Friday, February 8, 2019

Am I Crazy or Are They Crazy? The Conclusion

Previously on my blog...

I posted a query I thought was bad but other people thought was awesome:


Dear [agent name],
 [intro paragraph personalised to agent, saying why I'm querying them specifically – I might put the genre, wordcount, and comps here instead of in the paragraph towards the end]
 Ana D is good at getting what she wants. As a law student and only child of two diplomats, she couldn’t be otherwise. When a car crash on a deserted stretch of New Zealand highway leaves Ana lost in another world—a world of swords, magic, and very iffy legal systems—all she wants is to go home.
 To do so she must master her own magic, placing her faith in the aid of the moody and enigmatic Ciro—a magician with an origin as foreign as her own. Ciro tells her stories of prophecies, chosen ones, and Malac, an exiled prince of a dying race, who seeks multi-world domination. Tall tales, Ana thinks—until a nearby town falls victim to the widening cracks Malac is making between dimensions.
 Should Malac succeed, the worlds he deems worthless will be destroyed. The remainder will be linked with permanent portals, reducing the logistical challenges of pandimensional tyranny. Millions will die. Billions will be enslaved. But not yet. Total devastation is time-consuming, and Malac’s species long-lived. Several human generations will pass before dimensions low in magic, such as Ana’s, could face the effects.
 As the walls between worlds tear, Ana is torn between two lives. To go home to the family she loves, the world where her battles would be contained within a courtroom. Or to stay and stand by Ciro, and her lover, Elric, as they join a greater fight.
 [Fart] is a 119,000-word Science Fantasy story that traverses worlds of medieval magic and futuristic technology, blending epic fantasy and dystopian science fiction with a strong romance subplot—think Robert Jordan’s Eye of the World meets Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, meets The Ghost in the Shell.
 I hold a PhD in psychology*. My research, focused on the development of empathy and social cognition, has given me a deep understanding of how experiences and social interactions shape people and relationships throughout life. I am a child of immigrants, and the initial draft of Fray was written while I was living temporarily in France, unable to speak the language and trapped in a tiny apartment by the Normandy weather. My experiences of emigration are reflected in Ana’s story.
 If [Fart] appeals to you, I would love to send you the full manuscript.
 Thank you for your time.
And I talked about a chicken story I thought was lame but other people loved.  And I wondered if it's just me or them.

Then Cindy Borgne commented:
I found the query interesting. The writer seems to have the world and characters defined well. I agree it is too long, but it did make me curious to know more. The chicken story sounds like a comedy. I'm not sure about it. If a bunch of boring stuff happens, then I wouldn't like it. Most of the stories on CC I don't like, and you will probably feel the same way.

And something clicked in my brain.  There are pictures where two people can look at them and see two different things.  Like one where you can see a vase or two people's faces depending on if you look at the white space or the black space.  I think something similar happens when different people read things.

When I read queries on these sites I read mostly for the plot.  So I read a query like above and the story seems bland and cliche.  But someone else might look at the world building stuff and think it's really interesting.

Or that chicken story I was reading it as a story and there didn't seem to be a point to it.  Other people might simply have found the narration charming and interesting.  Thus they liked it and I thought it was lame.

I imagine agents and editors are probably the same, though I can't attest for certain.  It is a deeply subjective business after all.

So am I crazy or are they crazy?  Maybe we're all crazy.

1 comment:

  1. I think we all feel odd or crazy at times if we disagree with the majority. I mean I can't really talk about science fiction with most women and if I bring it up some will look at me like "really you like that stuff?" But we're all entitled to our likes and dislikes. We are all different for a reason.

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