Feb 13, 2010

Query- 7 Days to Redemption (version 2)

Click here to read the original query.

Nathan Hanlin, a disillusioned pastor, denies the existence of angels, or demons for that matter, until he comes face to face with a demonic presence in his town. With everyone turning to him for answers, Nathan at first claims ignorance, but that only lasts for so long. Eventually he knows he has to figure out why demons are invading his town and why he’s the one responsible. But until he does, fear is running rampant through his congregation.

Confused, he turns to his older sister Rachel for help, only to find an old journal where Rachel has a secret she’s kept concerning his birth. If what he read is true, she’s more than just his sister. Torn, Nathan feels both lost and betrayed. The revelation of his birth combined with the supernatural powers battling it out in his town leaves Nathan with nowhere to turn.

A decision needs to be made. If he gives in to his hurt and turns away from God he’s essentially giving up on his town and those he loves. But if he turns to God, that means he has to accept a loss he blames on God, and to him, it means giving in. Or does it?

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. For those who loved the earlier novels of Ted Dekker, I have a feeling they would enjoy my novel since it has the same feel.

I won the 2005 Word Alive Publishing contest with my novel Once Upon A Dream, and I hold a degree in theology as well I am a member of the Word Guild and the ACFW. If you would like to consider 7 DAYS TO REDEMPTION, I’d be more than happy to forward the complete manuscript to you.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

6 comments:

Emily said...

Although I like the premise, I must admit that this query confused me.

In paragraph one when you write that Nathan "claims ignorance" it sounds as though he is being deceptive and actually understands what is going on. But then in the next sentence he is going to figure out what is happening. Also, how does he know he is responsible for what is going on in the town? And what is the “demonic presence?” Is it a demon or just something demon-y?

In paragraph two, how is Rachel more than just his sister? And how does this apparent incest tie into the greater plot?

I could not understand paragraph three. What hurt are you referring to? What loss does he blame on God? And I have no idea what the last question means.

I think you can also eliminate quite a few needless words. Paragraph one could read:

"Disillusioned pastor Nathan Hanlin denied the existence of angels and demons until he came face to face with a demonic presence in his town. With everyone turning to him for answers, Nathan must uncover why demons are invading his town. Until he does, fear will run rampant through his congregation."

That is just an example, but a query is too short to have unnecessary words.

Lastly, it is hard to see the suspense genre with this novel as you have not delineated the threat to either Nathan, or the town. Right now his congregation is just scared of a demonic presence as far as I can tell. You need to make the reader feel the threat is immediate, and threatens to destroy the town.

Dominique said...

Nathan Hanlin, a disillusioned pastor, denies the existence of angels, or demons for that matter, until he comes face to face with a demonic presence in his town.
The structure here is off. If the key issues is his prior disbelief in demons, you should lead with that part, not the angels. Does he deny angels out loud and from the pulpit? Because then he might run into some issues with the Bible on that one. If I were his parishioner, I'd be questioning his knowledge of theology.

With everyone turning to him for answers, Nathan at first claims ignorance, but that only lasts for so long. Eventually he knows he has to figure out why demons are invading his town and why he’s the one responsible. But until he does, fear is running rampant through his congregation.
This is also unclear. When you say he's claiming ignorance, does that mean he's already found out why the demons are there or that he denies their presence? Why is he pretending? Also, how does he know he's the cause?

Confused, he turns to his older sister Rachel for help, only to find an old journal where Rachel has a secret she’s kept concerning his birth. If what he read is true, she’s more than just his sister. Torn, Nathan feels both lost and betrayed. The revelation of his birth combined with the supernatural powers battling it out in his town leaves Nathan with nowhere to turn.
If I had a journal containing references to sexual abuse in my past, I wouldn't just leave it lying around my living room. How does he suddenly get a hold of this journal Rachel is probably keeping hidden somewhere? Also, if Rachel is his biological mother, just come out and say that. You don't want to risk confusing people by being coy.

A decision needs to be made. If he gives in to his hurt and turns away from God he’s essentially giving up on his town and those he loves. But if he turns to God, that means he has to accept a loss he blames on God, and to him, it means giving in. Or does it?
Don't use the rhetorical question. Agents aren't fans. Also, what loss? Do you mean Rachel? Is she dead? In which case, why was he turning to her for advice earlier, or expecting a reply if he was praying to her for guidance? Besides, I somehow doubt his dead sister, especially if he believes she didn't become an angel, would have knowledge of a brewing war between angels and demons that God wouldn't have, so why not just pray to God?

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.
Really, he betrayed his sister's trust by reading her private journal. And, is it that much of a betrayal of trust not to mention that you're someone's biological mother? It's not like he ever asked her, is it? I doubt she ever said 'No, I'm not you're mom.'

For those who loved the earlier novels of Ted Dekker, I have a feeling they would enjoy my novel since it has the same feel.
This could be more concise.

I won the 2005 Word Alive Publishing contest with my novel Once Upon A Dream, and I hold a degree in theology as well I am a member of the Word Guild and the ACFW.
Doesn't flow. Break into two sentences.

If you would like to consider 7 DAYS TO REDEMPTION, I’d be more than happy to forward the complete manuscript to you.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Dominique said...

I think this could be an interesting story. I do, though, agree with Emily that this doesn't sound like a suspense. My instincts say this is more like Christian Fiction.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

This story and query have a lot going for them. I like the fact that the story is driven by his doubts,not by the demons.
I would clear up all the issues raised by Emily and Dominique. But this doesn't mean you have to write long explanations. I think once you can answer each question for yourself, you can craft sentences that will be more precise.
For instance, does Nathan deny angels only to himself or is it his progressive brand of Christianity to preach that angels and demons are simply metaphors for good and evil? What is the event or knowledge that makes him believe he is responsible for the invasion?
Good luck with the revision. This sounds like a fascinating story.

Steena Holmes said...

Thanks everyone. When I compare my first version to this version - I think I went way off somewhere in no man's land - LOL.

Jason A. Myers said...

No!

All things considered...I am usually pretty harsh on query letters because they mean so much and have to say it in such a small space...I honestly liked this query letter. Sure there are nitpickys, but overall, it sounds like you've got a very solid idea here. I LIKED THIS QUERY. It grabbed my attention like few have before. And I have read a lot of them.