Hello! I would love some impartial advice on the status of my query. So far so good? What's working? What's not? Thank you in advance!!!
Silence has a sound. It happens when chaos becomes frightfully still and all to be heard is a pulsating sonic-pitched ring. This is what Faye Hex is taunted with just seconds after making a life-and-death decision in the paranormal and romantic young adult novel THE CITY’S WHISPERS.
As a young orphan, Faye Hex is targeted by cruel bullies at the Hillbrooks Orphanage. Her one ray of light, an older boy devoted to keeping her safe, is Troy Tucker. The two bond over their unique ability to visit Nasper, an abandoned city where malevolent Black Banshees lurk. In a cruel twist of fate, Faye is left devastated when both Troy and her ability to visit the city are ripped away.
Faye spends seven lonely years trying to survive without her best friend. Now, at age eighteen with nowhere to go, she takes on a job at the orphanage. To several young orphans, she becomes all that she never had: a housekeeper, a tutor, a cook and a mother.
When a terrible fire consumes the orphanage, Faye prepares to take on life alone. However, in the midst of a world darkened by pandemonium and dread, her ray of light finds his way back to her. With Troy by her side, a desperate need to uncover all of the Nasper’s secrets sparks deep within her. Questions assail, but Troy is keeping the answers locked tightly behind his teeth in order to protect her from its evil underbelly. Between the Black Banshees who are fixated on wanting vicious retribution and abusive adoptive parents, Faye wants nothing more than to fight as a team for their survival. But, how long can Troy withhold the truth when the powerful couple begin to witness both worlds collide?
THE CITY’S WHISPERS is a paranormal young adult novel, complete at 94,500 words. With your interest in suspenseful young adult romances with strong voices, I know you and your agency will be passionate about representing this project. Its sequel is well underway! This project is a seamless blend of the dark, twisted tone in Frostblood and the tender, yet raw passion found in Haven by Mary Lindsey. Per your submission guidelines, the first ten pages have been double spaced and pasted below. Upon your request, I will be more than happy to provide you with more sample chapters or the completed manuscript.
I am a young adult writer from the Bay Area who believes in the power and magic of unpredictable storytelling. I am a fourth grade teacher by day and a YA fiction writer by night. Aside from writing, I like to spend my time knitting, drawing, taking photographs, and discovering new romantic stories. I greatly appreciate your time and consideration.
Very much appreciated,
Hi yawriter! As I read your query, I'm making notes on each paragraph.
1. The first two sentences are beautiful and intriguing, but they don't shed any light on what your story is about. I think you could combine what you have there into the current third sentence, and make a stronger hook. For example (this is just an idea): "Faye Hex is taunted with the sound of silence..." You don't need to mention your novel's title or genre in the opening paragraph. Most writers put that at the end, along with your bio. That being said, your title is quite intriguing.
2. You have a lot of passive voice. "Faye is taunted by... Faye is targeted by bullies..." Your writing will engage the reader more if you use the active voice, so it seems that Faye is doing these things, not simply letting them happen to her. What's more, the first two sentences here read like backstory. Why are Faye and Troy the only two who can visit the city? Why would they want to go there, if the Black Banshees are so malevolent? If Troy's death/disappearance is the inciting event in your story, I would start with that. Show how devastated she is at his loss.
3. Oh, so that all happened in the past and now she's working at the orphanage where she grew up. I like the backstory you've given her - it shows a well-developed, complex character, but I think you could work in the fact that she works here in a different way. Typically, you can't fit four summary paragraphs in a query letter.
4. So the orphanage burns down? What happens to the orphans? Can she save any of them? Do they die? I don't understand how Troy relates to the orphanage plot. The "questions assail..." sentence confused me. What has the evil underbelly? Against whom do the Black Banshees want retribution? About what exactly does Troy hold the truth? What are the two worlds you mention? I know it's tough, but I'd try making these more specific without giving away the whole plot.
5. I'd avoid saying that you're certain any agency will be passionate about a project, or that you're working on a sequel. I admit that I'm not familiar with this genre, so I can't say if your story reminds me of the books you've chosen for comp titles. You also don't need to say that you've followed the submission guidelines; agents will assume you've followed their directions. In fact, I think you could get rid of this entire paragraph.
6. Bio: I like the first sentence in your bio. I don't think you need to mention your occupation or other interests.
Sorry if any of that came off as harsh! I can tell that you're passionate about this story. I've found writing the query to be more difficult than writing the novel. Don't give up! Clarify the main parts of your story here, and the reader will be more likely to want to read more of your story.
I hope that helped! :)