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The Sleeping and the Dead


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#1 BCVail

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Posted 13 September 2018 - 09:22 AM

Latest Revision Post #6

 

Hello AQC people,

 

I've put this one away for quite a while and I'm ready to jump back in and have another look.

 

Any critiques and I will return the favor. Thanks.

 

 

 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. (Agent),

 

I am seeking representation for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements.

 

For sixteen-year-old Mira—Caspia’s most notorious thief—an impossible heist is a welcome challenge. But her latest run-in with the law has also made her the colony’s most wanted criminal. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop in the city, it’s time she ditches this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth.

 

To pay her way onto a smuggler’s transport, Mira accepts one last job. Her mark: encrypted files inside a cutting-edge R & D facility. But when she botches the job, she’s captured by Dr. Gall, chief science officer of the facility. He offers to use his prestigious company’s influence to clear her criminal records… if she participates in his highly experimental study in neural augmentation.

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira realizes she’s agreed to more than she could have imagined. Dr. Gall wastes no time forcibly injecting her with mystery drugs and subjecting her to tortuous experiments. Worse yet, Mira can’t help noticing the declining state of her fellow patients. One by one, they fall into sleepwalking comas and begin acting out their murderous nightmares. Afraid she may never see the clean slate she was promised, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and uncovers the truth behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. Mira must expose the secrets of the lab—risk revealing herself as a fugitive—and escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead.



#2 HarlequinWriter

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Posted 14 September 2018 - 06:34 PM

Dear Mr./Ms. (Agent),

 

I am seeking representation Already implied for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements.

 

For sixteen-year-old Mira—Caspia’s most notorious thief—an impossible heist is a welcome challenge. I know this is YA, but it seems a little too implausible for her to be so well-known at such a young age. If she had a team behind her or special abilities this be more believable But her latest run-in with the law has also made her the colony’s most wanted criminal. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop in the city, it’s time she ditches this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth. This feels too sudden. Maybe you should provide more world building before stating that she wants to go to Earth.

 

To pay her way onto a smuggler’s transport, Mira accepts one last job. I though her fresh start was to be a thief on Earth but now that she's giving it up, what made her change her mind? Her mark: encrypted files inside a cutting-edge R & D facility. But when she botches the job, she’s captured by Dr. Gall, chief science officer of the facility. He offers to use his prestigious company’s influence to clear her criminal records… if she participates in his highly experimental study in neural augmentation. Again, if she was so notorious, I find it unlikely that she would've been caught. 

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira realizes she’s agreed to more than she could have imagined. Dr. Gall wastes no time forcibly injecting her with mystery drugs and subjecting her to tortuous experiments. Worse yet, Mira can’t help noticing the declining state of her fellow patients. One by one, they fall into sleepwalking comas and begin acting out their murderous nightmares. Afraid she may never see the clean slate she was promised, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and uncovers the truth behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. Mira must expose the secrets of the lab—risk revealing herself as a fugitive—and escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead. The first two paragraphs made me think this was going to be about Mira's experiences as a thief. This lat paragraph seems like it belongs to a different story. Seeing as how the first two paragraphs are mainly just background info, I think you can condense it easily and make the query more about her time in the facility. 



#3 Dollophead

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Posted 20 September 2018 - 11:30 PM

Sorry it took me so long to get to yours! I hope my comments are worth the wait :)

 

Dear Mr./Ms. (Agent),

 

I am seeking representation for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements. I know this isn't your hook yet, but maybe something you could try to capture the agent's attention is read their manuscript wishlists and include the elements of your story which they are looking for in this intro. E.g., "I have read about your interest in {whatever} and am pleased to tell you my book has {that stuff you want}. 

 

For sixteen-year-old Mira—Caspia’s most notorious thief can you tell us what type of thief she is? Because later on, the whole "encrypted files" thing makes me envision her as a hacker—an impossible heist is a welcome challenge. Nice intro But her latest run-in with the law has also made her the colony’s Maybe here you can quickly and cleverly insert this is a space colony? Unless you want to leave the "fresh start on Earth" bit for the end, that works nicely too most wanted criminal. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop in the city, it’s time she ditches this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth. 

 

To pay her way onto a smuggler’s transport, Mira accepts one last job. Her mark: encrypted files inside a cutting-edge R & D facility. But when she botches the job, she’s captured by Dr. Gall, chief science officer of the facility. He offers to use his prestigious company’s influence to clear her criminal records… if she participates in his highly experimental study in neural augmentation. How does this help her go back to Earth?

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira realizes she’s agreed to more than she could have imagined. Dr. Gall wastes no time forcibly injecting her with mystery drugs and subjecting her to tortuous experiments. Worse yet, Mira can’t help noticing the declining state of her fellow patients. One by one, they fall into sleepwalking comas and begin acting out their murderous nightmares. Afraid she may never see the clean slate she was promised, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and [uncovers the truth] can you reword this? "Uncover the truth" is on a list of terms too vague for queries behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. Mira must expose the secrets of the labrisk revealing herself as a fugitiveand escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead.

 

This sounds great. I thought it was a very strong query with just a bit of brushing up to do. I would love to read your book when it comes out! :)



#4 Patomac

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Posted 28 September 2018 - 06:20 PM

Hey, thanks for critiquing mine! Sorry I'm late to review; I had stopped checking the site on a regular basis. 

Dear Mr./Ms. (Agent),

 

I am seeking representation for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements.

 

For sixteen-year-old Mira—Caspia’s most notorious thief—(I feel like these should be commas, but that may be a stylistic preference rather than a strict grammar rule.) an impossible heist is a welcome challenge. But her latest run-in with the law has also made her the colony’s most wanted criminal. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop in the city, it’s time she ditches this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth. (I don't know that you need this last sentence; it mentally transports me from Caspia, where all of the story is going to take place, back to thinking that the bulk of the story is going to be set in space or on earth.)

 

To pay her way onto a smuggler’s transport, Mira accepts one last job. Her mark: encrypted files inside a cutting-edge R & D facility. But when she botches the job, she’s captured by Dr. Gall, chief science officer of the facility. He offers to use his prestigious company’s influence to clear her criminal records… if she participates in his highly experimental study in neural augmentation.

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira realizes she’s agreed to more than she could have imagined. Dr. Gall wastes no time forcibly injecting her with mystery drugs and subjecting her to tortuous experiments. (So here's my nitpick with this: if the experiments are torture, why doesn't she say 'forget it' and leave? Rather than use her skills to figure out what's going on, why doesn't she just book it the heck out of there? And if it's her dream to go to earth-- which is presumably beyond the grasp of the law-- why does she need her criminal records cleared? In the first paragraph it sounded like she didn't care about having a record so much as it was inconvenient as long as she stayed on the planet)Worse yet, Mira can’t help noticing the declining state of her fellow patients. One by one, they fall into sleepwalking comas and begin acting out their murderous nightmares. Afraid she may never see the clean slate she was promised, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and uncovers the truth behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. Mira must expose the secrets of the lab—risk revealing herself as a fugitive—and escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead.

 

So this is a really solid query, but once I started tugging on a logic strand I started noticing what look to me like plot holes. In your story you may have explained all of this, but all I have to go on is the query, and I can't see how a logical person-- a person who might be able to escape and smuggle herself onto a ship, given that she's a thief-- would stay in this situation willingly. Is there another motivating factor I'm missing? In the first paragraph, Mira doesn't seem particularly compassionate; is she trying to save the other experiments? Is saving the colony something she truly wants to do, given that you've told us her plan is to get off of it?



#5 RoseGlacier

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Posted 02 October 2018 - 06:35 PM

I think this is a solid query. I'd put the title and word count below the meat, however. I think some critique is always going to be a matter of subjective preference (like whether commas or em dashes work better for the intro sentence). You said Mira's notorious, not that she's the best thief around, so what follows makes sense to me. I too would wonder, however, whether she has any empathy for her fellow patients and hopes to help them escape as well, or she's just worried about herself. But that's a nitpick as far as I'm concerned.



#6 BCVail

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 12:45 AM

Latest Revision: takes into account feedback from here and other writer friends.

 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. (Agent),

 

I am seeking representation for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements.

 

Sixteen-year-old thief Mira DeGray has clawed her way up the ranks of Caspia’s vicious crime syndicate.But after a shakedown goes wrong, a crooked cop lies dead and Mira is running scared. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop in the city, she needs to ditch this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth.

 

While Mira struggles to secure a smuggler’s transport, Dr. Gall, chief science officer of Moirai Industries, approaches her with a timely, albeit suspicious, offer. He will use his prestigious company’s influence to clear her criminal records if she participates in his neural augmentation research. 

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira is subjected to a cocktail of mystery drugs and torturous experiments. Worse yet, other patients begin falling into sleepwalking comas and acting out their murderous nightmares. Mira realizes she may never see the clean slate she was promised. With the help of a disgruntled lab tech, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and uncovers the truth behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. Mira must expose the secrets of the lab—risk revealing herself as a fugitive—and escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead.



#7 ScarlettLeigh

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Posted 23 October 2018 - 08:21 AM

Hi BC Vail! Thank you so much for your insight on my query! 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. (Agent),

 

I am seeking representation for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements.

 

Sixteen-year-old thief Mira DeGray has clawed her way up the ranks of Caspia’s vicious crime syndicate. But after a shakedown goes wrong, a crooked cop lies dead and Mira is running scared. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop in the city, she needs to ditch this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth. I love all of this! Mira sounds awesome. I get a clear sense of the world and what she wants. It feels satisfactorily sci-fi. I'm hooked :D

 

While Mira struggles to secure a smuggler’s transport, Dr. Gall, chief science officer of Moirai Industries, approaches her with a timely, albeit suspicious, offer. He will use his prestigious company’s influence to clear her criminal records if she participates in his neural augmentation research. Nice conflict! Only change I'd recommend here is cutting "albeit suspicious" because it undermines the tension a bit. It feels smarmy as-is without you telling me.

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira is subjected to a cocktail of mystery drugs and torturous experiments. Worse yet, other patients begin falling into sleepwalking comas and acting out their murderous nightmares. Mira realizes she may never see the clean slate she was promised. With the help of a disgruntled lab tech, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and uncovers the truth behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. Mira must expose the secrets of the lab—risk revealing herself as a fugitive—and escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead.

 

You've got me hooked! I think this is an outstanding query! Hi stakes, a complex character, morally bankrupt laboratories, dark secrets that must be exposed. YOU MAY TAKE MY MONEY NOW!



#8 yawriter

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Posted 25 October 2018 - 06:30 PM

Latest Revision: takes into account feedback from here and other writer friends.

 

 

Dear Mr./Ms. (Agent),

 

I am seeking representation for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements.

 

Sixteen-year-old thief Mira DeGray has clawed her way up the ranks of Caspia’s (is this another character?) vicious crime syndicate. (Space) But(,) after a shakedown goes wrong, a crooked cop lies (lays?) dead and Mira is running scared. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop What is a vid loop? in the city, she needs to ditch this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth. Back on Earth sounds like she's been there before, but this is not mentioned 

 

While Mira struggles to secure a smuggler’s transport, Dr. Gall, chief science officer of Moirai Industries, approaches her with a timely, albeit suspicious, offer. He will use his prestigious company’s influence to clear her criminal records if she participates in his neural augmentation research. 

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira is subjected to a cocktail of mystery drugs and torturous experiments.  Worse yet, other patients begin falling into sleepwalking comas and acting out their murderous nightmares. Mira realizes she may never see the clean slate she was promised. With the help of a disgruntled lab tech, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and uncovers the truth behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. Mira must expose the secrets of the lab—risk revealing herself as a fugitive—and escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead. ​ I feel like this took a completely different route to what you sent me up for in the beginning... This should have tied back up with getting to Earth in my opinion

 

Great start! Lots of events happening. Something I would pick up :)


Query- The City's Whispers: http://agentquerycon...critique-back/ 

Query-TOOWCHM: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

Synopsis- The City's Whispers: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

First 250 words: http://agentquerycon...-critique-back/

 


#9 SnowFox23

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Posted 29 October 2018 - 02:18 AM

I am seeking representation for THE SLEEPING AND THE DEAD, a 90,000-word young adult science fiction novel that features horror elements.

 

Sixteen-year-old thief Mira DeGray has clawed her way up the ranks of Caspia’s vicious crime syndicate. Cool, but could it be a bit hookier. Maybe: Sixteen year old Mira DeGray is a thief. And a damn good one. But After a shakedown ...yada yada.

But after a shakedown goes wrong, a crooked cop lies dead and Mira is running scared. With her profile now streaming on every vid loop in the city, she needs to ditch this trash heap of a planet. Besides, she’s always dreamed of a fresh start back on Earth. That's a really clever hook :) Well done :)

 

While Mira struggles to secure a smuggler’s transport, Dr. Gall, chief science officer of Moirai Industries, approaches her with a timely, albeit suspicious, offer. He will use his prestigious eh, prestigious is already implied because you told us Dr Gall is the chief science officer. Ditch the word, it only slows it all down. company’s influence to clear her criminal records if she participates in his neural augmentation research. 

 

As a freshly inducted lab rat, Mira is subjected to a cocktail of mystery drugs and torturous experiments. Worse yet, other patients begin falling into sleepwalking comas and acting out their murderous nightmares. Mira realizes she may never see the clean slate she was promised. With the help of a disgruntled lab tech, Mira puts her thieving talents to use and uncovers the truth behind the experiments… the effects of which will not stay contained in these cold laboratory walls. this slows the pace again. Mira must expose the secrets of the lab—risk revealing herself as a fugitive—and escape before she becomes one of the sleeping or the dead.

 

This is excellent. Great query. Great hooks.  Great stakes. I would say this is good to go. My only critique would be sell the hell out of your opening sentence. Punch us in the guts!

Thank you for your critique on my query (Wolf, Crow and Queen)






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