#28 Query Corner: THE EYE BEGINS TO SEE

Welcome to:

Morgan’s Query Corner:

Fresh Eyes For Your Query Quandaries

THE EYE BEGINS TO SEE is an upmarket novel that explores the coercive sterilization efforts in America.

When a privileged perfectionist and an ambitious street rat are hair-on-fire-late to their first law-school class and collide, it’s the beginning of a fast friendship. After the women discover a dark link, they must learn to forgive the past in order to embrace their futures.

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.]

Overall Impression:

THE EYE BEGINS TO SEE sounds like an intriguing upmarket story, with a sincere exploration of the sterilization efforts in America, even after WWII.

My main comments are just organizational for the query:

  • Try to keep the query under 300 words.
  • You don’t need to show all your research.
  • You only capitalize names in a synopsis, not queries. But do try to keep the number of names to 4 or fewer.

Querist’s Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Agent Name Here],

[Personalization.]

The Eye Begins to See, dual narrative complete at 92K words, is upmarket/ book club fiction. A modern examination of eugenics, what it means to be coerced into or secretly sterilized, that will share an audience with Before We Were Yours (Lisa Wingate), Necessary Lies (Diane Chamberlain), and Second Glance (Jodi Picoult).

The story of two women on a parallel journey through Duke Law School discover personal worth and what it means to be enough. BERYL McCLAREN [Capitalized names are for synopsis] is privileged, driven, fearless. And certain she’ll never meet the expectations of her painfully perfect mother. METHEA ‘THEA’ CATTERSON is inner-city Chicago, tough, funny as hell. Brave and determined to escape the streets that devoured her mother and brother. They collide at Duke, hair-on-fire-late to their first class and become fast friends. Thea introduces Beryl to GRAYSON ‘GRAY’ HEGGS and HAZEL TANAKA. Gray is charming and hot nough to melt stone. He might be serious about Beryl, but falling in love with your best friend’s honorary brother could be a mistake. Hazel is an elegant Zen waif with a passion for gardening and an incalculable capacity for fostering community and compassion. She’s also the life-partner Thea never expected to meet. [This is a little heavy into synopsis]

Both women, after walking the long and sometimes heartbreaking path to personal and professional realization, find themselves buried by dozens of archived documents alleging eugenic sterilization authorized by the state of North Carolina. The search reveals a potential and startling link between Beryl and Thea: DR. HARPER ENDRISS, the nightmare they never saw coming.

Most states ended forced sterilization after World War II. North Carolina, backed by powerful elites including heirs to Procter & Gamble and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, didn’t. More than 7,600 individuals were sterilized during this chapter. However, the topic remains centered on the world stage. The Eugenics Crusade, documentary – PBS (2018); Black Mirror (Men Against Fire) –
Netflix (2016). Prominent scientist Stephen Hawking (2018) predicted widespread use of eugenics to edit traits such as intelligence. Psychology professor Aurelio Figuerdo (AZ) received $458K research dollars (2003-2018) from the estate of pro-eugenics textile magnate, Wickliffe Draper, then used a portion of the funds to attend the 2017 London Conference on Intelligence at
University of London. [You don’t need to show all your research in the query.]

This is my first novel and is a fictionalized version of my experience of sterilization in North Carolina. [I think we can reword a little smoother.]

Thank you for your consideration of representation. [A little blunt.]

Regards,

Q28


My Revision:

Dear Agent,

Thea Catterson’s made it out of inner-city Chicago and into Duke Law School. Determined to escape the streets that devoured her mother and brother, she’s going to have to make friends if she’s going to survive schooling with the elite. And maybe even find a girlfriend.

Beryl McClaren is determined to do her best to meet the expectations of her painfully perfect mother and become the best darn lawyer out there. When she literally collides with Thea, as they’re both hair-on-fire-late to their first class, it’s the beginning of a fast friendship. And that was before she met Thea’s hot, honorary brother. Through school, loves, and loss, the pair is there to support each other. Their professional lives lead them into the dark side of North Carolina’s past — eugenics — and deep in the papers, the friends find another, darker personal connection. The pair must learn to forgive the past or be torn apart by a wrong done before they were born. [Are these the stakes?]

Inspired by true events, The Eye Begins to See is an LGBT [since I took out the reference earlier. Oh wait, I just tried to add some back in] dual narrative upmarket/book club novel, complete at 92K words. It is a modern examination of eugenics and what it means to be coerced or secretly sterilized that will share an audience with Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, Diane Chamberlain’s Necessary Lies, and Jodi Picoult’s Second Glance. [see if you can pick 2. And if you move this back up top, I’d remove the ‘inspired by true events part, or work it in later. Unless you’re marketing this as a memoir, I wouldn’t launch with that.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Q28


And with a few tweaks to make sure their voice showed through, here’s the final version.

Dear Agent,

[Personalization.]

Beryl McClaren is privileged, driven, and certain she’ll never meet the expectations of her painfully perfect mother. Thea Catterson is inner-city Chicago-tough, funny as hell, and determined to escape the streets that devoured her mother and brother. They collide at Duke, hair-on-fire-late to their first class, and become fast friends. Through excruciating coursework, love and loss, they support each other to the finish line to achieve their dreams.

Beryl detours into an unexpected relationship and must escape the shackles of unimaginable abuse to right her course. Thea must repair the damage her family’s endured following the violent death of the junkie mother she never knew, bringing her face-to-face with the drug-dealing brother she thought she left behind. Beryl and Thea walk an arduous, heartbreaking path – a journey to enough. As public prosecutors, they land on a collision course toward a truth to rock their world. In 2003, drowning in heart-wrenching archives confirming unwanted and often clandestine eugenic sterilizations. The pair discovers a darkly startling link that binds them: Dr. Harper Endriss, a nightmare they never saw coming. The challenge? Forgive the past in order to embrace the future.

Most states abandoned forced sterilization after World War II. North Carolina did not. Almost 7,700 individuals were sterilized during this chapter in the state’s history. This topic remains centered on the world stage – The Eugenics Crusade, PBS (2018), Black Mirror (Men Against Fire) Netflix (2016), Stephen Hawking’s (2018) prediction of widespread use of eugenics to edit traits such as intelligence.

Inspired by true events, The Eye Begins to See is a dual narrative upmarket/book club novel, complete at 92K words.  It is a modern examination of eugenics and what it means to be coerced into or secretly sterilized that will share an audience with Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, Diane Chamberlain’s Necessary Lies, and Jodi Picoult’s Second Glance.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,

Q28

An intense story of adulthood and dealing with consequences of the darker side of things.

Best of luck to Q28!


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

#27 Query Corner: PREDESTINED

Welcome to:

Morgan’s Query Corner:

Fresh Eyes For Your Query Quandaries

PREDESTINED is a contemporary fantasy set in a magic school.

When Evie’s crush, Justin, offers to use his dark magic to help unlock her magic, she’s horrified. Now, the race is on for her to master her magic before the darkness consumes Justin.

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.]

Overall Impression:

PREDESTINED sounds like a solid magic school fantasy.

A couple of things to think about:

  • The ‘clumsy’ girl is a bit of an overdone trope at this point. I’d skip using it in the query.
  • Give details – keeping things vague show how you’re like your genre, details show how you’re different.
  • Focus on the stakes more than world building.

Querist’s Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Agent Name Here],

Evie, a clumsy sixteen-year-old, is finally selected for something! Invited to train in the safety of Haven High, a special facility for the supernaturally gifted, Evie travels into a pocket dimension near her hometown in North Carolina. James Cabot, whose icy blue eyes have distracted her since… forever, can control fire, but no matter how hard Evie tries to coax her unknown power into being, it remains unresponsive. Evie finds some comfort in the warrior angels that train her, but absolutely nothing in her life prepared her to fight the things that fill the night.

Just as her fear and frustration are at their height, she finds out that she is the key to keeping the balance while evil fights to overpower the light. Hoping her first date with James will spark her power and change her luck, Evie follows him to an abandoned part of campus.  To her horror, he attempts to coerce her into abandoning the light, joining him, and forsake her destiny as the balance keeper. Just as she begins to understand her own gift over the air, Evie launches a battle against James and all of darkness, quickly discovering that true power isn’t manipulating flames, water, earth, or wind, but in mankind’s ability to choose.

As Evie’s new team of classmates and sentinels gather to face off against evil itself, the balance teeters towards destruction and eternal darkness.  Evie must learn to effectively weaponize air in time to keep the balance and rescue James from becoming a slave to darkness.

PREDESTINED is a 70,000-word fantasy novel.

When I’m not writing, I’m [job] in [place].

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

Q27


My Revision:

Dear Agent,

Evie is finally chosen for something! Invited to train as a sophomore at Haven High, a special facility for the magically gifted, Evie travels into a pocket dimension near her hometown. To her surprise, James Calbot, the boy with the icy-blue eyes that she’s been infatuated with forever, is a student.

Evie’s excitement quickly turns to dejection when her gifts refuse to manifest. When James invites her on a date, Evie thinks her luck’s about to change. Instead, James offers to help reveal her gift using methods born of darkness. Evie refuses and James quickly loses control of his flames.

Seeing Evie burned, James is overwrought with guilt and shame, and allows the darkness to consume him.  When Evie can’t find him, she becomes determined to rescue him, launching a rescue attempt on her own. When Evie discovers James’s plans to make her queen over all darkness, Evie finally understands the danger she has been in. Now Evie must learn to effectively wield her gift if she’s going to save her brother Tristan before he’s sacrificed.

Predestined is a fantasy novel set in North Carolina and is complete at 70,000 words.

When I’m not writing, I am teaching 6th-grade middle school English in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

PREDESTINED is a 70,000-word fantasy novel.

When I’m not writing, I’m [job] in [place].

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Q27

A creepy sounding magical high school adventure–full of consequences and stakes!

Best of luck to Q27!


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

#26 Query Corner: WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE

Welcome to:

Morgan’s Query Corner:

Fresh Eyes For Your Query Quandaries

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism.

Awakened from a coma, Josh Michaels learns his beloved wife was a dream. Meanwhile, Maggie Forsett dreams of a better life–and her dream lover. Then they’re drawn together in real life. Can reality ever match a dream?

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.]

Overall Impression:

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE sounds like a sweet romance with some of the genre’s favorite tropes — comas, dreams, meant-to-be.

Some agents like a tagline first, so I’m going to leave that in here. Good job showing both character’s points-of-view and showing what they want.

A couple of things to think about:

  • Give details – keeping things vague show how you’re like all the other romances, details show how you’re different
  • Try to tell each character’s paragraph in their voice, but keep it in the 3rd person present tense.

Querist’s Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Agent Name Here],

Legend has it that the inability to sleep at night directly correlates to being awake in someone else’s dream.

Josh Michaels sleeps as soundly as ever; so soundly, he doesn’t know he’s dreaming. When a car accident sends him into a recuperative coma, he inadvertently dreams a life that doesn’t exist. He meets and falls in love with a woman who captures his heart and enraptures his soul. [Lots of telling, not much showing.] Waking from a coma comes with the gripping realization that what he thought was the last two years of his life was a lie.

Meanwhile, sleep is elusive to Maggie Forsett. Her world has been thrown off its axis since her father suffered from his second stroke, leading to his inevitable death. In evaluating her life and who she has become, she begins to question everything and sends her world into turmoil as her relationship suffers. Struggling with grief, along with prioritizing the things important to her, she knows her journey is better alone. [This is a bit of stereotype. You don’t need to describe it so much.] She finds solace in dreaming and the help of a nameless stranger that appears at night, helping her find herself after having lost sight of who she is.

Josh has been ripped apart by the pain of waking from his dream. Maggie longs for nothing more than the man in hers to be a reality. A chance meeting could bring them together or bring their worlds crashing down around them.

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism complete at 88,000 words.

I write from my home in [X].

Thank you so much for your time and consideration.

Q26


My Revision:

Dear Agent,

Legend has it that when you can’t sleep, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dreams.

When a car accident sends Josh Michaels into a recuperative coma, he inadvertently dreams a life that doesn’t exist. He meets and falls in love with a woman who captures his heart and enraptures his soul. Waking from a coma comes with the gripping realization that what he thought was the last two years of his life was a lie.

Meanwhile, Maggie Forsett’s become an insomniac as she spends her non-working hours at her father’s bedside after his second stroke. After he passes, she’s left struggling with grief and determined to prioritize the things important to her. Her boyfriend doesn’t make the cut. But, in the quiet of the night, Maggie dreams of a stranger and the life she wants.

Josh has been ripped apart by the pain of waking from his dream. Maggie longs for nothing more than the man in hers to be a reality. When their dream-memories draw them together in real life, each must decide if they’re willing to take a chance on a familiar stranger or forget the dreams and continue rebuilding their lives, apart.

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism complete at 88,000 words.

I write from my home in [City], [State]. [Etc.]

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Q26

***

The querist sent off their edited query, but followed up and shared the sent version:

Dear Agent,

Legend has it that when you can’t sleep, it’s because you’re awake in someone else’s dreams.

Josh Michaels sleeps as soundly as ever; so soundly, he doesn’t know he’s dreaming. When a car accident sends him into a recuperative coma, he inadvertently dreams a life that doesn’t exist. He meets and falls in love with a woman who captures his heart and enraptures his soul. Waking from a coma comes with the gripping realization that what he thought was the last two years of his life was a lie.

Meanwhile, Maggie Forsett has become an insomniac as she spends her non-working hours at her father’s bedside following his second stroke. After he passes, she’s left struggling with grief and determined to prioritize the things important to her. Her recently strained relationship with her boyfriend comes to an end. But, in the quiet of the night, Maggie dreams of a stranger and the life she wants.

Josh has been ripped apart by the pain of waking from his dream. Maggie longs for nothing more than the man in hers to be a reality. When their dream-memories draw them together in real life, each must decide if they’re willing to take a chance on a familiar stranger or forget the dreams and continue rebuilding their lives, apart.

WHEN DREAMS COLLIDE is an adult contemporary romance with hints of magical realism complete at 88,000 words.

Yours Sincerely,

Q26

A great sounding romance with a sweet twist!

Best of luck to Q26!


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

#25 Query Corner: NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (“The Field Fox and the Foreigner”)

Welcome to:

logo5

Morgan’s Query Corner:

Fresh Eyes For Your Query Quandaries

NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (“The Field Fox and the Foreigner”) is a YA contemporary fantasy.

In this modern retelling of Momotaro, Jin is sent to his aunt’s in Japan. Can he trust a shape-changing fox to protect him from the bullies–and save the island?

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.]

Overall Impression:

NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (“The Field Fox and the Foreigner”) is coming into a market hungry for stories like this one.

I’m going to leave the query in this order, but know that some agents prefer the story to come first and the stats to come last.

A couple of things to think about:

  • 100,000 is a bit long for YA, even for a Fantasy, and may make it a harder sell.
  • Keep the background only as much as needed to set up stakes and goals for the main character.
  • You don’t need quotes to kick off the story portion of the query.

Querist’s Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear [Mr./Ms. Agent Name Here],

I am currently seeking representation for my young adult novel, NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (aka “The Field Fox and the Foreigner” in English) [can just use the English translation], which is complete at 100,000 words [Hopefully not too long]. A stylized retelling of the popular Japanese fairy tale Momotaro, my novel is a witty, action-packed adventure similar to Rick Riordan’s series, Percy Jackson and the Olympians[GREAT comps]. With a diverse and colorful cast that will appeal to audiences across the gender and sexuality spectrum, NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN is a story about a reluctant hero in a modern world.

[<<unnecessary]Sixteen-year-old Jim Smith has always come second to his father’s career, so it’s no surprise when he’s sent away on a one-way flight to Toyohashi, Japan. Despite praying his Japanese features will help him blend in, Jim’s American roots make him an easy target for bullies. When a sympathetic shrine keeper offers him a bit of luck, he never expected Nogi. An eight-tailed fox who can shapeshift into a fiery young woman or a flirtatious young man, Nogi promises the impossible: a way to fit in. Despite the myths painting kitsune as untrustworthy tricksters, Jim believes in his new friend—but for how long?”

NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN was inspired by Japanese myths involving the sun goddess Amaterasu-ōkami and the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu-tennō. Although it was written as a standalone novel, there is potential to weave additional myths into the world if the story were continued. [a little clunky, there’s some standard wording for this.]

To summarize my related experience,[<<unneeded] I have a certificate in Japanese Studies specializing in mythology, history, culture, and language. Additionally, I have traveled to Japan to personally explore locations featured NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN. As one of the first students to study under [College] [Program] undergraduate program, I achieved a BFA degree in [Year] and currently work as a [Job] in [City], [State].

Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you. [<< Some agents find this line presumptious. I opt on the safe side and just skip it.]

Q25


My Revision:

Dear Agent,

I am currently seeking representation for my young adult fantasy, NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN (“The Field Fox and the Foreigner”), which is complete at 100,000 words. A stylized retelling of the popular Japanese fairy tale Momotaro, that should appeal to fans of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. With a diverse and colorful cast that will appeal to audiences across the gender and sexuality spectrum, NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN is a story about a reluctant hero in a modern world.

Sixteen-year-old Jim Smith has always come second to his father’s career, so it’s no surprise when he’s sent away on a one-way flight to Toyohashi, Japan. Despite praying his Japanese features will help him blend in, Jim’s American roots make him an easy target for bullies. When a sympathetic shrine keeper offers him a bit of luck, he never expected Nogi: an eight-tailed fox who can shapeshift into a fiery young woman or a flirtatious young man, Nogi promises the impossiblea way to fit in. Despite the myths painting kitsune as untrustworthy tricksters, Jim must either trust his new friend or go it alone against the bullies.

NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN was inspired by Japanese myths involving the sun goddess Amaterasu-ōkami and the first emperor of Japan, Jimmu-tennō. Although it was written as a standalone novel, there is series potential.

I have a certificate in Japanese Studies specializing in mythology, history, culture, and language. Additionally, I have traveled to Japan to personally explore locations featured NOGITSUNE TO GAIJIN. I have a BFA degree in Creative Writing from [College] and currently work as a [Job] in [City], [State].

Yours Sincerely,

Q25

***

A great sounding fairy tale reimagining!

Best of luck to Q25!


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

#24 Query Corner: ‘PEACEKEEPER’

Welcome to:

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Morgan’s Query Corner:

Fresh Eyes For Your Query Quandaries

PEACEKEEPER is a YA dystopian SF novel.

Eli must find the courage to stop his domineering adoptive father from ruthlessly taking over the Domain, even if Eli has to kill his own dad.

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.]

Overall Impression:

PEACEKEEPER sounds like a pretty solid story.

(I’m going to flip the order around due to personal preference, but some agents prefer it in your order — just remember to check before submitting.)

A couple of things to think about:

  • Dystopian is on a bit of a downswing, so depending on the tech level, it may be better to dub this either a Fantasy or a Science-Fiction novel.
  • Even if you don’t have any writer stats, you don’t have to say it’s your debut novel. If you don’t put in writer credentials, it’s assumed. Most agents want at least a tiny bio. I keep mine to 2 sentences.

Querist’s Original:

[my comments are in blue/italics/brackets]

Dear Agent,

I am querying you as I feel that my novel, Peacekeeper, provides the strong relatable characters that you are searching for. The heart-wrenching nature of their trials and tribulations will have you praying for their success. [Some agents like to know exactly why you picked them to query. Others prefer a lighter touch. There are less clue-hammer ways of saying this.]

Peacekeeper is a 79,400 [round to the nearest 1,000] word Young Adult dystopian [don’t italicize and think about other categories. Dystopian’s in a bit of a downswing right now.]novel. The story revolves around the strong-willed Eli Luther. [THIS is where the query starts, don’t hide it in the stats paragraph >>] Eli has only wanted one thing for as long as can remember. The title of CommanderDominus: the most prestigious military role in the Domain. Standing in his way from achieving his life-long goal, is his jealous and ruthless adoptive father Tobias Luther. Who is prepared to do anything to keep Eli from the position and seize it for himself. No act is considered too heinous.

After an encounter with a mysterious girl and narrowly surviving an attempt on his life, Eli finds himself in league with a secret organisation. Trojan offers Eli the role of CommanderDominus, so long as he aids them in their fight for independence, and he assassinates Tobias. Now fuelled by a sense of responsibility and revenge, Eli joins Trojan.

As the covert war wages on, a plot is discovered to subject the entire Domain to a ruthless iron-fist dictatorship under Tobias’ rule. With the freedom of the Domain hanging in the balance, Eli prepares to go to war to defend his new home.

Peacekeeper is my debut novel [This should be obvious because you’re not listing your other works, but don’t emphasize your inexperience.] I believe it has strong potential to be expanded into a larger series but reads just as well as a standalone book. [There’s a smoother phrase that’s standardly accepted for this.]

Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope to hear from you. [The QueryShark finds the ‘hope to hear from you’ a bit like nails on a chalkboard. It might not offend the agent you’re querying, but I opt to leave it off, rather than potentially annoy an agent.]

Yours sincerely,

Q24


My Revision:

Dear Agent,

To escape his repressive adoptive household, 17-year-old Eli Luther decides to seek training to become the Commander Dominus–leader of the Domain’s military. Then his adoptive father, Tobias, takes the role for himself and blocks all of Eli’s attempts to any position. [This implies the jealousy and ambition without spelling it out.]

After narrowly surviving an attempt on his life, Eli is rescued by Trojan. [I dropped the girl because she was never mentioned again. Name as few characters as possible during a query.] As the leader of an underground organization seeking to oust Tobias due to his war-atrocities, Trojan offers Eli the role of Commander Dominus. To earn the title, Eli must aid their fight for independence and succeed where so many others have failed–by assassinating Tobias. Fueled by a sense of responsibility and the need for revenge, Eli agrees.

When Tobias’s plot to become the Domain’s own dictator is uncovered, Eli knows the domain doesn’t have much time left. Eli must face his fears of becoming a monster like Tobias by killing his own adoptive father or allow the entire Domain to fall under Tobias’s ruthless control.

PEACEKEEPER is a YA science-fiction novel, complete at 79,000 words with series potential. A strong-willed character, Eli should appeal to readers who’ve dealt with oppressive authorities and wished they could do something about it. [This adds the ‘strong and relatable’ note, hopefully without you feeling like it’s awkward pandering]. I write from [A PLACE] and [have a degree]. I enjoy [hobbying] in my rare free time.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Yours Sincerely,

Q23

***

I think we’ve ended up somewhere a little easier to read while avoiding spelling things out for the agent.

Best of luck to Q24!


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