This query critique looks at a YA Fantasy novel and discusses the order in which one should present the parts of the pitch.
Dear Literary Agent,
I am submitting for your review my 75,000 word Young Adult Fantasy manuscript. The working title is Out of the After. This is my personal preference, but I like to put the novel details after the pitch. Either place you put it, you need to clean this up: OUT OF THE AFTER is a standalone 75,000 word young adult fantasy novel with series potential.
In present day Kozott, known to its inhabitants as the In-Between, (maybe just pick one name to ground the reader) seventeen year old (hyphenate) Phie is training with the other Innocent to prove she can become a Guardian.
But can she overcome the debilitating visions plaguing her without attracting the Darkness, risking her own training in the process? I wouldn’t recommend asking questions here. You need to hook the reader, but this almost reads like your stakes. We aren’t ready for them yet because we haven’t been told the plot. There is a balance that must be maintained, a balance between the light and the dark and the Guardians help keep that balance. Nestled between the Now, home to the humans and the After, where the essence of light is protected, lies the In-Between. <<Okay, I feel like THIS is your first sentence with some minor tweaking: Nestled between the Now, home to the humans and the After, where the essence of light is protected, lies the In-Between, home to Innocents like seventeen-year-old Phie training in hopes of becoming a Guardian. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT Training ground to the Innocent who are transported from the After in hopes to become Guardians. Once awoken the Innocent are shaped and molded by the Keepers to unlock their abilities and become protectors of the Now. Maybe rephrase this and combine with : Molded by Keepers to protect the Now, Phie must overcome her own self-doubt or risk scrubbing out and being returned to the After and the blinding light of non-existence. OR SOMETHING… Phie is an Innocent, training with the others of her kind to prove that she has what it takes. < She is desperate to fly under the radar and work as hard as she can, but if she can’t overcome her own self-doubt then she will be returned to the After, to the blinding light of non-existence. <>When Phie excels in her training she draws the attention of her fellow trainees, jealous of her rising position of favor. < To complicate matters (comma) worse she begins to have having visions of a distressed woman sucking Phie’s essence into the Now. As Phie tries to help the woman the Darkness that plagues the humans of the Now (what if you said …Darkness that plagues humans in the Now instead) have their eyes set on her, jeopardizing everything she has worked for. Raise those stakes! What happens to her and the woman? You mention another innocent in the beginning, but don’t talk about them again. Who does she work with? Does she meet this woman she has visions of and attempt to help her? If so, give us her name and go into some details of her and Phie trying to figure out whatever the mission is.
Remember, your query should give us the hook, pitch, and stakes in that order.
Out of the After (<–ALL CAPS!) is my first manuscript. If you move your book details to the end, you’d put them before the previous sentence.
and my hope is to continue the story into a series. I am glad to send you my complete manuscript for your review. Thank you so much for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you.
Revise and resubmit if interested! I’m curious to know more.