As ancient rules dictate, Not a great opening, as it's vague, but I'll take it for now. a sage sorceress Huh? I think I might know what you're getting at here, but "sage" as synonymous with "wise" is way too loose a connection for a query. Not everyone reads a shit ton of fringe spec-fic, and even if you're querying agents who mostly do, be careful. If you mean something else, well ... then I'm at a loss. must choose a female kin down her bloodline to inherit her powers before she dies. Well that's cool. More like this. When eighteen-year-old Jasmyn's grandmother passes away, SPOILER ALERT: PRO-TIP. Sorry for the ALL-CAPS, but this is where you should start your query. This is CHARACTER. CHARACTER is KEY. (Note: actually, all in all, this is SITUATION, but it's a better sense of character than your current world-building-based opening implies). This is also probably YA, but that's neither her nor there at this point. This is a much more money opening than what you have. it is eight-year-old Katarina who begins to display the gift of sorcery. This newest rejection proves Jasmyn's life-long claim that her family loves Katarina more than they love her, and instead of mourning with her family, she bears her grandmother’s death alone.
Okay. Several decent elements here. But it's all a bit muddled. Who's our protag? Focus on her. What's our inciting incident? Granny's passing? Revelation of the gift? The rejection?
One thing you really need to keep in mind when writing a query is: what's backstory and what's story? Backstory is important, of course, but it has much more place in the manuscript (where it still should barely linger) than it does in a query, which is to say: very little.
I can't tell, from this query so far, which is which.
After the funeral, menacing dragons appear along the west coast of California, Whatever you do, stop right now and read The Story of Owen. the same dragons Jasmyn's grandmother banished centuries ago. Patricia and Regina, two sage sorceresses I really need to know why these two very specific words are combined twice in one query. I consider myself well versed in fantasy, and I have no idea if you mean something more esoteric than "wise female magic user." from their grandmother’s coven, discover that Katarina accidentally read a spell from the Book of Whispers releasing the Gregorn Dragons from their prison. Since Katarina is the chosen one, Whoa. Okay, I suppose this was implied, but still, this is the little one? Can their names be more distinct? she is the only one who can stop them.
When Katarina’s magic fails, Why? How? the sage witches Now there are witches? Are they different from the sorceresses, but equally sage somehow? realize that Jasmyn had indeed shown signs of sorcery, but they were too focused on Katarina to notice. Somehow, their grandmother’s gift is split between both Katarina and Jasmyn, and now the two sisters must work together to destroy the dragons. And ... sadly, now you're in synopsis territory. This is just TMI for a query letter.
Google "Matthew MacNish Queries" and you'll find a bunch of posts in which I break down the key elements. You're over-length here, probably, already, but even if you weren't, this is already too elaborate.
There's just one problem - Jasmyn ran away when a feud earlier Huh? "When a feud earlier?" No. Watch your syntax. That makes no sense. had the entire family pinned against her, shunning her from her home. Now, Patricia and Regina Who are these characters again? You have too many names in this query. are in a race to get to Jasmyn before the dragons get to her first. The Gregorn The which Dragons? Specificity is always great, IF it makes sense to the readers. Randomly naming dragon phylums or whatever this is ... is, unfortunatley, still just vague. Dragons have magic of their own and can sense the division of power between the two sisters. Good, but too late. They know the two fledgling witches are the only ones who can stop them, and they want them eliminated. Stakes? Maybe, but after this much query, we don't care about the Dragons, we CARE about the girls.
Can Jasmyn and Katarina reunite in time to stop the Gregorn Dragons from destroying mankind? Can Jasmyn put her pain and resentment aside to wield their grandmother's magic? The bond of sisterhood is strong, but so are powers of darkness.
Hmm. This isn't terrible as a wrap-up/sadistic choice line, but so much of this information is so disjointed from the main body of the query, let's summarize ...
Thank you for your time and consideration.
In summary: this IS an improvement, Tanya, don't get me wrong. It really does cover all the basics. It's just that WHEN it covers them, and HOW, are still a bit of a mess.
First of all, your story section, the most important part of the query, is 303 words long. That isn't astronomically high, but it is a bit long, and worse, in the amount of words you've used, you didn't tell us very much. Or rather, you told us a bunch, but didn't make much cohesive sense from one element to the next.
Try to be more specific. Specific as to CHARACTER, as to CONFLICT, as to SCENE, SCENARIO, SETUP, PLOT, and STAKES. I know that's a lot to cover in 250 words, but people pull it off all the time. Read their examples. See if it helps you find your own.
What do you all think? Would you disagree on anything?