Jun 21, 2010

Query- Cardinal in a Cage of Bone

Amongst the last to pursue a "vanity degree" before the current recession, Laura Locksley matriculates into the zany Modern Arts University, where hedonism and instability splatter the students like paint on a Jackson Pollock canvas. She explores music, intoxication, sex, inspiration, and artifice; young and confused in a time when The Happiest Place on Earth has 360ยบ cameras, New York businessmen commit suicide at the office, and surgically-enhanced faces drink from the Fountain of Youth.

Despite her sunglasses, ipod, vodka-filled flask, elaborate make up and clothing (buffers against humanity), Laura becomes infatuated with disaffected boys, endures family conflict, and meets an array of undergrads in grungy basement parties and on the cobblestone streets of Philadelphia. Cardinal in a Cage of Bone captures the magic of the internal life of an artist, overstimulation and subsequent boredom, the inability to handle angst-kissed passions without the aid of a glowing touchscreen. As reality looms and the ghosts of lost companions linger like smoke from their now-extinguished cigarettes, the kids accept their diplomas and think, With so much progress, why do we feel like failures?

I am a 2008 graduate of _______ in Philadelphia with a BA in Music Composition. While studying creative writing, I completed two short story collections and tutored for the writing department.

Cardinal in a Cage of Bone is a completed, 81,000 word novel in the literary fiction genre. Please let me know if you would be interested in reading sample chapters. Thank you for your time and consideration.

All the best,

____________________

13 comments:

wendy said...

I just want to say well done! I think this excellent. There's not so much of what happened and conflict - and thank God for that! I like this more original approach you've taken of creating a vignette, a moment, and exploring it to the fullest meaning. I think this sounds a really original, if not slightly cynical, take on society. If the query is anything to go by, the story should be an excellent and provocative read.

Aimless Writer said...

Sorry, but this feels like mostly back story. What's Laura's goal, motivation, conflict? You say the she endures family conflict but you don't tell me what it is. I think I could like this character if I had more exact details of whats going on and not all the generalities.

Anonymous said...

I have to disagree with Wendy. This seems really overwritten to me. One's attention is drawn to the writer's word-choice and distracting imagery instead of to the story. I couldn't quite figure out what the story was about.

Nora said...

Okay, sorry for jumping into the comments section of my own query so early (hehe!), but my novel is sort of about nothing. There is no central plot. This is my dilemma :( . The chapters connect, but I feel it is almost like a series of vignettes with commentaries on how my character views society - that's why I wrote it this way. I see your points, but what do you do when your story has no point?! lol!!!!! The way I wrote this query was semi-inspired by the backcovers of "Less than Zero" "Fight Club" "Prozac Nation" and the like.

Jolene said...

You have a unique and witty voice. And really, there was no point to Seinfeld (but we still love it). I would simply make sure your query showcases your writing style, which I think it does. It may be a hard sell but I'd totally read it based on your query.

Dan Ritchie said...

You've lost me on the last sentence of the first paragraph. I don't know what's going on after re-reading it twice.
Reminded me a little of Cal_Arts.

wendy said...

I should add that the approach you've taken here of not having emphasis on plot and conflict wouldn't work for every story type, but for me it works with this type of story. this is a character driven story as opposed to plot driven, and I would be really entertained living in the minds of at least one of these characters and experiencing whatever they're thinking and feeling. And I believe this is literary fiction which does have more emphasis on character than plot. I really like where you're going with this and as long as you produce a story that is meaningful, coherent and entertaining, for me it doesn't matter how you do it. And if you can provide something better than what has been done so often before, that is the emphasis on conflict to excite the reader's interest, than hooray!

Anonymous said...

Nora, you ask what to do when your story has no point. It's an excellent question.

My own inclination, as the author of several novels published by a major publisher and about twice as many novels published by absolutely no one, would be to put it aside and write another story.

There's no limit to how much you can write or how many ideas you can have.

Nora said...

I appreciate the criticism from people who didn't understand or were distracted by parts of my query. The first sentence of the second paragraph alone - four ideas crammed into one little sentence! It WAS over-written. Thanks!

In response to anonymous.....I guess I could just throw away my whole novel. Growing up through 9/11, Katrina, the recession, the paparazzi explosion, text messaging, prop 8, the celebrity deaths of MJ, Anna Nicole, Heath Ledger..... that would not be a good read. I'm going to write "The Goblin Manifesto" instead.

Dan Ritchie said...

I think King Soloman wrote a story about nothing, Ecclesiastes, and it worked out ok for him.

Anonymous said...

Well, you asked, I answered. I've put aside many unpublished novels. God forbid you should do the same.

Right, 9/11 *was* boring; good point. But nobody said you had to write about your growing up years.

Hopefully some folks in your generation will be able to write about something beyond themselves, or the world is in for an extremely dull literary epoch.

Nora said...

if nobody in my generation writes about how they feel then we have a problem. i'm not going to trash my book just because i'm learning how to write an effective query (the point of this blog, right?). the book itself is on its sixth rewrite because i don't believe everything i regurgitate is gold. there is room for improvement.

Rick Daley said...

Let's keep it to constructive criticism, please.