Sep 9, 2009

THE SECOND CHANCE (2nd revision)

Click here to read the original query.
Click here to read the first revision.

Okay - first, thank you to everyone who has been helping me work with this query. I feel like it is getting better each time I post it.

Dear Agent:

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

With the help of a teacher named Amy, Jerry meets his son, Jake. They look alike but Jake inherited something from his mother – the disease that took her life.
Jerry falls in love with Amy and learns to become a father and just as everything appears to be normal, it all changes on the same day that Jerry is going to propose to Amy and Amy is going to announce her pregnancy.
Jake’s disease takes over and with his 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 lease once in our lives.

My short stories have appeared in such publications as The Pike Press, Bright Light Café, and the Cynic Online Magazine.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Jim Wisneski


Dominique said...

I feel as though you're trying to fit too much into each sentence. Take some of those info filled sentences and break them up. Give the information room to show its importance.

L. T. Host said...

I may or may not be helpful here, for which I apologize.

This is good, and interesting-- I am definitely intrigued. Things that tripped me up though :

-"Jerry falls in love with Amy and learns to become a father and just as everything appears to be normal, it all changes on the same day that Jerry is going to propose to Amy and Amy is going to announce her pregnancy."

This is too long. I'd suggest breaking it up: "Jerry falls in love with Amy and learns to be a father. Just as..."

Also, add "again" after normal in that sentence.

Can you name the disease? Or how it took his mother's life? This will add conflict and tension if the reader knows how serious it is. IE, we know it killed his mother, but people can die from just about anything. Knowing what disease gives us a hint of "Oh no! That's horrible! I had an aunt who had that and I remember what a struggle it was for her!" etc.

If it's a made up disease, give us some details on the symptoms, etc.

-"Least" not "lease" in your 3rd paragraph.

-Change "In an attempt" to "During an" at the beginning.

-I don't think you need "they look alike" unless Jerry was questioning his son's paternity.

-I would like a tiny (tiny, mind you) idea of what Jerry was doing to redeem his past when he learned these two things at the beginning.

You're VERY close. This stuff is all really small, but I think it would help.

Interesting premise!

Anica Lewis said...

Nice premise! I agree with L.T. Host's crits, particularly the suggestion to break up some of the longer sentences. I also wonder a little about the spacing of the second paragraph - why do sentences keep starting on new lines, but not being new paragraphs?

The only other little issue I have is that, while the query is centered on Jerry's perspective, we see that "Amy is going to announce her pregnancy." Does that mean to Jerry? Because if so, and she hasn't done it yet, the reader probably shouldn't know. If it means an announcement to someone else, please tell us who.

Good luck!

Donna Hole said...

A very workable premise; a heartwarming tale to be sure. Is this what they call a "cozy"? It sounds like something to cuddle up with on a rainy winter day with hot chocolate and a snuggy.

The one thing that jumped out at me was the lack of conflict. You mention several issues: Jerry's attempt to redeem his past, a teacher helps him meet his son, the son, Jakes disease "takes over". I'm not getting a clear sense of the emotional turmoil in these events.

I am sure your novel will need to be read with a box of tissues (yes, I love those type books) but I'm not feeling it in this summary. Too many details are left out, and between lines, there is a lot of - umm, "sweetness?"

I like the way you sum up the content after the word count. But I felt the "personal journey that most of us take at least once in our lives" is too vague. That's not right either.

When I read it, I was still thinking about the lost and found dying child. I can't imagine there are too many people who've taken "this" journey. If the "journey" was a bit more specific, I could relate better. Something like: encompases a personal journey of regret and self sacrifice; or personal journey of faith and hope for a future.

Kudos on your publications!

Thanks for sharing this.

Victoria Dixon said...

Hi, Jim! Take heart, you're getting there! A query letter's breakdown of your book should be in three sentences: 1. MC's name and setting. 2. Mc's problem. 3. Consequences of not solving that problem. I think you want to hold onto too much detail. Have faith in your story and let it speak for itself as an ms. This is a teaser. I don't think we have to know there's a love story. Take out that paragraph sentence and you are done.