#11 Query Corner: ‘Konadai’

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Morgan’s Query Corner:

Answering Your Query Quandaries

KONADAI is a YA fantasy. When 17-year-old Hiromi’s island city is ravaged by a virus mutating people into Konadai-vicious undead things w/tentacle tongues, she’s willing to search beyond the city walls for a cure.

NOTE: If you submit your query to me (morgan.s.hazelwood@gmail.com), and you are selected for inclusion, I will give you a high-level review, in-line feedback, and my own draft of your query. If this is your query, feel free to use or ignore as much of the advice and suggestions as you wish.

[Disclaimer: Any query selected for the page will be posted on this website for perpetuity. I am an amateur with no actual accepted queries and a good number of form rejections. This does not guarantee an agent or even an amazing query, just a new take by someone who’s read The Query Shark archives twice and enjoys playing with queries.]

pexels-photo.jpeg

Overall Impression:

Solid query! There’s a lot you do right:

  • Starts off by establishing everything in the first sentence
    • location
    • character name
    • age-of-main-character which establishes it is YA
    • the main problem
    • with the reason for the Main Character’s involvement
  • Focuses on stakes and motivation
  • Personal flare to the bio, without being overly long
  • Query length
Things to fix:
  • Imply what role magic has in this world
  • Try not to use the same pronoun for more than 1 person in the same sentence
  • Put lists in order of severity

Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear Agent,

When a deadly virus ravages her island city, seventeen-year-old intern Hiromi works to cure it. [You start off with location, character name, and age, establishing it as YA] The virus mutates people into Konadai—vicious undead creatures with tentacle tongues. [Could be combined with first sentence, maybe?] Although she is safe behind the city’s walls, Hiromi is running low on the infected samples she needs for research. Desperate to gather more, Hiromi reaches out to her childhood friend Kenji, a city guardsman skilled with fire magic.[The magic is literally never mentioned again. But does establish this world has magic?] When Hiromi joins him and his unit on a mission to investigate a horde of infected, one of Kenji’s friends is bitten—but he doesn’t show signs of infection. [That’s a LOT of he/hims] It’s the breakthrough Hiromi’s been searching for. 

Soon Hiromi learns that the growth [is this THE growth – i.e. related to the infection? or A growth – i.e. not caused from this exact infection] inside the friend’s heart is the key to his immunity. But the research team isn’t sure how to extract the growth and keep him alive.[You present the problem very cleanly] Fearing for his friend’s life, Kenji refuses to let Hiromi take his friend back to the lab. With their friendship shattered and the virus running rampant, Hiromi is forced to choose between betraying her life-long friend and sacrificing an innocent life [I like to order these in level of severity and the plot suggests her friendship is more important than patients? Or am I wrong.] or surrendering a chance for a cure.

KONADAI is a YA fantasy novel with science fiction elements complete at 70,000. It is a standalone novel with series potential [NOTE: Only say this if a- the story truly can stand alone], and will appeal to fans of PARTIALS, ENCLAVE, and THE 5TH WAVE. 

I was born and raised in Arkansas where my biggest accomplishment in life was being an extra in my high school’s performance of High School Musical. That may not seem like much, but I bopped to the top of the extras list by being the only student who knew the original dance moves. [Cute! Should add some flavor to your bio] When I’m not writing, I indulge in role-playing games and way too much sushi.

 Thank you for your time and consideration.
Q11

The Revised Query:

Dear [Agent Name],

When a deadly virus ravages her island city, seventeen-year-old intern Hiromi works to cure it. The virus mutates people into Konadai—vicious undead creatures with tentacle tongues. Although she is safe behind the city’s walls, Hiromi is running low on the infected samples she needs for research. Desperate to gather more, Hiromi reaches out to her childhood friend Kenji, a city guardsman recruited because of his skill with fire magic [makes the magic more obviously accepted in their culture and more common, potentially]. She joins Kenji and his unit on a mission to investigate a horde of infected. When one of Kenji’s friends is bitten—without showing signs of infection—it’s the breakthrough Hiromi’s been searching for. 

Soon Hiromi learns that a different virus growing inside the friend’s heart is the key to his immunity. But the research team isn’t sure how to extract the growth and keep him alive. Fearing for his friend’s life, Kenji refuses to let Hiromi take his friend back to the lab. With their friendship shattered and the virus running rampant, Hiromi is forced to choose between sacrificing an innocent life and betraying her life-long friend or surrendering a chance for a cure.

KONADAI is a YA fantasy novel with science fiction elements complete at 70,000. It is a standalone novel with series potential and will appeal to fans of PARTIALS, ENCLAVE, and THE 5TH WAVE. 

I was born and raised in Arkansas where my biggest accomplishment in life was being an extra in my high school’s performance of High School Musical. That may not seem like much, but I bopped to the top of the extras list by being the only student who knew the original dance moves. When I’m not writing, I indulge in role-playing games and way too much sushi.

 Thanks for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

[You!]

email
phone
twitter (if they’re that sort of agent)


 

With a few tweaks, you can really make a query shine!

Best of luck to Q11!


And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!

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