Please help me with this train wreck of a query letter..

Img_3553

Posted by Tomara Conner about 2 years ago

My name is Tomara Conner, and I am a sixteen year old with a mind that just might shock the world. I know for starters my age scares most agents off, because they’re afraid I’m not mature enough to handle this business, but with myself that’s not the case. What makes my novel unique is it’s a young adult novel written by a young adult. Who would ever expect a sixteen year old to write an 102 thousand worded novel which could also possibly be turned into a series? I’m passionate about my writing, and I do believe that other people in the world would be to. If given the chance I could really bring a lot to the table, maybe even make a difference in people’s worlds all I really need is that one chance.

My novel Nightwalkers is about five sixteen year old girls who are emancipated from their families, because of mental, physical, and emotional abuse that occurred. A nightwalker in this since is someone who during the day has one personality, but at night is completely opposite of what they were. Each nightwalker is gifted with a god given color, and power. Taylor the main characters whose point of view the novel is told in is the leader of the group and she’s gifted with an ultimate power. When Taylor starts to get settled into her new life which entails having to grow up faster than she ever wanted to. A new unexpected surprise happens when she sees her soul mate Jeremiah Bradley. At first she’s afraid of the feelings she feels for him. That is until one of her two mentors Alice explains to her that what she’s feeling is normal for a nightwalker, because she’s found the one person she’s destined to be with. After being able to be happy with her soul mate she finds out from her other mentor Miranda that Jeremiah is not human. Taylor is afraid to tell him what she is, but when it comes down to it she knows it’s time for them to share their secret worlds with one another. Everything goes fine and everyone starts to seem blissful, until Taylor’s mood changes and she makes a grave mistake. When Jeremiah is fed up with how Taylor is acting him and another soul-mate leave. When Taylor wakes up naturally she doesn’t remember anything that happened, until she calls to her powers to help her remember. After going back in time Taylor realizes just how miserable her life would be if she didn’t have Jeremiah or her friends. When she goes home from trying to find Jeremiah she tries talking to everyone and being calm until she gets a text from his phone and realizes it’s not actually him. Taylor is furious and tells the girls to get ready for what is going to be a war, but when she shows up something no one expects occurs. After the fight and everyone’s content Taylor and Jeremiah wake up the next morning to a guest who visits them in the shower. When impressioned nightwalkers must go through a stage called the lust ghost, which means every time they touch there going to have to feel the pressure to be together. The only way to get rid of it is for both people in the relationship to overcome something important, but the problem is no one knows how. Taylor and Jeremiah began to argue and fight until Taylor cannot handle it anymore. She runs away from her feelings, but only to find out that she has discovered the other half of her family. She finds a girl and three boys who she comes to find out that the girl is another nightwalker and one of the boys is the new nightwalkers soul-mate. The other two boys are the soul-mates of last two girls in the family who haven’t impressioned. When Taylor returns home with the final part of her family she’s realized just how happy she can be. That is until she attempts to figure out just who Jeremiah was back when he lived in England. As soon as she brings it up he becomes defensive, and says things to Taylor she thought wasn’t possible. When she runs to a local park and thinks about everything, Jeremiah finds and explains his past to her. She becomes so touched that when he’s finishes she tells him everything that she’s been through. When they’re both done talking they both experience a pain that is revealed to be the lust ghosts removed from their bodies. They rush home happy, and ecstatic to know that the thing that was causing the most problems and stress in their relationship is gone. For the next few days Jeremiah and Taylor are happy, and to make things better; they including everyone else goes on a vacation to Myrtle Beach South Carolina. There Jeremiah shows Taylor that some fairy tales do come true.
Thank you for reviewing my query, if needed you can contact me at my phone number at.
............
Or
My email ctomara@yahoo.com

Last updated about 2 years ago
  1. Img_3553

    about 2 years ago Tomara Conner replied:

    Literally make me cry. Seriously this sucks so much.

  2. Frogwithlight

    about 2 years ago Gamayun replied:

    First things first, the first paragraph doesn't belong in a query. With all due respect, the agent doesn't care that you're sixteen at this stage. Unless you've proven you have a good plot it doesn't matter if you're a two year old super genius. Whether you even mention your age at all is kind of a grey area - Janet Reid, for example, says she prefers it if people mention their age if they're under 16 but not older than it. You're straddling the line right now, but I'd say anything more than a sentence on it is pushing it. Things like saying that your age "scares agents off" doesn't come out how you intend it to, so you're likely to get a lot of rolled eyes. Start with the story, that's what they care about.

    Housekeeping like word count and genre come at the end. If you're going to include an "About Me" paragraph it should also go at the end, but it should be about your credentials (awards and previous publications) not how old you are or how much you think you can blow people's minds.

    First rule: you need paragraphs. It's really difficult to read a block of text without going through and manually reformatting it, which an agent probably isn;t going to bother with. Chances are they'll just delete it and move onto something easier on their computer-addled eyes.

    I have some suggestions, but it's up to you which you take (if any). [] means cut, () means change and {} means add. Italics is me explaining why I made a change.

    [My novel] NIGHTWALKERS title's go in capitals is about five sixteen year old girls who are emancipated What? Emancipate means free, as in the emancipation of the slaves. Do you mean banished? from their families, because of mental, physical, and emotional abuse [that occurred]. A nightwalker in this (sense) you wrote since is someone who during the day has one personality, but at night is completely opposite of what they were.

    [Each nightwalker is gifted with a god given color, and power.] We don't have time for background details in a query. Stick to the main plot.

    I'm going to take a break here to point something out. Read this again:

    Taylor the main characters whose point of view the novel is told in is the leader of the group

    It doesn't make sense. I think what you're trying to say is "Taylor, the main character and narrator, is the leader of the group." but I'm not sure because it's so muddled. You do this a lot. When you're revising your query take each sentence and examine it on its own. Make sure it makes sense and streamline.

    Also, you should be starting with the main character. They're what makes a story interesting. You don't inform the agent about which character is your main because that should be obvious from their position in the pitch.

    If we don't at least know the leads name by the end of the first three sentences of a query, something's wrong.

    Back to the query:

    and she’s gifted with [an] ultimate power. When Taylor starts to get settled into her new life What new life? You haven't said anything about a new life. We don't even know anything about her old one. If she's one of the girls from the start (you don't make it clear) that makes it slightly better but still confusing. (she'll have to) grow up faster than she ever wanted to.

    [A new unexpected surprise happens] This was redundant and clunky. Of course it's new and unexpected and it happens, that's the definition of surprise (Along the way she meets her) soul mate Jeremiah Bradley. At first she’s afraid of (her feelings for him) repition. That is until one of her two mentors{,} Alice{,} explains [to her] that what she’s feeling is normal for a nightwalker, because she’s found the one person she’s destined to be with. After being able to be happy with her soul mate she finds out from her other mentor Miranda that Jeremiah is not human. Taylor is afraid to tell him what she is, but when it comes down to it she knows it’s time for them to share their secret worlds with one another. Everything goes fine and everyone starts to seem blissful, until Taylor’s mood changes and she makes a grave mistake. When Jeremiah is fed up with how Taylor is acting him and another soul-mate He has another soul mate? Doesn't that kind of contradict the definition of soul mate? leave. When Taylor wakes up naturally she doesn’t remember anything that happened, until she calls to her powers to help her remember. After going back in time Wait, this is a time travel story now? Taylor realizes just how miserable her life would be if she didn’t have Jeremiah or her friends. When she goes home from trying to find Jeremiah she tries talking to everyone and being calm until she gets a text from his phone Wait, wait, wait. This is a contempory story? Everything you said up until now made me think this was traditional fantasy and realizes it’s not actually him. Taylor is furious and tells the girls to get ready for what is going to be a war, but when she shows up something no one expects occurs. Why? Why is she angry? You're making it sound like someone nicked his phone. What did they say that was so important? Was he kidnapped? Did the new girlfriend send her a bitchy message?

    After the fight and everyone’s content What? What the hell happened? What was the unexpected thing? Weren't they all trying to murder each other like five minutes ago? Taylor and Jeremiah wake up the next morning to a guest who visits them in the shower. Eww, WHAT?

    When impressioned nightwalkers must go through a stage called the lust ghost, which means every time they touch (they're) going to have to feel the pressure to be together. How is this different from regular lust?The only way to get rid of it is for both people in the relationship to overcome something important, but the problem is no one knows how. Why not? Surely other people have been through this before. I though you said this was normal? Taylor and Jeremiah began to argue and fight until Taylor cannot handle it anymore. She runs away from her feelings, but only to find out that she has discovered the other half of her family. She finds a girl and three boys who she comes to find out that the girl is another nightwalker and one of the boys is the new nightwalker{'}s soul-mate. The other two boys are the soul-mates of last two girls in the family who haven’t impressioned. When Taylor returns home with the final part of her family she’s realized just how happy she can be. That is until she attempts to figure out just who Jeremiah was back when he lived in England. As soon as she brings it up he becomes defensive, and says things to Taylor she thought wasn’t possible. When she runs to a local park and thinks about everything, Jeremiah finds and explains his past to her. She becomes so touched that when he’s finishes she tells him everything that she’s been through. When they’re both done talking they both experience a pain that is revealed to be the lust ghosts removed from their bodies. They rush home happy, and ecstatic to know that the thing that was causing the most problems and stress in their relationship is gone. For the next few days Jeremiah and Taylor are happy, and to make things better; they including everyone else goes on a vacation to Myrtle Beach South Carolina. There Jeremiah shows Taylor that some fairy tales do come true.

    Never ask an agent to phone you, they don't do that. They email you or write.

    This isn't a query letter, it's a synopsis. The point isn't to give a run down of the entire plot, it's to include a blurb like you'd find on the back of a book and peak their interest.

    Right now I have no idea what your central conflict is.

    Homework time!

    First, read this blog. It should give you a much better idea of what a query should be.

    Once you've done that, fill this form in. It'll give you a list of what you need to say in the query and then you can write it a lot more easily.

    Who Who is the hero? I'm guessing it's Taylor in this case.
    What What's the central conflict of the plot? In simpler terms, what does Taylor want and what's stopping her from getting it.
    Who (again) Who's the antagonist?
    Why Why does this matter? What's at stake?
    Title NIGHTWALKERS, in this case.
    Wordcount Your wordcount.

    Remember, queries should never be more than 250 words in total. You're pushing way past that right now.

    Last updated about 2 years ago
  3. Butterfly girl

    almost 2 years ago meg replied:

    I'd go through the who what when where why thing. Your query is a bit muddled. And long. You need a word count. Also, I'm not completely understanding why Taylor wages a war because someone nicked her boyfriend's phone. Bit confused there. And the whole NightWalker thing, does that mean she only knows him in the night or something? And what is he, if he's not human? You didn't really revisit that.

  4. Profilepic2

    almost 2 years ago Lucy Gray replied:

    Agentquerry.com :)

  5. Sdc16469_2_bigger

    almost 2 years ago Reagan Baker replied:

    I would nix the first paragraph, and like Gamayun said, put credentials only at the end...nothing about your age or awesomeness (but I love your positivity!) IF you feel you MUST put your age as a credential (Because you are YA writing YA) maybe in the final credential paragraph before thanking them for their time, write something like...'My current status as an upper YA gives me (what edges you ahead of writers who are not ya-age)

    great perspective...in the form of (how?)...."

    If you are query-ing agents or publishers, research them. Follow them on twitter, read articles they've written, figure out if your book is the genre they are actively seeking. Sometimes you can find examples on how they like their queries to read - word count first vs last, setting vs none, jumping into story immediately or prefacing with flattery (so they know you've researched them). Every query I send is different. I write to that agent specifically, not a collective group. And sometimes, if you research their published authors, you can find the query they used to get their agent.

    That said...
    I don't think you should start with 'My novel..." Since you are writing the query they'll know it's yours. Jump right in. "NIGHTWALKERS is a (genre) where XXX must work/battle/journey through XXX(the major conflict in simple terms) to achieve/figure out/gain/win XXX(this isn't a synopsis so don't totally give away the end. What is the ultimate goal (not necessarily the one your characters reach word-for-word,you want to leave the agent asking for more)."

    Then start a new paragraph introducing only the main characters (two, if there are more but they are part of a group, leave them unnamed in a group ex) Jedi nights,Luke and Obi Wan battle...Other jedi assist culminating in....) Identifying too many characters (in a query) will scramble the agents brain.

    Keep word count to 250. Less is more. It shouldn't be longer than a single-spaced, (double between paragraphs) page.

    When I researched writing queries for myself, I found the easiest and best way (for me) is to be your main character and write the query in first person. This helps keep the voice of your character. When that's done, change it to third person present (unless you're brave enough to send it in first...I'm not).

    I didn't do this at first. When I did rewrite it this way, I got a request from a highly respected agent, though, in the end it was a big R!

    Thank them in the last para, like you did, but leave out contact. List your number/addres/email/websites under your signature.

    Hope you'll post your revision! And good luck.

    Last updated almost 2 years ago

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