Feb 2, 2010

Query - The Butterfly Key - 3rd Revision.

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

Dear Agent,

Shortly after Christian Bryson promises his wife, Abigail, a family, he learns he is deploying for war, something he views as just a temporary setback in fulfilling his wife’s dream of having kids. But when wounded in battle, he tragically discovers he can no longer father children.

Wishing death’s hand would have taken him instead of this second chance at life, Christian finds himself hopelessly lost, drowning in a world of despair. Blaming his calamity on God and His so-called providence and haunted by a promise he can no longer keep, Christian refuses to tell Abigail about his injury even as she tearfully pleads for him to come home.

With their marriage on the verge of collapse, Christian determines he can no longer be the man that Abigail deserves. However, God intervenes and sends two special travelers – one alive and the other not – to return Christian home to not only his wife, but also his unknown progeny.

THE BUTTERFLY KEY is a 72,000-word work of Christian fiction. A completed manuscript is available upon your request. I look forward to working with you.

Regards,
A.D.N

9 comments:

Jason Myers said...

Part 1
Hey!
Let me first say, this is just my .2 cents. Also, I purposefully did NOT read the other two revisions of this query. I wanted to read this one cold and see what I got out of it. (Similar to if I was an agent.)
Shortly after Christian Bryson promises his wife, Abigail, a family, he learns he is deploying for war, something he views as just a temporary setback in fulfilling his wife’s dream of having kids. But when wounded in battle, he tragically discovers he can no longer father children.
Not a bad opening sentence, but there's a bunch of extraneous details here. "Something he views as a temporary setback"--yeah, we get that. "Tragically discovers" you can probably axe tragically. If you have to tell us it's tragic, you didn't do your part above...and you did. We know he and his wife want to have kids. This entire paragraph could be summed up as: Shortly after Christian Bryson promises his wife, Abigail, a family, he learns he is deploying for war. But after wounded in battle, he discovers he can no longer father children. You could even put the part about being wounded in battle first, and then tell us about his promise to his wife. (Although, if his wife really loved him, I don't think she would hold it against him that he can't have kids because of a wound in battle! Maybe if it was something he did on purpose, but that was completely out of his control!!)
Wishing death’s hand would have taken him instead of this second chance at life, Christian finds himself hopelessly lost, drowning in a world of despair.
Why does he wish he was dead? Why is he in a world of despair? Clarify!
Blaming his calamity on God and His so-called providence and haunted by a promise he can no longer keep, Christian refuses to tell Abigail about his injury even as she tearfully pleads for him to come home.
You're saying that this man is a die-hard Christian (hence the name?) and the fact that he wanted children, but God deprived him of that, he is angry? Fair enough, but I would put this sentence above, and do something else with the wishing he was dead. Sure that adds some internal conflict, but it seems somewhat out of character for a solid Christian. I understand he's angry at God and justifiably so, but why would he want to die because of that? (And no, I'm not trying to tell you how to write your story, I'm just pointing out questions I had while reading it...which I can only assume an agent would have when he or she read it! :-)

Jason Myers said...

part 2


With their marriage on the verge of collapse, Christian determines he can no longer be the man that Abigail deserves.
Marriage on the verge of collapse? Did he get home? I am confused on why his marriage is collapsing. Is he mad at God, but Abby understands that it's God's Will? How about showing us how their marriage is on the verge of collapse instead of telling us? That might work better!
However, God intervenes and sends two special travelers – one alive and the other not – to return Christian home to not only his wife, but also his unknown progeny.
Okay, cool, some supernatural intervention. But one has to wonder why God would choose to interview now instead of before he was injured ;-)
I don't like this paragraph because it is too deus ex machina. Since Christian and Abigail can't sort out their marriage, God has to do it for them. An agent wants to know what Christian does to fix the issue in the story. Sure, God is there to help, but what decision does Christian have to make to reconcile with his wife? I am assuming that the two advisors sent by God help him understand why this has happened to him, but he ultimately has to make the decision.
Overall, not a bad query at all. I think you just need to identify your root conflict. I recommend everyone boil the story to one sentence. What's your root conflict? Something like: After sustaining an injury in battle, a soldier questions his faith and marriage when he can no longer foster children. Or something. (You know it better than I do! :-)

A.D.N said...
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A.D.N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
A.D.N said...

Thanks Jason for your comments, I have been reworking this query... how about this now


Dear Agent,

Shortly after Christian Bryson promises to fulfill his wife’s dream of starting a family, he learns he is deploying for war. Regrettably, when he sustains a wound in battle that renders him incapable of fathering children he wrestles with the thought of letting her know.

Blaming his calamity on the so-called providence of God, and haunted by a promise he can no longer keep, Christian wishes death would have stolen him instead of having to face Abigail, his wife, and turn her dreams of motherhood into a nightmare. Deciding against telling Abigail about his injury, even as she tearfully pleads for him to come home, Christian resolves he can no longer be the husband that she deserves.

However, God believes otherwise and intervenes, sending two special travelers – one alive and the other not – to comfort Christian and help guide him to Abigail as he struggles to find a quiet peace within his soul.

Making his way home to apologize to Abigail, Christian relearns that God has a plan in everything He does when he returns to not only his wife but also his unknown progeny.

THE BUTTERFLY KEY is a 72,000-word work of Christian fiction. A completed manuscript is available upon your request. I look forward to working with you.

Regards,
A.D.N

Jason Myers said...

Yes yes yes! I like this one a lot better! The only thing that tricked me up was the long sentence at the end of the first paragraph. I like this one a lot more. I would post it as revision 4 and see what people say.

Dominique said...

"God and His so-called providence"

I'm seeing this quote in a lot of christian lit queries on this sight. Personally, I'm not a fan of it.

Guinevere said...

I like your revisions post-Jason. This reads well now. I'm glad you took out the "death's hand" line, because that was a little melodramatic for my tastes. the one thing I'd like to know in your query is he in the Army, a Marine, etc, but that might just be me.

I'd be curious to read your novel!

Emily said...

Stylistically, you begin too many sentences with subordinate clauses. I found it distracting from the query.