My first query ever. Feel free to tear it apart and tell me how to improve it:
Sixteen year old Yuri Haibara has always dreamed of being a Magical Girl, fighting Darklings, the minions of the dark God Izanagi. No amount of magical power, however, can fix her depression, her mother's alcoholism or her father's affairs. With every passing day Nodoka Himeji, her girlfriend and sister in battle, grows more distant and when Yuri meets the handsome Demon Katou a series of murders unfolds and she starts seeing a pattern - each victim is a Magical Girl. Can Yuri protect the people that are close to her, take care of her younger brother and still fight a losing battle? Shadows, Demons and renegade Magical Girls roam the streets of Tokyo, and its all up to her to prevent the oncoming catastrophe, for if she succeeds, the Goddess of light Izanami will grant her greatest wish.
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The first sentence is a great start. Consider rewording for simplification and punch. "Has always" is kind of redundant, for example. Absolute modifiers, "always," "No amount," "every," "it's all up to," while useful voice qualities, when used repeatedly blunt their impact.
Yuri's ennui issues while empathy-worthy suggest to me the novel might favor those family issues. If the novel's focus is Yuri's dream of becoming a Magical Girl and the forces opposing her desire, stay on them solely for the query.
"And when Yuri meets," conjunction sentences serve as methods for expressing stream of consciousness. Run-on sentences used when there's little rhetorical purpose fall flat.
"Can Yuri protect the people that are close to her, take care of her younger brother and still fight a losing battle?" Rhetorical questions in a query posed directly suggest that the novel will have an abundance of them. A concern with rhetorical questions is they pose dramatic questions readers should be asking on their own. That's what suspense is. Frankly, I think that sentence is already asked by the balance of the pitch
However, what the oncoming catastrophe is is a generic description when I think specifity is called for. The end of the Magical Girls?
Dark God Izanagi and light Goddess Izanami have close visual and sound qualities. While they are appropriate to the setting, they will be easily confused in readers' minds.
The novel's several supporting dramatic complications may add escalating tension value for the novel, but I suggest focusing on the main dramatic complication for the query. Since that appears to me to be Yuri's want to become a Magical Girl and forces opposing that, stay with that.
I understand Izanami and Izanagi are nonnegotiable. However, consider artful ways to reference them frequently, give them nicknames or translations that Yuri might use for them when speaking to gaikokujin or gaikoku no kata. Try for readily recognizable but glorious, artful variety. Your readers will appreciate it.
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It starts out good, but loses focus. I'm sure your story is complex and has a lot of characters and plot turns, but in the query letter you really need to focus on the core of the story and leave all subplots and minor characters out.
What you need is who is the main character (which you have), what does she/he want (which I think you have too), what stands in her way (antagonist which I don't see here) and what are the stakes or what happens if she/he fails to meet his/her goals (which isn't here either).
I'll try to clarify this below.
quote:Sixteen year old Yuri Haibara has always dreamed of being a Magical Girl, fighting Darklings, the minions of the dark God Izanagi. This is a good start. I know who the MC is and what she wants. I'd like some hint of setting. Right now it feels like second world fantasy in an asian setting, but I'm not sure. No amount of magical power, however, can fix her depression, her mother's alcoholism or her father's affairs. I think this is good too. It kind of hints that this is what she really wants. She thinks she wants to be a Magic Girl, but really she wants to help herself and her family.With every passing day Nodoka Himeji, her girlfriend and sister in battle, grows more distantCut this. Nodoka may be an important character in the story, but she is only distracting here. Nothing in the rest of the query has anything to do with her and when Yuri meets the handsome Demon Katou Is Katou the antagonist? Love interest? you don't expand much on him either. Maybe he isn't necessary either in the query a series of murders unfolds and she starts seeing a pattern - each victim is a Magical Girl. This is where I get confused. Is this story about Yuri becoming a Magical Girl, fighting darklings, or solving a murder. If the magic girls fight against a dark god and his minnions, is it really that surprising that the magical girls are being targeted and murdered? This is where we need focus. What is the main story line? Can Yuri protect the people that are close to her, take care of her younger brother her younger brother is kind of thrown in here. What does he have to do with the murders of Magical Girls. I'm guessing he's not a Magical Girl. and still fight a losing battle? What battle, and why is it a losing battle? Shadows, Demons and renegade Magical Girls roam the streets of Tokyo, and its all up to her to prevent the oncoming catastrophe, for if she succeeds, the Goddess of light Izanami will grant her greatest wish.But what happens if she fails. It's great that she gets her greatest wish if she succeeds, but that doesn't provide any tension. You want to end with some hint of conflict to get the reader to want to find out what happens. You need to focus on what happens if she fails not succeeds
I think what you have is a complex story, and you are trying to get too much of it in which makes the query a little confusing. Just focus on the main plot and a few key characters so that we can get idea of what this story is really about.
Yuri wanting to become a Reconized Magical Girl to me seems like a great opening want, where the narrative might begin. Then after a bit of trouble she becomes one, then it's game on saving the Magical Girls from extinction, a potent and escalating opposition to Yuri's initial want. Both public and private stakes that way. Not only is Yuri's future at stake, all Magical Girls' futures are at stake. The public stakes pose Yuri being selfless for a greater good, and all the while going through initiation into adulthood, which is the young adult literature convention.
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