the changes. (I didn’t succeed at that 100%. Sorry.) So here’s what I came up with:

    When eighteen-year-old Bixby codes in a hospital, his soul takes a detour to Centerra, a world where giants hunt humans for magic, harvesting it from their blood to gain temporary super powers. If the humans in Centerra, all eighteen and under, rescue any of their friends, giants retaliate by killing another prisoner. They call it “insurance.”

    A band of teens and kids take Bixby in, so long as he follows rule number one: Don’t be a hero. His choice is to hide below the forest floor when giants’ hunting parties pass through, doing nothing for those who get captured, or risk expulsion from the group. He’ll need to fit in to survive, which won’t be easy since he’s the only one who can’t seem to discover his own power.

    But he falls in love with his house mate, Sacheen, and when the giants take her, he realizes survival isn’t enough. He won’t be able to live with himself if he does nothing, so he sets out to rescue all the prisoners. When he reaches the giants’ castle, he hears rumors of four humans who will possess limitless power and destroy the race of the giants. These Four will be identified by a delayed manifestation of specific abilities. By entering the castle before developing his hidden strength, Bixby has just given the giants the key to their survival.

    Obviously, you may hate this, but at least you can see what someone who’s never read your full MS considers essential versus non-essential. And hopefully, that will be of some use to you.

    Best of luck. It sounds like a terrific story. And your opening 250 painted a clear and touching picture. I was impressed by it.

    Like

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