Monday, February 20, 2017

10. Da Capo al Fine: YA Literary Sci Fi

Title: Da Capo al Fine
Category and Genre: YA, literary science fiction
Word Count: 73,000


Query:
Celeste “Cece” Lauren is a young girl whose life is turned upside down when she is shot in the head and falls into a five-year-long coma.  When she wakes up, her brain is crippled, struggling along with the help of an artificial host, and her body is dying.  However, Celeste is kept in the dark about exactly how close to death she is; so, when her body fails a second time and she spirals suddenly into another coma, it takes her and her friends completely by surprise.


The doctors have a solution – take the memories saved on the artificial host, and use the host to transfer Celeste’s consciousness into a brand-new, lab-grown body.  However, when her friends excavate an old, long-buried secret, they realize the operation could mean death, and they hurry back to stop the procedure – too late.

The procedure works.  All is well.  Except…except Celeste looks nothing like the girl they knew – and some people are too stubborn to look beneath the surface.  When publicity attempts go wrong and the friends release their dirty secrets to the world, it’s up to them to figure out how to keep Celeste safe.


First 250 Words:
When I wake up, it’s to walls that are too shiny and too white, to a sterile-something that smells too artificial and too clean.  There’s a faint beeping somewhere to my right: my hearing feels dull, muffled, as if I’m wearing earmuffs, and my head is plagued with a throbbing ache that makes it hard to think.  I don’t recognize the place – all of the white and silver looks so different from my room back home – and the people here all talk in unfamiliar voices.  It hits me hard, the realization that I truly have no idea where I am, that I’ve never met these people before, that for all I know, I’m on Mars (although, admittedly, that does seem a little unlikely).  At some point, I hear someone say excitedly, “She’s awake!” and white-robed doctors come crowding into the room.  It’s a med center.  It has to be.


“Call her parents, please.  Christine, if you’d just -”


I don’t understand.  I don’t understand why they’re calling my parents – why aren’t my parents here already? – or why I’m here in the first place, why they’re making such a fuss about the fact that I’m awake.  What, do they think it’s weird for people to wake up?  I had been given the impression that sleeping was a natural process for humans, and that so was waking up, too.  But then again, I guess I could be wrong.

8 comments:

  1. Whenever I give feedback, I’m not telling you what to do with your story or query. I’m only offering suggestions for how I would change it if it were mine. In the end, no one knows their story as well as the writer, and as such, it is up to the writer how to take any suggestions. Good luck, and it was a privilege having all of you on my blog!

    Query:

    From your query, I get the feeling that your story is going to be more of an exploration in what is human and the meaning of life in the vein of Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep. If that’s not the case, then consider focusing the conflict elsewhere in the query.
    The wording and nitty gritty construction of your query is very good. I would like to see more details and specifics. What’s this host? Is it a computer? I wanted to know what it is that she looks like that’s so different people have trouble getting past it. Was the new host body supposed to be grown from her DNA and when they grew it she looked nothing like she was supposed to? Because these have been left a little vague, I’m unsure what sort of story I’m getting into, and I can see why people might be hesitant. I think, for me, this would be easily cleared up with some specifics so we can understand what’s at stake and why.
    Again, I cannot stress how well you’ve crafted your words here, I think you just need some specifics that will help highlight the conflict.

    First 250:

    I’m intrigued by your stream of conscious thoughts in our protagonist. It adds to the feeling that we are the ones waking up in a hospital room. I would like a little bit more structure. Maybe breaking some of the rambling on sentences into short more declarative, but I can see that your current style is very much a stylistic thing designed to give us a feel for the character waking up. As we move on to the last paragraph, I am concerned that there is a feel that she is not entirely human. I got that feeling because she refers to humans twice, and the repetition makes me think it isn’t just chance. If that’s the case, nice hint, if not, maybe change one of them from humans to people.
    In general, starting with a character waking up is a little hard to sell because there’s a lot of that on the market. That being said, I think it works in this case because waking up from the coma is such a central part of your story. Still, some people will disregard based on the fact that it starts with someone waking up. Great work, and thank you for sharing your work with us!

    ReplyDelete
  2. These comments posted on behalf of Elsie:

    Query is off to a good start, I think it needs to be tightened and the end needs clarity and an amped up ending. Reveal a bit more to suggest direction of doom J Love what you have and the concept. Great start!
    Query:
    After being shot in the head, (XXX age)Celeste “Cece” Lauren falls into a five-year-long coma. When she wakes up, her brain is crippled, struggling along with the help of an artificial host, and her body is dying. Celeste doesn’t know exactly how close to death she is. Her body’s second failure sends her spiraling into another coma, takeing her and her friends by surprise.

    The doctors solution? Take the memories saved on the artificial host, and transfer Celeste’s consciousness into a brand-new, lab-grown body. However, when her friends excavate an long-buried secret suggesting the operation could mean death, and they hurry back to stop the procedure – too late.

    The procedure works. Except…except Celeste looks nothing like the girl they knew – and some people are too stubborn to look beneath the surface. (Love this – on many levels) When publicity attempts go awry and the friends release their (their or the – suggesting the one long-buried one?)dirty secrets to the world, it’s up to them to figure out how to keep Celeste safe. (So, if they release the secret, aren’t they putting her in harm’s way? I’m not sure why they would do that? Add a bit of clarity and the end needs bigger bang. Will Cece become a monster? Or what’s a hint about the secret? Need drama J

    First 250
    I like the opening and your writing J ( but I found myself wanting the sluggish nature to wear off. Like when you say the realization hit her hard. Then it hits me hard. (If this hits her hard, would a touch of panic surface?) I truly have no idea where I am. , I’ve never met these people before, for all I know, I’m on Mars (although, admittedly, that does seem a little unlikely J). Or here: I don’t understand. Wait, what? Why are calling my parents? But with that being said, it still works. Your query concept has me totally wondering what will happen with the story and I would have continued reading J

    All thoughts/opinions/suggestions are humbly offered. Thanks for sharing your words.

    ReplyDelete
  3. All my comments are just my opinion, please take what works for you and forget the rest.
    Query:
    Celeste “Cece” Lauren is a young girl whose life is turned upside down when she is shot in the head and falls into a five-year-long coma.(Nice!) When she wakes up, her brain is crippled, struggling along with the help of an artificial host,(I don't know what this means? A computer keeping her alive?) and her body is dying. However, Celeste is kept in the dark about exactly how close to death she is; so, when her body fails a second time and she spirals suddenly into another coma, it takes her and her friends completely by surprise. (With a crippled brain...how is she functioning, how is she talking to her friends?)

    The doctors have a solution – take the memories saved on the artificial host (On a computer?), and use the host to transfer Celeste’s consciousness into a brand-new, lab-grown body. However, when her friends excavate an old, long-buried secret, they realize the operation could mean death, and they hurry back to stop the procedure – too late.

    The procedure works. All is well. Except…except Celeste looks nothing like the girl they knew – and some people are too stubborn to look beneath the surface. When publicity attempts go wrong and the friends release their dirty secrets to the world (what secrets?), it’s up to them to figure out how to keep Celeste safe. (safe from what? This is a very cool idea! I just want a bit of clarification. What is the host? If the problem isn't to stop the procedure? What is the problem? To keep her safe...from what? What are these secrets? And what does she look like? How did the creation of her new body go wrong? But I am intrigued!)

    First 250 Words:
    When I wake up, it’s to walls that are too shiny and too white, to a sterile-something that smells too artificial and too clean. There’s a faint beeping somewhere to my right: my hearing feels dull, muffled, as if I’m wearing earmuffs, and my head is plagued with a throbbing ache that makes it hard to think. I don’t recognize the place – all of the white and silver looks so different from my room back home – and the people here all talk in unfamiliar voices. It hits me hard, the realization that I truly have no idea where I am, that I’ve never met these people before, that for all I know, I’m on Mars (although, admittedly, that does seem a little unlikely). At some point, I hear someone say excitedly, “She’s awake!” and white-robed doctors come crowding into the room. It’s a med center. It has to be.

    “Call her parents, please. Christine, if you’d just -”

    I don’t understand. I don’t understand why they’re calling my parents – why aren’t my parents here already? – or why I’m here in the first place, why they’re making such a fuss about the fact that I’m awake. What, do they think it’s weird for people to wake up? I had been given the impression that sleeping was a natural process for humans, and that so was waking up, too. But then again, I guess I could be wrong.

    I like this a lot! I love your words. What about her self? Can she feel her legs and arms, can she feel her heart beat? I like the internal thoughts. She's confused but what panic? Fear? Worry? I am extremely interested to see how this story goes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thank you so much for the lovely comments, Rena, Elsie, and Kathy! They helped immensely! I tweaked the query some - here is the updated version:

    Celeste “Cece” Lauren is a seventeen-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down when she is shot in the head and falls into a five-year-long coma; in a last-ditch effort to save her, her parents subject her to the whims of a cutting-edge research program half a country away. When she wakes up, her brain is crippled, struggling along with the help of an artificial host – a minuscule computer implanted in her brain – and her body is dying. However, Celeste is kept in the dark about exactly how close to death she is; so, when – as part of the experiment – the doctors remove the spindly without warning, causing her body to fail a second time and sending her spiraling suddenly into another coma, it takes her and her friends completely by surprise.

    The doctors have an emergency solution – take the memories saved on the artificial host, and use the host to transfer Celeste’s consciousness into a body – which was grown years ago in a lab, and looks nothing like her. However, when her friends excavate an old, long-buried secret – the body was grown illegally, along with many other failed experiments, some of which still live in crippled misery – they realize the operation could mean death, and they hurry back to stop the procedure… too late.

    To all of their surprise, the procedure works. All is well. Except…except Celeste looks nothing like the girl they knew – and some people are too stubborn to look beneath the surface. When publicity attempts go wrong and the friends release the dirty secrets to the world to try and save the cripples and expose the illegal laboratory and criminal doctors, it’s up to them to figure out how to keep Celeste safe.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ah! I didn't know you had an update! And that makes much more sense! I love knowing about the body being grown illegally, a great detail that helps it stand out. My one thing...what happens if they can't keep her safe? Just a bit of stakes.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey there,

    Here are my comments. : )


    "Celeste “Cece” Lauren is a seventeen-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down when she is shot in the head and falls into a five-year-long coma; in a last-ditch effort to save her, her parents subject her to the whims of a cutting-edge research program half a country away. (This first sentence is way too long. I DO like the part about her parents last-ditch efforts) When she wakes up, her brain is crippled, struggling along with the help of an artificial host – a minuscule computer implanted in her brain – and her body is dying. ("Host" implies to me that her brain/consciousness are in a different body, not that she has something implanted.) However, Celeste is kept in the dark about exactly how close to death she is; so, when – as part of the experiment – the doctors remove the spindly without warning, causing her body to fail a second time and sending her spiraling suddenly into another coma, it takes her and her friends completely by surprise." (What are her friends doing here? Where are her parents?)



    The doctors have an emergency solution – take the memories saved on the artificial host, and use the host to transfer Celeste’s consciousness into a body – which was grown years ago in a lab, and looks nothing like her. (Shouldn't this "body" have a name or a type? Like, "transfer her to a Labbody" or whatever) However, when her friends excavate an old, long-buried secret – the body was grown illegally, along with many other failed experiments, some of which still live in crippled (you already used this word above) misery – they realize the operation could mean death, and they hurry back to stop the procedure… too late.

    To all of their surprise, the procedure works. All is well. Except…except Celeste looks nothing like the girl they knew – and some people are too stubborn to look beneath the surface. When publicity attempts go wrong and the friends release the dirty secrets to the world to try and save the cripples and expose the illegal laboratory and criminal doctors, it’s up to them to figure out how to keep Celeste safe.

    (I like the premise a lot, and I'd read this. I think the query is way too wordy and it lacks the urgency I think it's meant to suggest.)

    First 250:
    The only comment I have is that she's thinking VERY clearly for someone with brain trauma who just woke up.

    Good luck!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thank you for the comments, Sarah and Kathy! Updated query...

    Celeste “Cece” Lauren is a seventeen-year-old girl whose life is turned upside down when she is shot in the head and falls into a five-year-long coma. In a last-ditch effort to save her, her parents subject her to the whims of a cutting-edge research program half a country away. When she wakes up, her brain is crippled, struggling along with the help of an artificial host – a minuscule computer implanted in her brain – and her body is dying. However, Celeste is kept in the dark about exactly how close to death she is; so, when – as part of the experiment – the doctors remove the spindly without warning, causing her body to fail a second time and sending her spiraling suddenly into another coma, it takes her and her new friends completely by surprise.

    The doctors have an emergency solution – take the memories saved on the artificial host, and use the host to transfer Celeste’s consciousness into a body – which was grown years ago in a lab, and looks nothing like her. However, when her friends excavate an old, long-buried secret – the body was grown illegally, along with many other failed experiments, some of which still live in crippled misery – they realize the operation could mean death, and they hurry back to stop the procedure… too late.

    To all of their surprise, the procedure works. All is well. Except…except Celeste looks nothing like the girl they knew – and some people are too stubborn to look beneath the surface. When publicity attempts go wrong and the friends release the dirty secrets to the world to try and save the cripples and expose the illegal laboratory and criminal doctors, it’s up to them to figure out how to keep Celeste safe. And if they don’t? It could mean death for Celeste – and for every single one of the cripples.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *Sara...trust me to manage to spell an easy name wrong *facepalms* sorry about that!!

      Delete

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