Morgan’s Query Corner:
Answering Your Query Quandaries
KITSUNE SPRING is a YA fantasy.
When the local Shinto gods order Koji, a half-kitsune foster kid, to destroy a black altar, he resorts to Big magic. Now the Kitsune Council is on their way to strip the half-breed of his powers before he comes of age.
A few things I’d change:
- Put all the stats into 1 paragraph
- Streamline it a bit
Given your interest in ___________, I would like to introduce my modern-day YA fantasy novel KITSUNE SPRING. [Forgot page count! Oh, wait, I see it. I’d pick a spot: here or there, and combine the 2 paragraphs]
Koji, a half kitsune, covers himself with good luck charms, but they haven’t done a damn bit of good. He’s friendless, the Kitsune Council wants to strip him of his powers before his birthday, and to top it off his mother’s disappearance has left him stranded in a San Francisco foster home. [which birthday? let’s establish your YA creds here] Needing funds to avoid The Council, Koji does odd (and often illegal) jobs for the local Shinto gods. With a less than spotless reputation, Koji tries to convince himself he doesn’t mind being alone, until he befriends his stressed-out next door neighbor Stephanie Flowers and lets her in on the secrets of the magic world.
But, when the gods order Koji to destroy a black magic alter built by local golden boy and Steph’s friend: Alex, Koji is required to use magic. Big magic. Allowing The Council to figure out his whereabouts [and] putting him and his friends in danger. With his birthday looming and the Council getting close, Koji must locate his missing mother and face The Council in Japan to protect his new friends and his freedom. Koji must learn to trust his new friends and himself in order to finally out trick the fox spirits.
KITSUNE SPRING is completed at 75,000 words. The story stands alone but has series potential.
I attended [X] University and graduated with a BA in English with a Creative Writing emphasis. I currently work as a high school English and Creative Writing teacher in [X]. Thank you for taking the time to read this expert from KITSUNE SPRING, and I would be delighted to send you the completed manuscript if you request more.
My Suggested Revisions:
Upon rereading my suggestions though, I realized that it was still a large part set-up. So, I went through it again. It’s an easy mistake to do. The better you know the story, the harder it is to cull the details that make your world unique–but the easier it is to change the focus of the query from the emotional stakes to the world building.
I revised again and sent them my newer version. It gives them wiggle room if there are poignant emotional stakes they want to add or edit so their voice shines through.
Plus, although queries can go UP to 250 words, successful YA queries actually average 182 words (according to analysis from this query survey), so don’t be afraid to err on the shorter side.
When the local Shinto gods order the half-kitsune foster kid, Koji, to destroy a black altar, he resorts to magic. Big magic. Now the Kitsune Council knows where he is and is on their way from Japan to strip the half-breed of his powers before he comes of age. All the damned good luck charms he’s covered himself with haven’t done a bit of good.
With his seventeenth birthday looming and the Council getting close to San Francisco, Koji must learn to trust his new friends and himself. That’s the only way he’ll be able to defend both himself and his new friends, locate his missing mother, and finally out trick the fox spirits of the Council.
KITSUNE SPRING is a modern-day YA fantasy, complete at 75,000 words. The story is stand-alone but has series potential.
I attended [x] and graduated with a BA in English with a Creative Writing emphasis. I currently work as a high school English and Creative Writing teacher in [X].
I thank you for your time and consideration.
Now, it’s up to the queryist which version to use, and if they wish to use that wiggle room to add more!
Best of luck to Q14!
And for the rest of you out there?
Best of luck in the query trenches!