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Dream Walker Query
Elizabeth Sogard
Posted: Saturday, May 28, 2011 12:19 AM
Joined: 5/3/2011
Posts: 15

Dear (Agent or Publisher),

(: Personal factoid with a hint of admiration I am seeking representation for Dream Walker, a completed 70,000 word science fiction novel for young adult readers. 

For most, going to sleep is a chance to get away, but for Suri, that is when her day gets interesting. 

She isn't like other dreamers.  When she falls asleep she finds herself in a dimly lit hallway with nothing but a piece of chalk and endless doors to keep her company.  Behind each door is person she knows and should she decide to open one, she can see what adventures await her on the other side. 

One night, she enters the door belonging to Taylor, the quiet guy who sits in the back of the classroom during  second period.  He could be dreaming about anything, but he is dreaming about her being dragged out of her house by three men and thrown in the back of an unmarked van.   He then does something that no one has before; he turns to her and tells her to run.

When Taylor’s dream becomes a reality she is the seventh addition to the team of dreamers that can do much more than just sleep.  Held against their will, they must find a way to shut down the experiment  before the experiment goes too far and someone gets hurt . . . again.

Dream Walker  appeals to adult crossover readers as well as young adults, especially in the science fiction and fantasy genres. While it can be a standalone novel, I have already outlined the next book in the Dreamscape Series.

Thank you for your time and consideration.  A full manuscript is available upon request.  I look forward to your response.

Elizabeth Sogard

The formatting is goofy.  Bold parts should be italicized only.

Blakely Chorpenning
Posted: Sunday, May 29, 2011 3:50 PM
Joined: 4/26/2011
Posts: 26

I like the premise, but it is a little confusing. When you say she is the 7th addition to the dreamers and can do more, what is more? I'm getting a YA Inception vibe, but I don't fully understand. It would be nice to know what the experiment is, too, or at least, how it would effect the main character.

From my experience, agents do want the query to resemble the rundown on the back of the book, but they also want it to be a step more direct by not hiding or being coy about major/important events in the plot. It's best to lay it out there for them.

There are good points that catch my interest, but even as a reader it would be beneficial to add more detail to the experiment paragraph. Maybe after, "Held against their will, they must find a way to shut down the experiment before..." This is where you could add, "...(the bad guys) successfully steal their powers and alter the outcome of an explosive meeting before someone gets hurt...again." Obviously I made up the middle part, but I hope I conveyed what I was talking about. Ha. If you add a little more, even if it is only about the intention of the bad guys, it may help both reader and agent know more about the dreamers while maintaining a level of mystery (but in a good way).

I would change the first synopsis sentence from "...going to sleep is a chance to get away," to "...a chance to relax," or ,"...to rest." Because the original, "...chance to get away," is not so different from Suri's, "day gets interesting." And maybe tighten up, or combine, the following paragraph about the door. I like all the info there, but it could be delivered a little more organized.

I do love the sentence describing how she meets Taylor ("One night, she enters the door belonging to Taylor..."). It is cute and distinctive. Right away I smiled, able to connect with Suri and Taylor. I like that whole paragraph.

I don't really see a ton to work over, just tweaks here and there to make it really pop.
Posted: Monday, May 30, 2011 4:48 AM
Joined: 3/10/2011
Posts: 12

I really like your premise, but I'm going to agree with Blakely that the part about the seventh edition to the team of dreamers is a bit confusing. Visually, I really love the "The Shining"-esque images you've incorporated, but when I get to that paragraph, I have to reread it several times, and I'm not sure it's making sense. Does Suri wake up and become a team member, or is this while she's dreaming? I feel like I understand that Suri will be part of a team that will be considered precious by the antagonists, and held against her will because of her gift, but you might want to add a bit more information there so that it's a bit clearer. But I love this idea! I look forward to seeing this query reworked.

Good luck!
Jay Greenstein
Posted: Monday, May 30, 2011 8:40 PM
You can’t tell your story in 250 words, and trying to compress it that small can only muddle things.

You spend words getting your protagonist to the dream hallway, setting the scene, noting that she’s carrying a piece of chalk and that there are lots of doors. Butl that’s setting not plot. I don’t need to know that Taylor is in her second period classroom, or where he sits in the room,do I? Remember, at this point I don't know who she is, where she lives, or how old she is.

Hook me, don’t inform me. Think in terms of a back cover blurb. Better yet, think of it as a trailer for the film. State the situation, the problem, the need to resolve it, and why failure isn’t an option. Think concepts. Think emotion. Think situation. Think disaster. Think angst—not the character’s, the reader’s.

Elizabeth Sogard
Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2011 9:45 PM
Joined: 5/3/2011
Posts: 15

You all have great points. I am working on another query as we speak.
Jack Whitsel
Posted: Saturday, June 4, 2011 6:28 AM
Joined: 5/7/2011
Posts: 35

Hi Elizabeth. First...I'm sure the above comments were given with the best of intentions, but aside from Jay, they are wide of the mark. Without going into the full format of a query, I will just touch the heart of it. As a newly published author (first release next summer) I've obtained invaluable insight from both my publishing House and peers.

Ok...think of that "movie" voice you hear at the beginning of a preview. You know..."Deep within a world of violence...blah,blah, blah." That's how you do your query. Don't tell me about the character's motivation or the storyline. That's reserved for a full synopsis if the publisher/agent requests one. A query is a sales pitch. Think of a Movie producer trying to sell you.

"Between the waking world and sleep lies the realm of Dreams. For Suri and 6 others it's a nightmare...yahda, yahda. See where I'm going with this?

I hope this helps. I did enjoy your premise.


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