Another near perfect query letter!

ORIGINAL QUERY LETTER

 

Title: The New Eden Chronicles

 

Dear Agent X:

 

Four hundred years after environmental collapse, there’s no place on Earth as beautiful as New Eden, where The Council of Holy Elders guards the secret to unlimited solar power. But for sixteen-year-old Citizen Eve Thomas, life in paradise has never been easy. Haunted since childhood by a freakish photographic memory, intrusive thoughts, and strange tics, she’s never felt comfortable in her own skin. When her beloved little brother contracts a disease The Council refuses to treat because interference with Nature is a sin, she begins a frantic search for anything that could save his life.

 

Nineteen-year-old Mana Aquino and his family won the lottery to leave the barren Ghostlands for work in New Eden ten years ago. He had no idea it would lead to the deaths of almost everyone he loved. Now he’s desperate to destroy the ruthless Bishop who murdered his sister and treats all Non-natives like slaves. When a monk plotting revolution tells Mana about Eve’s memory, he spies on her, fascinated, then makes a bold offer: he’ll bring illegal medicine to her brother, if she’ll serve as his human camera, gathering information that could bring down the Bishop in a world where technology is sacrilege.

 

If Eve accepts Mana’s offer, she’ll break almost every law she’s ever known, place her entire family in jeopardy, and become entangled in an uprising that could leave New Eden in ruins. If she says no, her brother as good as dead. Though Eve knows better than to trust a savage outsider, something too powerful to name begins drawing her to the charismatic boy with the dark sun eyes.

 

Told by both Eve and Mana, The New Eden Chronicles is complete at 118,000 words. A post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story with cross-cultural romance at its heart, the novel combines the quiet intelligence of Matched with the Romeo-and-Juliet tension of Under the Never Sky.

 

THANKS,
(Name redacted)

 

QUERY LETTER AFTER I GOT MY GRUBBY PAWS ON IT

 

Title: The New Eden Chronicles Not sure why this is up here but it’s unnecessary. Start with your salutation! 

 

Dear Agent X:

 

First off, I love this query letter. I’m intrigued and I want to read more, which is exactly the point of a query letter. You don’t need my critique. In fact, if you want to stop reading here and start sending this out to agents that would be just fine by me.

 

Having said that, after reading it over a few times and picking it apart with a fine-tooth comb, I do see a few tiny areas where I think it could be improved for clarity’s sake.

 

Four hundred years after environmental collapse, there’s no place on Earth as beautiful as New Eden, where The Council of Holy Elders guards the secret to unlimited solar power. <-I’ve re-read this query a few times and I can’t gather what solar power has to do with the plot. But for sixteen-year-old Citizen Eve Thomas, life in paradise has never been easy. Haunted since childhood by a freakish photographic memory, intrusive thoughts, and strange tics, she’s never felt comfortable in her own skin. When her beloved little brother contracts a disease The Council refuses to treat because interference with Nature is a sin, she begins a frantic search for anything that could save his life. 

These last two sentences feel a bit divorced from each other. She’s uncomfortable in her skin, and in the next sentence, her brother contracts a disease.

 

When Nineteen-year-old Mana Aquino and his family won the lottery to leave the barren Ghostlands for work in New Eden ten years ago. Comma He had no idea it would lead to the deaths of almost everyone he loved. Now he’s desperate to destroy the ruthless Bishop who murdered his sister and treats all Non-natives like slaves. When a monk plotting revolution tells Mana about Eve’s memory, he spies on her, fascinated, then makes a bold offer: he’ll bring illegal medicine to her brother, if she’ll serve as his human camera, gathering information that could bring down the Bishop in a world where technology is sacrilege. This ‘technology is sacrilege’ bit struck me as bit out of left field. Perhaps you could mention this in the first line of the query, when you bring up solar power?

 

If Eve accepts Mana’s offer, she’ll break almost every law she’s ever known, place her entire family in jeopardy, and become entangled in an uprising that could leave New Eden in ruins. If she says no, her brother as good as dead. GREAT STAKES! Although I could ask, what’s at stake for Mana? What does he stand to lose in this bargain? Normally I wouldn’t think it’s important but you have written the query letter from both of their POV’s. Though Eve knows better than to trust a savage outsider, something too powerful to name begins drawing her to the charismatic boy with the dark sun eyes. Dark sun eyes? Yeah, I want to read this.

 

Told by both Eve and Mana, The New Eden Chronicles is complete at 118,000 words. A post-apocalyptic coming-of-age story with cross-cultural romance at its heart, the novel combines the quiet intelligence of Matched with the Romeo-and-Juliet tension of Under the Never Sky. Yep, I really want to read this.

 

THANKS, Why the all capitals?
(Name redacted)

 

Well, there you have it. I was certainly helpful, wasn’t I? I bet you’re really happy you waited a month for this critique.

Posted in query critique, query letter, writing advice

6 Responses to Another near perfect query letter!

  1. Michelle:

    Actually, this crit is really helpful! I’ve written about 100 versions of this query but you have confirmed for me some things that seem to be working and some areas that could be fixed pretty easily. Thank you again for taking the time. It’s encouraging to see a positive reaction!! Good luck with your projects!! –Heather

  2. Jamie says:

    Hi! I’m new to this blog and was looking at your query critiques (very helpul!) but I was wondering if the author puts information about themself (is that a word?) in a query letter? Maybe you omit that for privacy reasons, but I was wondering if you have addressed that in a blog or if you have a foundation for how to write the portion that’s about yourself.
    Thank you!

    • Michelle Krys says:

      Yep! Right before the salutations you can include a short bio relevant to writing. So if you have short stories or magazine articles published or a degree in creative writing, yes definitely mention that. If your book is about astronauts and you’re an astronaut, definitely mention that too. But marital status, children, hobbies, place of employment if completely unrelated to writing or the book should be omitted. If you feel like you have nothing ‘writing related’ to include, go ahead and skip a bio. Hope that answers your question!

  3. Great job, Heather! This is super good and very well formed. I agree with Michelle that it’s mighty fine and gives me clues on how to revise my own. You rock as always, Michelle!

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