Friday, May 27, 2011

Query Revision 85: Redux

Kingdom of God

Dear Agent,

When Rowena Martin--a 38-year-old wife, mother, and faithful Christian--dies and goes to Heaven, the hereafter seems absolutely glorious. Her every desire is instantly fulfilled, she reunites with dead friends and relatives, and she mingles with fascinating people from various historical backgrounds. Best of all, she meets God Himself, the wise and loving Father whose intricate plan rules over the entire universe. But her bliss gradually gives way to outright horror when she overhears countless people screaming for help in the fiery pits of Hell.

As she struggles to reconcile the suffering of so many souls with the doctrine of forgiveness and charity she's always embraced, she's grateful for the soothing, ready answers God provides. His justifications cease to be adequate, however, when she learns the vast majority of the damned were never violent sociopaths but ordinary, well-meaning people who fell short of His particular standards. And it gets personal when she discovers her own daughter, a nonbeliever, is one of the billions slated for eternal torture.

Everyone in Heaven urges her to let God erase these disturbing revelations from her memory and accept things as they are. It seems no one shares her outrage or her unwillingness to forget. But then an undercover seraph invites her to join a covert resistance movement whose members are equally determined to reform the current system. Rowena, skeptical about their ability to effectively fight the Lord but desperate to help her daughter, soon finds herself involved in a risky plot to strip Him of omnipotence and liberate Hell.

The rebels seem to be making major headway toward their goal--but is the Lord simply setting them up for a massive, Lucifer-style fall? And if their coup does succeed, are they ready for the even bigger challenges of democratizing Heaven and keeping the universe itself running without Him at its helm?

KINGDOM OF GOD is commercial fiction, complete at 101,000 words. Thank you for your consideration.



I think this version does a really good job of giving us the story! It's touchy subject matter as we've seen from the various comments over at Evil Editor's as well as here, so that's going to have to figure into your request rate stats.

The query does read a little long. I think that can be helped by simply going through and snipping an adverb here and an adjective there. My candidates for deletion are highlighted in orange.

The green highlighted are where I would tweak a bit:

  • If you do delete the "mingling with famous people bit," I would have her reuniting with friends first and then having her desires fulfilled.
  • "Everyone in Heaven" is an exaggeration since there is a resistance movement. Maybe "Her friends" here instead.
  • Change ". But then" to ", until"
  • Change "seem to be" to "are"
Otherwise, I'd say take this puppy out for a test drive.


Ink and Pixel Club said...

I agree that this is a big improvement over the previous version. I can now see how Rowena comes to see God as a tyrant and it doesn't feel as much like it's solely about her own daughter being in jeopardy. Removing some of the specifics about God's power and the loopholes that help the resistance get around makes the central conflict seem less like a match that's already been decided. I like the inclusion of Rowena's worry that taking on God isn't going to end well.

I'd suggest changing "overhears" to just "hears" or "becomes aware of." Aside from that, I think its working well.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Awesome rewrite. Great job!

batgirl said...

Much, much better, and Rowena comes off considerably less self-centred.

Alice B. said...

Hi, I'm the author of this query (emerging shyly from the shadows). Just wanted to thank everyone for your comments and suggestions on all the drafts. I definitely do expect the subject matter will make this one a tough sell, but thanks to your feedback I feel much more confident about my query.

Now, to write a decent synopsis...

Chelsea P. said...

Love it! One small comment: if God erases Rowena's memory of the hell issues, won't she hear the screams and go through the process all over again?

Sorry to be the nit-picker! This really is quite good :)

Jo-Ann said...

Your query reminds me of an email that was dong the rounds a few years ago about a psychiatric diagnosis of the Big Fellow as a sociopath with delusions of grandeur with some Asperger's features as well. Except the email was funnier and I'm tired.

The query flows well. I'd read on.

So, you'll be querying the Christian publishers, hmmm?

fairyhedgehog said...

This is so much better!

My only quibble now is that I would say a risky plot to strip Him of His powers because the word "omnipotence" once again raises the question of how they can get away with anything against God. For me, anyway.