Okay, I've put this off for days, but I'm setting my fear aside and posting my query for critique. I need help. I've written many drafts and this is the best one. But if I'm totally off the mark with this one I have a few other options if I need to do something different. Here goes nothing...
Dear Agent, <--Perhaps put a colon (:) instead (it's preferred, apparently).
Sixteen year old Syndle Baxter never dreamed of being in a magical rowboat, hurtling at breakneck speed across the Atlantic Ocean
, while holding with a jar full of green fire in her lap. But ever since befriending William, a wizard apprentice, her life has become…interesting. I actually like this hook, although introducing (hinting) at a main conflict might be your best bet. Instead of introducing simply the catalyst. That normally comes a little later.
It’s an exciting change from her mundane days on The Isle, a magical place hidden in the Atlantic Ocean, where she is destined to be in the background for the rest of her life because, she isn’t a wizard. After embarking on a quest with William, to help find his missing mentor, Syndle discovers her strength and value while enjoying the adventure and challenge she’s been craving. This paragraph felt rushed and lacked a catalyst. We just jumped right in. It also felt a little...summarized. I want to know so much more. What is she if not a wizard? How did she befriend William? How did she feel about that? Why did she decide to go on the quest? Does she like him? Expand more and try to make it sound less like a synopsis. :)
But every quest has an end. When Syndle returns home and attempts to open a business with William, <-- Random! all her dreams <-- Her dreams? What do you mean? threaten to crash around her when society, including her own parents, try to stop her pursuits. <-- Why? What's so wrong about it? It doesn’t help that a crazy druid is on the loose, Again, a little random. Did it escape with Syndle and William? determined to destroy Syndle, all because she defeated him once without using any magic at all. Yet again, random.
William is convinced of Syndle’s worth but she struggles to prove it to everyone else, including herself, all while trying to stay alive.
, a story about bravery, friendship, and standing up against convention, is a young adult light fantasy adventure novel for young adult readers complete at 91,000 words.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
The third paragraph is giving me the most fits.
Note: No bio, because I have no credentials of any kind and this is my first novel. Is that best? Should I mention this is my first novel, or is that obvious because I left out a bio? It's not obvious if you leave out a bio. You can say that your a novice, though...I've seen it done as posted and pointed out by actual agents on their blogs, for example. So, I think it's okay to mention that (making sure that the your target agents are accepting novice novelists first) and keep that section brief. It is NOT safe to say that you have no creds, though. Leave that out entirely.
Thanks in advance for any help, comments, and critique you are willing to give me. I will try my best to return the favor...although I'm super new at this.
I think this is good for your first time. The concept of the story seems interesting but you didn't quite sell that for me in the query letter. Try to state key things up front so that when you mention them later on it doesn't seem random. For example, when you said that all her dreams were collapsing, I had no idea whatsoever that she had a dream to...open her own business? Keep things flowy and concise and focused on the main conflict.
1) Hook (which encompasses the main conflict);
2) Premise (a little bit about who the main character is before the catalyst);
3) The catalyst that leads us to the main conflict (maybe some more character--with emotion--and breif world building);
4) The main conflict (with some world building--keep it brief);
5) The main character's goal with obstacles; and then,
6) The stakes! Gotta have those. What will happen if the MC (main character) doesn't achieve said goal? Basically, why should I care if she does or not?
And that's it. Everything else is secondary and needs to be removed. This query letter is merely an introduction. You need to just tantalize our taste buds, get us craving the full. Meaning, you need to expand on a few things but don't overdue it. Just include those key things in as little words as possible and you're golden. :)
Keep at it! Hope I was of some help here.