I am querying a novel, and use your blog as one of my main resources on querying etiquette.
I love the idea of starting the query with the character's name, but I'm having trouble figuring out how. My main character starts out as a number, and eventually earns her name (toward the end of my ms). I'm not sure if I should start the query out with "Agent 61825...", or if I should start out with her earned name, and go back to fill in the fact that she comes from a society where humans are given numbers, and not names.
I can almost hear the movie trailer voice over right now "In a world when humans have to earn their names...."
Starting a query with the character's name is my druthers not because the name is important. It's to prompt the writer to focus on writing a sentence that begins with what's important. In other words, to pry them out of backstory.
Sebastian Dieter set sail for the New World with his wife, three small children, everything he owned in the world, and a fierce and fervent hope for a better life.
(That's the start of a book I sold recently about the first non-English immigrant wave to the New World. It's a captivating and compelling story.)
That captures our interest much more quickly than: the first wave of German speaking immigrants began arriving in the New World in the 1730's. This is the story of one voyage that began in Rotterdam and ended in flames off the shore of Rhode Island.
What to call your name your name changing character at the start of the query is going to be discover by trial and error. Try something. If you like it, let it sit for a day, then look again. If you don't like it, try something else.
There is no right or wrong here despite my strangled yelps of outrage over at QueryShark. There is only effective and ineffective.
Your goal in a query is to do one thing: entice me to read on.