The fading nation of Entropia is having a lousy time of it lately. No one visits anymore, and is it any wonder. The airports are closed--officially blamed on a 14-year strike by the Toiletpaper Restockers Union. The only way in is through a poorly maintained tunnel with an exorbitant entry fee. But the Tourist Board's Ernie Shodabruski has a plan.
Misanthropic gameshow champion Chase Windborn wins an all-expense-paid tour of Entropia for himself and one of his foreign pen pals. Welder and frustrated artist Natalie Machackova is Ernie's choice. And if Chase chooses to stay home with his stamps, he'll forfeit a half-million of his winnings.
Ok, you've got a missed connection between the last sentence of the first paragraph and the first sentence of the second paragraph. Consider this: But the Tourist Boards' Ernie Shodabruski has a plan: award an all-expense paid tour of Entropia on a game show.
Misanthropic gameshow champion Chase Windborn wins the trip for himself and one of his foreign pen pals.
Obviously all the writing in italic is a raw first draft, but the link between the events is clearer here. In short form writing like queries, it's really important that one paragraph flow into the next without the reader thinking "huh, what??"
The tour is broadcast around the world, while Ernie drives them from one dysfunctional town to another: flooded Fort Mildew, pious Mt. Cyanide, the homeless veterans' island of Maroon.
You're trying to stuff too much into this query. Focus on the main event. I hate like hell to lose "where Entropia's children are raised and expectations lowered" but this is why "murder your darlings" is sterling writing advice.
In Stamphenge Chase spots a stamp that once belonged to his grandmother. Convinced since childhood he triggered her death by using her most valuable stamp to send away for other stamps, he steals it back. But when two wrongs fail to put things right, only Natalie may be resourceful enough to fix it.
In the tradition of Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Entropia is a comic fantasy that examines contemporary American life. It is complete at 100,600 words. My work has been published in Kaleidoscope, American Heritage, Rosebud, and The Journal of Irreproducible Results.
Thank you for
Better. Much much better.
Dear Query Shark:
To all appearances, Chase Windborn is sitting pretty. True, he's essentially friendless and his town, Mt. Cyanide, is infested with the unreasonably pious, but he makes a lucrative living on the gameshow circuit, takes pride in still driving a utilitarian Barnacle, and tolerates a horde of correspondents willing to send him stamps for his collection.
huh? This is so confusing it's hard to know where to start. He makes a living on the gameshow circuit signals that this isn't literary fiction, it's obviously some sort of comic novel. Then "utilitarian Barnacle" makes me wonder if if it's science fiction. Then stamp collecting sends me back to comic-novel again.
I'm confused. That's not a good thing.
When Chase wins an all-expense-paid tour of Entropia for himself and one of his foreign pen pals, welder Natalie Machackova is not his first choice, or even his last. Shadowed by an indefensibly enthusiastic Tourist Board, they travel through a dysfunctional, balkanized Entropia that reveals itself, one horrid town after another. In Stamphenge, Chase spots a rare stamp that once belonged to his grandmother. Convinced he triggered her death by using her most valuable stamp to send away for other stamps as a child, he steals it back. But when he learns the stamp's owner has died that very night, Chase fears he has killed again.
This social satire is complete at 100,600 words. My work has been published in Kaleidoscope, American Heritage, Rosebud, and The Journal of Irreproducible Results.
Satire of what? Stamp collecting?
Please note this is a simultaneous submission. Thank you for considering Entropia.
you don't need to tell me it's a simultaneous submission. I assume you're querying widely. Unless an agent specifically requests to know that you can leave it out. And you don't want to spend words on something you don't need to say. Use as many words to entice me to read this instead of covering housekeeping matters.
Social satire is a tough category for queries because the book is not plot driven. You've added to your challenge by placing this in a fictive world. You might want to think about leaving out the proper names here and just have Chase on a tour, finding a stamp, etc. Without the proper names we can focus on the gist of the story. (although Stamphenge IS hilarious)
Even though this book is not plot driven, we have to get a sense of the story. I don't have that from this query. What we have is the set up: Chase thinks he might be a killer and stamps are his weapon. That's actually pretty funny but we need to see more.
But the big problem remains: I'm not sure what you're satirizing.
Right now this is a form rejection.