Nov 11, 2009

QUERY - HEART IN SEOUL

Melanie Hines doesn't expect drastic changes in her life after just one private prayer. But suddenly, sleeping with her boss, Luke, doesn't seem right anymore. She breaks up with him and accepts a six-month project in Seoul, Korea. Once in Seoul, however, Melanie discovers Luke left out one tiny detail: the male-dominated business culture frowns upon a young female system project leader.

Brandon Stiegal, an international business consultant, is not amused at his client company's choice for the new system project leader. But Melanie's Iowa sweetness and admirable determination to stay and conquer her challenges hooks his heart to cheer her along and mentor her in any way he could. Only, the blond bombshell is too smart for her own good, doesn't always do as he advises, and gets tangled up in an international espionage case. Brandon risks his reputation and his life to save hers, and he would do it all over again if only he could win her whole heart.

The more she sees Brandon's faith, it creates longing in Melanie's soul. But living out her faith isn't easy when she's arguing with an unreasonable IT manager, or hanging out at an exclusive night club with her new wealthy friend, or running for her life from the Korean secret service, or falling head over heels in love with Brandon. Through it all, God's quiet whispers pursue her until the desire of her heart stands against the longing of her soul. She must choose one and sacrifice the other.

HEART IN SEOUL, a Christian contemporary romance, is complete at 82,000 words. I am a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers and have been active in its critique groups since 2008.

Thank you for taking the time to consider representing my work.

7 comments:

Stephanie Thornton said...

The first thing that jumped into my head when I read your first sentence was that "drastic changes" are too general. The more specificity in a query, the better. Can you tweak the first paragraph to be grittier, more attention grabbing?

folksinmt said...

I think you are off to a good start. I liked your first paragraph and for the most part, the entire query.

The second paragraph had one sentence that didn't read well. "Conquer her challenges hooks" sounds awkward. The sentence following that had too many commas. I don't think you need one after the only and maybe you could play with the rest of the sentence so it flows better.

This is one case where I think we need a little more info. Give us more specifics about the espionage and why her life is in danger. I would spend more time talking up the action and downplay the emotional journey. I realize that you are writing for the Christian market, but it seems that conversion of heart is the underlying theme of all Christian books...I would focus on what makes yours different.

I like your title. It's clever. But would it work to be Heart AND Seoul? Just a suggestion.

I can tell that you are a well-polished writer and that you know what you are doing. Good luck!

Gina Logue said...

Thank you both so much for your insights.

Of course now that you point them out, they seem so obvious.

I'll be revising with your suggestions in mind.

Thanks again.
Gina

Suzan Harden said...

Hi Gina,

This sounds like a really interesting plot, but I have to agree with the other commentors. The vagueness drags down the pace of your query.

Specifics that could be answered:

What about the prayer triggered Melanie's break with Luke?

Did Luke send Melanie to Seoul as a punishment for breaking up with him?

What does her faith have to do with an unreasonable IT manager, the Korean secret service or a nightclub?

Other things I see:

1) The query needs to be condensed. Stick to the big issues. How will Brandon's reputation be ruined if he pursues Melanie?

2) The query reads more of a thriller than a Christian contemporary. Maybe call it a Christian thriller?

Still sounds intriguing. Good luck with your submissions!

gj said...

This is a solid query, but a little long. The first paragraph is mostly backstory, and would benefit from being condensed. Normally, I'd cut the prayer reference as backstory, and start right with her meeting the hero in her new job, but, given the genre, you probably need something about prayer there.

But shorter. Like:

"After praying for the strength to end her affair with the boss, Melanie Hines is transferred to Seoul, Korea."

Or:

"Melanie Hines thinks she's praying for true love, but instead she gets a broken heart and a job transfer to Seoul, where she has to work with the last person she could ever love."

Neither one flows quite right, but do you see what I mean? Brief mention of religion, and then get straight to the inciting event (the job transfer) that will introduce her to the hero.

Then get straight to what she does, rather than the more passive "discovers that she's frowned upon." How does the negativity manifest itself? How does she cope?

Actually, given that it's inspirational romance, the inspiration (the inciting event of prayer) and the romance (meeting the hero) need to be right up front, rather than the subplot (the sexism). So -- she's transferred, and she meets the hero, and he makes her life (and her faith) more difficult by .... doing what? That's the core of the story, and the sexism is just the setting (both metaphorically and literally in this case).

Victoria Dixon said...

Hi, Gina. I agree, you need the basic prayer, but not the sexism inherent in the system (to paraphrase Monty Python). Your basic plots are the romance and the espionage and that's where you need to focus your query's power. Also, I want to know what the desire of her heart is vs. what the longing of her soul. That part is very important to deliver the impact of what she'll lose, so be specific. (I know, I'm a fine one to talk! LOL We can always see better on someone else's work.) Well done query and good luck!

gina logue said...

Thanks everyone for very helpful comments.

Your questions let me know where I need to clarify and to narrow my story focus.

Victory - You're right. We're too close to see these problems in our own stories.

OK, gotta go and revise.
Y'all are great critiquers! Thanks!