These are not my current workable drafts. These are just in case someone wanted to see an example of the editing I've already done:
Jack Kenning believes he suffers from the same mental illness that took his mother’s life. He’s almost entirely forgotten the three years that he knew his friend Anna, and any attempts to remember just leave him wracked with pain. Convinced that an adventure is better for his mental health than another year of pre-law, Jack steals his father’s convertible prepared to rely on his natural talent for persuasion to cross the country.
Then a vagabond named Roach appears in Jack’s passenger seat with an outlandish claim: Anna sent him to recruit Jack into a quest to bring magic back into the world. He insists that Jack’s ability to convince anyone of anything with a few sentences is actually a powerful Talent; a remnant of the magic which once flowed freely, and one of the keys to restoring it.
Roach lights a cigarette, vanishes, and appears several feet away holding Jack’s keys and wallet, proving that Talents exist. Jack’s headaches return with force, convincing him that his memory loss and magic are somehow connected. As Jack begins to realize his companions are also ignorant of the secrets behind their Talents, they’re discovered and pursued by hunters willing to kill them on sight for their abilities.
Worse, as the Talented gather, the suppressed magic left in the world becomes unpredictable. When Jack uses his Talent to pretend to be homeland security in order to get out of a speeding ticket, the homes and businesses of the nearby town actually begin to burst into flame, proving his claims of terrorism true. Confronted with the gravity of these unexplained powers, Jack must tackle the question of what the world will become if his group succeeds in bringing magic back, and whether the answers he seeks are worth that danger.
Magica Americana (XXX,XXX words) is a new adult fantasy novel. Thank you for your time and consideration.
See, way too much detail. Most of it is distracting, and not very focused on what matters to the story.
But then look at this draft:
Jack Kenning is recruited to bring magic back into the modern world by his old best friend, Anna. She’s the only person who knows about his talent; the ability to convince anyone of anything. However, any request of hers is suspicious: Jack has lost most of his memory of the three years they spent together, and even that he had a talent at all.
Per Anna’s direction, Jack crosses the United States gathering allies, but none of them will come clean about what is waiting at the end of the quest. The more he learns about magic on the way, the more his head aches. Jack questions whether Anna is keeping him ignorant to protect him from the curse which he believes stripped his memories, or from her ulterior motives.
The limited magic Jack and his allies can employ is their only defense against the hunters, a group willing to kill to prevent the resurgence of magic. These talents become increasingly dangerous and unpredictable as their group grows until even a small lie is powerful enough to set an innocent town ablaze.
Confronted with the side-effects of these talents, Jack must envision what the world will become if the talented succeed in bringing magic back, and whether the answers and power he seeks are worth those consequences.
I edited the very soul out of it! Reading that version bored me to tears, and I knew I had to start from scratch in order to bring the life back into the query. Fingers crossed you all like my official draft best!
These were examples. These are not workable drafts.