Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

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LBender
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Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by LBender » July 3rd, 2010, 11:10 am

This has been through several revisions. I'd appreciate any help or comments to get to a final version. Thanks, in advance.

Dear Agent;

David Harvey has a college degree, but no prospects, no interests, and a dead end job as a cashier in a grocery store. Then he discovers an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear. Those answers lead him and his friend Susan on a hunt through Manhattan that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long since forgotten chamber. Within that chamber they find a young woman in what seems to be a perfect state of preservation. They only realize how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear.

Arin, daughter of Seraiya, is trapped. Far away from her home, forced to take refuge from an earthquake in her uncle’s cave, she can feel the rumble as half the mountain collapses to seal her in. Unable to dig herself out, forced to wait for a rescue that will come, if it comes at all, weeks or possibly months later, she has no choice but to place her hopes for survival in other’s hands. Meanwhile, she must use the ke-nok, the long sleep, so that she is still alive those weeks or months later when that rescue might occur.

But she has made a slight miscalculation. That rescue will not occur weeks or months later. It will be millennia, and everyone and everything she knows will be long since dust. She will be lost and alone, and must depend upon a young man of no interests and his friend to help her adjust to living in a world that she doesn’t understand, and where they speak no language that she has ever heard before.

When Sleeping Girls Wake’, a young adult novel of 98,000 words, is one part coming-of-age and one part romance, set in the realm of science fiction and against the backdrop of one of the major untold tales of the origins of the modern computer age.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

I have enclosed (whatever you requested in your instructions).

I can be reached at …

Sincerely,

Ellie G
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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by Ellie G » July 3rd, 2010, 11:49 am

So, David and Susan find Arin. And ... then what?

This is all setup. Well-written setup, but still setup. What are the conflicts? What are the stakes? What will we be rooting for David and Arin to do by the end of the novel? Write that first ("David must X if he's going to Y, and Arin must Z if she's going to Q") and then put in enough info before that to make the core conflict make sense.

"set in the realm of science fiction" -- science fiction isn't a realm. It's a genre. We already know your book has sci-fi/fantasy elements because of the "long sleep." If there's more plot-central SF content in your world than that, you have to tell us specifically.

"against the backdrop of one of the major untold tales of the origins of the modern computer age" - this is so vague as to be actively confusing.

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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by fivecats » July 3rd, 2010, 1:22 pm

LBender wrote:This has been through several revisions. I'd appreciate any help or comments to get to a final version. Thanks, in advance.

Dear Agent;

David Harvey has a college degree, but no prospects, no interests, and a dead end job as a cashier in a grocery store. Then he discovers an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear. Those answers lead him and his friend Susan on a hunt through Manhattan that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long since forgotten chamber. Within that chamber they find a young woman in what seems to be a perfect state of preservation. They only realize how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear.

Arin, daughter of Seraiya, is trapped. Far away from her home, forced to take refuge from an earthquake in her uncle’s cave, she can feel the rumble as half the mountain collapses to seal her in. Unable to dig herself out, forced to wait for a rescue that will come, if it comes at all, weeks or possibly months later, she has no choice but to place her hopes for survival in other’s hands. Meanwhile, she must use the ke-nok, the long sleep, so that she is still alive those weeks or months later when that rescue might occur.

But she has made a slight miscalculation. That rescue will not occur weeks or months later. It will be millennia, and everyone and everything she knows will be long since dust. She will be lost and alone, and must depend upon a young man of no interests and his friend to help her adjust to living in a world that she doesn’t understand, and where they speak no language that she has ever heard before.
You have completely confused me. Who is the Main Character of your story? David or Arin? Your first paragraph sets us up to follow David's story. Your next two paragraphs don't bother mentioning David at all. If your story is about Arin, your query should be about Arin. If David is a supporting character it's fine to mention him, but the first paragraph is completely unnecessary.

Assuming your story is about Arin, you haven't told me anything about what her central conflict is in the story. Is it only about adjusting to life in NYC in 2010? If so, your first sentence should be something about Arin awakening after 1000 years of sleep.

What are her goals? What's getting in her way? What does she do to overcome the things trying to stop her?

Try condensing your story down to One Sentence. What is the core of your story about? Build the query from that.

When Sleeping Girls Wake’, a young adult novel of 98,000 words, is one part coming-of-age and one part romance, set in the realm of science fiction and against the backdrop of one of the major untold tales of the origins of the modern computer age.
This paragraph makes me wonder if you really know what your book is about. Coming of Age or Romance or Science Fiction? Which is it?

The end of your sentence that starts with "... and against the backdrop..." comes out of nowhere. There's nothing in this query that suggest anything about computers or the modern age.


I strongly encourage you to come up with a one-sentence description of your book. Then (and only then) increase your description to two sentences. Then to three. That way you'll slice it down to the essential concept and slowly add on supporting details instead of only seeing supporting details.
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wilderness
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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by wilderness » July 3rd, 2010, 2:18 pm

Hi,

I think you have an interesting premise here. If you have a multiple POV book, it is sometimes hard to query it. I think it would be less confusing if you followed one person's POV. Probably Arin, if there is equal time in the book or David if he is the MC.

If you go with Arin's POV, start with the second paragraph, then go into how David Harvey found her. But keep the info about David from Arin's point of view. Also, you can leave out Susan. She doesn't seem essential to the plot. Instead, I would describe Arin's main conflict and goals. Yep, she doesn't know the language. Presumably she needs to find her place in the new world. Maybe describe how she goes about doing that. Also, I'd like to know a little about her original time and how it compares. What is the deepest difference that she struggles with? Besides from the obvious that she doesn't know anyone.
LBender wrote:When Sleeping Girls Wake’, a young adult novel of 98,000 words, is one part coming-of-age and one part romance, set in the realm of science fiction and against the backdrop of one of the major untold tales of the origins of the modern computer age.
Agents want a simple genre description. I would go with YA fantasy. Since you don't mention anything about computers in your pitch portion, it is confusing to mention them here.

I hope that helps. I like the idea of a Sleeping Beauty. Good luck!

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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by dios4vida » July 3rd, 2010, 3:09 pm

I agree with what everyone else is saying. I really want to know more about how Arin will struggle with the modern age, and how she'll rely on/learn from David to cope with the change. You said in the end that it has an element of romance but we see absolutely nothing about that in the query itself. That would be a great thing to work in.

I like how you set-up Arin's burial, but that isn't what we really need to see. We need to be shown what happens from the point where she wakes, finding a stranger she can't understand in a completely alien world. Put a paragraph or two about that after your intro and I think your query will be much stronger. It sounds like you have a great story here, show it off!
Brenda :)

Inspiration isn't about the muse. Inspiration is working until something clicks. ~Brandon Sanderson

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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by Krista G. » July 3rd, 2010, 5:55 pm

All right, I'm going to go line by line with this, since no one's really done that yet.
LBender wrote:Dear Agent;

David Harvey has a college degree, but no prospects, no interests, and a dead end job as a cashier in a grocery store. I'm not sure if the "but no prospects, no interests" line refers to his career or his love life. Also, I'm not sure this is the most exciting way to open. Then he discovers an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear. Those answers lead him and his friend Susan on a hunt through Manhattan that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long since forgotten chamber. In the interest of word economy, you could lose "since" here without losing any meaning. Within that chamber they find a young woman in what seems to be a perfect state of preservation. They only realize how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear.

Arin, daughter of Seraiya, is trapped. Far away from her home, forced to take refuge from an earthquake in her uncle’s cave, she can feel the rumble as half the mountain collapses to seal her in. There's something about this sentence that reads a little awkwardly for me, but I'm not sure what it is. Maybe it's because the introductory clauses force you to make "she" the subject, and that leads to awkward phrasing in the second half of the sentence. Unable to dig herself out, forced to wait for a rescue that will come, if it comes at all, weeks or possibly months later (You could probably do without the entire second clause, the "forced to wait...weeks or possibly months later" - if she can't dig herself out, then yeah, she has to wait), she has no choice but to place her hopes for survival in other’s hands. Pretty sure this should be "others'," with the apostrophe on the other side of the "s," since she's probably not placing her hopes for survival in just one other person's hands. Meanwhile, she must use the ke-nok, the long sleep, so that she is still alive those weeks or months later when that rescue might occur.

But she has made a slight miscalculation. That rescue will not occur weeks or months later. It will be millennia, and everyone and everything she knows will be long since dust. I think you could easily cut "long since" here, especially since you just used that phrase a few paragraphs ago. She will be lost and alone, and must depend upon a young man of no interests and his friend to help her adjust to living in a world that she doesn’t understand, and where they speak no language that she has ever heard before.

When Sleeping Girls Wake’, a young adult novel of 98,000 words, is one part coming-of-age and one part romance, set in the realm of science fiction and against the backdrop of one of the major untold tales of the origins of the modern computer age. The convention is to put the title in all caps, no quote marks or italicization, since e-mail can mess up the formatting.

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

I have enclosed (whatever you requested in your instructions).

I can be reached at … I don't think you need either of these last two paragraphs. Just stick your contact information in a block under your signature. And I used to be a stickler for specifying what other items I included with the query letter, but the agent knows what he or she want to see - and will be able to see it down there - so you might as well save yourself a paragraph. But if you do decide to keep these paragraphs, I'd at least relocate "Thank you for your time and consideration" so that it's the last thing you say.

Sincerely,
On the whole, this sounds interesting, but I agree with the others who said you'd probably be better served to stick with one main character throughout the whole query. From what you've given us here, I'd say that main character is Arin, but you would know best.

As for the summary itself, you might try thinking about the beginning of your story in two parts: the initial conflict and the turning point. The initial conflict is the problem that confronts the main character in chapter one, the problem that pushes us past those first few pages, and that would be a good place for your query to start. Then use the rest of the pitch to take us up to the turning point in your the manuscript, the problem that compounds the initial conflict (or twists it). This is usually the problem the climax will resolve, so it's a good place to stop the pitch. It gives the agent a sense of where the book is going without giving too much away.

Hope that helps, LBender. Good luck!
Author of THE REGENERATED MAN (G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers, Winter 2015)
Represented by Kate Schafer Testerman of kt literary
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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by Quill » July 4th, 2010, 12:50 am

LBender wrote:
David Harvey has a college degree, but no prospects, no interests, and a dead end job as a cashier in a grocery store.
No need to know he has a degree. Dead end job doesn't need the reinforcement.

Hard to believe anyone has absolutely no interests.

Then he discovers an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear. Those answers lead him and his friend Susan on a hunt through Manhattan
This is good, but I suggest eliminating "and his friend Susan" as not only not needed, but vibrationally interfering with the romance line you will be introducing (which I assume is between him and Arin; you don't say).

that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long since forgotten chamber. Within that chamber
How about "in the bedrock" to eliminate one of the "within"s (and be more accurate, too, I think).
they find a young woman in what seems to be a perfect state of preservation.
More accurately it would be a state of perfect preservation. It is the preservation which seems perfect, not the state.
They only realize how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear.
How about just saying "Then she awakens" to omit the second use of "perfect" in as many sentences.

Also, awkward to say, in effect, " a little dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse". A little but little.
Arin, daughter of Seraiya, is trapped.
Omit "daughter of Seraiya" as unneeded info and character to know in this query. Streamline so only the most important info is included.
Far away from her home,
Omit "away" as being redundant to "far from".
forced to take refuge from an earthquake in her uncle’s cave,
Her uncle's cave? What was it, his weekend getaway? A bit odd, a cave in the bedrock under Manhattan. Lacks context, raised my eyebrows, but I guess okay. Also, "forced to take refuge" is a bit awkward. Forced? I think you can write this more gracefully.
she can feel the rumble as half the mountain collapses to seal her in.
A mountain, on Manhattan island? When did this happen. I'm afraid we're going to need some context. A very intriguing concept you've got here, but you need to keep the reader with you. You already switched point of view, so you need to work extra hard now to make things clear.
Unable to dig herself out, forced to wait for a rescue that will come, if it comes at all, weeks or possibly months later, she has no choice but to place her hopes for survival in other’s hands.
1. Very long sentence, will benefit from shortening or cutting into two.

2. "forced to wait" is awkward, using "forced" again, and it's not really accurate. More accurate is what you say later in the sentence "she has no choice but to place her hopes".

3. So in other words, you say the same thing twice in the sentence, the sentence is circular. This makes me think you can condense this into half the words.

4. "other's hands" should be "others' hands".

Meanwhile, she must use the ke-nok, the long sleep, so that she is still alive those weeks or months later when that rescue might occur.
Good about the sleep, but then you repeat again the same info, including the exact words "weeks or months" and "rescue". Please do not do this.
But she has made a slight miscalculation. That rescue will not occur weeks or months later.
1. Omit "slight" as not adding any value.

2. Here you say for the fourth time the same basic info, including repeating again the words "rescue" and "weeks or months".

It will be millennia, and everyone and everything she knows will be long since dust.
Omit either "everyone" or "everything" as they basically mean the same here and do not help each other.

"long since dust" is an awkward phrase. Since what or when? Consider omitting "since."

She will be lost and alone, and must depend upon a young man of no interests and his friend to help her adjust to living in a world that she doesn’t understand, and where they speak no language that she has ever heard before.
1. Awkward turn of idea here: she has a prophecy about this modern day nebbish who will find her? That's what it sounds like. She has a vision of him, knows who it will be in the future?

2. Suggest omitting "and his friend" as this friend really doesn't need to be in the query, and will complicate the intro of the romance idea (which, I'm guessing is between Prince Nebbish and Sleeping Cutie.)
When Sleeping Girls Wake’,
WHEN SLEEPING GIRLS WAKE (all caps, no quotes).

Sleeping Girls?
a young adult novel of 98,000 words, is one part coming-of-age and one part romance,
What romance? Where have you even hinted at romance. After the word count is not the place to bring this up.

set in the realm of science fiction
Realm seems a strange way to get to science fiction.

and against the backdrop of one of the major untold tales of the origins of the modern computer age.
Well I guess it will remain untold in this query. Again, not the place to bring up something like this. Either leave it out or explain more earlier.

Anyway, I think it is rarely a good idea to chat about the story after the word count. Better to show earlier than tell after.

Good luck with the query writing. Sounds like an interesting book.

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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by OneChoice1 » July 4th, 2010, 12:28 pm

LBender wrote:This has been through several revisions. I'd appreciate any help or comments to get to a final version. Thanks, in advance.

Dear Agent;

David Harvey has a college degree, but no prospects, no interests, and a dead end job as a cashier in a grocery store.


Your first sentence doesn't hold my attention. It sounds like you're trying to make me think David's life sucks, but how you have it isn't enough.
Here's an example: David Harvey's life consists of customers giving him a hard time in [Bob's Mart] and sitting in front of the TV with a Hungry-Man.
Or even: A typical day for David Harvery consists of waking up to an empty house, getting harassed by customers in [Bob's Mart], and falling asleep in front of the TV with a Hungry-Man.



Then he discovers an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear.


Interesting


Those answers lead him and his friend Susan on a hunt through Manhattan that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long since forgotten chamber.


Where did Susan come from? I'm wondering what her significance is. Is she, perhaps, the only one who believes what David says the coin can do or something? How/why did she agree to come with him on the hunt? If she's not a main character, I think it'll be fine to leave out her name.
It should be "a discovery," since you're introducing something.
Do you need the commas? Consider: ends with a discovery buried within the bedrock of [an abandoned/a forgotten/a deserted] chamber.



Within that chamber they find a young woman in what seems to be a perfect state of preservation.


With the previous sentence, you set it up well that this young woman is within the chamber (as she is the discovery).
So suggestion: A young woman lies on a ???, in what seems to be a state of perfect preservation.



They only realize how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear.


What made her wake up? David just being there, or something more exciting?
A rooough suggestion: David realizes how perfect when she awakens with dehydration as her only complaint.




---------

Arin, daughter of Seraiya, is trapped.


Oo, a multiple POV novel. Nice. Good first sentence, except what I underlined.
If Arin is a princess or something, say: Princess Arin is trapped.
If she doesn't have a title as "important" as that, then just say: Arin is trapped.



Far away from her home, forced to take refuge from an earthquake in her uncle’s cave, she can feel the rumble as half the mountain collapses to seal her in.


You don't need "away." Why is she far from her home?
This sentence reads really strange.
The only thing I can think of is: After an earthquake leaves her sealed up in a cave, she only has herself to rely on.



Unable to dig herself out, forced to wait for a rescue that will come, if it comes at all, weeks or possibly months later, she has no choice but to place her hopes for survival in other’s hands. Meanwhile, she must use the ke-nok, the long sleep, so that she is still alive those weeks or months later when that rescue might occur.


Not good to start with a clause again; repeat yourself; or allow your writing to become so relaxed.
Maybe something like this (without the cliches): Digging out doesn't work, nor does screaming for help. Arin wastes away, but never loses hope of someone finding her. Knowing what has to be done if she wishes to survive, she uses the power of ke-nok, the long sleep.



---------

But she has made a slight miscalculation. That rescue will not occur weeks or months later. It will be millennia, and everyone and everything she knows will be long since dust. She will be lost and alone, and must depend upon a young man of no interests and his friend to help her adjust to living in a world that she doesn’t understand, and where they speak no language that she has ever heard before.


The 1st pargraph is David's; the 2nd paragraph is Arin's; so the 3rd paragraph should be about both of them and not just in Arin's POV.
Here's a skeleton of a crazy example (really, just an example, not a suggestion): Arin wakes up and is delighted to see a rescuer, but becomes terrified when she acknowledges his strange clothing and language. Meanwhile, David can't believe what he's seeing, so he uses his coin to get the truth: Arin's been asleep for a millennium! If she wants to survive this ordeal, she'll have to trust David to help her adjust to living in an age with [insert maybe 3 examples of the modern age, things that really shock her and are funny].



---------

When Sleeping Girls Wake’, a young adult novel of 98,000 words, is one part coming-of-age and one part romance, set in the realm of science fiction and against the backdrop of one of the major untold tales of the origins of the modern computer age.


I don't understand why the title is in plural form. Maybe: WHEN A SLEEPING GIRL WAKES is a 98,000 word YA novel.


---------

Thank you very much for your time and consideration. I have enclosed (whatever you requested in your instructions).

I can be reached at … {Have your contact info at the top left of your query.}

Sincerely,

Hope I could help. If anything I've said confuses you just let me know. David will never be same after finding a coin that does the impossible and a woman that should be dead. Your story sounds interesting :D
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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by LBender » July 4th, 2010, 3:08 pm

It isn’t easy to stand by and watch as others criticize, i.e. rip apart, your lovingly crafted children…I mean…sentences. I must admit, however, that you have all made some valid points, and I appreciate the effort.
By the way, the title is a play on the old saw, ‘Let sleeping dogs lie’.
So, let’s try again.

Dear agent;

When David Harvey finds an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear, it leads him on a hunt through the city that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long forgotten chamber. Inside that chamber he finds a young woman in what appears to be a perfect state of preservation. He only realizes how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear.

Now David, used to drifting through life, must decide. Arin is alone, having been trapped into using the ke-nok, the long sleep, so long ago that Manhattan was not yet an island. He must either help her, shouldering a major new responsibility, or abandon her to the city. When he is roused the next morning by a pair of bright green eyes surrounded by a cloud of flowing black hair, the decision is obvious. It’s time to grow up.

WHEN SLEEPING GIRLS WAKE, one part coming-of-age and one part romance, is a young adult novel of 98,000 words.

I have enclosed (whatever you requested in your instructions).

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

(Name and contact information)

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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by midenianscholar » July 4th, 2010, 4:49 pm

I'm by no means an expert, but here are my thoughts. :)
LBender wrote:Dear agent;

When David Harvey finds an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds sounds or a voice? how does he understand it? that no one else can hear, it leads him on a hunt through the city that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long forgotten chamber. Inside that chamber he finds a young woman in what appears to be a perfect state of preservation. I might even cut everything and just say "with the discovery of a young woman." The woman's what we want to know about, not the chamber. He only realizes how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear. "Perfect" confused me and I had to read it twice to realize we were talking about the preservation. I'd also think about finding another way to say this, so you're not using a cliche ("worse for the wear"). Look at your manuscript to see how you described her waking up, and see if there's something more specific to her that you can say. Hope that makes sense...

Now David, used to drifting through life, must decide. Arin is alone, having been trapped into using the ke-nok, the long sleep, so long ago that Manhattan was not yet an island. The mention of Manhattan here feels sudden. Either say he's in Manhattan in the beginning, or drop Manhattan and find another way to show us how long she's been asleep/how old she is. He must either help her, shouldering a major new responsibility, or abandon her to the city. When he is roused the next morning by a pair of bright green eyes surrounded by a cloud of flowing black hair, the decision is obvious. It’s time to grow up.

WHEN SLEEPING GIRLS WAKE, one part coming-of-age and one part romance, is a young adult novel of 98,000 words.

I have enclosed (whatever you requested in your instructions).

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

(Name and contact information)
I'm... sort of confused now. The query should capture the main conflict of the story. This query's conflict is all about David finding a chick, and his major decision seems to be should he help her or leave her, which doesn't seem to be much of a decision at all once he sees that she's gorgeous. And then it's over. But the "one part coming-of-age and one part romance" implies that more than this goes on, so then I'm thinking the query is more like a summary of the first few chapters.

What's the big conflict in the story? Him finding and keeping her, or something else?

Also, love OneChoice1's line: "David will never be same after finding a coin that does the impossible and a woman that should be dead." You should steal it. :P

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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by wilderness » July 5th, 2010, 12:46 pm

LBender wrote:
Dear agent;

When David Harvey finds an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear, it leads him on a hunt through the city that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long forgotten chamber. Too many clauses in this sentence. I would break it up. Also "sounds with no one else can hear" is a little confusing -- how does he interpret these sounds? Inside that chamber he finds a young woman in what appears to be a perfect state of preservation. He only realizes how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated, but otherwise little the worse for wear.

Now David, used to drifting through life, must decide. Arin is alone, having been trapped into using the ke-nok, the long sleep, so long ago that Manhattan was not yet an island. The clause "having been trapped..." is awkward. I don't think you need to say that she is alone, so maybe simply "Arin has been trapped in the cave since she was put under the ke-nok..." He must either help her, shouldering a major new responsibility, or abandon her to the city. When he is roused the next morning by a pair of bright green eyes surrounded by a cloud of flowing black hair, the decision is obvious. It’s time to grow up. I have to agree with midenianscholar. Your conflict is not much of a conflict at all. What happens next? What is the main conflict in the novel? I think you need a third paragraph.

WHEN SLEEPING GIRLS WAKE, one part coming-of-age and one part romance, is a young adult novel of 98,000 words.

I have enclosed (whatever you requested in your instructions).

Thank you very much for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

(Name and contact information)

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Re: Query - 'When Sleeping Girls Wake'

Post by mfreivald » July 6th, 2010, 11:18 am

It isn’t easy to stand by and watch as others criticize, i.e. rip apart, your lovingly crafted children…I mean…sentences.
Dissection of a query isn't nearly as gut wrenching as critiques of your actual story.
When David Harvey finds an extraordinary coin that answers questions with sounds that no one else can hear, it leads him on a hunt through the city that ends with the discovery, buried within the bedrock, of a long forgotten chamber.

". . . that no one else can hear. . . ." may be important to your story, but there's no indication that it matters in the query. I'd drop it. That will also open up some space (preventing a longer sentence and awkwardness) to provide a more colorful description of the sound. "Through the city" also seems to have no relevance to the query, unless you're establishing setting. Rewritten, it might say: "David Harvey finds an extraordinary coin that coaxes him with chimes, whistles, and buzzes on a hunt through Manhatten to a long forgotten chamber in the bedrock."

Is the only function of the coin to find Arin? I ask because my first impression was that this coin would be an aspect of the main story, but I don't get any indication it does anything else after this. If it doesn't, you could maybe drop it (though it's interesting enough, on its own, I'm conflicted.) If it does come into the rest of the story, such as helping Arin find something that was lost to antiquity, forcing them to do some archeological digging, then I would try to frame the Arin story in it somehow.

Inside that chamber he finds a young woman in what appears to be a perfect state of preservation.<--I would make this less wishy-washy, and drop "appears to be"--<< He only realizes how perfect when she awakens, a bit dehydrated,<--seems unnecessary--<< but otherwise little the worse for wear.<--I'm no an anti-cliche-ite extremist, but this is too cliche here--<<

Now David, used to drifting through life, must decide.<--It's unclear to me what you are trying to do with this and the previous version. Is he aching for a change from the hum-drum, or is he lazy, or is he happy with his inertia because he feels safe and at peace with it? In the previous version it seemed like he needed the change, but here it seems he resists it.--<< Arin is alone, having been trapped into using the ke-nok, the long sleep, so long ago that Manhattan was not yet an island. He must either help her, shouldering a major new responsibility, or abandon her to the city. When he is roused the next morning by a pair of bright green eyes surrounded by a cloud of flowing black hair, the decision is obvious. It’s time to grow up.<--Here would be a good time to say something like the coin started howling for a new hunt or Arin excitedly interrogated the coin for something. (Or whatever works to remind us the coin does something else in the story, if it does.)--<<

Like other commenters, I'm still looking for the big obstacle or two they will have to overcome, and why they have to overcome them. The conflict of "grow up or don't" is pretty weak. If possible, you should create some rising tension toward the conflict through the query.

WHEN SLEEPING GIRLS WAKE, one part coming-of-age and one part romance,<--This is just my personal take, but I consider "coming of age" to be a sub-genre, or maybe a universal story genre that is independent of the literary genre. So I'd say something like: "WSGW is a romance showing the coming of age of …" or "WSGW is a coming-of-age romance…"--<< is a young adult novel of 98,000 words.
I hope that helps.

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