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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Books » QUERY: The Meat Factory

   
Author Topic: QUERY: The Meat Factory
wetwilly
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Any thoughts? Feedback?


Based on your description of the kinds of books you are interested in representing, I think you might be interested in my novel, The Meat Factory, a YA dystopian science fiction story. This is a dark novel with a cool concept--teens in a future prison for the mentally and physically handicapped--with elements of mystical realism mixed in. It rides the line between science fiction and character-driven literary fiction. It is the story of one girl's descent into the nexus of hatred and her triumph over the worst that humanity can throw at her. The Meat Factory is about 85,000 words.
In a near-future dystopia, an oppressive world government has divided humanity into two types of people: the half-people, or people with physical and mental handicaps, and the whole people.  The whole people live a privileged life while the half-people are locked away in “The Meat Factory,” a giant prison deep in the jungles of Brazil.  Chaya Mazar, an Israeli half-girl, is a new inmate in this prison, where she discovers a new world of violence and discrimination.  In her violent new world, Chaya falls in love with one of the other half-people, a boy by the name of Monk, and secretly marries him.  When she discovers she is pregnant, she finds herself in an impossible situation: if the whole people find out, they will execute her, her husband, and their unborn child for the crime of daring to create happiness in their carefully constructed hell.
Meanwhile, in the world outside the Meat Factory, in one of the few remaining free territories, Roland Cruz is a young man with a miraculous ability: he can heal people of any and all ailments.  When his gift fails him in a moment of crisis, though, he discovers that his neighbors are not eager to forgive a failed messiah.  Disillusioned with humanity, Roland vows never to heal anybody again.  After Roland is severely wounded and made a half-man by government troops invading his village, he is shipped off to live the rest of his days in the Meat Factory with the other half-people.  When Chaya learns of Roland’s miraculous gift, she places her last desperate hope in him.  Roland becomes Chaya’s only chance to become whole again so she can get out of the Meat Factory and save her unborn baby.  Before Roland will heal Chaya's body, though, Chaya must find a way to heal his bitterness against humanity.

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Meredith
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quote:
Originally posted by wetwilly:
Any thoughts? Feedback?


Based on your description of the kinds of books you are interested in representing, I think you might be interested in my novel, The Meat Factory, a YA dystopian science fiction story. This is a dark novel with a cool concept--teens in a future prison for the mentally and physically handicapped--with elements of mystical realism mixed in. It rides the line between science fiction and character-driven literary fiction. It is the story of one girl's descent into the nexus of hatred and her triumph over the worst that humanity can throw at her. The Meat Factory is about 85,000 words.

Two things here. Well, maybe three. [Smile] It's fine to start with some sort of personalization to the agent. Hopefully this is a placeholder, because it's not that personal.
Second, most agents don't want to be told about your book. They want you to show them in the query pitch. So the second thru fourth sentences probably should be cut.
Third, in my opinion, the housekeeping stuff (title, genre, length) is better left to the end. Start with what's most interesting--your story.
quote:
In a near-future dystopia, an oppressive world government has divided humanity into two types of people: the half-people, or people with physical and mental handicaps, and the whole people.  The whole people live a privileged life while the half-people are locked away in “The Meat Factory,” a giant prison deep in the jungles of Brazil.  Chaya Mazar, an Israeli half-girl, is a new inmate in this prison, where she discovers a new world of violence and discrimination.  In her violent new world, Chaya falls in love with one of the other half-people, a boy by the name of Monk, and secretly marries him.  When she discovers she is pregnant, she finds herself in an impossible situation: if the whole people find out, they will execute her, her husband, and their unborn child for the crime of daring to create happiness in their carefully constructed hell.
There's a lot in this paragraph and yet I think one or two details would make this work much better. What are Chaya's and Monk's handicaps?
quote:
Meanwhile, in the world outside the Meat Factory, in one of the few remaining free territories, Roland Cruz is a young man with a miraculous ability: he can heal people of any and all ailments.  When his gift fails him in a moment of crisis, though, he discovers that his neighbors are not eager to forgive a failed messiah.  Disillusioned with humanity, Roland vows never to heal anybody again.  After Roland is severely wounded and made a half-man by government troops invading his village, he is shipped off to live the rest of his days in the Meat Factory with the other half-people.  When Chaya learns of Roland’s miraculous gift, she places her last desperate hope in him.  Roland becomes Chaya’s only chance to become whole again so she can get out of the Meat Factory and save her unborn baby.  Before Roland will heal Chaya's body, though, Chaya must find a way to heal his bitterness against humanity.
It never hurts to end with a simple "Thank you for your time."

Assuming that Chaya is your MC, you might not need quite as much information about Roland here other than his gift and his injury. Again, what kind of handicap is he left with?

Also, this is fairly dense. More white space makes the query more appealing.

Try to pare this down to only the main story line--no subplots. All you really need is:
Who is the MC and why should we care?
What does she want/what problem does she face?
What obstacles stand in her way? What choices does she have to make?
What are the stakes? What happens if she fails?

All of that's in here, but it's kind of getting lost, not having as much punch as it should.

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Meredith
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Oh, and the goal should be to make the query in the neighborhood of 250 words. I kind of suspect you're over that.
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