Saturday, February 28, 2015

Face-Lift 1251

Guess the Plot

The Door

1. It's 2020, and the last living member of a seminal 60's rock group wants to go out with a bang.

2. One by one the members of the 1960s rock band "The Doors" are murdered. Seventy-year-old guitarist Robby Krieger is the last man standing. It's kill or be killed.

3. Alternate history in which Jim Morrison, instead of starting a band, goes on American Idol hoping for a solo career, but finishes ninth.

4. Cindy Sanders' garden is her pride and joy. Black spot, snails, and weeds are dealt with with ruthless efficiency. But when an enormous red door appears in her rose-bed, she isn't quite sure how to handle it. Especially as the door leads to an inter-dimensional hothouse full of brain-sucking slugs and elephant-sized greenflies.

5. Subject 00EG417 awakes locked inside a sterile white room. With no food or water, and needing medical attention, she must get out. But will she be any better off on the other side of . . . the door?

6. A former Wiccan turned prep school admin Chloe 'Rainbow' Rowe discovers that Fate closes one door to open another when she is forced to return to abandoned practices to fight off demons that try to take over the Holy Lady Prep School

Original Version

Dear Evil Editor

It’s been ninety-seven days since subject 00EG417 awoke from [in] her pod. Thousands of feet underground, locked inside a sterile white room, [waiting for the sun,] she is safe from the sickness above. The doctors that made her and the other engineered humans watch over her. [That sentence could mean the doctors and the other engineered humans are watching over her. If it read: The doctors that made her watch over her and the other engineered humans, there'd be no ambiguity.][Anyone who spends ninety-seven days watching someone in a sterile white room would have to be nuts. But then . . . People are strange.] 

Then the power goes off and the doors open like gapping [gaping] mouths, ready to swallow her up. She steps out into a white hallway and finds the others. [The others being subjects 00BS624, 00BP666, 00UV435, 00FH451, BH90210, and 00U2INXS.] They wait for doctors that never come. There is no food or water and one of the boys is vomiting blood. The sickness is here and they will die within days without help.

She steps into a labyrinth of laboratories, larger than she ever imagined. [That suggests she knows she's in a labyrinth of laboratories, but imagined it was a smaller labyrinth. How does she know it's a labyrinth of laboratories at all if she's never actually been outside her room? If I woke up locked in a sterile white room I'd assume I was in a psych ward or a weird prison, not a small labyrinth of laboratories.] In every abandoned and destroyed room she finds more dead. The doctors have been executed and they could be next. To survive, subject 00EG417 will have to find the door to the above [, break on through,] and face a world she knows nothing about. [Why does subject 00EG417 have to  do this? Can't all the subjects work together?] 

THE DOOR is a 60,000 word YA Sci-fi.

Thank you for your time and consideration. [The End.]


This didn't really light my fire. I mean, I want a query to touch me.

Seems kind of inefficient to keep these engineered humans thousands of feet underground for 97 days, but to not have any food or water there. Why are there no faucets for drinking and bathing? And a storeroom filled with food? Or at least a snack bar? Are there bathrooms? Don't the doctors need a bathroom occasionally?

I'm not clear on what an engineered human is. Were they engineered to be immune to the sickness? Because it doesn't seem to have worked.

You've basically set up the situation subject 00EG417 finds herself in. We want to know what her plan is and why it fails and what she does about that. What you've told us could all take place in the first few pages. I want to know what happens in the first 40,000 words.

There are few places on Earth that are thousands of feet below the surface. Just digging that far is hard enough without putting a large labyrinth of sterile laboratories down there. Of course anything's possible in science fiction, just hoping the book has an explanation for why they need these labs so deep.

Obviously we can't tell if a book has "white room syndrome" until we read the text, but declaring in the query that your character wakes in a sterile white room will convince some readers that it does. If you could describe the pod and tell us what's in the room and leave out that it's a white room, it might get you past those readers who will say Aha! White room syndrome! Next query.


author said...

Thanks, Evil Editor for the great comments. The subjects live inside the rooms, scared of the sickness and the above. They only leave the rooms because the power goes out. I'll add more detail to make this clear. Thanks

Evil Editor said...

It's perfectly clear that they live inside the rooms and only leave when the power goes out; however, as you state that the MC is locked inside her room, we don't assume she's there by choice.

IMHO said...

This query did not make me want to read the book. I have no sense of the main character's personality, which is absolutely key in YA. Is 00EG417 terrified? Arrogant? A coward who learns to be brave? Why do I care about her, vs. the kid who's puking blood? Right now, this sounds like a pitch for a computer game, not a query for a YA novel.

khazarkhum said...

The setup sounds like The Maze Runner. There's so many distopian YA books now! I guess it's the natural fall out of all those highschool kids who were part weredingo marrying the vampiric faekin.

InkAndPixelClub said...

The whole woke up ninety-seven days ago in a sterile room beginning makes this sound like a different kind of story. the kind where a person wakes up in a strange place with no idea how she got there. But that doesn't seem to be what you're going for. 00EG417 waking up in her pod and how long it's been since that happened don't seem like relevant details as far as the query is concerned. Your story gets going when the power shuts off and the doors open, so you want to get to that as soon as possible.

I'm not getting any sense of what 00EG417 is going to be doing for the rest of the book beyond trying to find a door. Presumably the bulk of your book is not EG entering a room, checking out the dead bodies, checking for doors to the outside, and repeating with the next room. Does she face a threat beyond the sickness that she's going to cure or escape from by getting to the surface that was so contaminated by the sickness that she and the other test subjects had to be locked up thousands of feet below the surface?

Most of what you have can be condensed down, leaving room for you to flesh out EG and what kind of actions she ends up taking beyond looking for a door. What makes her the main character and the one who has to rescue the other test subjects?

author said...

Thanks for all the comments. The subject looks like a teenager, but she is only 97 days old. A doctors is trying to kill her and the others. They are a failed experiment and nothing is wrong with the outside world. I'll keep reworking this and post a new version. Thanks again.

AA said...

That last comment is more interesting than the entire query.

Basically, you're saying that they're a rapid-growth human experiment and the "sickness" is their cells disintegrating. That's good. You can do a lot with that idea.