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The Wrong Empress (I'll return critique)


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#1 dragoness

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:52 AM

I'll be thankful for any comment   :smile: .

 

(I eventually decided not to split the manuscript but to shorten it, so here's the new version for the whole story:)

 

My newest version is in #68 : http://agentquerycon...tique/?p=346264

 

I understood my MS is too long, and decided to split it to two. Hence, I changed both the query and the title.

 

Dear ____  ____ ,

 

Due to your interest in social issues and in historical fiction, I believe you might enjoy this true story:

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. Opposing the enemy officer she craves turns to be tougher than opposing an empire.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice gets the needed aid from her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and they keep seeing each other to discuss their mutual dream of justice.

 

By the time the new Emperor Caligula appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, Princess Bernice and Alexander are hopelessly in love. Caligula - mistakenly believing an emperor is able to oppose the oligarchs - revives the republic's elections, and is poisoned to insanity. The oligarchs funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved, but how else can they pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army?

 

When the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father start spearheading a rebellion of the entire eastern empire. After the announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander hurries to the grieving Queen Bernice, and she finds consolation in his loving arms. Fearing for the life of his love, Alexander proposes marriage to her, knowing she can't marry a Roman commander without ending the rebellion.

 

Bernice has to choose between her people's fight for liberty and her safe 'happily ever after'.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 75,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines the dramatic historical events of Robert Harris's Pompeii with the innovative cultural perception of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing our society apart.

 

The story is based on my B.A. in history of the classical age, on my work as a tour guide in Roman period's luxurious quarters, on several years of intensive research, and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley University. My blog's posts received thousands of visits, each.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.



#2 thewildrose11

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:06 AM

Dear ____  ____ ,

 

Due to your interest in social issues and in historical fiction, I believe you might enjoy this true story:

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. (But,) Opposing the enemy officer she craves turns to be tougher than opposing an empire. [Perhaps these two ideas can be better related.  For me, there was a large emotional jump and I had to read the lead in twice in order to capture the nuance.]

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice gets the needed aid from her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and they keep seeing each other to discuss their mutual dream of justice. [The last sentence fell a bit flat for me.  'keep seeing each other' slightly whets the appetite, but not to the degree it could with another set of words/concepts.]

 

By the time the new Emperor Caligula appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, Princess Bernice and Alexander are hopelessly in love. Caligula - mistakenly believing an emperor is able to oppose the oligarchs - revives the republic's elections, and is poisoned to insanity. [I was lost here, even with knowing the history.  The leap from 'elections' to 'insanity' was too fast/vast a jump.  Could this be slightly expanded to bridge the gap?] The oligarchs funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved, but how else can they pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army? [Consider striking the bit after 'enslaved'.  That, in and of itself, is powerful enough and it's a gut bomb--meaning effective hook--that doesn't need a quip added.]

 

When the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father start spearheading a rebellion [there is a connector missing here: 'spanning' 'encompassing' 'rallying' etc...] of the entire eastern empire. After the announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander hurries to the grieving Queen Bernice, and she finds consolation in his loving arms. Fearing for the life of his love, Alexander proposes marriage to her, knowing she can't marry a Roman commander without ending the rebellion. [On last sentence: Consider raising the stakes (not story-wise,  but verbally); I was totally with you but wanting to understand more about the crossroads they face.]

 

Bernice has to choose between her people's fight for liberty and her safe 'happily ever after'.  [Could the close be more of an iron hammer here?  'Happily ever after' felt too light for me, with Rome, Caligula, Alexander and the heat surrounding these historical circumstances, I think the close should match the tone of the situation's gravity.]

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 75,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines the dramatic historical events of Robert Harris's Pompeii with the innovative cultural perception of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing our society apart.

 

The story is based on my B.A. in history of the classical age, on my work as a tour guide in Roman period's luxurious quarters, on several years of intensive research, and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley University. My blog's posts received thousands of visits, each.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

[Very best of luck!  This sounds fascinating and I admire the dedication the research must have taken!]



#3 samlat77

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 10:18 AM

I understood my MS is too long, and decided to split it to two. Hence, I changed both the query and the title.

 

I'd be happy to hear any comment, and to return the favor  :smile: .

 

Dear ____  ____ ,

 

Due to your interest in social issues and in historical fiction, I believe you might enjoy this true story:

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. But Opposing the enemy officer she craves turns out to be tougher harder than opposing an empire.

 

When After Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome I'm not altogether entirely sure this bit is necessary, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. Together, She and her father help the rebellious Caligula become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice gets the much needed aid from her childhood friend comma Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and they keep seeing each other to discuss their mutual dream of justice. So this last sentence just seems out of place to me but it could just be me

 

By the time the new Emperor Caligula appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, Princess Bernice and Alexander are hopelessly in love. Caligula - mistakenly believing an emperor is able to oppose the oligarchs - revives the republic's elections, and is poisoned to insanity. The oligarchs funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved, but how else can they pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army?

 

When the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father start spearheading a rebellion of the entire eastern empire. After the announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander hurries to the grieving Queen Bernice, and she finds consolation in his loving arms. Fearing for the life of his love, Alexander proposes marriage to her, knowing she can't marry a Roman commander without ending the rebellion. Okay, so for the most part, I like the idea of this paragraph, but I feel like it could be worded better. So kind like "When the oligarch murder Caligula, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion in the eastern empire. But after the announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new queen of Israel, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for Bernice's life, Alexander proposes marriage in the hopes that marriage to a Roman commander will end the rebellion." But that's just my two cents, there...

 

Bernice has to choose between her people's fight for liberty and her safe 'happily ever after'. Not sure that should be in quotations

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 75,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines the dramatic historical events of Robert Harris's Pompeii with the innovative cultural perception of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing our society apart. These last two paragraphs can probably be joined into one

 

The story is based on my B.A. in history of the classical age, on my work as a tour guide in Roman period's luxurious quarters, on several years of intensive research, and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley UniversityMy blog's posts received thousands of visits, each.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

I really like the sound of this! I hope I've helped! And thank you soooo much for your critique on my query! 



#4 smithgirl

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 01:27 PM

I understood my MS is too long, and decided to split it to two. Hence, I changed both the query and the title.

 

I'd be happy to hear any comment, and to return the favor  :smile: .

 

Dear ____  ____  Use colon instead of comma for queries.

 

Due to your interest in social issues and in historical fiction, I believe you might enjoy this true story:

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. Opposing the enemy officer she craves turns to be tougher than opposing an empire. This is good, except when I read the rest of the query I don't see the enemy officer. Is that Alexander? It's never clarified below that Alexander is an enemy. Also, I don't see that she ever tries to oppose him. It's like they just hook up and keep going. 

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula become Emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt.Whose debt? If it's just Caligula, should be his debt. Bernice gets the needed aid from her childhood friend comma Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and they keep seeing each other to discuss their mutual dream of justice. This last part of the sentence just hangs off a bit and doesn't sound very compelling. Also, I'm unclear if the aid Bernice gets from Alexander is helping Caligula to become emperor, or if it's to escape the debt. Finally, maybe you could clarify if it is monetary and/or personal debt.

 

By the time the new Emperor Caligula appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, Princess Bernice Was she always a princes? Or did she just become one? and Alexander are hopelessly in love. Caligula -- mistakenly believing an emperor is able to oppose the oligarchs -- em-dash here revives the republic's elections, and is poisoned to insanity. This little aside is too short and vague. The oligarchs funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved, but how else can they pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army? Agents don't like questions in queries. Rephrase as a statement.

 

When the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father start spearhead ing a rebellion of against or by? the entire Eastern Empire. Afte Following  the announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander hurries to the grieving Queen Bernice, When did she become Queen Bernice? Is she married to another man?  and she finds consolation in his loving arms. Fearing for the life of his love, Alexander proposes marriage to her, knowing she can't marry a Roman commander without ending the rebellion. I'm not clear on the last part of this sentence.

 

Bernice has to choose between her people's fight for liberty and her safe 'happily ever after'. I would rephrase the happily ever after.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 75,000-word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. I don't think duo is the right word, although I can't think of something different. Is this book stand-alone?  Usually you just query for one book. If your book is not stand-alone, then you need to query both here.  It combines the dramatic historical events of Robert Harris's Pompeii with the innovative cultural perception of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing our society apart.

 

The story is based on my B.A. in history of the classical age, on my work as a tour guide in Roman period's luxurious quarters, on several years of intensive research, and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley University. My blog's posts received thousands of visits, each day? Week?

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

Hi I have the idea for your story, but I have some comments:

 

1. Your hook indicates a strong conflict between Bernice and an enemy soldier (I assume this is Alexander), but this conflict does not come across in your query. I didn't catch that he was an enemy soldier or that there were any obvious barriers for them to be together. I assume those barriers are present in your book, but it's not clear in the query.

2. Bernice went from Bernice, to Princess Bernice, to Queen Bernice. I was really confused at first, and then I put together that she becomes princess when her father becomes King of Israel and then queen when he dies. I think you should skip the titles. Just call her Bernice.

3. Then I just had some general issues of clarity, marked above.

 

Your book sounds interesting, and I was not aware of someone helping Caligula to become Emperor. Didn't he just inherit the throne? But I don't know that much about this, so not important. You have a strong platform, which is great. Good luck.



#5 Bananas

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 04:20 PM

I understood my MS is too long, and decided to split it to two. Hence, I changed both the query and the title.

 

I'd be happy to hear any comment, and to return the favor  :smile: .

 

Dear ____  ____ ,

 

Due to your interest in social issues and in historical fiction, I believe you might enjoy this true story:

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. I'm not entirely sure what this means, and so, for me, it doesn't work as a hook.  Opposing the enemy officer she craves turns to be tougher than opposing an empire.  Craves?  I think the simpler 'loves' would be more effective here.  Craves makes me think of chocolate, or beer.  

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice gets the needed aid this threw me.  In the last sentence you talked about how they were helping Caligula, and in the next, they themselves need help.  Are you saying that Alexander pays their debts?  from her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and they keep seeing each other to discuss their mutual dream of justice.  Again, I'm thrown.  You were talking about getting out of debt and now she's looking for justice?  I think I need more details on the 'abusive oligarchy' to draw this connection.  As it stands, I'm having trouble connecting here.

 

By the time the new Emperor Caligula appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, Princess Bernice and Alexander are hopelessly in love. Caligula - mistakenly believing an emperor is able to oppose the oligarchs - revives the republic's elections, and is poisoned to insanity. Just asking, but can poisons do that?  The oligarchs funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved, but how else can they pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army? Don't need this.

 

When the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father start spearheading a rebellion of the entire eastern empire. After the announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander hurries to the grieving Queen Bernice, and she finds consolation in his loving arms. Fearing for the life of his love, Alexander proposes marriage to her, knowing she can't marry a Roman commander without ending the rebellion.

 

Bernice has to choose between her people's fight for liberty and her safe 'happily ever after'.  After reading through your query completely, I have to say I'm even more confused by what you're saying in your opening lines.  I suggest cutting them entirely.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 75,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines the dramatic historical events of Robert Harris's Pompeii with the innovative cultural perception of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing our society apart.

 

The story is based on my I have a B.A. in history of the classical age, M.A. in Arts from Lesley University, and have worked on my work as a tour guide in <<place(s)>>Roman period's luxurious quarters, on several years of intensive research, and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley University. My blog's posts received thousands of visits, each.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.



#6 chadweiss35

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Posted 16 March 2017 - 09:56 PM

 

 

Due to your interest in social issues and in historical fiction, I believe you might enjoy this true story:

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. Opposing the enemy officer she craves turns to be tougher than opposing an empire.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice gets the needed aid from her childhood friend Alexander,(I'm guessing this is the officer from the hook not sure though) now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and they keep seeing each other to discuss their mutual dream of justice. <This sentence is disjointed, if feel you're trying to tell us about their 'spark' but its gets lost without any emphasis.

 

By the time the new Emperor Caligula appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, Princess Bernice and Alexander are hopelessly in love. Caligula - mistakenly believing an emperor is able to oppose the oligarchs - revives the republic's elections, and is poisoned to insanity. (I think you can take a little more time and explain this better, I know my history, but it read choppy especially the poisoned to insanity. The oligarchs funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved, but how else can they pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army?

 

When the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father start spearheading(spearhead) a rebellion of the entire eastern empire. , which leads to her father's assassination. After the announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander hurries to the grieving Queen Bernice, and she finds consolation in his loving arms. Now Queen, Bernice finds consolation in Alexander's loving arms and Fearing for the life of his love, Alexander proposes marriage to her. Yet, marrying a Roman commander will ned the rebellion, forcing her to choose between liberty and love.  , knowing she can't marry a Roman commander without ending the rebellion.

 

Bernice has to choose between her people's fight for liberty and her safe 'happily ever after'.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 75,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines the dramatic historical events of Robert Harris's Pompeii with the innovative cultural perception of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing our society apart.

 

The story is based on my B.A. in history of the classical age, on my work as a tour guide in Roman period's luxurious quarters, on several years of intensive research, and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley University. My blog's posts received thousands of visits, each. (Awesome! I'd get excited that your creeds pertain to your work!) You should start with these two paragraphs, your credentials will make every agent carefully read your query. 

 

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

I think you have a great start to your query. It feels a little rushed to me in spots, with a little polishing it should work. I strongly think you use your credentials, especially on a historical fiction, my first thought was, sketchy, this person better have a history degree in pertaining field, thus I would start with that. Thanks for the help on my, I'll be posting an updated one shortly.



#7 punitrastogi

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 04:07 AM

This is a big development dragoness.

 

I was gone for a week and you are ready with two books from one? :tongue: :tongue:

 

I think knowing your story a bit more, I would be able to help a bit here.

I understood my MS is too long, and decided to split it to two. Hence, I changed both the query and the title.

 

I'd be happy to hear any comment, and to return the favor  :smile: .

 

Dear ____  ____ ,

 

Due to your interest in social issues and in historical fiction, I believe you might enjoy this true story:

 

 

When Bernice decided to leads her people against the Roman Empire, Rome she was ready to face death, not love. Now Opposing the enemy officer she craves, (comma) turns out to be tougher than opposing an empire.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice gets the needed aid from her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and they keep seeing each other to discuss for their mutual dream of justice.

 

By the time the new Emperor Caligula appoints Bernice's father as the King of Israel, the new Princess Bernice and Alexander are hopelessly in love. Caligula - mistakenly believing an emperor is able to oppose to the displeasure of the oligarchs - revives the republic's elections, and is poisoned to insanity in return. The oligarchs funnel the money of the empire's people to their own pockets, leaving the masses starved and enslaved, but how else can they pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army?(I agree with others here, that this part is not really required.)

 

When the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father start spearheading a rebellion of the entire eastern empire. After the announcement of Israel's independence from the empire, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander hurries to the grieving Queen Bernice, and she finds consolation in his loving arms. Fearing for the life of his love, Alexander proposes marriage to her. (period) knowing she can't marry a Roman commander without ending the rebellion. (Here you can add that - "Bernice realizes that marrying Alexander would make her a deserter of her mission and a traitor among the people that believed in her in the rebellion. She needs to choose between the promise made to her father and the love of her life." - or something like that)

 

Bernice has to choose between her people's fight for liberty and her safe 'happily ever after'.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 75,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines the dramatic historical events of Robert Harris's Pompeii with the innovative cultural perception of Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing our society apart.

 

The story is based on my B.A. in history of the classical age, on my work as a tour guide in Roman period's luxurious quarters, on several years of intensive research, and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley University. My blog's posts received thousands of visits, each.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

Maybe a teaser of the rest of the story might also help.

But I am not sure if there is scope for that in this query.

 

Good luck :)

 

I have updated my query as well.

 

Please do have a look.



#8 dragoness

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 05:56 AM

Thank you so much! You helped me a lot!  :smile:

 

Here's my new version. What do you think?

 

 

For Queen Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice finds her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and he helps her cover the debt. While Alexander and Bernice wrangle over Rome's oppression,  they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love.

 

Caligula becomes emperor, and gratefully appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel. Mistakenly believing that the emperor can support the people against the oligarchs, Caligula revives the republic's elections. In response, the oligarchs poison him, and he becomes insane. The oligarchs, convinced that the empire's people should pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army, exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved. When they murder Caligula, Bernice and her father confidentially spearhead a rebellion rallying the entire Eastern Empire.

 

After the rebel's independence announcement, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her. The thing is, marrying a Roman commander will oblige her to end the rebellion.

 

Queen Bernice has to choose between the love of her life and her people's fight for justice.



#9 suja

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 07:48 AM

Hi, returning the favor :)

Thank you so much! You helped me a lot!  :smile:

 

Here's my new version. What do you think?

 

 

For Queen Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves. Need a bit more of a hook here. Something which sets up her strength first, then hints at the conflict. Something like - As leader of a rebellion against a powerful oligarchy, Queen Bernice doesn't flinch in the face of death or a deadly army. But the army's charismatic commander is another matter.  (see what you think)

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice finds her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and he helps her cover the debt. While Alexander and Bernice wrangle over Rome's oppression,  they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love. Good. I like how you set up the scene. We can understand why she fell for him. )

 

Caligula becomes emperor, and gratefully appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel. Mistakenly believing that the emperor can support the people against the oligarchs, Caligula revives the republic's elections. In response, the oligarchs poison him, and he becomes insane. The oligarchs, convinced that the empire's people should pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army, exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved. When they murder Caligula, Bernice and her father confidentially spearhead a rebellion rallying the entire Eastern EmpireNice.

 

After the rebel's independence announcement, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her. The thing is, The problem: marrying a Roman commander will oblige her to end the rebellion.

 

Queen Bernice has to choose between the love of her life and her people's fight for justice.

I like the query. It flows well and answers questions, while making us want to read more. Nice job!



#10 ryankalford

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 08:34 AM

 Delayed fresh eyes...

Thank you so much! You helped me a lot!  :smile:

 

Here's my new version. What do you think?

 

 

For Queen Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves. 

 

Like above, I feel a bit more of setting and context would help bring more clarity to this hook. There's a compelling conflict here, but it makes me pause and have to think about the partiuclar role Bernice is in. Is she the Queen of the Roman Empire, another Empire? How is she in love with this Roman commander?

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice finds her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and he helps her cover the debt. While Alexander and Bernice wrangle over Rome's oppression,  they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love.

 

 

I don't like how the doubel mention of the debt here. You state they support Calligula to seek a way out of debt, then she meets Alexander who suddenly helps them cover the debt. It feels redundant for flow. Either find a different phrasing, or cut it to a single mention where it makes sense.

 

Caligula becomes emperor, and gratefully appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel. Mistakenly believing that the emperor can support the people against the oligarchs, Caligula revives the republic's elections. In response, the oligarchs poison him, and he becomes insane. The oligarchs, convinced that the empire's people should pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army, exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved. When they murder Caligula, Bernice and her father confidentially spearhead a rebellion rallying the entire Eastern Empire.

 

This whole paragraph had me starting and stopping trying to comprehend it, and I couldn't understand at first until I realized the core issue with it--where the hell did Bernice go? This is her story, right? This paragraph goes off on a tangent about Caliguila and her father and the political dealings (feeling more like a quasi-history lecture), but Bernice's story is put on hold. That's not what you want. The last beat of the last paragraph is her and the rommand commander falling in love. Tell me what happens next. Where's the next conflict there? Whatever is necessary to retain from this paragraph feels like it could be summed up more generally in a single line or two. In short, give me more Bernice!

 

After the rebel's independence announcement, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her. The thing is, marrying a Roman commander will oblige her to end the rebellion.

 

Queen Bernice has to choose between the love of her life and her people's fight for justice.

 

The stakes are here, but they feel very vanilla-y as stated. Not excited because of my lack of investment in Bernice after the 2nd paragraph detour. I think it needs a bit more of a punchy, personal voice touch, and a bit more of the uniqueness behind the situation. Redoing the paragraph I mentioned focusing on Bernice's POV will probably help fix that through since you'll have some words back to play with and keep thsi query consistent about her.

 

This has got a great foundation--just needs some some small and mild adjustments to get it to shine throughout. The setting of the story sounds very fun too. Great job.

 

Best of luck!


RECODED <250 EDITING FEEDBACK + ADVICE

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 

RECODED QUERY (FINISHED???)

http://agentquerycon...scifi/?p=250665

 

RECODED: GENESIS (Dani POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/

 
RECODED: Chapter 1 (Lillian POV) 250

http://agentquerycon...-social-sci-fi/

 

RECODED Synopsis (REWRITING SOON)

http://agentquerycon...t-social-scifi/


#11 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 19 March 2017 - 03:42 PM

I am going to run-and-gun through this. Comments in BLUE

 

 

For Queen Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves. This is not really a hook because it is just too spare. It is also confusing--queen of what/where? 

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice finds her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and he helps her cover the debt. While Alexander and Bernice wrangle over Rome's oppression,  they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love. This is sort of "and then this happens" plot summary without a focus. Remember a query has to have a laser focus on a single, pivotal and riveting conflict in the book. And the same is even MORE true for the next paragraph. In many ways mini-synopsis (while the common term for this part of the query) bit of a misnomer. IT DOES NOT SUMMARIZE your book. What it does need to do is convey the core conflict—who is your MC, What does he/she want [what is at stake], what hurdles stand in the way of that; what is he/she going to try to overcome said hurdles.

 

Caligula becomes emperor, and gratefully appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel. Mistakenly believing that the emperor can support the people against the oligarchs, Caligula revives the republic's elections. In response, the oligarchs poison him, and he becomes insane. The oligarchs, convinced that the empire's people should pay for their wine-baths and oppressive army, exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved. When they murder Caligula, Bernice and her father confidentially spearhead a rebellion rallying the entire Eastern Empiresee at this point I've stopped reading. Too much detail and too much summary. Think back cover copy of a good book. Think about enticing the agent to ask for more.

 

After the rebel's independence announcement, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her. The thing is, marrying a Roman commander will oblige her to end the rebellion.

 

Queen Bernice has to choose between the love of her life and her people's fight for justice. cliched. And also think about it, this last sentence could apply (if you sub in another name for your MCs) to dozens if not hundreds of books. That is NEVER a good sign in a query. 


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#12 strangeface

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Posted 19 March 2017 - 06:52 PM

Thank you so much! You helped me a lot!  :smile:

 

Here's my new version. What do you think?

 

 

For Queen Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves. I like this.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor, while seeking a way out of their debt. Bernice finds her childhood friend Alexander, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, and he helps her cover the debt. While Alexander and Bernice wrangle over Rome's oppression,  they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love. This paragraph seems rather disjointed. It started off strong, but it seems as though no sentence relates all that much to the next. There isn't the flow that's needed.

 

Caligula becomes emperor, and gratefully appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel. Mistakenly believing that the emperor can support the people against the oligarchs, Caligula revives the republic's elections. In response, the oligarchs poison him, and he becomes insane. The oligarchs, convinced that the empire's people should pay for their Does "their" refer to the people or the oligarchs? wine-baths and oppressive army, exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved Yes, yes, I know. The oligarchs are bad.. When they murder Caligula, Bernice and her father confidentially spearhead a rebellion, rallying the entire Eastern EmpireWhat is the point of most of this paragraph? This is Bernice's story, right? So why is this paragraph so much about everyone besides Bernice? This paragraph needs a lot more focus.

 

After the rebel's independence announcement, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her. The thing is However, marrying a Roman commander will oblige her to end the rebellion.

 

Queen Bernice has to choose between the love of her life and her people's fight for justice. You usually don't just outright state the stakes like that. Come up with a more creative way to say this, and integrate it more into the query. Honestly, it might have been better to end it at the previous sentence.

 

You have some good lines here, and the potential to really focus this, but the query needs some more cleaning-up I think.

 

If you could take a look at my query, that would be great :) http://agentquerycon...a-contemporary/



#13 dragoness

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 05:54 AM

Thank you all!   :smile:

 

I hope this version is better, but I feel it's not good enough yet. I'll appreciate any suggestion!

 

 

For rebellion leader Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor. Meanwhile Bernice seeks aid in repaying her father's debt, by looking for her childhood friend, Alexander. When she finds him, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, they wrangle over Rome's oppression, recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love.

 

Bernice and her father achieve their goal as Caligula becomes emperor, appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, and revives the republic's elections. The degraded oligarchs poison Caligula, and when he becomes insane, exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved. In response, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion, rallying the entire Eastern Empire.

 

After the rebels' independence announcement, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her, knowing that marrying a Roman commander will force her to end the rebellion.

 

If Bernice refuses him to continue her people's fight for justice, her future will not only be dangerous, but also extremely lonely.



#14 CarterT

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:00 AM

 

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Posted Today, 03:54 AM

Thank you all!   :smile:

 

I hope this version is better, but I feel it's not good enough yet. I'll appreciate any suggestion!

 

 

For rebellion leader Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves. - I really like how short your hook is. It's also leagues above your original one. Well done.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor. - Do we need a name in here? 'She and her father help a rebellious upstart in his quest to become emperor'. I only say this to remove the confusion that can arise with trying to keep track of too many characters in a short span. It also keeps the focus on Bernice and Alexander.  Meanwhile Bernice seeks aid in repaying her father's debt, by looking for her childhood friend, Alexander. - When she finds him, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, they wrangle over Rome's oppression, recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love.

 

Bernice and her father achieve their goal as Caligula becomes emperor, appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, and revives the republic's elections.  Bernice and her father achieve their goal as a new emperor is crowned and appoints Bernice's father as the King of Israel. With the revival of the republic's elections, the resentful and degraded oligarchs hatch a plan to poison the new emperor. Now seeing enemies in every corner, the mad emperor starves and enslaves the masses he had sworn to protect. Desperate to restore Rome to its glory, again, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion. The degraded oligarchs poison Caligula, and when he becomes insane, exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved. In response, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion, rallying the entire Eastern Empire. - I got a little confused who was doing what in this paragraph. Just reorganized it a bit.

 

After the rebels' independence announcement announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her I think we can assume it's a proposal of marriage, especially given the next few words, knowing that marrying a Roman commander will force her to end the rebellion.

 

If Bernice refuses him to continue her people's the fight for justice, her future will not only be dangerous, but also extremely lonely. - Something just feels missing from this sentence. Maybe it's because I'm not necessarily the biggest romantic (my poor wife...) but it just doesn't quite catch me. Yes, 'lonely' is bad, but I feel like you can do something more with this.

 

Let me be completely honest from the get-go. I don't usually read historical fiction, and when I read your first query, it didn't hook me enough to make suggestions. I got lost in the names and the over-Romalization of the letter.

 

Now, coming back to your newer version, I find it a lot more interesting. You really did a good job tightening it up, and I think it's important that you keep it focused on the story, with Rome as a backdrop instead of a primary selling point. Just as reference, at a quick count, you mentioned Bernice's name 9 times, and Rome or Roman 7 times. You could take some of those references to Rome out to keep the reader's eyes on Bernice.

 

How important is the love story in this? From the query, I am having trouble putting my finger on the answer to that question.

 

All in all, I think you're really heading in the right direction. One last caution I might suggest is this: You're obviously a history buff and passionate about the Roman era, but what comes so easily to you may lose the casual reader. That's why I suggested keeping the focus on the story, and less on it being about Rome (in the query letter). Of course, you could completely throw out this advice if you're looking at agents who eat up stories about Rome. :)

 

If you have a chance, please take a look at the newest draft of my query: http://agentquerycon...aft-3/?p=336400 .

 

Thanks!



#15 dragoness

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:26 AM

Thanks, CarterT!  (I didn't find a way to decrease the mentioning of Rome while leaving the enmity of the empire and of Alexander's role, and I'll welcome suggestions to do that. As for Caligula, I thought his name is quite known so his unknown role here is intriguing.)

 

Here's the new version:

 

 

For rebellion leader Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor. Meanwhile Bernice seeks aid in repaying her father's debt, by looking for her childhood friend, Alexander. When she finds him, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, they wrangle over Rome's oppression, recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love.

 

Bernice and her father achieve their goal as Caligula becomes emperor, appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, and revives the republic's elections. The degraded oligarchs poison Caligula, and when he becomes insane, they exploit the empire's people and leave them starved. In response, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion, rallying the entire Eastern Empire.

 

After the rebels' announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Fearing for the life of the new Queen, Alexander rushes to the grieving Bernice, comforts her and proposes. But marrying a Roman commander will force Bernice to end the rebellion.

 

Bernice must sacrifice her love, and probably her life, for the masses' only chance to fight their enslavement.



#16 Litgal

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    In between I became a "hybrid" as part of a group of six authors involved in a high concept novel-in-six-parts called "A Day of Fire" which released in November of 2014. The book, "A Day of Fire," tells the story of the final days of the doomed city of Pompeii in a way you've never read it before.

Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:11 AM

SO:

1) Hook: SEEMS is a weak verb. Really weak. Why not "proves" or something similar? This is still a weak hook because it is vague. We do not know the time period, you are not building any atmosphere. You might consider starting with Rome, XAD (or whatever the date is). And we don't know what "rebellion leader means" why not give her her title e.g. "Beatrice Queen of the X"? A hook can be more than one sentence and in the case of historical fiction it quite often has to be. Right now I get a romance vibe from your hook not a historical one. And believe me, given that "ancient world" is NOT a hot era right now you are going to need a super hook to keep anyone reading.

 

2) Mini-Synopsis. I am not seeing changes and most of the phrases are sweeping, cliched or vague-- "senators' abusive oligarchy" "formidable officer" and (ack) "hopelessly in love." Again this is reading very simplistic--almost YA. Is it YA? You really need to make this part of the letter read SPECIFIC to your book.  You also have some very jarring sounding language--"they wrangle over Rome's opression" is so modern it hurts. And remember VOICE in you query matters and much if not more than content.

 

I really think you need to read the back cover copy on about 50 top selling historical novels set in the Roman era before you take another swing at this one. 

Thanks, CarterT!  (I didn't find a way to decrease the mentioning of Rome while leaving the enmity of the empire and of Alexander's role, and I'll welcome suggestions to do that. As for Caligula, I thought his name is quite known so his unknown role here is intriguing.)

 

Here's the new version:

 

 

For rebellion leader Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves.

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor. Meanwhile Bernice seeks aid in repaying her father's debt, by looking for her childhood friend, Alexander. When she finds him, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, they wrangle over Rome's oppression, recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love.

 

Bernice and her father achieve their goal as Caligula becomes emperor, appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, and revives the republic's elections. The degraded oligarchs poison Caligula, and when he becomes insane, they exploit the empire's people and leave them starved. In response, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion, rallying the entire Eastern Empire.

 

After the rebels' announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Fearing for the life of the new Queen, Alexander rushes to the grieving Bernice, comforts her and proposes. But marrying a Roman commander will force Bernice to end the rebellion.

 

Bernice must sacrifice her love, and probably her life, for the masses' only chance to fight their enslavement.


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#17 chadweiss35

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:25 AM

For rebellion leader Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves. (I understand what you're trying to say, but this reads diluted. 'seems easier' is not a strong enough expression to capture that Bernice is in love with a Roman while opposing the empire.)

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice seeks aid in repaying the debt. She finds it in Alexander, an officer in the Roman army. Despite opposing views of Roman politics, their mutual dream of justice leads to falling hopelessly in love. (I feel describing them and hopelessly in love is weak and easy way of describing it. Give us a real taste of their attraction.) vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor. <This seems disjointed here, I'm having trouble making the jump from helping Caligula become emperor> Meanwhile Bernice seeks aid in repaying her father's debt, by looking for her childhood friend, Alexander. When she finds him, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, they wrangle over Rome's oppression, recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love. I think your line about helping Caligula should be joined to the paragraph below, right not it feels disjointed and jumpy in describing the story.

 

This line ties into and repeats your line above about her Father and her helping Caligula, thus they should be tied together and repetitiveness deleted.>Bernice and her father achieve their goal as Caligula becomes emperor, appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, and revives the republic's elections. The degraded oligarchs poison Caligula, and when he the Caesar becomes insane, they exploit the masses and leave them starved and enslaved. <I like this line, I just think it needs to be a little clearer. In response, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion, rallying the entire Eastern Empire

 

After the rebels' independence announcement, Bernice's father is assassinated. Rushing to the aid of the new Queen, Alexander comforts the grieving Bernice. Fearing for her life, he proposes marriage to her, knowing that marrying a Roman commander will force her to end the rebellion. 

 

If Bernice refuses him to continue her people's fight for justice, her future will not only be dangerous, but also extremely lonely. (If Bernice fights for independence, I would say something like, "Forsaking her love for Alexander, Bernice will never surrender her struggle for justice, (something more tantalizing here about her struggle) But I'm assuming she keeps fighting, but whichever way she goes, I would clearly point the line that direction while stating the loss she is suffering as the hook to want to read more.)

I'm a little rusty, but didn't Caligula appoint his horse to the Senate? Or was that Nero?

 

I think you're on the right track, but the structure needs to be organized a little better so it reads succinctly. I also think you need to "show" us there attraction a little more...give us a specific example of how they are drawn to each other while on opposing lines. I think those are very important aspects that need to be realized in the query so you can get your manuscript read.

Hopefully that's of some help

 



#18 chadweiss35

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:28 AM

Sorry, I had it up on my computer last night and never finished till this morning and didn't see the new version until its posted. The last line is much better, but you still need to describe specifics of their attraction.



#19 CM_Fick

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:45 PM

 I usually don't read historical fiction, but I think that you received some solid advice from litgal.

 

Thanks, CarterT!  (I didn't find a way to decrease the mentioning of Rome while leaving the enmity of the empire and of Alexander's role, and I'll welcome suggestions to do that. As for Caligula, I thought his name is quite known so his unknown role here is intriguing.)

 

Here's the new version:

 

 

For rebellion leader Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves. (So you have a very basic character introduction and the overview of her conflict, but nothing to make me want to know why I should care about these people. There's no stakes or consequences - nothing to drive me to read on. IMO, this is a decent start to a great hook.) 

 

When Bernice's father tries to kill himself, pressed by inflating debt to the senators controlling Rome, Bernice vows to overthrow the senators' abusive oligarchy. (this is clear motivation!) She and her father help the rebellious Caligula in his quest to become emperor. (this feels thrown in) Meanwhile Bernice seeks aid in repaying her father's debt, by looking for her childhood friend, Alexander. When she finds him, now a formidable officer in the Roman army, they wrangle (this is something I have to watch for with my high-fantasy. Modern words. I don't expect that your ms is full of thees and thous, but wrangle makes me think modern cowboys, and while that may be the imagery you're going for, it is opposite of to my association of Roman soldiers) over Rome's oppression, recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall hopelessly in love.

 

Bernice and her father achieve their goal as Caligula becomes emperor, appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel, and revives the republic's elections. The degraded oligarchs poison Caligula, and when he becomes insane, they exploit the empire's people and leave them starved. In response, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion, rallying the entire Eastern Empire.(This whole paragraph loses me. Is part of this backstory?)

 

After the rebels' announcement of independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Fearing for the life of the new Queen, Alexander rushes to the grieving Bernice, comforts her and proposes. But marrying a Roman commander will force Bernice to end the rebellion. (I got some really great advice on how to close off a query letter that really helped me. What terrible choice does your main character have to make and what are the consequences? and I think think that this last sentence sets you up for a pretty compelling closing.)

 

Bernice must sacrifice her love, and probably her life, for the masses' only chance to fight their enslavement.

 

Hi dragoness, 

 

here are my thoughts on your query. I think that there needs to have some points clarified. I think most of the information is here, but needs to be more clearly defined for Bernice.  As I said, I do not typically read historical fiction, so there may be things about the genre that I don't understand. 

 

It's just my 2 cents and I hope you find something helpful in there. 



#20 CarterT

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 06:02 PM

I'm going to agree with most of what CM_Fick and litgal say. I think the statement about the closing sentence is especially true. There is no choice or consequence in there. It's almost as if you're already telling us what she is going to do. And if that's the case, what's the point of the love interest?






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