I am currently seeking representation for BECOMING, a 71,000 word young adult urban fantasy.
Claire Silver will never be the same after
A high school prank goes terribly wrong. Clair Silver is mugged and left for dead.
You can see there is a missing link here. Unless the prank is the mugging, the two don't seem to connect. You're better off leaving out the high school prank part out.
In a matter of days, Claire’s once dark indigo eyes transform into to an almost unnatural shade of teal.
Claire has no idea what to make of these new developments until she makes friends with Skye Thompson
Just when Claire thinks
Jackson knows more about Claire and her new status than he’s been letting on. He’s been keeping secrets – secrets that may get Claire killed.
I have included
Thank you for your time and consideration,
This is getting better. Really really work on the rhythm of your sentences. And remember, it's not going to do you any good to polish up this query if you don't take what you're learning and doing here and apply it to the manuscript. (hint: that-ectomy is a GOOD idea; take out every single word you don't need.)
Dear Query Shark,
I am currently seeking representation for BECOMING, a 71,000 word young adult fantasy.
Claire Silver is an over-thinking, second-guessing, chronically-shy mess living anything but a fairytale life. Mugged and almost killed when a high school prank goes terribly wrong, Claire is saved by Jackson Chatfield, a guy so goldenly beautiful that he actually resembles the guardian angel that Claire romanticizes him to be. And, wonders of all wonders, Jackson actually appears to take a sudden romantic interest in little ol’ Claire.
We don't need to know all that about Claire. The only thing we need to know is what happens to her.
I'm not sure goldenly is a real word, but I think it actually works here.
This unexpected charming attention isn’t the only unusual thing that happens to Claire; the once familiar face in the mirror starts to look like a stranger. The eyes staring back at her go through a startling transformation from a dark indigo to a striking shade of teal. She also starts seeing extra layers of colored refractions surrounding everyday objects.
This is stuff we actually do need to know about Claire. The reason we need to know it is because it's what's changing. It's where the action starts.
Claire has no idea what to make of these new changes until she makes friends with Skye Thompson, a new transfer student. Skye recognizes a kindred spirit in Claire. She tells Claire that they are both Spirit Guardians; people who upon dying are brought back to life by ancient animal spirits joining with their own soul, giving the chosen vessel physical and spiritual powers. Claire has trouble believing any of this is real until Skye demonstrates her own powers before Claire’s awed eyes.
What does Skye do? Be specific. (I really hope it's not something like turning Scotch into water)
As if becoming guardian to an animal spirit wasn’t enough to complicate Claire’s quiet life, seemingly random acts of vandalism start plaguing her family and she learns that Jackson is harboring some pretty serious secrets of his own. What Claire doesn’t realize is that all these things are connected and that she and Skye aren’t the only Spirit Guardians in town.
Vandalism sounds like a petty annoyance. Is someone toiletpapering her house? Soaping her car windows? Probably not if (as we learn in the next paragraph, these things may cost Claire her life)
These oversights may cost Claire her very life.
Focus on what moves the story forward. We don't need to know what the lessons are that will be learned. We just need to be enticed to read the book. I'm pretty sure intermeshed isn't a word.
Included with this query you will find a synopsis and sample pages for BECOMING. I would be pleased to send the full manuscript upon request.
This is better, but there's nothing compelling here. A kid discovers she has magical powers of some kind and it makes her a better person. This is as close to run of the mill YA fantasy as you can get.
Time to get out the imaginarium and get some layers in here. Turn some tropes on their ear. Confound me with fabulous ideas.
This is still a form rejection, but it's a whole lot better than the first version.
Dear Query Shark,
I chose to submit to you because of your wonderful taste in young adult fantasy.
This is just about the worst way to start a query I can think of. I know you've been told (not here but elsewhere) to personalize a query with "why I picked you" but to be effective it has to be specific. This is so unspecific as to be icky. If you absolutely cannot resist putting in something about why you elected to query this specific agent, mention specific books, or an interview on a website, or their blog, or something individual to the agent.
BECOMING is a 71,000 word young adult fantasy.
Claire Silver is an over-thinking, second-guessing, chronically-shy mess living anything but a fairytale life.
I'm not sure what "leaves her open to becoming the guardian to an ancient animal spirit" means. Does it mean she's considering it or vulnerable to it?
Claire better learn her lessons quickly, because she’s not the only one with something to hide.
Well of course, we don't know that Claire herself has something to hide do we?
While trying to uncover who is behind the seemingly random acts of vandalism that are plaguing her family, Claire fails to take into account that she is part of a whole new world were nothing may be as it seems. If only she had realized that those around her were harboring hidden personalities and hidden abilities right under her nose.
This paragraph doesn't have any connective tissue to what came before. I'm assuming not everyone in Claire's family has had near death experiences (if they have, I'd like to be their life insurance agent) Are they all guardians of some sort of spirit?
It’s a mistake that may cost Claire her very life.
This is a list of characters and without context, or any sense of how they relate to Claire, it's useless info. It's also cliche ridden, and that's the kiss of death in a query.
Enclosed you will find a synopsis and sample pages for BECOMING. I would be pleased to send the full manuscript upon request.
Thanks for your time and consideration.
This isn't specific and it isn't compelling. Form rejection.