Sep 5, 2009

The Second Chance (1st Revision)

Click here to read the original query.

Dear Agent:

During the trip to redeem his past, Jerry learns two things: Debbie, the woman he loves, is dead and when she left him seven years ago, she was pregnant.

With the help of a kind school teacher named Amy Denner, Jerry meets his son, Jake. The moment is bittersweet as it’s revealed that the disease that took Debbie’s life has passed on to Jake. Jerry falls in love with Amy and learns to become a father to Jake, and just as everything appears to beginning to be normal, it all changes. On the same the day that Jerry was going to propose to Amy and Amy was going to announce her pregnancy, Jake’s disease takes over.

With Jake’s life in the balance and Jerry’s emotions tested again, he must find strength within himself to hold on to his second chance.

THE SECOND CHANCE is a 67,000 word novel that encompasses a personal journey that most of us take at least once in our lives. There is something in this story that will affect everyone in a different way. It may be the person who graduates college only to return home to find everything has changed. It may also be the person who has just sent their last child off to college and has to ask themselves, what’s next?

My short stories have appeared in such publications as The Piker Press and The Cynic Online Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I hope to hear from you soon.

Sincerely,

Jim Wisneski

5 comments:

Dominique said...

Much better.

RCWriterGirl said...

I really like what you did in this second letter. It's much better and really gets at the heart of the story.

Only two things to mention. Maybe I"m just colored by one of the recent queries I read, but, "During the trip to redeem his past" totally still makes me think time travel. I could be alone and crazy on this, but I'm putting it out there, in case I'm not. I stumbled over that phrasing. Though, everything after that part of the sentence worked for me.

Second. I didn't like all the exposition after the first sentence of the fourth paragraph (THE SECOND CHANCE...). I just kind of felt like I was a dead horse being beaten. I think one sentence can sum up that it's a universal story that everyone can relate to. We all make mistakes, and we'd all love a second chance at something. I'd use just the first sentence, then move onto your credentials.

Anyway, I thought this was a great improvement that really told us the meat of the story. So Kudos to you.

Natalie said...

Please take the below comments with a grain of salt - you don't have to listen to me or my suggestions because that's all they are.

Your book sounds really interesting, but I'm not really getting that from this query. Honestly, I think your first query was better.

I think there are too many characters named and too many details given. It's confusing to keep track of who is who. Pick the main characters and only use their names. I don't think we need to know Debbie's name, especially since she's dead. Also, I don't think the opening paragraph is catchy enough.

There is a wonderful website I found that will help you to write a hook. http://www.sff.net/people/alicia/arthot.htm

Begin with the hook, or hot premise, and then just give enough of the book to make people want to read more. Also, you need to say what genre this is, or at least what genre you think it is.

Example of a hook:

An out of work businessman goes looking for an old flame, but instead finds the life he never knew he wanted.

Or something.

Happy agent hunting!

TLH said...

In technical terms, this is better than your first one, but I have to make an honest observation here.

I don't care.

I want to, I really do, but so much time is spent explaining the situation that I get no sense of the emotional state of the characters, or anything that makes me able to relate to them. I think you had that part better the last time. I can't say that agents will feel the same way, but that was how it struck me.

Also, I'm not sure if I like the last paragraph, especially the sentence "There is something in this story that will affect everyone in a different way." Let the agent read your story, make them able to relate to it, and then they can make up his or her own mind. Every agent I have seen hates to be told how she should feel about a story.

But, at the same time, I appreciate the attempt to market the book and show its relevance... so I'm not sure how to fix that!

You're really on the right track! I love the story, sounds really beautiful. Good luck agent hunting!

~Tara

RCWriterGirl said...

I like Natalie's hook. A hook probably makes a stronger opening. And she's right in that you can probably omit Debbie's name.

But, overall, I think this query is more compelling than the first because it provides the story, and ends it with what's at stake: his chance at a second chance.