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The Confessional

Womens Fiction

Best Answer jpfranco , 22 August 2018 - 07:57 AM

This feels like a synopsis, which is a pitfall we all fall into. Think about a movie trailer. It's only a couple of minutes long, so it only gives the gist of the movie. It's designed to catch your interest with drama, action, emotion, etc. Queries are somewhat similar.

 

The formula for queries is character, plot, stakes. Throw some setting in there if you can. 

 

The first line should be your hook: a single sentence (maybe two) that compels the agent to read on. For example: Nadia Maria entered the convent to serve the Lord, but an unexpected attraction to another sister makes her question how strong her devotion is. Her faith is further tested when her therapy clients' problems hit too close to home, causing her demons to come roaring out of the closet. 

 

In queries, just as in novel writing, you've got to think show, don't tell. You've got a lot of telling here. 

 

Leave out 'informed by.' It doesn't quite make grammatical sense. Go with 'inspired by' or something else. Your experience as a nun is very important here, so it's got to be in the query, obviously. 

 

 

(I'm not sure what happened with the formatting here, I am not the best with technology)

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#1 WV Girl

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Posted 20 August 2018 - 08:26 PM

When perilously close to burnout Sister Nadia Maria, a Nun and Psychiatrist, questions what more if anything she has to offer her God and her clients. She is thwarted into turmoil when one of her sisters declares her love and makes sexual overtures towards her. This physical and emotional love is so new to Nadia she feels adolescent and losing control of her vocation as a Nun.

 

At the same time, working with her client’s traumas trigger her to her own abusive past and back into her own therapy, where she must delve into her own darkness as the only way to find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same.

Her clients, reflective of the #METOOMOVEMENT, include victims of unspeakable abuses creating multiple personalities in one client and challenging another client to expose a “posse” of pedophiles run by her uncle.

 

Long kept family secrets jolt Nadia into a reality that cannot be ignored but must be lived out.

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is a 75,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years.

Written in the vein of my favorite author, Kristen Hannah, THE CONFESSIONAL, speaks of women who are fierce yet fragile and deserve justice and healing.



#2 JoQwerty

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 02:30 AM

Interesting concept. I never knew nuns worked as psychiatrists.

 

In the second sentence, the phrase "thwarted into turmoil" does not make sense.

 

The first line of the second paragraph is unclear. It sounds like Nadia's work triggers a relapse and she is forced to seek therapy herself. If Nadia herself is in therapy, how can she continue to treat her patients?

 

I would see the problems being faced by Nadia's clients as subplots that do not need such prominent placement in the query letter. Concentrate on Maria's own struggles.

 

Long kept family secrets jolt Nadia into a reality that cannot be ignored but must be lived out or else...

 

Without the "or else" we do not know what is at stake for Nadia. If she is able to continue working despite her problems, as you imply in the second paragraph, then what does it matter if she cannot solve them completely? For a drama to work, the MC must desire something and must pay a price to get it.



#3 jpfranco

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 08:27 AM

Welcome to query writing. Fasten your seatbelt.  :blink:  

 

The first sentence is too long and rambling, and missing a comma on top of that. The sexual overtures from a sister are somewhat shocking and feel like they come out of nowhere (which may be exactly what it's like in your novel), and I agree with JoQwerty about 'thwarted into turmoil.' I find it had to believe that Nadia has never experienced love on an emotional level. I don't think it's realistic for someone to make it to adulthood never having experienced love. If it did happen, I can't imagine the person being close to psychologically normal. I am Catholic, and I know that if a person is going to dedicate his/her life to the Lord, that person has to have experienced His love. She could have found her way to religious life in some other way, I suppose, but if that's the case, it needs to be spelled out. 

 

Does Nadia like the attention, or is it violent? It's hard to tell, since the query says she feels like she losing control. To me, that sounds like she's thinking maybe she'd be into something the Catholic church would be very against. But then you go into the me too thing, which throws some doubt into it. Speaking of the #metoo thing, my personal opinion is that it's a bad idea to try to capitalize on something that's trendy (anything with a hashtag is a trend and destined to fade. I'm sad to say that here, as sexual abuse is something that needs more than a hashtag, but that's neither here nor there). Using a trend sounds like you're pandering and if I was an agent, I would stop reading and delete. That may be just me, though. 

 

Honestly, all of the abuse is a bit heavy for me, and I'd need something else in the work to balance it out. My real life has too much heavy in it. That is again my personal preference, but I think you may need a little more for other people, too. At least give us some of the nun's character, what makes her strong enough to overcome her darkness, some personality, as hard as that is to do in a query. We need to be able to root for her, to identify with her. 

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is a 75,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by reword this own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years.

Written in the vein of my favorite author, Kristen Hannah, THE CONFESSIONAL, speaks of women who are fierce yet fragile and deserve justice and healing. I did this sort of thing in my first query, and was told (rightly) that I need to show that in the query, not tell the agent.  



#4 smithgirl

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Posted 21 August 2018 - 10:25 AM

When perilously close to burnout Sister Nadia Maria, a nun and psychiatrist, questions what more if anything she has to offer her God and her clients. She is thwarted into turmoil when one of her sisters declares her love and makes sexual overtures towards her. This physical and emotional love is so new to Nadia she feels adolescent and losing control of her vocation as a nun.

 

I agree with the others that thwarted into turmoil doesn't make sense. Maybe thrown into turmoil. Nun and psychiatrist are not capitalized. Also, this first sentence is not a hook. You need too start your query with a short hook that draws the reader in.

 

 

At the same time, working with her client’s traumas trigger her to her own abusive past and back into her own therapy, where she must delve into her own darkness as the only way to find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same.

 

 

Her clients, reflective of the #METOOMOVEMENT, include victims of unspeakable abuses creating multiple personalities in one client and challenging another client to expose a “posse” of pedophiles run by her uncle. This sentence made me think it's the end of query, but it's not. Information like this would go at the very end. Also, details of clients' issues are immaterial to the query. The query is about Nadia.

 

Long kept family secrets jolt Nadia into a reality that cannot be ignored but must be lived out. This does't count as the stakes.

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is a 75,000-word Women’s Fiction novel, informed by own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. It is written in the vein of my favorite author, Kristen Hannah, THE CONFESSIONAL, speaks of women who are fierce yet fragile and deserve justice and healing.  Must show this in the query. 

 

Your query has a lot of conflict (really it's dripping with conflict), but the direction of the story is unclear. If she's been a therapist for a long time, why is she suddenly triggered (now) and must return to therapy, herself? Is it because of the relationship with the nun? 

 

Since she is a nun, does that mean Nadia never had a sexual relationship before meeting the other nun? Some people lead "standard" lives before becoming nuns, so they were not always celibate. Other people join early and have been celibate forever. What's the situation here?

 

There are multiple interwoven factors in your query, and I'm unsure which is the driving factor: what is the source of momentum. You've lost Nadia's motivation in the crowd. In an earlier version of the query, you wrote that Nadia wants to be the best at being a nun and a therapist. You should put that back, so we can know Nadia's goal. The other factors in the query then become the obstacles to her goal. The stakes, at the end, clarify what happens if Nadia  fails to overcome the obstacles.

 

1. What does Nadia want?  To be a good nun and psychiatrist.

2. What obstacles are in her way? Her own trauma and forbidden love with another nun.

​3. What will happen is she fails? I don't know -- she will be ejected from the church? She will kill herself? A client will kill him/herself?

 

Good luck! Be sure you return-critique people's queries after they critique yours.



#5 WV Girl

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 06:26 AM

Revisions to my Query submitted for critique: Thank you for your help...I changed a lot.

 

Nadia, a nun and a psychiatrist, really wants to do both well for her God and her clients.

Having always known God in her life, she heard His calling to the convent as a college sophomore and entered the convent once she completed her MD in Psychiatry.

 

Nonetheless, after a few years in community, things go awry when one of her sisters declares her love for Nadia and makes sexual overtures towards her. Having not been sexual with a woman before, she feels vulnerable, adolescent and questions her faithfulness to God.

 

Along with this confusion, Nadia finds that, in working with clients, she begins to lose herself into a troubled past she left behind or so thought. Now, she must delve into her own therapy to help her to find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same.

 

Feeling broken and dispirited, she grapples with family secrets, as well as her own. These can no longer be ignored, if she really wants to be true to both her vocation and profession.

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is a 75,000-word Women’s Fiction novel, informed by own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 



#6 jpfranco

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 07:57 AM   Best Answer

This feels like a synopsis, which is a pitfall we all fall into. Think about a movie trailer. It's only a couple of minutes long, so it only gives the gist of the movie. It's designed to catch your interest with drama, action, emotion, etc. Queries are somewhat similar.

 

The formula for queries is character, plot, stakes. Throw some setting in there if you can. 

 

The first line should be your hook: a single sentence (maybe two) that compels the agent to read on. For example: Nadia Maria entered the convent to serve the Lord, but an unexpected attraction to another sister makes her question how strong her devotion is. Her faith is further tested when her therapy clients' problems hit too close to home, causing her demons to come roaring out of the closet. 

 

In queries, just as in novel writing, you've got to think show, don't tell. You've got a lot of telling here. 

 

Leave out 'informed by.' It doesn't quite make grammatical sense. Go with 'inspired by' or something else. Your experience as a nun is very important here, so it's got to be in the query, obviously. 

 

 

(I'm not sure what happened with the formatting here, I am not the best with technology)



#7 LKMoody

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Posted 22 August 2018 - 07:28 PM

Hi WV Girl!  First, I want to say I think you made great changes, this version reads much better to me than the previous version.  Now, onward!

 

Revisions to my Query submitted for critique: Thank you for your help...I changed a lot.

 

Nadia, a nun and a psychiatrist, really wants to do both well for her God and her clients. (This is getting closer to a working hook, but I don't feel it's there yet.  What does "doing well" look like?  And while the real world doesn't work this way, I think we assume nuns and psychiatrists want those things, or why would they become them?  So what makes Nadia's motivation special?  What will be unique enough to catch an agent's eye?)

 

Having always known God in her life, she heard His calling to the convent as a college sophomore and entered the convent once she completed her MD in Psychiatry. (I would combine these into 1 paragraph, leaving the hook on its own) Nonetheless, aAfter a few years in community, things go awry when one of her sisters declares her love for Nadia and makes sexual overtures towards her. Having not been sexual with a woman before, she feels vulnerable, adolescent and questions her faithfulness to God.  (what I most wanted to know here was Nadia's response!  I feel like it can't have been "no" because otherwise she wouldn't feel vulnerable, but if it's "yes" or "maybe" that's unclear. Also, it specifically says with a woman--does that mean she has with men?  If not, I would cut the qualifier and just go for "Having never been sexual")

 

 

 

Along with this confusion, Nadia finds that, in working with clients, she begins to lose herself into a the troubled past she left behind or so thought. Now, sShe must delve into her own therapy to help her to find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same. (I know that 'help her' is likely more accurate, but in a query you go for main goal, and she's there to find her place.  Plus it eliminates repetition in the sentence)

 

 

 

Feeling broken and dispirited, she grapples with family secrets, as well as her own. (if "her own" secrets relate to her relationship with the other nun, say that outright.  maybe "she grapples with family secrets and with her troubled relationship to her fellow nun" or some such) These can no longer be ignored, if she really wants to be true to both her vocation and profession.

 

(Okay, cutting the whole last line was a little harsh on my part, but the thing is, you've done a good job convincing us of everything in that sentence in the rest of the query, rendering it unnecessary.  What I think should go here is STAKES.  Again, like with the hook, think concretely.  What will happen if she keeps ignoring the secrets?  Will she hurt her clients, herself, her community?  Will she feel she's failed?  What are the consequences?)

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is a 75,000-word Women’s Fiction novel, informed by own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 

 

Overall I think you're on the right track!  Most of my comments are above.  The only other thing I'd like to see here is some sense of setting--San Francisco, New Mexico, Baton Rouge, somewhere with only one word in its name?  hot, cold, crowded, rural, 2018 or 1998?  It doesn't need to be much, just enough to orient.

 

Good luck!



#8 WV Girl

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Posted 23 August 2018 - 12:35 AM

The Confessional

Revised 8-23

 

 

 

Sister Nadia Maria, a psychiatrist grew up in a crazy-making family and had always wanted a miracle to feel safe. She thought she finally got it when she entered the convent. However, after a few years, things go awry when one of her sisters declare her love for Nadia and makes sexual overtures towards her, leaving Nadia questioning her devotion to both God and this sister.

 

Her faith is further tested when her client’s problems hit too close to home, causing her demons to resurrect and she must delve into her own therapy to find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same.

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is a 75,000-word Women’s Fiction Novel, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and therapist for over 25 years.



#9 WV Girl

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 11:07 AM

***I messed up and started a new thread for my update query, so I'm going to post it here now. Is this correct?

 

Smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill a priest was not on Nadia’s Bucket List when she entered the convent a few years ago. But neither, was having a love affair with another nun. Yet, Life changes us in ways we could never imagine.

 

As a psychiatrist and a nun all Nadia really wanted was to serve her God and help her clients. Then 2018 came about and the priestly pedophiles in Pittsburgh were divulged and all hell broke loose in Nadia. This and working with her client’s traumas trigger her to her own abusive past. Delving into her own darkness as the only way to find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same, she is perilously close to burnout and wonders what she will sacrifice for justice for the abused.

 

Life continues to shatter for Nadia as both her sister and her lover are involved in serious car accidents, with life decisions to be made, leading Nadia to the discovery that she is a product of a rape. Through all of this Nadia continues to work with many clients, one of whom has multiple personalities and one who's uncle was found to be a pedophile and stands trial. Getting too involved with her clients continues to disrupt those first few years when Nadia entered the convent.

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years.

 

THE CONFESSIONAL speaks of  victims to warriors who are fierce yet fragile and deserve justice and healing.



#10 Daisy

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 01:50 PM

***I messed up and started a new thread for my update query, so I'm going to post it here now. Is this correct?

 

 

Smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill a priest was not on Nadia’s Bucket List when she entered the convent a few years ago. I kinda liked the "to kill a priest" part.  LOL  You've taken away a huge part of the allure now.  I'm not as curious as I was last time.  

 

 

But neither, was having a love affair with another nun. Yet, Life changes us in ways we could never imagine. 

 

 

As a psychiatrist and a nun all Nadia really wanted was to serve her God and help her clients.(patients?)

 

Then 2018 came about and the priestly pedophiles in Pittsburgh were divulged and all hell broke loose in Nadia. Be more specific.  I am not at all invested in Nadia so far, so when you tell me all hell breaks loose, I'm like, meh.  Whatever.  You're not hooking me yet.  Keep reeling me in. You have to tell me what's at stake.

 

This and working with her client’s traumas trigger her to her own abusive past. Delving into her own darkness as the only way to find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same, she is perilously close to burnout and wonders what she will sacrifice for justice for the abused.

 

Okay, since every single word in a query matters, maybe try omitting the stuff about her patients and about her burnout. Replace it with what happens at the start of your book. 

 

Look at the first thirty or so pages of your manuscript. WHAT is going on?  As it is now, it's not grabbing my attention.  

 

We have a nun. 

A nun with a gun!

A priest she's going to kill. 

An affair with another nun.

Pedo-priests! 

 

Run with that!  I want to hear more about all that stuff- not about how she's close to burning out. 

 

THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. Yes, much better this way. 

 

THE CONFESSIONAL speaks of  victims to warriors who are fierce yet fragile and deserve justice and healing.I'd just leave this part out.  It's adding nothing.  



#11 WV Girl

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Posted 04 September 2018 - 06:59 PM

Edited 9.5.18

 

Smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill a priest was not on Nadia’s Bucket List when she entered the convent a few years ago. Then 2018 came about and the priestly pedophiles in Pittsburgh were divulged, including Father John Michaels, who abused Nadia when she was only eight years old. Nun or not, she wanted payback. After holding her rage in for so long she now feels strong enough to bear the possibility of prison and mortal sin.  She misses on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional. 

 

 As a psychiatrist and a nun all Nadia really wanted was to serve God and help her clients, but life changes us in ways we can't imagine. Working with her client's traumas trigger  memories of her abusive past by her brother and Father John and send her into her own therapy where she must find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same. Is she a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused? This became unclear when she saw Father John’s name among the pedophiles.

 

Around that same time, Sister Mary made sexual overtures to Nadia and she couldn’t help but to respond. Struggling with her feelings, Nadia had only known abusive sex and these emotional and physical feelings with Mary were magical to her. She justified it to both God and herself as a venial sin.

 

The hidden gun in her car that killed another priest leaves other questions unanswered. Who would have planted it? And why?

 

  Nadia continues to focus on her clients, yet her own life is shattering. Both her sister and Sister Mary are in car accidents that need life decisions made, at which time she discovers she is a product of rape. How can she continue to be strong for God and her clients and not break, with all the turmoil she knows?


 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 



#12 Daisy

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Posted 05 September 2018 - 02:42 PM

Edited 9.5.18

 

Before I start, I just want to say that I like the opening a lot better now!  Keep tweaking it, but you're heading in the right direction.  I think so anyway.   :smile: 

 

 

Smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill a priest was not on Nadia’s Bucket List when she entered the convent a few years ago. If I were you, I think I'd lose the bucket list line. You need something more enticing there. Plus, maybe it's just me, but when I think of bucket lists I think of happy things you want to accomplish. If she's a nun, killing someone isn't going to be a bucket list sort of thing. 

 

 

Now, trying tweaking the sentence around some more to make it more exciting.  

When Nadia became a nun X years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Then 2018 came about and the priestly pedophiles in Pittsburgh were divulged, including You know, the other poster was correct.  I'm not sure you should add that part.  You don't want to date your book. Aim for timeless, rather than current events.

 

Father John Michaels, who abused Nadia when she was only eight years old.

Nun or not, she wanted payback revenge would be a stronger word choice here.

 

 

After holding her rage in for so long she now feels strong enough to bear the possibility of prison and mortal sin.  Try tightening up this sentence. It's sort of clunky. 

 

She misses on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional.  gosh!: 

 

 

 

 As a psychiatrist and a nun all Nadia really wanted was to serve God and help her clients, but life changes us in ways we can't imagine. Filler. Save the word count for more meat. 

 

 

Working with her client's traumas trigger memories of her abusive past by her brother and keep it simple and clear in the query. You don't need to add about her brother here.  Father John, and sending her into her own therapy where she must find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same. 

 

 

Is she a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused?

 

This became unclear when she saw Father John’s name among the pedophiles.

 

Around that same time, Sister Mary made sexual overtures to Nadia and she couldn’t help but to respond. Struggling with her feelings, Nadia had only known abusive sex and these emotional and physical feelings with Mary were magical I don't think magical is the right word here. Foreign, confusing etc. to her. She justified it to both God and herself as a venial sin. 

 

The hidden gun in her car that killed another priest leaves other questions unanswered. Who would have planted it? And why? This sort of comes out of left field, but not in the right way. Try to tweak the wording a bit more.

 

 

  Nadia continues to focus on her clients, yet her own life is shattering. Both her sister and Sister Mary are in car accidents that need life decisions made, at which time she discovers she is a product of rape. How can she continue to be strong for God and her clients and not break, with all the turmoil she knows?


 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 

 

Okay, see what you can do with these new suggestions!  

 

:smile: 



#13 WV Girl

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 03:02 PM

9.6.18  Updated

 

When Nadia became a nun three years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her future vision in life. Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old. Nun or not, she wanted revenge. As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia was ready to sacrifice both prison and mortal sin for revenge. But, she misses on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional.

 

Working with her client’s traumas trigger memories of her abusive past sending her into her own therapy where she must find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same.

 

Around the same time, Sister Mary made sexual overtures to Nadia and she couldn’t help but to respond. Struggling with her feelings, Nadia had only known abusive sex and these emotional and physical feelings with Mary were foreign to her. She justified it to both God and herself as venial sin.

 

Wondering if she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused, Nadia feels set up when the police find a hidden gun in Nadia’s car that was used to kill another priest. 

 

 Nadia continues to focus on her clients, yet her own life is shattering. Both her sister and Sister Mary are in car accidents that need life decisions made, at which time she finds that she is a product of rape. How can she continue to be strong for God and her clients and not break, with all the turmoil she knows?

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 



#14 Daisy

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 04:18 PM

9.6.18  Updated

 

 

When Nadia became a nun three years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her future vision in life.   :smile: 

 

Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old.

Nun or not, Now she wantsed revenge.  I only suggest changing this because you've used "nun" three times in the first four sentences.

 

As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia was ready to sacrifice maybe "risk" would be a better word choice? both prison and mortal sin for revenge. But, she misses on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional. I'm still not loving the wording here.  Just play around with it a bit more and see what you can come up with.  It's okay, but you want to do better than okay.  Wow me here.   :biggrin: 

 

 

Working with her client’s traumas trigger memories of her abusive past sending her into her own therapy where she must find her place in the world and help her clients to do the same. Same as above comments.  It's a bit clunky to read.  See if you can tighten this up a bit more.  Try and make each sentence more exciting than the last to keep pulling me in.  Look at every single sentence in your query individually and build tension on each one.  

 

 

Around the same time, Sister Mary made sexual overtures to Nadia and she couldn’t help but to respond. Remember: short, snappy sentences to make it more exciting.  You're telling me what happens, but you're not pulling any emotion out of me.  What's Nadia thinking when this is happening to her?  Pull me in a bit more. I mean...oh my Gawd!  A NUN is coming on to her.  This sentence is not standing out like it could and should.  I'm not seeing enough of Nadia's personality. I know that's hard to do in a query, but keep it in the back of your mind.  

 

 

Struggling with her feelings, Nadia had only known abusive sex and these emotional and physical feelings with Mary were foreign to her.   :smile: 

 

 

She justified it to both God and herself as venial sin. 

 

 

Wondering if she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused I like this part!

 

Nadia feels set up when the police find a hidden gun in Nadia’s car that was used to kill another priest.  Is there a serial killer of priests on the loose?  Perhaps you should drop a hint or something here because this sort of feels disjointed. Tie it in a little bit more. 

 

 

  Nadia continues to focus on her clients, yet her own life I  decisions made, at which time she discovers she is a product of rape. How can she continue to be strong for God and her clients and not break, with all the turmoil she knows? I'm not loving the ending here. This should be a zinger so that I have to pick up the sample pages and start reading. It sort of falls flat. I'm not caring that Nadia is a product of rape at this point, because I know nothing about her, other than "victim".  Figure out a way to show some side of Nadia's personality up above so that you can rip my heart out at the ending here. 

 

 

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 

 

 It's coming along!  Keep shining this baby!   :smile: 



#15 Patomac

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Posted 06 September 2018 - 08:54 PM

I haven't read any of the previous versions, so these are my fresh impressions. Also, I tend to ask questions, but they're more to explain my thought process and my gaps in information rather than to solicit answers. Keep on revising!



9.6.18  Updated

 

When Nadia became a nun three years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her future vision in life. Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old. Nun or not, she wanted revenge. As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia was ready to sacrifice both prison and mortal sin for revenge. But, she misses on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional. [Am I to understand that Nadia goes to kill Father John and finds him already dead? Dude, that's a heck of a hook. Don't bury it with 3 sentences of 'motivation.' You want something like "Abuse victim Nadia sets out to kill Father John Michaels only to find him dead in his confessional booth." Grab me and then explain Nadia's motive.]

 

Working with her client’s traumas trigger memories of her abusive past sending her into her own therapy where she must find her place in the world [finding your place in the world is really vague]and help her clients to do the same.

 

Around the same time, Sister Mary made sexual overtures to Nadia and she couldn’t help but to respond. [that she couldn't help but return? still awkward] Struggling with her feelings, Nadia had only known abusive sex and these emotional and physical feelings with Mary were foreign to her. She justified it to both God and herself as venial sin. [queries are traditionally written in the present tense. this is the past]

 

Wondering if she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused, Nadia feels set up when the police find a hidden gun in Nadia’s car that was used to kill another priest.  [I think you're burying the lede again. Include this plot point-- if it's in the first half of the book-- but make it shine. Also, she doesn't feel that she's being set up-- she definitely is!] 

 

 Nadia continues to focus on her clients, yet her own life is shattering. Both her sister and Sister Mary are in car accidents that need life decisions made, at which time she finds that she is a product of rape. How can she continue to be strong for God and her clients and not break, with all the turmoil she knows?[I'm sure you've heard this, but rhetorical questions in queries are almost universally despised. Also, reading the query overall, I'm not sure what the primary conflict of this story is. Nadia's got a lot going on both physically and emotionally, but what is she doing? Is she solving a murder? Is she trying to self-actualize? Someone above pointed out that this read like a synopsis, and it very much does. Read a bunch of back cover copies in your genre and analyze them. What do they say that makes you want to pick up the book? ]

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 



#16 WV Girl

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Posted 07 September 2018 - 09:40 PM

Nun abused as child by priest smuggles gun into a confessional seeking justice. The headlines are exact!

Revision #11

When Nadia entered the convent three years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her vision.    

 

Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old.

Now, she wants revenge.  As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia is ready to suffer both prison and mortal sin. But justice escapes her on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional. 

 

Psychiatrist or not, Nadia begins to lose herself in her own troubled past, not unlike her clients. And she like them, enters the world of therapy.

 

Sexual overtures made by Sister Mary catch Nadia off guard. But not enough to negate response. Nadia only knew abusive sex and these emotional and physical arousals are foreign and awakening to her! She doesn’t want to let go and justifies it to God and herself as venial sin.

 

Wondering if she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused, a scapegoat or a martyr, Nadia can't seem to pull the broken pieces together.   Maybe it’s more about purgatory or even her own hell.

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 



#17 Daisy

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 08:15 AM

Revision #11

 

Nun abused as child by priest smuggles gun into a confessional seeking justice. The headlines are exact!  i'd leave this out and start at the next line. 

 

When Nadia entered the convent three years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her future vision in life.     

 

Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old.

Now, she wants revenge.  As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia was ready to suffer both prison and mortal sin. But justice escapes her on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional. 

 

 

Psychiatrist or not, Nadia begins to lose herself in her own troubled past, not unlike her clients. And she like them, enters the world of therapy.You've improved this so much, but the beginning of this sentence doesn't really work.  Nadia is a psychiatrist so the "or not" doesn't fit.  Other than that, I'm loving everything you've done.

 

Sexual overtures made by Sister Mary catch Nadia off guard. But not enough to negate response. Nadia only knew abusive sex and these emotional and physical arousals are foreign and awakening to her! Lose the exclamation mark though. 

She doesn’t want to let go and justifies it to God and herself as venial sin.

 

Wondering if she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused she is set up when a gun that was used to kill a priestly pedophile is found in her car. :smile: Trying breaking this up into two sentences so each one stands out a bit more. 

 

Pittsburgh has become a battle zone defending the kids who were victimized by priests and other pedophiles. I think you need to reword this. The wording is a bit "off". 

 

Whether healer or avenger, Nadia just can’t seem to pull together the broken pieces. Maybe it’s more about  purgatory. The ending is sort of "meh".  Try to up the stakes a bit more. WOW me at the end. 

 

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 

 

:biggrin: You're doing great!  



#18 WV Girl

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 09:04 AM

Query #12

 

When Nadia entered the convent three years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her vision.    

 

Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old.

Now, she wants revenge.  As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia is ready to suffer both prison and mortal sin. But justice escapes her on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional. 

 

As a psychiatrist Nadia begins to lose herself in her own troubled past, not unlike her clients. And she like them, enters the world of therapy.

 

Sexual overtures made by Sister Mary catch Nadia off guard. But not enough to negate response. Nadia only knew abusive sex and these emotional and physical arousals are foreign and awakening to her. She doesn’t want to let go and justifies it to God and herself as venial sin.

 

(Becoming a battle zone to protect clients abused by priests and others, Nadia tries to stand strong. She is set up when a gun that was used to kill one of the priests is found in her car.)??? Someone is out to get her.

 

Wondering if she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused, a scapegoat or a martyr, Nadia can't seem to pull the broken pieces together.   Maybe it’s more about her own purgatory or even her own hell. Only God can say (and he’s not talking.)

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 



#19 Daisy

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 11:52 AM

Query #12

 

When Nadia took her vows and entered the convent three years ago, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her vision.  Since you've been taking out a lot of the filler along the way, you can add a bit more detail now. :smile:   When I reread this, I wondered if someone skimming over this quickly might think Nadia entered a convent literally. Perhaps simply adding something like "took her vows" will make it crystal clear.  You want this to be as easy to get the gist of right from the get-go. You don't want to make your readers have to re-read anything. 

 

Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old. :smile: 

 

Now, she wants revenge.  As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia is ready to suffer both prison and mortal sin. But justice escapes her on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional.  See if you can't come up with a better word than suffer.  Also, it might be pretty cool to tie in a word with religious overtones here. I'm thinking more along the lines of "penance" or something like that. I'm just thinking out loud.  

 

As a psychiatrist, Nadia begins to lose herself in her own troubled past, not unlike her clients. And she like them, enters the world of therapy.

 

Sexual overtures made by Sister Mary catch Nadia off guard. But not enough to negate response. Nadia only knew abusive sex and these emotional and physical arousals are foreign and awakening to her. She doesn’t want to let go and justifies it to God and herself as venial sin.

 

(Becoming a battle zone to protect clients abused by priests and others, Nadia tries to stand strong. She is set up when a gun that was used to kill one of the priests is found in her car.)??? Someone is out to get her. It's coming along. Keep working on it.  

 

Wondering if she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused, a scapegoat or a martyr, Nadia can't seem to pull the broken pieces together.   Maybe it’s more about her own purgatory or even her own hell. I really like this, but tweak it a bit more and see what you can come up with.

 

Only God can say (and he’s not talking.) I'd get rid of the brackets and use an em-dash instead. It will give it more oomph. The em-dashes don't work on here, but they do in Word.  :smile: (hit the dash key twice and then hit enter. It will become an em-dash. Great for points like this or when showing an interruption during dialogue etc.)

 

Only God can say--and he's not talking. 

 

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. I haven't mentioned this, but the fact you're a former nun really adds an element of excitement to the query.   :biggrin:  It's like free bonus points for you.  



#20 WV Girl

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Posted 08 September 2018 - 04:48 PM

Updated 9-10-18

 

Three years ago, when Nadia entered the convent and took her vows, smuggling a gun into a confessional to kill Father Michaels was not part of her plan. Father John Michaels abused Nadia when she was eight years old. Now, the Pittsburgh Catholic Church has divulged 300 names of priests involved in sexual play with kids, seminarians, and women, including nuns. Father John was one of them and Nadia now feels sanctioned for her own revenge. The time is now.

 

 As sacrifices go for nuns, Nadia is ready to bear repentance both with prison and mortal sin. But justice escapes her on both counts when she finds him already dead in the confessional. Others begin to seek their own justice, shooting priests in churches and on the streets. Beware if you wear a clerical collar.  Even Nadia is set up when a gun that was used to kill a priest is found in her car. Someone is out to get her.   

 

As a psychiatrist, Nadia is dedicated to helping the abused. Yet, this climate of betrayal leads her to question whether she is a healer for survivors or an avenger for the abused, a scapegoat or a martyr, Nadia can't seem to pull the broken pieces together. Maybe it’s about her own personal purgatory or her own hell. Only God can say—and He’s not talking. 

 

 

 THE CONFESSIONAL is an 80,000-word Women’s Fiction Novel, informed by my own experience of being a former nun and a practicing therapist for over 25 years. 







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