Sep 15, 2009

THE SECOND CHANCE (3rd revision)

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

Okay - I took some of each of the other queries, all the great suggestions I have been given, and put a little more of myself into this one. . . hope it is starting to work! And thanks again to everyone who has been commenting on my query - you are all a GREAT help!

Dear Agent:

Jerry awakes in a hospital bed thinking of a woman he hasn’t seen in seven years. With his company closed and a broken past he is now determined to fix, Jerry travels to Pennsylvania to reclaim the only woman he has ever loved. Except there’s a problem: she’s dead - and when she left seven years ago, she was pregnant.

With the help of a teacher named Amy, Jerry meets his son, Jake. The moment is bittersweet as Jerry is presented with a box of notes from Debbie that was never sent and the news that the disease that took Debbie’s life was passed on to Jake. The box of notes provides Jerry with some comfort and closure towards Debbie. The mitochondrial disease that caused heart failure for Debbie was causing Jake’s heart to be smaller in size than normal.

As Jerry becomes a father to Jake, he finds himself falling in love with Amy. Struggling to let go of the past and appreciate the future, Jerry is tested once again on the day he is going to propose to Amy. After finding Jake face down in living room a victim to the disease that now takes two people he has loved, Jerry must find the strength within himself to be strong again for Amy and for his second chance.

THE SECOND CHANCE is a 67,000 word novel that encompasses the personal journey. It is set through the eyes of a man as he learns to become a better person through some of life’s hardest lessons. It is also a reminder that it is never too late to go back and change things.

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.

Sincerely,

Jim Wisneski

7 comments:

L. T. Host said...

Hi Jim;

You're very close; there were still a few things that tripped me up, and these are just questions I found myself asking. As usual, if you want the reader to be asking these questions, great, otherwise you may want to tweak these areas a bit.

The first paragraph was pretty solid. It's the second where I started to be confused:

-"With the help of a teacher named Amy, Jerry meets his son, Jake." How does Amy help? Is she Jake's teacher, or a friend who helps him track Jake down?

-"The moment is bittersweet as Jerry is presented with a box of notes from Debbie that was never sent and the news that the disease that took Debbie’s life was passed on to Jake." Need more on Amy's relation to all of this, all I can think of right here is why does she have the box. The part about "never sent" is intriguing :)

-"The mitochondrial disease that caused heart failure for Debbie was causing Jake’s heart to be smaller in size than normal." You can make this MUCH stronger by changing it to, "The mitochondrial disease that caused heart failure for Debbie made Jake's heart smaller than normal." But you need a transition between "comfort and closure" and this--- this news is not comforting, or a closure.

-"After finding Jake face down in living room a victim to the disease that now takes two people he has loved, Jerry must find the strength within himself to be strong again for Amy and for his second chance." Does Jake die here? Need to make this clearer, even if you want it to be vague--- something like, "After finding Jake face down in [the] living room[,] a victim to the disease that may now claim a second person he loves," or "a victim to the disease that has now claimed two people he loved."

Best of luck, you're really close!

Christina said...

I think this is good and close to being ready. You've gotten good feedback from LT Host, so I'll just mention that you may not want to use the word "reclaim" in the first paragraph. His old girlfriend wasn't his property, so he can't reclaim her. "Reunite" might be a better word.

Kristy said...

"Except there’s a problem: she’s dead - and when she left seven years ago, she was pregnant." -- This sentence was jarring to me. Since he seems to have known she was pregnant, and the child she was carrying was his, maybe you could say he was (and I like Christina's suggestion) reuniting with the only women he's ever loved - the mother of his child. Then "Except there’s a problem: she’s dead" could be its own sentence. Just a thought. If it doesn't bother anyone else, take it for what it's worth.

I would also mention a genre... perhaps literary fiction? One reason I mention it is that 67k words could be long enough if it's YA, but for adult fiction I've read that it's generally 75k-100k words. The other reason is that all the agent blogs I've read tell you to specifiy genre, so I assume it's important to them.

Good luck, the story sounds interesting!

Jennie said...

Hello, I enjoyed your query and wish you good luck.

A few grammar suggestions:

"The moment is bittersweet as Jerry is presented with a box of notes from Debbie that was never sent..."

I would say "A box of notes that WERE never sent..." (referring to the notes not being sent, instead of the box not being sent)

"The mitochondrial disease that caused heart failure for Debbie was causing Jake’s heart to be smaller in size than normal."

I would say "...has caused Jake's heart...."

"After finding Jake face down in living room a victim to the disease that now takes two people he has loved, Jerry must find the strength within himself to be strong again for Amy and for his second chance."

I would say "...face down in the living room, a victim to the disease..." (add "the" plus add a comma after living room)

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

I would put those magazine titles in italics.

Good luck!

Natalie and Rick Nuttall said...

Hi Jim,

I think this query is better than the last ones, which is good! But I agree with everyone else. I don't think that Jerry knew his ex was pregnant when she left, and if that's true you need to make it clear that he didn't know he had a child - or vice versa.

Happy Hunting!

-Natalie

RCWriterGirl said...

This is good. Only a couple of notes. I think you use "box of notes" twice in the span of two sentences. I'd make one of those simply, "The notes."

I'd combine paragraphs 4 and 5. Keep only the first sentence of paragraph 4. I think you've aptly described the story in your query enough that the agent can figure out what kind of story it is. SImply give the length, then segue into your writing credits.

The story part of the query is solid. Good job.

Donna Hole said...

I think it is good that you leave an agent asking questions, and looking to the novel to answer them. But the way you have written this query, I have to agree that there are too many questions. And unless you read the entire novel, those answers won't be answered, because the questions are too specific.

How does Jerry end up in a hospital; how does he know the past love of his life was pregnant - and she had a "live birth"; how does he find the kid; how/when does Amy enter the story.

I'd suggest starting with a standard "when" scenario; then polishing it so it is not a standard query formula.

For instance: When (age) Jerry (last name) wakes from a (coma?) caused by (trauma), the realistic dreams of (old lover) linger and he remembers (__). Unable to return to his (previous employment) because (?) he sets out to discover what happened to (his love) from (home town?)

Discovering (whatever happened to her) through newspaper articles, Jerry goes to the only school that his (alleged son) could be attending. With the help of (Amy and how he meets her) he makes a connection with Jake (full name) and (list his reactions to a new Dad in his life).

Everything is happy-go-lucky for Jerry, whatever happens with Jake to kick start his disease, and in the course of Jake's treatment/final stages, Jerry learns (?).

Basic idea here

A great story line, one I'd read. You'd have to get it past an Agene though . .

............dhole