Feb 5, 2010

Query - The Butterfly Key - Revision 4

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

Dear Agent,

Shortly after Christian Bryson promises to fulfill his wife’s dream of starting a family, he learns his Army Reserve unit is deploying for war. Later, when he sustains a wound in battle that renders him incapable of fathering children he wrestles with the thought of letting Abigail, his wife, 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, he must now confront his fears and face his wife. Dreading the idea of breaking his promise to her, Christian decides against telling Abigail about his injury for fear of turning her dreams of motherhood into a nightmare.

While Abigail tearfully pleads for him to come home, Christian resolves he can no longer be the husband that she deserves. God believes otherwise, however, and intervenes by sending forth two special travelers – one alive, the other not – to help Christian allay the anguish buried deep within his soul.

With the guidance and love of God’s sojourners, Christian realizes he needs to return home and apologize to Abigail. Upon his homecoming, he is ecstatic to find not only his wife but also his unknown progeny awaiting him. Thus, Christian relearns a valuable lesson: God always has a plan in everything He does.

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

10 comments:

Shelley said...

Though this is my first time commenting on your query, I've been following it from the beginning. In my opinion, this is your strongest yet.

However, there are some clunky spots in the first paragraph that made me go back and read again. Later, when he sustains a wound in battle that renders him incapable of fathering children he wrestles with the thought of letting Abigail, his wife, know.

I think putting a comma after "children" would help this sentence to read more easily. Also, I'm not really a fan of how the sentence ends. Instead of "letting Abigail, his wife, know", I'd suggest "letting his wife Abigail know."

Another suggestion I have is for you to read this query aloud, if you haven't already. You'll probably notice that each sentence has the same rhythm. Every sentence in this query starts with a clause followed by a comma. The query might be more interesting, stylistically, if you had a variety of sentence structures. Even fragments. (See what I did there?)

On another note, I think the plot sounds fascinating. Don't let grammar and structure take away from your story.

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

I agree with Shelley that too many sentences begin with a clause. It gives the query an indirect long-winded feel.

Also, I would suggest not ending the query with "I look forward to working with you." It sounds pushy. I would end it simply with:
Thank you for your time and consideration.
(per Query Shark)

A.D.N said...

Thank you Shelly and Emily. I hope this one is more to your approval.


Dear Agent,

Shortly after Christian Bryson promises to fulfill his wife’s dream of starting a family, he learns his Army Reserve unit will deploy for war. While serving his country Christian sustains a wound in battle that renders him incapable of fathering children. Devastated, he agonizes over telling his wife about his impairment for fear of ruining her dreams of motherhood.

Blaming his calamity on the so-called providence of God, and haunted by a promise that he can no longer keep, Christian wishes death would have taken him. He dreads the idea of breaking his promise to his wife so he decides against informing her about his injury. When Abigail, his wife, tearfully pleads for him to come home, Christian refuses, resolving to himself that he can no longer be the husband she deserves.

God believes otherwise, however, and intervenes. He sends forth two special travelers – one alive, the other not – to help Christian allay the anguish within his soul. With the guidance and love of God’s sojourners, Christian realizes he needs to go home and apologize to Abigail.

When Christian returns to Abigail, he’s overcome with joy, for God has a plan in everything He does when He graces Christian with an unexpected surprise.

THE BUTTERFLY KEY is a 72,000-word work of Christian fiction.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,
A.D.N

Sara P. said...

My two cents: I think you're overdoing it regarding how much the fact that can't father children anymore is breaking his heart, without us ever getting a feeling of why this is so.
If you were to say something like "Dreading to break his promise to his wife, like his father had done to him so many times in his past ..." (or whatever the reason is), then I could understand why this is so hard for him. Right now, I just get the feeling he is a coward. If his wife really loves him, she will understand and they can always adopt.

Also, the revised version in the comments has one stronger point: you're not giving away the ending, like it seems in the posted version.

Keep it up!

RCWriterGirl said...

I think this is better than the previous queries (the one you posted in the comments). It focuses, I assume, on the story within the story, which is good.

I agree with those who mention you should vary the sentence structure. Starting everything with a dependent clause makes everything seem passive. You want active. Declare stuff, not with dependence, but outright.

Lastly, the query should be condensed a little bit. It's wordy and repetitive. I feel like you're repeating yourself. He feels bad he can't procreate, then he feels bad he can't procreate, then he feels bad he can't procreate. Saying it once is enough. Try to cut some of the repetition out and focus on action, not necessarily thought. EXAMPLE:

Christian Bryson gets deployed for war before he can fulfill his wife's dream of starting a family. While serving, Christian sustains an injury that renders him incapable of fathering children[here, I'd try to condense "incapable of fathering children" into a single word, the male equivalent to barren, if such a term exists]. Devastated, he agonizes over telling his wife and ruining her dreams of motherhood.

Haunted by a promise he can no longer keep, Christian acts wrecklessly on his assignments, hoping death will take him. When it doesn't, he decides not to tell his wife about his injury. Abigail, his wife, pleads for him to come home. But, Christian refuses, believing he can't be the husband she deserves.

God believes otherwise, and intervenes. He sends two special travelers – one alive, one not – to help Christian allay the anguish within his soul. With the guidance and love of God’s sojourners, Christian he goes home to apologize to Abigail.

When Christian returns to Abigail, he’s overcome with joy, for God has a plan in everything He does when He graces Christian with an unexpected surprise.

THE BUTTERFLY KEY is a 72,000-word work of Christian fiction.

--Lastly, I'll say I totally disagree with Sara. I think it's perfectly obvious why Christian is so upset about not being able to father a child. If the agent needs more explanation than what you've included, they're not the right agent for this project.

RCWriterGirl said...

infertile, that's the word I'm thinking of. Say an injury has left him infertile.

A.D.N said...

Thanks Sara and RC... here is the latest version with adjustments.

Dear Agent,

Shortly after Christian Bryson promises to fulfill his wife’s dream of starting a family, he learns his Army Reserve unit will deploy for war. While serving, Christian sustains a wound in battle, an impairment which renders him incapable of fathering children. Devastated, he agonizes over telling Abigail, his wife, about his infertility for fear of ruining her dreams of motherhood.

Christian blames his calamity on the so-called providence of God, and wishes death would have taken him. Haunted by a promise he can no longer keep, Christian decides against informing her about his injury. But what Christian doesn’t understand is Abigail will accept him no matter what albatross he’s forced to bear.

When Abigail tearfully pleads for him to come home, Christian refuses, resolving to himself that he can no longer be the husband she deserves. God, however, believes otherwise and intervenes by sending forth two special travelers – one alive, the other not – to help Christian allay the anguish within his soul. With the guidance and love of God’s sojourners, Christian realizes he needs to go home and apologize to Abigail.

And when Christian returns home to his wife; he’s overcome with joy, for God has a plan in everything He does when He graces Christian with an unexpected surprise.

THE BUTTERFLY KEY is a 72,000-word work of Christian fiction.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Regards,
A.D.N

Sara P. said...

I like that one much better, why don't you post again for all to see and comment?

Four teeny tiny things that I would change, fwiw: Skip the But at the last line of the second paragraph, find an alternative to the albatross, skip the And at the beginning of the last paragraph and swap the semi-colon right after that for a comma.

One last thing. How happy are YOU with it?

Good luck!

Christi Goddard said...

Hi, Tycoon!

Your query is getting so much better.