I’ve said it before. Query writing is challenging. I wrote another draft of my query letter for The Lesser Betrayal about a month ago, and sat on it without looking at it. I wanted some distance before I looked at it again. Distance is helpful for gaining perspective.
I’ve revised this thing hundreds of times. It’s hard work that takes a lot of thought and care. Words are a premium. Every word in a query needs to count.
When I read it again earlier this week, I was surprised to discover I liked it. I mean I really liked it. It’s short. It shows who the main character is. It shows what she wants. It shows who or what is blocking her. It gives the stakes by showing what she must sacrifice.
The paragraphs about the story are 213 words. The bio line is 29 words. The title and word count line is 12 words.
So, here it is. All 254 words of it.
Long ago, Ashura’s ancestors were cursed with mortality. Now, Tellia is a world divided between mortals and immortals. But divisions among the mortals also run deep.
Ashura is a mortal who is training to be a warrior. Like all women in the Queendom of Hoqra, she has trained since childhood to guard her home from the mortal kingdoms that want to destroy the only land where women rule. When her older sister is killed in an invasion, Ashura’s one desire is to protect the family she has left.
But Ashura is torn away from her family when she’s claimed by the powerful Order of Shifqu and forced to leave Hoqra. The master who claims her teaches Ashura another way to protect her family. If she can help the Order break the curse of mortality, she’ll do more than protect them: she’ll save her family from death.
Attempting to end the curse, the Order of Shifqu sends Ashura to kill the latest-born immortal princess. Ashura fails and is captured. Instead of being executed, Ashura is shown such kindness that she questions both her mission and her definition of family.
Now, Ashura must choose which family she will betray. Her only path back to Hoqra begins with murdering the princess she has come to love.
I am a member of SCBWI, and an active participant in a writer critique group. I attended the Midwest Writers Workshop at Ball State University in 2014 and 2015.
The Lesser Betrayal is a young adult high fantasy at 109,600 words.
It might need some minor tweaking, but it seems query letters always do. If you have any suggestions for improvement, I’d love to hear them.