Question: I know the first four words are a mouthful to describe my protagonist, but I don’t want to explain the eight different cohorts with unnecessary backstory. I mention Golden Eagle cohort solely to help explain the title. Is it worth mentioning?
Dear Query Shark,
Golden Eagle cohort freshman Niall Lewis is in the high school of his dreams until a glitch in his first virtual reality class threatens everything he has earned. The glitch prevents him from receiving the high ranks necessary to stay enrolled and when he tries to get help from the school he is warned to keep silent or be expelled.
By ranks do you mean grades or marks? Even if you use ranks in the book it will help you here to use grades or marks because your reader will know what you mean without having to stop and think about it. Ranking and ranks mean different things, and I paused at "ranks" to make sure I understood what you meant. That is NOT something you want me doing here.
Niall chooses to keep silent because going home means failure. Things only get worse when he is accused of cheating in a league quest. Niall’s league rank suffers even though he is cleared when an equipment malfunction is found.
And here you use rank in what seems like a different way than you use it above. I'm following what you're talking about but my confidence in the clarity of your writing is taking a beating. Again, NOT what you want.
Exhausted from doing the work of two people just to stay enrolled, helping his league move back up in the ranking, being taunted by rival league bullies, and under pressure from his family, he finally breaks his silence. Barely avoiding expulsion, a series of events leads to the discovery of a secret file on a terminated neurological program that explains the origination of his glitch. In the wrong hands, this hidden technology could have nefarious consequences for the world.
Where did this "work of two people" come from?
You're using league here in a way that is different to my eye from the precediing paragraph.
I'm all in favor of nefarious consequences, but honestly, they have to be consequences for Niall to count as what's at stake here.
Knowing that exposing the glitch is no longer just about rank or enrollment, Niall must take matters into his own hands. With no one willing to listen, he devises a plan to keep his place at the school, help his friends, and stop the mastermind behind the insidious scheme.
Insididious schemes are even better than nefarioius consequences! These are the only phrases with zip and vitality. The rest feels mushy.
SILENT GOLDEN EAGLE is an 83,000 word YA novel with sci-fi fantasy elements.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
To answer your question: you don't need to use anything in the query that will explain the title. We're used to not knowing what a title means until we're knee-deep in the book.
But the problem here isn't how you describe Niall, or the title. The problem is there's nothing at stake for Niall, and I'm pretty confused about what's going on.
If you find yourself needing a paragraph to exlain a sentence, you've got the wrong sentence.