QueryTracker Community
December 18, 2018, 09:32:00 AM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News:
 
   Home   Help Search Login Register  
Note: This forum uses different usernames and passwords than those of the main QueryTracker site. 
Please register if you want to post messages.

This forum is also accessible by the public (including search engines).
Pages: [1]   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Garden of Lost Dreams: YA sci-fi  (Read 1620 times)
GlitterFox
Full Member
***

Karma: 23
Offline Offline

Posts: 51



« on: December 06, 2017, 07:02:13 PM »

I've been querying this project for a while, and I've had about a 20% success rate, but lately it's been a string of form rejections, and I'm running out of agents to submit to :/ My query has gotten pretty positive feedback on this forum in the past (and from my beta readers as well), but I'm totally open to suggestions for tightening and making it pop. Thoughts on comp titles would be awesome too. Thanks, guys!!!


Sarah Finch practices every day to be a dream prophet, but so far she’s only foreseen her cat’s untimely demise. It comes as a surprise when her dreams capture the interest of Morpheus, an organization devoted to sleep research, and she eagerly becomes one of the many young test subjects for Morpheus’s cutting-edge dream technology.

The more time Sarah spends in Morpheus’s surreal research institution, the more disturbed her sleep becomes, and the more Morpheus is interested in her. She has something they want. She doesn’t know what it is, just that they’ve burrowed deep inside her brain to find it, and she wants them out.

But at Morpheus, there is no out, only awake and asleep, and the line between the two is rapidly blurring. Between the shifting architecture, invasive experiments, and uninvited romantic advances of Morpheus’s brilliant young director, Sarah fears she won’t be able to escape with her sanity. As she comes to understand the depth of Morpheus’s corruption, she fears she won’t be able to escape at all.

GARDEN OF LOST DREAMS, a young adult science fiction novel, is complete at 90,000 words.
Logged
gckatz
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 276
Offline Offline

Posts: 1587



WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2017, 08:45:24 PM »

I kind of love this query and cannot imagine why it's not doing better.

If I were forced to guess, I'd say maybe the premise feels too close to Dreamstrider or whichever; it seems like there's been a lot of dream stuff recently. But that's just a stab and it doesn't help you much, because really I don't see anything you're doing wrong.
Logged

GlitterFox
Full Member
***

Karma: 23
Offline Offline

Posts: 51



« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2017, 09:08:59 PM »

Aw, thank you, gckatz! Timing could definitely be an issue, considering how my request rate has plummeted recently. But I guess I'll just keep querying the hell out of it...? I have other projects waiting in the wings, and at the very least, it would be nice to get closure on this one.
Logged
Kjk
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 1
Offline Offline

Posts: 26


« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2017, 09:40:11 PM »

I thought it was a solid query and the first sentence was funny.
Logged
MookyMcD
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 451
Offline Offline

Posts: 2400


"hilarious and offensive and usually accurate"


WWW
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2017, 11:58:03 PM »

I liked the query a lot (But change "Morpheus's" to "Morpheus'")

One potential problem (followed by a couple of caveats) could be that the query is written at a pretty high reading level. I ran it through Flesch Reading Ease score: 57.7 ("fairly difficult to read."), Gunning Fog: 13 ("hard to read") and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level: (Eleventh Grade). It may not seem like high school juniors should be out of your wheelhouse, but those numbers might give you pause--especially if your pages come out similarly. Even adult fiction is almost always written below that level:



Compare your Reading Ease score to these numbers:



These measures are all about letters and syllables per word, words per sentence, etc., and don't factor in content or readability, but they're still useful as benchmarks. My shelved manuscript (upmarket, adult satire) clocks in at 6.1 on the F-K grade level and is definitely not intended for 6th graders. My current manuscript (memoir) clocks in at 7.3, but it's also unedited and I simplify a LOT when I edit (killing adverbs and adjectives, turning comma splices into two sentences, etc.) and it will drop to that range when I'm done with it as well.

Now for the cavaets: I've never written a word of YA. Also, I'm now raising my fifth voracious reader, a third grader, and see a HUGE need for MG books that match bright kids' reading levels WITHOUT getting into subject matter that bores, scares, or otherwise turns them or their parents off. E.g., Harry Potters 1-4 or so. But even then, the scores on those books are way lower.

This isn't about dumbing down, so please don't misunderstand me on that score. I could also be way off base, because if you'd just posted this query without asking us to specifically examine it for problems, I doubt this would have even occurred to me.


Logged

I put the nati in Illuminati
michaeljmcdonagh.wordpress.com
gckatz
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 276
Offline Offline

Posts: 1587



WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2017, 12:20:16 AM »

I wouldn't worry about reading levels. YA queries aren't written for teenagers--they're written for agents. (If the book was written at an eleventh grade level, then that might give you pause.)
Logged

mgmystery
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 198
Offline Offline

Posts: 909


« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2017, 07:16:28 AM »

I'd read this. Yes, I'd keep querying (maybe wait until after the first) and see what happens.
Logged
Pineapplejuice
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 79
Offline Offline

Posts: 390



« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2018, 08:02:42 AM »

For me I loved the first and third paragraphs , your book sounds really cool, and exactly up my alley. The only bit that fell flat i instead of interesting was the middle paragraph.


'The more time Sarah spends in Morpheus’s surreal research institution, the more disturbed her sleep becomes, and the more Morpheus is interested in her. She has something they want. She doesn’t know what it is, just that they’ve burrowed deep inside her brain to find it, and she wants them out.'

Now don't take me the wrong way, I'm trying to be funny, but because 'disturbed sleep' happens every time I get indigestion, it doesn't feel like anything interesting happening. - I want you to explain briefly what happens when she goes to sleep. - If she's seeing dark visions of an apocalypse and THAT is disturbing her sleep, while Morpheus's is amplifying her abilities, and he fishes her for information on the instigators of an atom bomb, that would make her sleep 'disturbing'.


Since she doesn't know what is happening though, maybe it's better to take a different approach to the whole paragraph. Like all I'm understanding is when she sleeps ( and she is unaware of what they want ) Morpheus is growing more interested in her. But as a reader I feel like I'm missing out of the big interesting thing.  And I know she gets trapped in this situation but I kind of want to know her plans for escape. Because it feels  a bit hopeless at the moment. And no reader wants to teel like there is no power to change things for the protagonist.

Also 'interested' doesn't feel quite right. LIke I need a little more, another word maybe. ( I can picture hiim greedily hovering over her as she lies on a table, thinking about how his own agenda can be aided by her ability, but if you can may say he's obsessed somehow it might make it more powerful )

With 'She has something they want.' I like the simple way of this sentence but if you don't tell what they want then it looks silly retrospectively. ANd I mean immediately, after reading that sentence , I'm like...what then? You aren't going to tell me? Or even throw me a bone. Because I'm interested at this point. I'm loving  a lot of things about this query as a reader ( and sci fi lover ) but you are holding the cookie jar out and then running away with it, being evasive. 

For me I'd change the third paragraph somehow. Sorry I don't know how exactly. And I know it's hard to give answers when you end up having to use more words and possibly explain more things , which there is more room to do. But I  hope you can figure it out. Because that sci fi cookie looks awesome, full of things I like, like institution, dreams, a sixth sense,  but I need a little more oomph.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 08:14:45 AM by Pineapplejuice » Logged
alislove
Full Member
***

Karma: 20
Offline Offline

Posts: 62



« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2018, 10:25:37 PM »

Keep querying because I want to read this! I agree with Pineapple Juice about the vague word choices in paragraph two but otherwise find the presentation and premise enticing. Post a chapter perhaps?  read read
Logged
clutzattack
Hero Member
*****

Karma: 136
Offline Offline

Posts: 681



WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2018, 01:44:59 PM »

I think this is a well written query overall. I feel the element that's missing are some of the specifics regarding what dream prophets do in the grand scheme of the world and what is the point of doing dream research. Also, what exactly is preventing her from escaping? Physically locked doors, or has she seen other test subjects go crazy and turn into a vegetative brain state? How is Morpheus corrupt, is there a bigger government conspiracy at work? What is the secondary conflict besides that she has scary nightmares? 

I would also ditto pineapplejuice's comment about giving more details regarding what happens when she goes to sleep.
Logged

mramberg
Jr. Member
**

Karma: 7
Offline Offline

Posts: 27


« Reply #10 on: January 28, 2018, 09:52:55 AM »

I like this query and the story you summarize. I'd suggest cutting the death of her cat. That's a big downer for an opening sentence, and it comes across as flip and a bit insensitive. Otherwise I like the idea a lot. Good luck.
Logged
Pages: [1]   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.2 | SMF © 2006-2007, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!