Query Critique #13

This query deals with science fiction and features LGBTQ characters. Something I’ve seen quite a bit since I started doing this is that writers are forgetting to include the category their novel fits in to. Is it a middle grade, young adult, or adult? Leaving out that information doesn’t help, but only raises more questions. 

Submitted Query:

 Dear Ms. Neagle:

Complete at 93,000 words, GOOD MONSTERS is a science fiction novel with LGBTQ diversity that will appeal to fans of Pierce Brown and C.A. Higgins. It can be a stand-alone book or the start of a series. [Whether you are going to introduce your book details in the beginning or the end, you can cut some words: GOOD MONSTERS is a 93,000 standalone (insert category) Science Fiction novel featuring LGBTQ characters with series potential. Fans of Pierce Brown and C.A. Higgins will enjoy GOOD MONSTERS.]

Charles telepathically transforms matter using the math he invented. On Earth, he’s a freak. In the Provincial Alliance star system, he’s a deviate: a highly evolved being society treats little better than an animal. (Okay, you have my attention, but I’m confused as to where this novel takes place right now. Is he fighting on Earth or is he in the Provincial Alliance?) He wants to help people so society will accept him and his kind. (Again, I am not sure where this is happening. How did he end up on Earth? All of these questions are floating in my head after just a few sentences. Try to clear up this confusion with readers by providing the setting so it’s obvious.) But then people kill his friend for sport, and Bella, the love of his life, disappears. Now Charles has a moral obligation to dismantle the social order and replace it with a new one. (Why is he morally obligated to fix things? What’s driving him to make this decision? The events you mentioned previously? Is he fed up? Angry? The word choice is what I’m stuck on here. I don’t really see why he’s morally obligated as opposed to determined to avenge his friend’s death and disappearance.) One that imposes on people (which people? His home planet or Earth?) the structure they need and gives deviates the power they deserve. Everyone benefits.

The only thing standing in his way is his burgeoning love for Aubrey, a genderqueer deviate who radiates happiness. (But what about Bella? I thought she was the love of his life? Since she doesn’t come up in the query again, maybe consider cutting Bella and focusing on the friend who was killed for sport as the motivation to finally fix things.) Aubrey is dedicated to the most powerful person in the Alliance, Charles’s sadistic boss. If Charles goes through with his plan, he’ll lose Aubrey forever. (Why? What does it mean to be dedicated? Why can’t he free Aubrey first?) If he doesn’t act, society will never change, and he’ll be responsible for the continued abuse, enslavement, and murder of deviates. (I’d consider leaving this sentence out because it pulls away from your stakes. It makes Charles seem very selfish in that he’s willing to allow an entire population of deviates to remain just so he can get the girl.) Charles must decide between personal happiness and his vision of social justice. 

I’m a science fiction writer living in the Chicago area. Previously, I was a defense attorney in civil litigation. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Revise and resubmit if you are interested. I’m curious about the decision Charles makes. 

What Are Your Thoughts?

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