Friday, February 4, 2011

# α - Ω

Dear Agent,

When God created the world, he knew the people He made would eventually get themselves into trouble - and His own son would end up paying the price.

In THE BIBLE, a 775,000-word historical fiction/religious memoir, God is the Creator – He from whom all things flow. His creations are uppity things: some of them turn His name into a curse word, some set up false idols in His place, and some eat food He specifically told them was His. One thing’s for sure, God isn’t letting these ungrateful bastards into Heaven until they're redeemed in His eyes.

That’s where His son comes in. J.C. was created to die for the sins of man and open the gates to Heaven, but nobody asked him first. Thrust into existence with doom hanging over his head, he’s just trying to live his life: hanging with religious rebels The Apostles, doing standup in the temple, mixing it up with moneylenders, chatting up feisty “former” prostitute Mary Magdalene. J.C. knows his buddy is about to turn him in to the authorities on a trumped-up charge, and pretty soon he’s going to end up nailed to a tree – but first he’s going to party.

I am that I am. I am currently working on a sequel, THE BIBLE II: RUSH LIMBAUGH IS STILL A BIG FAT IDIOT. Thanks be to Me for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

The Lord

108 comments:

Liana Brooks said...

It'll be controversial, that's for sure.

Marybk said...

I'm rooting for JC but looks like he's got his work cut out for him.

Could be a best seller.

Stephanie M. Lorée said...

Best thing I read all day. And look! It has characters and clear conflict.

The Lord writes a seriously awesome query.

lqqinspace said...

Remember, O Lord, that you created Rush Limbaugh in your image.

Sarah W said...

I rarely comment on other people's queries because I have so much to learn, but I think if I were the Author (no blasphemy intended), I'd make the third paragraph the opener and start with "J.C. was created . . . "

Then again, who am I to argue?

annaliterally said...

Hilarious and inspired. But I guess I should have expected that from The Lord.

Brad Jaeger said...

Praise Jebus!

Summerland said...

Oh my...is...this REAL?

Allison M. Dickson said...

I don't know if this Lord guy's book will sell or not, but he can sure write a query!

Theresa Milstein said...

The premise sounds intriguing, but I think it's been done before. If The Lord is going to try to write his genre's version of another "Twilight", he should explain what he doing to make it stand out.

Love the JC partying before he gets nailed to tree line. The Lord's unique voice came through in this query, which made me want to see if the manuscript matched the tone.

Josin L. McQuein said...

Wrong genre.

The Bible is an anthology with contributions from multi-faith religious leaders, royalty, poets, musicians, statesmen, judges and diplomats who have a combined platform that reaches more than one billion world wide.

Patty Blount said...

I'll be burning in hell for giggling at this.

Robin Egg said...

Good call not talking back to, I am that I am.

I wouldn't either.

Martinelli Gold said...

Oh...my.

DeadlyAccurate said...

It'll never sell.

elfarmy17 said...

It comes with a great marketing campaign: Buy it and love it, or burn in Hell.

squirrelbutter said...

Someone's been reading a goodly amount of Terry Pratchett.

raine said...

No chance of a prequel, huh?

Laura Campbell said...

Sounds interesting...I like the way the author approaches the query. Give me something to think about.

Charlie said...

Nice!

Tara Tyler said...

Sounds provocative.
Did you request the MS?

buildingalife said...

Readers who enjoyed Lamb, the gospel according to Biff, Christ's childhood friend by Christopher Nolan will also enjoy My book.

Alyson Greene said...

Form rejection on word-count alone.

Shannon said...

The last sentence is kinda self-absorbed ... just sayin'.

I mean, will he make the editing change? Doubt it.

Leah said...

So is that a first-time FTW then?

Stephanie said...

But does he have a platform???

Steve Ulfelder said...

No vampires. Pass.

jan said...

And what, pray tell, was your response??

Tawna Fenske said...

Thank you to both of you for the best laugh I've had all day!

Tawna

Bryce Daniels said...

The shift from second to first person seems a little troublesome, as well as the Word count.

But......

In hopes of passing Judgment, I will withhold passing judgment.

Marsha Sigman said...

I had a similar idea but I was less brave and called 'I AM Him'. And Jesus was actually a time traveler from the 1980's.

I'm not proud.

My verification word is 'slayan'. Now I'm actually frightened.

T. Anne said...

There might be eternal consequences for rejecting this one. I'd request a full.

Dan said...

As long as it's not in first-person present.

stephen matlock said...

Well, the ending is a real revelation...

Vivian said...

LOL! This is a good example of how to make a familiar story sound new and interesting.

arhooley said...

Big, yes. Fat, yes. Idiot? Agree or disagree with the man, he's not an idiot.

Girl Friday said...

Oh, just insanely brilliant. LOVE LOVE LOVE :) Hats off to the writer.

Philangelus said...

Dear Lord God:

Thank you for your submission. The editorial board was very much intrigued with your concept for The Bible and would be interested in seeing the complete manuscript.

We ordinarily do not publish anthologies, but we may make an exception if you can get signed releases from the authors of all the books. As we do not publish poetry at all, we will not be including any of the psalms, but some of them certainly showed promise. You may feel free to submit those elsewhere.

Your working title isn't "sexy" enough to sell, so we've retitled it "Assassination: A Murdered God Speaks." We feel this will draw the eye among bookshelves crowded with competing sacred scriptures.

Some of the material in your sample chapters appears inflammatory and exclusivist, and those parts would doubtless offend our readers who worship Ashera and Zeus. This material would have to be removed or reworked before we would consider publishing your book. Although doubtless the negative publicity would generate sales, we have to protect our global reputation. A boycott of our entire nonfiction line by Zoroastrians would cause some agitation among our shareholders.

The editorial board was concerned about the length of your manuscript. Its marketability would be enhanced by trimming approximately 200,000 words and dividing it into a trilogy. Much of the material appears redundant, so you will have to remove Chronicles and three of the Gospel accounts. The concluding chapter, Revelation, seems to have no relation to the rest of the manuscript. We would prefer you to rewrite a conclusion that is more within of the spirit of the piece.

The scenes of violence were rather disturbing, and we would urge you to tone them down before resubmitting.

One of the editors appreciated the strong female characters but felt that because most sacred scriptures involve male deities, perhaps changing Jesus into God's Daughter would help your work stand out from the crowd. We also lamented that God does not have any peers with whom to interact, as this builds character. It worked rather well for the Greeks and the Romans, so you should consider expanding your pantheon.

Jesus needs a love interest.

Your marketing plan concerns us, as you only intend to advertise by word of mouth. We regard your claim to speak every earthly language as far-fetched. Writing the different books in different languages makes it difficult for readers, although it does add to the air of verisimilitude. Please submit a revised marketing strategy along with any credentials you may have and lists of future speaking engagements. Perhaps you could work a sign such as a free fish giveaway with each copy sold, or a water-into-wine tour.

Our marketing director believes there are franchise opportunities if your work catches fire with readers. She outlined the possibilities of calendars with quotations, mugs, children's book spinoffs, plush figures, and Happy Meal toys.

Please send us any thoughts you may have as to a sequel. Does God have any other Sons? Would Jesus consider returning and dying again in a small Midwestern town?

We look forward to receiving your revised manuscript. Thank you for your attention.
Sincerely,
The Editor

Lawrence said...

Sounds interesting, but I have two problems with it.

First, I wish any first time author luck in getting anybody to look at such a long piece. From what I understand, the length itself is an automatic rejection. 775,000 words? Really?

Second, from other things I've read, there seems to be some question as to whether Mary Magdelene was a prostitute or Jesus' wife. This author should do some fact-checking to be sure.

Kandice said...

I've been stalking Query Shark for years and haven't posted anything, but I am laughing so hard my kids are asking me if I'm okay. Thank you God and Philangelus for making me cry. In a good way.

Amy said...

I found both the query and Philangelus's Editor reply deliciously witty. Actually, so many of the comments were, as well! A fun treat to read at the end of a long day!

Amber J. Gardner said...

I would TOTALLY buy a Bible remake written in this style and voice.

I'm so completely serious. Someone should do this.

Mags said...

"Thanks be to Me for your time and consideration."

You had me at good-bye.

This query'd get lots of reads, no doubt, but I feel the ms is going to need quite a bit of work if it's going to sell in today's market. The fourth part of of Volume I, for instance, is just a list of counts of people that goes on for pages and pages and pages. Sigh. Writers and their endulgences.

alaskaravenclaw said...

See? Nobody's having any luck landing an agent.

Joel said...

Dear Author,

Although this sounds interesting, everyone expects a trilogy these days.

I need to see the outline for the third volume--750 words is fine, and don't forget the ending.

Your pal,

Janet Reid,

jesse said...

Al Franken wrote the bible? Impressive. Still, I think he should down play it in the next election, or he's gonna lose the MN atheist vote.

Leah said...

Memoirs are a hard sell right now. Have you got any YA? How about J.C.: The Teen Years?

JD said...

lolol funny, query shark. made my day. :) is this an example of good or bad query writing? im guessing good cuz the Lord is good at everything... right?
;)

Elvis Henry said...

A cheap shot. Fuck off, Shark.

Jo-Ann said...

Dear Lord,
Thankyou for your submission, however, we are aware of another book currently under consideration by our Indian office, called “The Mahabharata”.

We acknowledge that the target audience of the two works are different, however, we are concerned about the about a number of similarities between the characters, JC and Krishna.

Both are men born to virgins, yet claim divinity. Both claim to be the second part of a holy trinity, and perform miracles. Both are meek and cast out sinners, both die and are resurrected.

Please address this immediately!

By the way, are you aware that your JC character features in a piece of fanfic called the Book of Mormons? Check it out!
Yours, etc.

yamx said...

That word count is insane! Cut by at least 75%!

John "Ol' Chumbucket" Baur said...

Enjoyed the story, but we need to work on the title. The Bible? Need something catchier or it'll never sell.

upmic said...

Dear QS,

With all due respect, I feel compelled to mention my suspicion that, given their evident misapprehension of its content and their reliance on run-of-the-mill, second-hand plotting outlines, the person who wrote this query might not be the purported author of this manuscript.

Respectfully,

The Upturned Microscope

candie said...

@Philangelus Brilliant!

Tessa Conte said...

*wipes keyboard after snorting coffee all over it*

LOL omg you guys just totally made my day. That goes for Philangelus up there, too.

Timothy Fish said...

Whoever wrote this query needs to read the book they are talking about. The first line is obviously correct, but it falls apart after that. The genre is incorrect. It is neither historical fiction nor religious memoir. This query also leave out a very important fact. The Bible is prophetic. Of course, making predictions about the future is not enough to say The Bible is worth publishing—anyone can make predictions. The thing that makes it stand out is that the predictions the prophets of The Bible made were both specific and accurate. Daniel, for example, predicted the major world powers (over a span of hundreds of years), how they would rise, and how they would fall. We can compare his predictions to the history books and see that he was correct. Prophets foretold of when the Jews would go into captivity and when they would be freed, as well as who would do it. Unlike other people who make predictions, they were correct. The prophets foretold the coming of Jesus Christ and they were correct. These same prophets have much to say about the end of the world. The Bible is much more important and much more accurate than the writer of this query implies.

Lance Albury said...

Shame on you for posting this blasphemous drivel.

Welshcake said...

I'm worried there may be a deus ex machina ending.

Leona said...

Your query number is priceless. I love it. This whole thing is great, even the guy's rebuttal, philangelus.

I love how it shows that an exception to all the rules can end up working anyway! and the tone is great :)

Thanks query shark for a good laugh...

PS it was the title that made me look today :) haven't finished my prework before I'm allowed to play on my blogs lol

Orlando said...

The word count is too large, and there is too much going on in the story. JC didn't show until well past the middle of the book, so who's the protagonist the Father or the Son JC?

And yet the query worked, and it sells more than any other book in history. Who'd a thunk it?

775,000 word count. I'm having trouble with my 95,000 word count. Wow!

Rachel6 said...

Timothy Fish, THANK YOU!!

Philangelus, I loved the look at an editor's response. :) One caveat: no peers? God is a Trinity; He is His own peer.

This was an excellent query; who knows, might intrigue some people into reading the Ms!

Stephanie Barr said...

Well, nice to know you now have God's email addy.

Or is that frightening?

Kathryn said...

Can we see the sequel first? I just have this nagging feeling the work being queried is going to have a LOT of back story...

Rebecca T. said...

This was so funny, but I must admit that Philangelus made me nearly fall off my chair from laughing so hard.

*wipes tears from eyes*

Vivian said...

I get it! The Shark is trying to say that most authors who query think they're God's Gift to Publishing!

Elaine AM Smith said...

Philangelus My family now thinks I am insane; it is, normally, permitted to giggle when reading posts but bark-out-loud-hysteria was considered to be overstepping the reasonable response to reading ratio :)
"Perhaps you could work a sign such as a free fish giveaway with each copy sold, or a water-into-wine tour."

WV: readeri - a very reasonable adjective

DTSCrockett said...

I notice the Query Shark didn't touch this one at all. Have we found the Query Shark's kryptonite? Not even a concern about the word count. Hmmm...

Princess Sara said...

Timothy Fish -- I thought the main problem with this query is that it conflated the controversial and unauthorized sequel, "The New Testament", with the original work. Since I found the original great, but agreed with the critics who said that the sequel was marred by its Gary Stu protag and blatant retconning of the original, the decision to release them both as a single volume strikes me as ill-advised and liable to spark a few wars among the fanbase.

JS said...

Dear Lord,

Thank you for your manuscript. We reviewed it at the editorial board and found it overly reminiscent of The Epic of Gilgamesh, an earlier title of ours of which you may be aware.

Please note also some concerns we might have about similarities between your work and the popular Code of Hammurabi.

Nonetheless, we feel the work shows promise, and would be pleased to look at a resubmission after revisions addressing the above concerns have been made.

Shall we expect to hear back from you in, say, seven days?

Missives From Suburbia said...

Philangelus FTW.

khaula said...

OH Jeez, hhahahah, cant hhahahhah, stop ahahha laughing hahahah long ehheheheh enough to hahah say hahahah any thing hahah.

Pia Newman said...

OMG. Brilliant! Good thing the Bible was 'published' so long ago, or that word count would have merited an instant refusal.

Wouldn't that be a fun contest: Hypothetical queries of famous books. Pick a popular book, let people write hypothetical queries for it, and choose the one that best represents the book.

Cathi said...

Ok, if the Lord Himself has to send in a query...I'm thinking a nobody like me doesn't have a chance!

Lydia said...

That's what I call an intriguing query. Love JC partying before he gets nailed to a tree :D

Charlene said...

Do you think maybe the Lord is pissed at Rush Limbaugh for claiming to borrow talent from Him?

Great laugh, but I've read the manuscript a few times myself and it's really a love story.

Kate Halleron said...

Pretty damn funny.

But I do need to stand up for Mary Magdalene - she was not a prostitute. That slander was made up by the RC church, but keeps getting repeated and repeated.

Jael said...

Heh. "I am that I am." Now THAT'S a bio.

Paul West said...

IMO, it's still sacrilegious regardless who wrote it.

JS said...

But I do need to stand up for Mary Magdalene - she was not a prostitute. That slander was made up by the RC church

The what, in the where, now?

The tradition that Mary Magdalene was a prostitute (which, I'll agree, isn't supported by anything in the actual text of the New Testament) can be documented as early as the 300s, and comes from the conflation of the "penitent woman" in Luke 7:36 with "Mary Magdalene" (who is discussed in Luke 8).

Pope Gregory I certainly solidified the perpetuation of that confusion in his 6th century writings, but it didn't originate with him, nor was it invented as a matter of RC church policy; he was as confused as the other people of his era, who didn't have access to standardized texts of the New Testament.

John Jack said...

"# α - Ω"

"Number Alpha to Omega"

Number beginning to ending. The creation story is only half written. It's been about two thousand years since a new installment was appended to Scriptures. Isn't it about time for a new chapter?

What's new since Revelations? Like, it's going on now and no one is noticing? And as horrible as it is, it's not as final as John the Divine makes it out to be. Like, there's an afterstory.

Denouement is the final outcome of a main dramatic complication, which Revelations doesn't fulfill.

What's the main complication that unifies Scriptures? Twofold; one, humanity's spiritual relationships are unfulfilled; two, humanity's temporal relationships are unfulfilled. Recognition and realization and denouement of those two are still sorely wanting.

Plain Jane said...

Imagine the global market for something like this . . . but you know someone's always gonna try to "up" it. I hear there's already fierce competition . . .

Lumpy Dog said...

Form rejection

Alicia said...

Clearly, no one told this writer that it's a bad idea to start on the sequel before the first book is sold.

wizardonskis22 said...

It would make a lousy airplane read, but as a textbook, it might have promise. Of course, it would require a few more illustrations and some editing. If the author is interested in preserving the word count despite all reasonable limits, the author should go talk with the publishers of Breaking Dawn, who, evidently, would be happy to comply.

Rebecca Kiel said...

Looks around 250 words. Impressive.

Kitten said...

Not sacriligious- SacriLICIOUS.

Oh, this is Brilliant. But, AUthor, I just don't buy your story. It just doesn't seem real to me, you know?

siebendach said...

I appreciate the attempt at humor --- but are queries worth critiquing truly coming in this rarely? "If Not For the Courage" wasn't that long ago.

Explorer said...

Sounds a bit like my "Query Letter From the Holy Ghostwriter" blog post of 1/1/11.

pulp said...

Philangelus:

So funny.

franchise opportunities if your work catches fire with readers. She outlined the possibilities of calendars with quotations

Lord God:

You're funny, too. I requested a full, read the entire bloomin' thing, and had to take a pill and lie down.

Do You, Catherine Coulter, and Stephen King share the same editor? You might consider casting him or her out. Mortals don't have all eon to read one book.

oozoid said...

that was a great query both in humor and demonstrating how to include the important info in an interesting way but i agree with siedenbach -- are there no other queries worthy of printing lately?

is query shark taking a much needed vacation? just curious and certainly understanable if that is the case.

Cheryl said...

So, Query Shark...

You taking him on?

Carolyn Arnold said...

Ha! I almost spilled my drink all over my keyboard when I read this.

SemperFi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Britney said...

This might be one of the most epic query letters I've ever read. I'm still laughing, for one thing, and for another, I find myself strangely inclined to a.) buy a book from you, and b.) go read the Bible.

SemperFi said...

Dear I am that I am,
Very clever, very witty. But be more guarded with your keyboard, someone snuck a boorish and limp Al Franken reference into your last paragraph.

Trisha said...

Oh my gosh. this is hilarious. :D

mrcrashhappy said...

Hilarious! There's nothing quite as funny as another trite, chicken-shit and ignorant cheap shot at Christians. Especially since everybody knows man-made climate change is the new jihad-worthy religion. So, so clever.

Michi said...

*howls* I'm sure this pissed off some people but best post I've read in quite awhile!

Wolf said...

Thanks to all who commented. I actually just forwarded this mock query to Janet as a sort of "thank you" for her blog over the years. It was fun to write.

I see from the comments that some were offended by the query's content. I'm a Christian myself, but in my life I've seen ample evidence that God has an excellent sense of humor.

Chris said...

This would get me to go to church.

mekiho said...

PRICELESS!

Jane Latta said...

Best query letter EVER! I would buy that book if it were told in that voice.

Steve Stubbs said...

Well, I'd bet at 775,000 words that one took more than seven days and seven nights to write.

I dunno about the sequel, though. You don't have to be God to know Limbaugh is an idiot.

Donea Lee said...

Oh. my. gosh! (see, I'm really not one of "those" people)...

Very clever ~ :)

Donyale said...

My first response was, "Oh no he didn't!" Next it was, "Hmm..." After that, I laughed my patookus off!

laurathewise said...

If I die laughing right now, I really hope G-d will let me into Heaven...

pauline said...

Wow. First time in my life I have every actually WANTED to read the bible. So *that's* what a good query letter does...

Joy Slaughter said...

Best blog post I've read today.