It is not that my first query letters were not serious but… I am sure that I need to concentrate on the Christian market. I sent my query to several different agents but have only a few rejections for my effort. That is okay, but I think my concentration may need to be more focused. The last query was sent by snail mail and I am promised a reply. I have three copies of my book in the hands of beta readers and I am anxious to get their feedback. I am going to print my synopsis here and any ideas or improvements would be appreciated. I am also thinking of changing the title. Some agents are cringing right now with any titles that suggest vampires, demons or angels. The synopsis is pretty much a play by play so it might be a bit of a spoiler.
Sela has been best friends with Emily and Zach as long as she can remember. Losing her dog is the most traumatic thing Sela has ever dealt with and her first real test of faith. Then Emily’s mother dies.
Emily does not want to hear anything about God. She has decided that God does not love her and she no longer needs Him. Sela tries to understand, promising Zach and their youth pastor that she will be patient but, it is a real trial for her to go to church camp and spend summer without Emily. She hopes that the beginning of school will help Emily move forward and that their friendship will return to normal.
Emily decides to be the exact opposite of what everyone loves her for. She starts using heavy makeup and wearing all black and decorates her room in Goth icons. She continually wears a headset with music blaring so she doesn’t have to acknowledge anyone speaking to her. Sela attempts to pull her out but she resists the temptation, telling herself that it would be wrong to be happy or to acknowledge God because it is His fault that her mother is dead.
In a moment of frustration Sela petitions her Guardian Angel to help her by intervening on Emily’s behalf. The petition is heard and God grants a redirection. He sends Victorious and Glorious to Roosevelt Middle School and gives them permission to interact with no one’s knowledge that they are angels. Victor and Gloria Way, the new twins, weave their way into the lives and activities of the students. They provide subtle and not so subtle fun and enlightenment. They make it clear to Mara, Sela’s former friend turned bully, and her group that they will make their own choices in friends. They encourage the students to embrace their differences and learn to work out the small things.
Sela and Zach’s youth group have a hayride and barbecue and Zach makes Sela see that she is pushing Emily away. Emily accepts Zach’s invitation after he promises that no one will pressure her. Victor survives his first, date, and successfully directs Mara’s attention to another boy. Emily let’s down her guard and Zach holds Sela to her promise not to push. At school the next week, Mara asks the group to be nice to her new friend and not tell him that she had bullied them. In a moment of daring Sela invites Mara and Emily to spend the night. Sela sees Gloria in the hall and insists that she join the girls as well and Victor playfully pushes her to go and be, one of the girls. Gloria accepts and is able to report to the Guardian Angels later that a good deal of healing took place and the girls are well on their
way to restoring their friendships. Gloria was inspired to suggest that they all try out for the school play and after some cajoling, the entire group agrees. Emily opts to do the lights which she had already promised the drama teacher.
The Angels, Joyous, Sela’s guardian, Anjou, Emily’s guardian and the two visiting angels,
Victorious and Glorious have regular meetings and Joyous reports that she is sure that Sela is beginning to see her. The other angels agree that sometimes God allows a person to have such a special blessing and soon Sela will probably be aware of all of them. The entire group is soon revealed to Sela.
Emily and her father meet with Max, the youth minister, and Pastor Rick. Pastor Rick helps them to understand that being angry with God is natural when dealing with the death of a loved one. He shares his experience in dealing with the loss of his brother. He points out that all of the people of great
faith in scripture suffered loss and struggle. He tells them that turning to scripture and the support of the Holy Spirit saved him during his healing journey. He tells them that the way to heaven is not the easy path. Even the apostle Peter failed to stay faithful. He encourages them to find one scripture every
day to share with one another. They leave encouraged and hopeful that their family is moving toward healing.
Surprisingly, Mara gets the lead in the play and has to deal with some bullying from another group in the school. She discovers how it feels to be put down by her peers and the group agrees to work together to find a solution to include, Heidi, the girl who is used to always getting the lead and is behind the attacks on Mara. They each share what they know about Heidi and Mara remembers that Heidi prides herself on her ability to redesign clothing. She loves to brag about buying something for nothing and fixing it up to be cool. Sela gets excited and decides that Heidi would be a perfect designer for the play.
The more they think about it the more excited they become. Sela is elected to talk to Heidi and she promises to catch her before the evening cheer practice. Sela runs into a couple of the other cheerleaders before she finds Heidi and they give her a hard time. She handles it well and is allowed to talk to Heidi. Sela tells Heidi that she needs a designer for the play and assures her that she will be acknowledged. Heidi is interested and agrees to talk to Mrs. Carson. Heidi has a purpose and a title and the incidents at school stop.
Sela and Emily begin to become close again and realize that they have each grown from the experiences of the past months. Emily apologizes for her actions and Sela realizes that she was angry at God as well and actually thought she could do a better job of comforting Emily. Emily knows she has a way to go and isn’t sure she is ready to put her trust in God completely but is willing to try. In a quiet moment backstage, Heidi and Sela discuss the characters they are sewing for.
They have developed a rapport and tentative respect for each other. Sela tells Heidi that she respects Mrs. Potts because she represents a strong woman holding the servants together while juggling being a
single mother. She asks Heidi who her favorite character is and is rebuffed. Heidi answers that she probably thinks she would say Lumiere and Cogsworth because they represent a gay couple. Sela is genuinely taken aback and Heidi realizes that she jumped to the conclusion that Sela would be judgmental because of her personal situation. Heidi explains that she has two moms. She loves her family but feels she constantly has to defend them. Sela tells her that she never intended to judge anyone and didn’t even know of Heidi’s circumstances. They agree that they can be friends even though they are in different “groups” and have different beliefs.
God reveals to the Angels that their current mission is finished but to expect more to come. He allows the Way twins to finish the play before returning for a sabbatical. Gloria and Victor are fulfilled in God’s presence but can’t help but feel a little nostalgic about their human friendships. They are thrilled to be able to complete the play and watch as it brings the students and community together. Each character in the play speaks to some issue; diversity, compassion, acceptance, pride, entitlement, and genuine love. Sela is overwhelmed with emotion and so happy to see so much accomplished by
everyone working together. She has discovered that although she loved having the, twins, there to help, most of the changes have come about by taking responsibility for her own judgments and actions, and being proactive in following what she knew to be the urging of the Holy Spirit.
I have sent a few query letters and decided that the query needs a tweak or two. I have my manuscript in the hands of a few middle grade students and hope to get their feed-back soon.
I am learning so much in this process and my admiration for published Authors has increased by epic proportions!
There are invaluable sites out there to learn from and the authors and agents that sponsor and share this information are great. I have decided that the really good query letter and synopsis are works of art. I have a ways to go to get mine there.
I am also enjoying the experience that I am gaining by taking a class at the University in creative writing. I enjoy the process and the students. Their feed-back is wonderful and I feel validated by the instructor as well. We are working on poetic form and elements and I had no idea that there was so much to learn. I will post my latest poem here as a example!
Morning air crisp and cool
with the crunch, crunch
of leaves curling beneath our feet
coloring our world in shades
red, brown, yellow
down, down they float
spiraling, swirling, blowing
against dusky skies
the giants soon will sleep
the air pungent, sharp and sweet
the vee of geese flying south
honk, honking they call to us
as they follow the leader
We bundle up for brisk walks
wind chafing our cheeks
donning our coats and gloves
trading flip flops for socks and boots
storing swim suits and shorts
watching the squirrels hustle
cheeks full of acorns
Like the seasons
we must change
nothing ever stays the same.