I know this isn't the best draft, but someone told me my old query letter was terrible, and I just want some advice on what I can do with the new one. Thank you everyone!
Dear (agent's name),
Rafe, an eighteen-year-old Nephilim I know what a nephilim is, because I watch the show Supernatural, but I wouldn't count on everyone else knowing, so you might add a clarifier that he's half-angel, half-human, decides to take matters into his own hands after the Angels have given up on his missing brother, Caleb. His plan to infiltrate the Plague - a physical manifestation of the disease What do you mean THE disease? Bubonic plague? Or just disease in general? - is the only way he can think of to find his lost brother, the only known enemy to the Nephilim. Couple things: One, you need a stronger hook than this. Maybe start by playing around with the inciting incident. So if, hypothetically, the story gets kicked off by Rafe's angel parent showing up and being like, "Yo, your brother is super hard to find, and also a jerk, so we're done, and you should be too," maybe start the hook as something like, "Rafe's sleep was interrupted by the appearance of his father, Steve the Angel, who informed him the agents of Heaven were done searching for Rafe's missing brother Caleb." Hypothetically. Because I'm sure that's how angels talk in your story, and I'm sure there's one with the classic angel name of Steve. Moving on. Anyway, what I just wrote isn't even a great hook because it's got three character names in it, and that can be pretty overwhelming for a reader. But hopefully you get what I'm trying to show you, of start playing around with making a hook based off your inciting incident and see where that takes you.
My other point that I wanted to make about this opening paragraph is that I'm super confused. Why does he think infiltrating the Plague will help him find Caleb? I still don't really get what the Plague is, either. And why does he want to find Caleb if Caleb is Nephilim Enemy #1? For that matter, why is Caleb Nephilim Enemy #1? And I was kinda assuming Caleb was a nephilim himself, although I suppose they could be half-brothers. Oh, and why have the Angels given up? You know the context for all these things, but we don't.
Madeleine, another Nephilim at the compound Compound? What compound?, is willing to stay by his side as he searches, and they both band with the rest of the Nephilim If all of the Nephilim are helping, then I'm not seeing why Madeleine is singled out. I mean, obviously she's a main character, we can't see WHY that is right now and Fallen Angels And, whoa, they're partnering with Fallen Angels? But aren't they baddies? to exterminate the Plague Why are we exterminating the Plague? I didn't get a sense that it was necessarily evil, just a thing. And again, this falls into not really understanding what it is. You say it's a physical manifestation, but what does that actually mean? As a person? A building? A weird cloud?, not knowing that they are the ones that have stolen Caleb Who is "they" here? Fallen Angels? The Plague? And since when was Caleb stolen? Also, is this something the characters only find out later in the book? Because if so, we probably don't need it revealed here. Their Guardian duties Whose Guardian duties? And what are Guardian duties? require them to eliminate the threat - the Plague kill humans for them to transform into more Plague Again, I don't have a clear idea of what the Plague is, although now I'm starting to think it's a group of people. Madeleine finds her own lead in a
church’s priest, though she is unaware that Jonathan Who's Jonathan? is Death and the reason the Plague exists. Jonathan is a fearful creature, and is leading himself on to his own death Well, if he's going to die, then is that really a problem?, but Madeleine’s fire is something that interests him more than dying. So, first paragraph makes me think that Rafe is our main character, but we never get his name in this paragraph, and in fact he completely disappears by the end, and we're focused on what Madeleine is doing. So who's the main character, Rafe or Madeleine? If they both kinda share equal billing in the story, then still just pick one and stick to it.
The Reaping THE REAPING is a 100,000 word young adult I'm a person who writes big fat books. And I'm a person who reads big fat books. So I'm not going to tell you that your book is too long. But I will just give you a heads-up that 100,000 words is a bit of a honker for YA. And that'll probably make agents less likely to bite. So just be aware fantasy novel . It is the first in a trilogy, but it can work as a standalone if need be. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.