Meet my Hatchet of Death. 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 me an email.
The first line of a query is your hook, and it really needs to work. You want it to punch your reader 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 intimidated by my blade, 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 human side of Carla Dubrov wants two things: save Jason D’Cartey and silence her Shadow self forever. The Shadow within her also wants two things: off the bastard and shut her human side up for good.
The only reason Carla—all of her—still breathes is because of Jason’s brother’s sacrifice. Had he not given his life to save hers two hundred years ago, Carla’s father would have killed her—both of her—for falling in love with a Luminary, for betraying her kind.
Between the two, Carla’s human side has the tougher mission. She’s up against the assassins her soulless -ruthless-killer of a father sends to eliminate Jason, son of his sworn enemy. Up against Jason’s mistrust, which makes keeping his ungrateful, perfect butt alive difficult. and her freaking feelings for him —yep, that happened—, which makes all of the above and life itself, well … pretty darn impossible. And dear Lord … the voice in her head that won’t stop yammering, making her doubt her sanity every step of the way. This gets too chatty towards the end, hence my cuts.
Her Shadow’s mission, piece of cake. Screw with the bitch’s head what bitch? —because that’s what a Shadow does, gets inside a pitiful human’s head. Seize control—because once you’re in, you’re in control,
and once in control you can get the sniveling little thing do whatever the hell you want. Help get lover boy is that Jason? killed—because that’s what it’ll take to rip her human side to shreds and put her who her? Her human self? six feet under once and for all. Reunite with her beloved father—because he’s the only one who truly appreciates her need to murder. Kill everyone in their path to absolute power—because absolute power means control over the humans, whom the Luminaries are sworn to protect.
If her human side fails, farewell redemption. If her Shadow side succeeds, welcome WWIII. Human suffering, misery, perfect paradise.
So may her best self win.
This isn’t bad at all. I would say that you need to be clearer about a few things, mostly who the bitch is in the fourth para, although I believe it’s her own human self, but I’m not sure? Taking that approach is probably too confusing for a query, so I’d advise finding a different way to phrase that fourth para. I’d also advise taking out the bitch reference. The novel itself might have that language, but it stands out in the query and pulled me out for a second.