Meet my Hatchet of Death (or, some other colorful description RC Lewis and I come up with at any given moment). This is how I edit myself, it is how I edit others. If you think you want to play with me and my hatchet, shoot us an email.
We all know the first line of a query is your “hook.” I call the last line the “sinker.” You want it to punch them in the face, in a nice, friendly kind of way that makes them unable to forget you after having read the 300 other queries in their inbox.
If you’re looking for query advice, but are slightly intimidated by my claws, blade, or just my rolling googly-eyes, check out the query critique boards over at AgentQueryConnect. This is where I got my start, with advice from people smarter than me. Don’t be afraid to ask for help with the most critical first step of your writing journey – the query. My comments appear in green.
The absence of a war does not guarantee the existence of peace. This is a decent hook. It has my interest.
At first glance, Tymeria is a kingdom of beautiful wineries, fair maidens, and noble knights. But beneath its beautiful vineyards is a graveyard. A graveyard for the nonhuman races and any human who dares to help them. In Tymeria, the only good elf is a dead elf. I like it.
Eighteen-year-old Jevan once thought he had no family. Fourteen years ago, because of the echo from the previous age reference I would rephrase with “At the age of four” he woke
up abandoned with nothing but the memory of his own name. Now, his family’s use “family is” a band of mercenaries known as the Knightmares. It’s not a desirable life – assassinations, theft, a bit of butchery, bodyguard service – but a man’s got to eat.
When the Knightmares receive a request from a wealthy family to rescue a young girl from rival mercenaries, they assume it’s just another job. At first, all goes well. However, the kidnappers
weren’t mercenaries, but are members of Tymeria’s religious military organization: the Paladins. And the damsel-in-distress is really part of a rare nonhuman race with the ability to transform into a deadly humanoid wolf creature – a wolfborn.
With vengeful paladins hunting them, and the wolfborn’s presence generating a debate that may tear them apart, the fate of the Knightmares hangs perilously in the balance
more than ever before. Because they know the facts – any one of them can be killed at any time. Well, technically this is true of all of us, at all times. Why is their situation different? Killed by who? The wolf born? The paladins? Each other?
Told through several alternating viewpoints, KNIGHTMARE is a New Adult Fantasy novel of 90,000 words with a George R. R. Martin-esque narrative and a unique twist on the werewolf genre.
Overall I think this is a good query. Adjust for some of the awkward phrasing and clear up the vagueness at the end, and I think you’re in pretty good shape.