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The Outskirts of Fernwood (FANTASY) Revision in #67

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#61 CarterT

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Posted 06 April 2017 - 02:10 PM

 

After a noble in the nearby kingdom of Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, 20-year-old Mable is nearly murdered, barely escaping by chance.
- I think that if you're going to use this for your hook, you need to reverse the order a bit. I was given the advice not to introduce your MC so late in the hook, and I believe the same advice stands here. '20-yeard-old Mabel is nearly murdered, only escaping by chance, as the hanging of witches begins again.' (or something like that...)

A few other innocents from Mable’s hidden village are killed by emboldened purists who make no distinction between healers and witches. She, and others, start to fear these purists will uncover their best-kept secret: healers have mostly lost the powerful magic that once protected them. For now, their safety lies only in the illusion their cursed village casts. - Like others, this paragraph confuses me a bit. Mainly because you talk about villagers from the village being killed. It sounds like it's not so hidden, and that the 'bad guys' know the magic is gone. I know you explained out in a previous post...but if you need to explain it...then it's not clear enough in your query. You don't get a chance with an agent to say 'Well, this is what I mean...'

Despite all risk, - Despite the risk? The all seems out of place for me.  Mable continues rescuing healers trapped within Aberagan’s walls as she once was. - '...as she always has.' ? I don't think you mentioned that she ever stopped doing it, so the past tense doesn't fit. The kingdom is dying of illness and injury now more than ever, but Aberaganians seem to fear magic more than death - I like this, but when I stop to think about it, I wonder 'why?' Maybe it doesn't need to be answered in the query though, and can wait for the book. In the aftermath of the execution, however, a rumor is floating through the kingdom that some highborn nobles are finally beginning to see the consequences of persecuting their healers. - Ah! I figured out why this sentence bugs me! How long have they been persecuting healers? I thought that just started with the hanging a few sentences earlier?

The village leaders advise Mable to stop her travels. But the lingering rumor sparks a hope in her that she could help her village gain a powerful, highborn ally who would keep them safe. Somehow Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. - By starting the sentence with 'somehow', you're taking the punch out of it. It's like you don't even know how she's going to do it. 'Mable will have to infiltrate the kingdom's court...' or something along those lines. Tell us what she's going to do to try to succeed.
THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Hope some of this helps. Sorry if I sound direct, but I think you've got a lot of it right, so it's at the point where you can focus on the few things that will bring your query to the top.



#62 danipie

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 08:52 PM

tbh i feel so close to giving up... sigh

 

 

After a noble in nearby Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, 20-year-old Mable is nearly murdered outside the kingdom’s walls.

For the last century, the occasional healer has strayed too far from Mable’s village and gotten killed. Now the emboldened purists who make no distinction between healers and witches are roaming dangerously close to their sanctuary. Mable, who has always risked death, continues rescuing healers from within Aberagan’s walls where she, too, was once trapped.

The kingdom is dying of illness and injury now more than ever, but Aberaganians seem to fear magic more than death. In the aftermath of the hanging, however, a rumor is floating through the kingdom that some highborn nobles are finally beginning to see the consequences of persecuting their healers.

The village leaders advise Mable to stop her travels while purist support grows. But the lingering rumor sparks a hope in her that she could help her village gain a powerful, highborn ally who would keep them safe. Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 



#63 Erevos

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 07:09 AM

I know the feel of giving up, but hey! Your novel is ready. Just be patient until the query is complete!

tbh i feel so close to giving up... sigh

 

 

After a noble in nearby Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, 20-year-old Mable is nearly murdered outside the kingdom’s walls. I'm afraid this hook doesn't work. Plenty of us have given some advise about the hook, so take a look and give it one more try.

For the last century, the occasional healer has strayed too far from Mable’s village and gotten killed. Who? This sentence confuses me. Now the emboldened purists who make no distinction between healers and witches are roaming dangerously close to their sanctuary. Mable, who has always risked death, continues rescuing healers from within Aberagan’s walls where she, too, was once trapped. This is clear and all. But, with a bit of rephrasing you can do wonders.

The kingdom is dying of illness and injury now more than ever, but Aberaganians seem to fear magic more than death. For me this is clear, and I don't really need to know why. I can read the book if I need this answered. In the aftermath of the hanging, What hanging? I say remove it and start with this -> However, a rumor is floating through the kingdom that some highborn nobles are finally beginning to see the consequences of persecuting their healers.

The village leaders advise Mable to stop her travels while purist support grows. Purist support grows? I thought some nobles began thinking otherwise. Just end it with "...stop her travels." But the lingering rumor sparks a hope in her that she could help her village gain a powerful, highborn ally who would keep them safe. Mable will have to find them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. You can also start the last sentence with "Now Mable". My opinion, though.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 


My Query http://agentquerycon...a-high-fantasy/ Let me know if you want me to look at yours. Will happily do so.


#64 jswen

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:31 AM

Yeah, writing queries sucks. After 10+ drafts, mine is still not where I want it to be. But I do think it's a very good exercise in figuring out the core of your story. So keep at it! You'll be glad you did the work when it's over :)

 

You've probably read it already, but just share in case you haven't. This article from the AQC site has been really helpful for me:

http://www.agentquer.../writer_hq.aspx

 

From here, it looks like your first paragraph/hook sentence could use some strengthening. 

 

"After a noble in nearby Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, 20-year-old Mable is nearly murdered outside the kingdom’s walls."

 

It's not clear why Mable is nearly murdered. And what does she have to do with the hanged noble? Is Mable a witch? If so, linking those two parts of the sentence could create more tension. I also think it would be interesting if Mable is secretly a witch and this recent anti-witch activity has flushed her out. I don't know. What's your inciting incident? What sets the story into action? Who is your character?

 

Hope this helps!



#65 E.G. Tczarzenskawitz

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 10:57 AM

You hook does not make since. Why does the nobles hanging led to Mable almost being murdered? I went back and read your previous drafts to understand your story, and tried to make a connection. I then tried to revise your hook, so it contained more of a connection to your story.

 

Twenty-year-old Mable will risk her life to help her fellow healers escape persecution from the witch-hunters that plague the kingdom.

 

Now, onto building up the story. You want to add some information so the reader bonds with the MC and understands her struggle. Again I used info from your previous drafts.

 

Believing that healers are really soul-stealing witches, a group of purists wish to wash the land clean of all witchcraft. So for the last century, the remaining healers have been forced to hide in a small village outside the kingdom of Abergan. Twenty-year-old Mable works to rescue fellow healers trapped inside the kingdom’s walls, and deliver them to the safety of their sanctuary.

But after a nobleman is hung for practicing witchcraft, the purists fear that the healers are corrupting the people inside the kingdom. Though the kingdom is dying of illness and injury, the purists seem to fear magic more than death. Therefore, instead of allowing the healers to give the kingdom aid, the purists are now hunting healers even outside the kingdom’s walls.

 

As the purists roam dangerously close to the healers’ sanctuary, Mable heads to the kingdom in search of a powerful noble to align with. She hopes that the noble’s status will keep her people safe, but finding a healer-sympathizer will be no easy task. Revealing herself to the wrong person could lead to her death, or worse, it could lead to the purists finding the healer’s sanctuary they so desperately want to destroy.

 

Finally, end with a choice that Mable must make. Get the reader so engrossed that they want to read the book to see how she solves her problems. I gave a stab at the conflict, but I don’t know if it fits your story. But I hope it works as an example.

 

Mable must find a nobleman to help before a war breaks out, causing unnecessary losses to both sides.

 

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

 

I like to sound of your story. I hope my suggestions help you. Good Luck J



#66 dragoness

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 03:41 AM

tbh i feel so close to giving up... sigh Don't be - you have such a charming story, and your different versions show it. I have no doubt you'll find an agent and a publisher  :smile: .

 

I took the liberty to change the order of the sentences (and to omit the place names) to make this version clearer and stronger, IMO. (I found this version very unclear.) However, I loved your wordings on prior versions and I'm sure you can improve it better than me...

 

After a noble in nearby Aberagan is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, 20 twenty-year-old Mable is nearly murdered outside the kingdom’s walls. (that's not a hook but two unclear not connected events. The hook should display the main conflict. something like: "In a kingdom executing witches, Mable must reach healers before their pursuers, and help them without revealing her identity and address. Until everything changes.") 

For the last century, the kingdom is dying of illness and injury, but the people seem to fear magic more than death. (put all the background together in the beginning) Many healers stray too far from Mable’s sanctuary in her village and get killed. Mable, who was once trapped, too, continues risking death by rescuing healers. But now the emboldened purists who make no distinction between healers and witches (nowadays we like witches, don't make them look bad if you can help it) are roaming dangerously close to their sanctuary. 

After a noble is hanged for the crime of witchcraft, however, a rumor is floating through the kingdom that some highborn nobles are finally beginning to see the consequences of persecuting their healers. The village leaders advise Mable to stop her travels while purist support grows. But the lingering rumor sparks a hope in Mable her that she could help her village gain a powerful, highborn ally who would keep the healers safe.

 

But Mable will have to find defense them without revealing her identity to the wrong person and getting killed, or worse - leading her enemies to the place they want to destroy. (good ending!)

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
 

 

Thank you for critiquing my query  :smile: .

 

Would you like to look at my new version? http://agentquerycon...eturn-critique/



#67 danipie

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 09:40 AM

Thanks for all the patient critique.

 

In my frustration I decided to scrap what I was last working with and start a new draft entirely... like i've been doing every couple of months ahahah. Writing a query really is the most infuriating experience :sad:

 

 

 

As a young healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help those without her magical abilities. War looms on the horizon, however, and now she will have to defend herself any way she can - even if that means exploiting more wicked powers.

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, secluded on lands deemed cursed and haunted by witches long dead. There, her people hide, for magic use in the kingdom of Aberagan is a death sentence. Mable dreams of the day she can return to the kingdom where she was born and live the charmed life of the beloved, selfless healers of the past.

The quiet existence of the village is disrupted when a member of the Aberaganian royal family is accused of witchcraft and hanged. Now, purists are hunting the village from all sides as fear of magic is revived, strong as ever. After Mable is attacked and nearly killed, she unearths motivation to master all forms of magic, learning along the way to use them not only to heal, but to destroy. Slowly, she witnesses her people - and herself - become the monsters Aberaganians fear that they are.

In a bloodthirsty quest, Mable causes the deaths of some important nobles, provoking revenge-hungry armies. The war threatening her village cannot be won without magic. If her people lose, they will all be slaughtered. If they win, however, she is unsure how they can convince anybody they deserve a place in the world at all.

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.
 



#68 jaustail

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Posted 03 July 2017 - 11:43 AM

JMO:

 

 

As a young healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help those without her magical abilities(what are her magical abilities? maybe give a glimpse, so i can visualize the extent of her magic's power). War looms on the horizon(this is ambiguous. maybe reword that ancient enemies once thought dead or something like that) , however, and now she will have to defend herself any way she can - even if that means exploiting more wicked powers.

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, secluded on lands deemed cursed and haunted by witches long dead. There, her people hide, for magic use in the kingdom of Aberagan is a death sentence. Mable dreams of the day she can return to the kingdom where she was born and live the charmed life of the beloved, selfless healers of the past.(this paragraph doesn't connect with the first one and the query can start from this paragraph too)

The quiet existence of the village is disrupted when a member of the Aberaganian royal family is accused of witchcraft and hanged(but who hangs this member? the people are living in hiding so how did this person got caught?). Now, purists are hunting the village from all sides as fear of magic is revived, strong as ever(magicians would be stronger than non-magicians. so what weapon do the magicians use?). After Mable is attacked and nearly killed(how does she escape? and why do they pick on her?), she unearths motivation to master all forms of magic, learning along the way to use them not only to heal, but to destroy. Slowly, she witnesses her people - and herself - become the monsters Aberaganians fear that they are.

In a bloodthirsty quest, Mable causes the deaths of some important nobles, provoking revenge-hungry armies. The war threatening her village cannot be won without magic. If her people lose, they will all be slaughtered. If they win, however, she is unsure how they can convince anybody they deserve a place in the world at all.(i liked the last paragraph. full of action)

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

 

 

I didn't get a sense of what was happening. Like why do magicians fear the army? The magicians would be stronger than non-magicians any day. Maybe give an idea as to what is the power of magician. Like is it as dangerous as lightning bolts and lifting objects.



#69 eburton

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 06:50 AM

Thanks for all the patient critique.

In my frustration I decided to scrap what I was last working with and start a new draft entirely... like i've been doing every couple of months ahahah. Writing a query really is the most infuriating experience

 

As a young healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help those without her magical abilities. War looms on the horizon, however, and now she will have to defend herself any way she can - even if that means exploiting more wicked powers.

 

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, secluded on lands deemed cursed and haunted by witches long dead. There, Her people hide (there), for magic use in the kingdom of Aberagan is a death sentence. Mable dreams of the day she can return to the kingdom where she was born and live the charmed life of the beloved, selfless healers of the past. (Why are Mable’s people living on the cursed land instead of in Aberagan? And why would she want to return to Aberagan where magic is a death sentence? Perhaps I’m missing something, but this particular paragraph confused me.)

 

The quiet existence of the village is disrupted when a member of the Aberaganian royal family is accused of witchcraft and hanged. Now, purists are hunting the village from all sides as (they) fear of magic is revived. , strong as ever. After Mable is attacked and nearly killed, she is motivated unearths motivation to master all forms of magic, learning along the way to use them not only to heal, but to destroy. Slowly, she witnesses her people - and herself - become the monsters Aberaganians fear that they are.

 

In a bloodthirsty quest, Mable causes the deaths of some important nobles, provoking revenge-hungry armies. The war threatening her village cannot be won without magic. If her people lose, they will all be slaughtered. If they win, however, she is unsure how they can convince anybody they deserve a place in the world at all (This last sentence doesn’t flow very well for me. Perhaps consider changing it around).

 

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word 113,000-word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s perfectly natural to be frustrated. As a writer, having to pare down your 113,000-word novel into some 300 words is frustrating. Keep at it, though.



#70 bkarperien

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 09:52 AM

Thanks for all the patient critique.

 

In my frustration I decided to scrap what I was last working with and start a new draft entirely... like i've been doing every couple of months ahahah. Writing a query really is the most infuriating experience :sad:

*hands you virtual cup of tea, chocolate, and fuzzy blanket"

I feel your pain.

Just keep your eyes on the prize.  :smile: 

 

 

As a young healer, twenty year old Mable has always believed she was born to help those without her magical abilities. (Like this hook a lot better. It resonates nicely.) But with war looming on the horizon, she is prepared to defend herself any way she can - even if that means exploiting more wicked powers. I don't love this second sentence. It's hard to connect it to the rest of the query. I would suggest that you bring the Mable's goal, to see her people beloved again, in the first paragraph.

E.G.

As a healer, twenty-year-old Mable has always believed she was born to help those without her magical abilities. However, her secluded village is the only place she can safely do that, because magic use in the kingdom of Aberagan is a death sentence. Mable dreams of the day she can return to the kingdom where she was born and live the charmed life of the beloved, selfless healers of the past. But when a member of the Aberaganian royal family is hanged for witchcraft, Mable's village--and magic-users everywhere--are in danger.

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, secluded on lands deemed cursed and haunted by witches long dead. There, her people hide, for magic use in the kingdom of Aberagan is a death sentence. (This is all backstory/worldbuilding. How can you weave it in and keep my attention?) 

 Mable dreams of the day she can return to the kingdom where she was born and live the charmed life of the beloved, selfless healers of the past.

The quiet existence of the village is disrupted when a member of the Aberaganian royal family is accused of witchcraft and hanged.

Now, purists are hunting the village from all sides as fear of magic is revived, strong as ever. After Mable is attacked and nearly killed, she finds the motivation to master all forms of magic, learning along the way to use them not only to heal, but to destroy. Slowly, she witnesses her people - and herself - become the monsters Aberaganians fear that they are.

In a bloodthirsty quest (what bloodthirsty quest?), Mable causes the deaths of some important nobles, provoking revenge-hungry armies. The war threatening her village cannot be won without magic. If her people lose, they will all be slaughtered. If they win, however, she is unsure how they can convince anybody they deserve a place in the world at all. (Nice stakes, love how this ties in to the beginning, well done)

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.
 

DO NOT DISMAY!

Sounds like a great novel.

I hope some of my suggestions are useful to you. I think you have pretty much all the necessary pieces here, you just need to shuffle them around a bit to get them in place. Best of luck with revisions.


Check out my query :)

Or, if you're really awesome, check out my synopsis.

 


#71 lionspaws

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Posted 04 July 2017 - 01:33 PM

As a young healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help those without her magical abilities. War looms on the horizon, however, and now she will have to defend herself any way she can - even if that means exploiting more wicked powers. I like this up until the "exploiting more wicked powers" part -- that is vague and a little confusing. I think you could just end with "she will have to defend herself any way she can." Or something like, "even if that means compromising her convictions against violence" or something like that. 

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, secluded on lands deemed cursed and haunted by witches long dead. There, her people hide, for magic use in the kingdom of Aberagan is a death sentence. Mable dreams of the day she can return to the kingdom where she was born and live the charmed life of the beloved, selfless healers of the past.

The quiet existence of the village is disrupted when a member of the Aberaganian royal family is accused of witchcraft and hanged. Now, purists are hunting the village from all sides as fear of magic is revived, strong as ever. After Mable is attacked and nearly killed, she unearths motivation to master all forms of magic, learning along the way to use them not only to heal, but to destroy. Slowly, she witnesses her people - and herself - become the monsters Aberaganians fear that they are. Huh. Interesting moral dilemma here! 

In a bloodthirsty quest, Mable causes the deaths of some important nobles, provoking revenge-hungry armies. The war threatening her village cannot be won without magic. If her people lose, they will all be slaughtered. If they win, however, she is unsure how they can convince anybody they deserve a place in the world at all. I think your last line could use a little clean up -- it falls a little flat :/. Maybe something like, "But if they win at a brutal cost, the world will never accept them." 
THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential. I really like the title, and I find Mable and her dilemma appealing! I think one thing that would benefit your query is to show how your plot/novel is unique -- there seem to be quite a few right now with the "magic is illegal" theme. So maybe highlight what sets yours apart. 

 

I'd appreciate your thoughts on my query for "To Sail the Stars!" 


http://agentquerycon...sail-the-stars/

http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/

 

"You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus." - Mark Twain 

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds." - G.K. Chesterton 


#72 hermitage

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Posted 05 July 2017 - 11:18 PM


 

 

As a young healer, Mable has always believed she was born to help those without her magical abilities. War looms on the horizon, however, and now she will have to defend herself any way she can - even if that means exploiting more wicked powers.

For over a century, Mable’s village has been left alone, secluded on lands deemed cursed and haunted by witches long dead. There, her people hide, for magic use in the kingdom of Aberagan is a death sentence.

 

Mable dreams of the day she can return to the kingdom where she was born and live the charmed life of the beloved, selfless healers of the past.

The quiet existence of the village is disrupted when a member of the Aberaganian royal family is accused of witchcraft and hanged. Now, purists are hunting the village from all sides as fear of magic is revived, strong as ever. It's not obvious to me how these events are connected. Maybe focus on a smaller set of events, in a clearer chronological order, and explain what you do cover a bit more clearly. 

 

After Mable is attacked and nearly killed, she unearths motivation awkward phrase? to master all forms of magic, learning along the way to use them not only to heal, but to destroy.

 

Slowly, she witnesses her people - and herself - become the monsters Aberaganians fear that they are. This is interesting.

In a bloodthirsty quest, Mable causes the deaths of some important nobles, provoking revenge-hungry armies.

 

The war threatening her village cannot be won without magic. If her people lose, they will all be slaughtered.

 

If they win, however, she is unsure how they can convince anybody they deserve a place in the world at all. Why do they have to convince others of this, if they've won a war? Isn't that basically what war is? This seems like a strange punch line as is.  

THE OUTSKIRTS OF FERNWOOD is a 113,000 word standalone fantasy novel with series potential.
 

Overall, I feel like some of these elements might be quite strong on an individual basis, but they aren't strung together in a way that flows very well, or forms a clear structure. 







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