My Query Do-Over

When I started sending out queries last month,  I thought my query was pretty good.  Now after being on Twitter and reading literary agents’ blogs and tweets, I’m rethinking how good I thought it was.

*KICKS SELF IN LEG FOR NOT REVISING QUERY EARLIER*

I read agents’ blogs about queries they receive and what they’re looking for in a stand-out query in terms of plot description, and I immediately think about the mistakes I made in mine and slap myself in the forehead.

The following is the original I sent to agents with my comments on how I could improve it.

Strange things have been brewing in the shadows of Salem, Massachusetts for years and they are about to come out in the open.

Eden Sera has spent her life with her head down trying to get through high school as painlessly as possible.  But when she starts to hear voices she realizes she isn’t that girl anymore.  She’s a Halfling, a person with angel or demon bloodlines.  Every Halfling has different powers; some can teleport while others are clairvoyant.  Watching over the Halflings are Guardians, older Halflings born to protect and guide the younger generation.

COMMENTS: How is her hearing voices relevant to her finding out she’s a Halfling?  Why are these voices important?

Soon Eden realizes she lives in a world she never knew existed.  A world of magic and supernatural creatures that roam the streets seemingly unnoticed by humans.  Eden learns that she’s different from anyone else in this world, more different than any other Halfling because she has two bloodlines: one angel and one demon.  Not just any demon either: a succubus.

COMMENTS: How are these supernatural creatures able to go unnoticed?  How does her being half-angel and half-demon make her unique from other Halflings?  Why is it important, and is there significance to her being a succubus?

As Eden struggles to gain control over her new abilities and adjust to her new life, a teacher is found murdered with demon blood in his office.  Now Eden and her friends are on a mission to uncover the mystery behind the murder.  What they don’t realize is that they’re about to dig up the secrets hiding in the town.  Secrets involving a demon named Wishmaker, a portal to hell, and Eden.

CONCLUDING COMMENTS: The query could use with some more meaty description to make this more of a stand-out.

That in mind, I revised the description to the following:

Eden Sera realized her seventeenth birthday would be different the moment her English teacher turned into a demon and sparks flew out of Eden’s fingers.

On her seventeenth birthday, Eden not only finds out that she’s adopted but that she’s a Halfling, a person with angel or demon bloodlines.  Most Halflings have one parent who is an angel or a demon, and one human parent.  Every Halfling has different powers; some can teleport while others can invade dreams.  Watching over Halflings are Guardians, older Halflings born to protect and guide the younger generation.  After Eden’s English teacher incident, Paul Sprig, the school’s guidance counselor, reveals he’s her Guardian sent to take her to live with other Halflings in Salem.

Soon Eden realizes she lives in a world she never knew existed.  A world of magic and supernatural creatures that roam the streets protected by glamour, a magic that allows them to hide their true selves.  Eden learns that she’s different from anyone else in this world, more different than any other Halfling because her father is an angel and her mother a demon.  Being half-angel and half-demon gives Eden more power and also attracts individuals with supernatural abilities, “supes”, to her, curious that an angel-demon Halfling exists when most are thought dead.

As Eden struggles to gain control over her new abilities and adjust to her new life, a teacher is found murdered with demon blood in his office.  Now Eden and her friends are on a mission to uncover the mystery behind the murder.  What they don’t realize is that they’re about to dig up the secrets hiding in the town.  Secrets involving a wish-granting demon, a portal to hell, and Eden.

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