Feb 17, 2010

Query- 7 Days (Revision 3)

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

All pastors claim to believe in God; some even believe in demons – too bad Nathan Hanlin isn’t one of them.

Tired of preaching about a God who supposedly loves mankind, Nathan figures life would be easier if he took destiny into his own hands. And it is, easier that is, until a demon shows up. But it’s not just one demon that Nathan encounters, nor is he the only one having this problem. It turns out that when Nathan turned his back on God, he created a crack in the spiritual shield protecting his town, a shield that has stood in place for over 100 years.

All Nathan wants is for life to get back to normal. He’d like his nightmares to end, his friends to accept he’s never going to preach again and for his older sister to stop insisting God is trying to get his attention. Enough already. Actually, what Nathan really wants is to step back in time, to a place where he was happy, fulfilled and there were no demons to deal with. When Nathan finally gets the courage to go through his dead wife’s things, he finds out the life he thought he had never really existed.

Nathan must now choose to stop blaming God and accept his life or completely forsake everyone and let whatever comes have its way, demons and all.

7 DAYS TO REDEMPTION completed at 77,000 words is a supernatural suspense in which a pastor's faith in God is tested and his trust in his sister is betrayed.

6 comments:

Suzan Harden said...

I haven't looked at the other two versions, so my comments only apply to this version.

1) Skip the first paragraph. It repeats almost the same informtation as the second paragraph.

2) Nathan figures life would be easier if he took destiny into his own hands.

Be more specific. Does he leave his pulpit, his church? What does he do to make his life easier?

3) All Nathan wants is for life to get back to normal.

Combine this sentence with the second to be more specific.

4) ...he finds out the life he thought he had never really existed.

Again be specific about what he finds in his wife's things.

In most cases where a pastor's faith is tested (and from the sound of the query), the genre tends toward inspirational. What's the stronger thread in the story - the paranormal element, the suspense element or the faith element?

Best wishes on your submissions!

RCWriterGirl said...

I didn't read the first two queries, either.

I really like the first two paragraphs. But, paragraphs 3 and 4 feel flat. Three starts out alright, with the the first couple sentences, but then it doesn't go anywhere. It's clear from the first sentence of the query that we're dealing with a man in a personal crisis. But, there's never any more.

You end by saying, he's got to choose to accept his life or forsake all. That's where we were at the beginning. Everyone always has that choice: accept life or live in fantasy land.

You need to end with something that's a little more riveting. What tangible thing is at stake? Will the town implode and everyone be destroyed by demons if he doesn't find acceptance. Will Satan rise and deliver Nathan to the gates of Hell himself? At this point, there's no real drama where you leave the query at. I knew from the beginning he would accept or not accept. I read all this only to be where I've started. You've got to give us something new, something tangible at the ending, or the query will fall flat.

Good luck

Emily said...

All pastors claim to believe in God; some even believe in demons – too bad Nathan Hanlin isn’t one of them.
(This first sentence didn't really grab me, I think you need a stronger hook)

Tired of preaching about a God who supposedly loves mankind, (as opposed to a God that hates mankind?) Nathan figures life would be easier if he took destiny into his own hands. (How does he take destiny into his own hands, and what does that have to do with God? I think you need to mention Providence here, or I'm confused) And it is, easier that is, until a demon shows up. But it’s not just one demon that Nathan encounters, nor is he the only one having this problem. (This begs the question who else is having problems with demons? A question you do not answer in the next sentence) It turns out that when Nathan turned his back on God, he created a crack in the spiritual shield protecting his town, a shield that has stood in place for over 100 years. (Why? What is special about this town that demons are clambering to invade?

All Nathan wants is for life to get back to normal. He’d like his nightmares to end, (what nightmares? Literal or figurative?) his friends to accept he’s never going to preach again and for his older sister to stop insisting God is trying to get his attention. Enough already. Actually, what Nathan really wants is to step back in time, to a place where he was happy, fulfilled and there were no demons to deal with. When Nathan finally gets the courage to go through his dead wife’s things, he finds out the life he thought he had never really existed. (Why?? Too much of the query is vague or cryptic)

Nathan must now choose to stop blaming God and accept his life or completely forsake everyone and let whatever comes have its way, demons and all.

7 DAYS TO REDEMPTION completed at 77,000 words is a supernatural suspense in which a pastor's faith in God is tested and his trust in his sister is betrayed. (The trust in the sister thing seems completely out of the blue)

I think this query is an improvement but you still need to be more clear, more straightforward about what is at stake and what happens plot-wise.

Aimless Writer said...

I think your query starts with "When Nathan turns his back on god he created ..." but put something in there so we know he's an ex-preacher. Did he turn his back on God after the death of his wife?
I find myself not caring about him trying to get back to his idealic life and more about the demons he has to fight. I get the feeling the "I want normal again" theme isn't really the thrust of this book.
Does he turn into a demon hunter? Are they targeting him for some reason? Or just his town. Does he have to save his loved ones from...what?
It needs to be tightened up a bit. You have a lot of extra stuff in here that could be cut. Give me the meat of the story and save the rest for the synopsis. We don't care he "wants his life to get back to normal" or "his nightmares to end" Those are all extra stuff weighing this down.
You have a really good story here. Tell me his conflict, his motivation and his goal in three tight sentences and then add more.
"Tired of preaching about a God he no longer believe in Nathan Hanlin leaves the church. When a crack appears in the spiritual shield protecting his town he...what?"
Good luck! I'd read this book.

Aimless Writer said...

One more thing...I love the title.

Dominique said...

I thought this was much better. There's definitely more voice in this, which is good.