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The Wrong Empress (I'll return critique)


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#41 Bananas

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 11:51 AM

Thank you all very much!  :smile:

 

Trying to implement your comments, I wrote it a little differently. What do you think?

 

 

For rebellion leader Bernice, opposing the Roman Empire seems easier than opposing the Roman commander she loves.  I've said this before, but if this isn't a romance, then this is the completely wrong hook.  You've said you've included the romance to entice the reader.  The problem is that the type of reader who is drawn into a romance heavy story might not appreciate a book that turns out to be 97% about rebellion and revenge.  Think about it - how many times have you seen a movie advertised as a comedy to then go and learn it's actually a drama with a light sprinkling of comedy?  You don't leave the theatre with a positive impression of that movie.

 

When Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by inflating debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice resolves to overthrow the bankers' abusive oligarchy. This is almost saying the exact same thing.  You should try tightening your sentences.  In an empire reigned by oligarchs who starve the masses to line their own pockets, This is third mention of the bankers.  I think you should mention it once, but when you do, you make it count.  Bernice and her father swiftly you don't need this adjective spearhead a revolution allying  the entire eastern empire.  This sentence is clunky.

 

As the rebellion spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, visits her for several days to convince her to end the rebellion talk her out of rebelling. you've already said that they've 'spearheaded' the rebellion.  "Talk her out of rebelling" makes no sense.  She's already rebelled.  It's like saying that someone has left home and then another person tries to talk them out of leaving home.  No.  They would try to talk them into coming back.  While Bernice and Alexander dispute over the best way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing they have no future together.  

 

When the time comes, Before Bernice and her father can declare the alliance's independence, but Bernice's her father is assassinated. Alexander rushes to protect the mourning Bernice, and proposes. Marrying a loyal Roman officer, however, will force Bernice to end the rebellion.  All this talk of Bernie and her father makes me think she only drives 50% of the book.  Could you simply say "Before Bernice can declare..." It might not be 100% true, but I think it's a white lie that would help tighten this query up.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her love – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to fight their enslavement.  Again, is this a romance or not?



#42 Phaust

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Posted 27 April 2017 - 12:08 PM

I'm going to pile on with Bananas. Bananas gives good feedback above. Though I am not as hung up on the romance or not romance question. 



#43 dennis7490

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 02:43 PM

I don't read historical fiction, but I do read good stories. This sounds like it could be, especially with the romance, action, setting etc. I read your first query and most of the revised ones along with the comments.  the improvement is immense. So, congrats!  This ain't easy!

I agree with a lot of what CM-Fick says. Your hook is a beginning, but not a complete hook. Read the hooks for movies. Also, some queries don't have hooks, they just go straight into the story.  The people on this forum seem to want hooks, which is fine. 

 

What does your MC want?

What gets in her way?

What happens if she fails?

 

It is impossible to get everything in a query, hence it's maddening difficulty. So, don't try. Focus on your MC, and only your MC. Especially when you have such a sprawling story to tell. 

 

CM's advice below is very good.

 

 

 

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."

 

Personally I would just drop this, and go for the choice she has to make within the body of the story. Leave it hanging. Leave them wanting more.

 

Good luck!!!

 

Dennis



#44 Lauraburns22

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 01:22 PM

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

 

I love the name Bernice for a rebeliion leader, it cracks me up, but also makes me want her to be successful! 

 

When Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by inflating debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice resolves to overthrow the bankers' abusive oligarchy. In an empire reigned by oligarchs who starve the masses to line their own pockets, Bernice and her father swiftly spearhead a revolution allying the entire eastern empire.

 

Slightly far fetched that he'd be mentally ill enough to attempt suicide and then be up for running a rebellion shortly thereafter... i like the thinly veiled commentary on today's society though 

 

As the rebellion spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, visits her for several days to talk her out of rebelling. While Bernice and Alexander dispute over the best way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing they have no future together.  

 

Don't extinguish the love story right when you start it. Even if you're not going to carry this out at length in the book you can still tease readers with it now. 

 

When the time comes, Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, but Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander rushes to protect the mourning Bernice and proposes. Marrying a loyal Roman officer, however, will force Bernice to end the rebellion.

 

These two paragraphs contradict each other. First, they have no future, then he's proposing. Too flip floppy. 

 

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

 

That got real dramatic real quick. This paragraph could use one more sentence to build up the decision. 

 

Hope this is helpful. You're off to a good start. 

 

Please critique my query when you get a chance! Thank you, and good luck! 

 

 

http://agentquerycon...s-gay-ya/page-2

 

 



#45 eric balson

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 05:01 AM

Thank you for your helpful comments!  :smile:

 

I didn't find how to improve the hook. The novel isn't a romance, it's focus is on Bernice's life-long fight for justice. The love affair is there to create conflict and to attach the readers.

 

(Chuck_Spragins, enslavement seems the right phrase to me, because the oligarchs made the masses get into inflating debts and sell their belongings, lands, their children and themselves to slavery to pay their debts. The novel displays a lot of creepy and cruel things, as it displays a true story involving cruel people, so I think the query may include some of it too. Anyway, I'd like to hear other opinions...)

 

Here's the new version:

 

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

 

It's the mid-1st century, and the bankers controlling Rome starve the empire's people to line their pockets and finance their parties of stuffed-dormice. Rebels are cruelly crucified, The first part of this sentence i.e the one before the "but" doesn't connect with the second but when Bernice's indebted father attempts suicide, Bernice vows to overthrow the bankers' abusive oligarchy at all costs. Her first step must be parting with her love Officer Alexander, who joined the Roman army believing the unbeatable Rome can be changed only from within. Then, with her father's help, Bernice assists the rebellious Caligula to become emperor and to revive the republic's elections. In return, Caligula appoints Bernice's father as King of Israel.

 

Bernice hopes to reunite with Alexander, now that the army supports their ally Caligula, but the oligarchs murder Caligula and appoint a greedy puppet emperor in his place. In response, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion rallying the entire eastern empire, which brings to Bernice's father's assassination. Alexander rushes to protect Bernice, and proposes. The grieving Bernice wishes to accept, but marrying a loyal But is he really loyal--I mean. he joined the army to change it, and he also helped Bernice with her anti-Rome agenda Roman officer will force her to end the rebellion.

 

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

This feels more like a synopsis. There's alot of info which has been stuffed into it and you focus on way too many characters. This is my suggestion:

 

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

 

It's the mid-1st century, and the bankers controlling Rome starve the empire's people to line their pockets and finance their parties of stuffed-dormice. But when Bernice's indebted father attempts suicide, Bernice vows to overthrow the bankers' abusive oligarchy at all costs. Her first step must be parting with her love Officer Alexander, who joined the Roman army believing the unbeatable Rome can be changed only from within. Then, with her father's help, Bernice assists the rebellious Caligula to become emperor.

 

But when the oligarchs murder Caligula, Bernice and her father spearhead a rebellion, which brings to Bernice's father's assassination. Alexander rushes to protect Bernice, and proposes. The grieving Bernice wishes to accept, but marrying a Roman officer will force her to end the rebellion.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her love –  and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to fight their enslavement

 

I have discarded details which I don't feel that an agent would find necessary, as well as the greedy emperor character. It still needs polishing up, but that's something only you can do since you know you story best. Hope this helps. 



#46 jswen

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 09:59 AM

This looks pretty good!

 

I would tweak the first sentence. "Seems" is weak for a hook. Also, I would say, "the man she loves" instead of "Roman commander"

 

And maybe try to strengthen the last sentence. Split the choice up to heighten the stakes. The man she loves. Or freedom for her people. 

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her love –  and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to fight their enslavement



#47 dragoness

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 10:34 AM

Thank you all for your tremendous help!  :smile:

 

The genre of the novel is historical fiction, not romance, but the main conflict is Bernice's ongoing choice between her life-long fight against the oligarchs and her desire to be with her beloved Alexander. That's why the love story is in the center of the query.

 

Here's the new version. The hook is not good enough yet. I'd be thankful for every comment!

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love, but opposing the Roman Empire proves easier than opposing one special Roman commander.

 

When Bernice's beloved father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the Roman bankers who enslave the masses, Bernice vows to overthrow the bankers' abusive oligarchy. Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire, she and her father lead a revolution.

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While the two of them dispute over the best way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, Bernice's father is assassinated. Alexander understands the danger the brokenhearted Bernice is in, and realizes he can't loose her. He rushes to protect Bernice, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.



#48 KimYoonmi

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 02:09 PM

Thank you all for your tremendous help!  :smile:

 

The genre of the novel is historical fiction, not romance, but the main conflict is Bernice's ongoing choice between her life-long fight against the oligarchs and her desire to be with her beloved Alexander. That's why the love story is in the center of the query.

 

Here's the new version. The hook is not good enough yet. I'd be thankful for every comment!

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love, but opposing the Roman Empire proves easier than opposing one special Roman commander.

 

When Bernice's beloved father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the Roman bankers who enslave the masses, Bernice vows to overthrow the bankers' abusive oligarchy. [maze sentence. Starts at one end, ends up on another topic.] Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire, she and her father lead a revolution.[Wait, he was committing suicide in the previous paragraph. Makes no sense.]

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend[,] Alexander, [Bernice's childhood friend, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. [what is his motivation? Being a Roman officer isn't enough, espexcially considering the history in this point and time.] While the two of them dispute over the best way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. [Bernice feels torn between loyalty to the Rebel cause [which should be better outlined] and keeping Alexander's love.]

 

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, Bernice's father is assassinated[This is confusing... I'll explain later.]. Alexander understands the danger the brokenhearted Bernice is in, and realizes he can't loose[ loose her? lose.] her. He rushes to protect Bernice, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for liberty. [This is not it.]

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.
 

Same issues with last query--men are doing all the work. She's got no conflict besides her man, and really that's shallow. I want my female characters to go and conquer things, lead armies, build politics, have loyalties, and despite it still get the job done.

This reads to me like, Her father (who would have been much more interesting if he died) leads an army and she just sits around and worries about Alexander who comes to rescue her. I find the wilting and helpless female protag the worst to read.

I would rather she be a questionable rejected princess (reference to a blog you should read), who kicks butt than a wilting waiting for her man princess-in-a-tower.

Also historically, the collapse of the Western Empire was independent from the Eastern Empire. The Eastern empire never conquered the Western Empire, but the Western Empire never did that much to want to reunite with the East either. There are stories that the Eastern empire considered it, but really, they squashed the living daylights out of that idea. (Even killed people over it.) I kinda smell lack of research. Which isn't a smell I should be getting from a query.

http://www.rejectedp...sses/amanirenas

would defeat your main character any day and she was real. You can see she had agency and kicked Cesar's butt so hard he didn't even think of trying to go down there again. So the idea that women had no power and had to wait around for a man, even in Rome (My Aunt studied Roman Women and was a professor) is kinda ludicrous. There were plenty of kick butt women during that time period. It's just that the Victorians did their best to "clean it up" and censure a lot of it. (Including the different races, sexualities, I mean penises in street signs and on roads... for example etc)

Work on your character agency. If it's really about the fight between Alexander and Bernice's father, then she isn't the main character 'cause she isn't influencing anything any time soon. And the idea that a man would abandon everything for romance, is kinda a late medieval idea that comes with the coming of the Muslims in Southern Spain. Because of that, this reads like it might be a Harlequin Romance with thin Historical elements than hardcore Historical Fiction.


East Asian, so surname first, given name second.


#49 dragoness

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 02:28 AM

Thanks KimYoonmi. The story is a strictly accurate true story, based on intensive research, (though I look at the known facts from an innovative angel, so the events might not be broadly known. This rebellion, for instance, was deliberately almost unnoted). That's why I can't change it too much and omit the role of Bernice's father, though in this version I tried to emphasize her role.

 

At the story's beginning she's still very young, while at its end she kills and crowns emperors, becomes empress-de-facto, legislates social laws, and changes history for good. unfortunately, I can't refer to the end in the query. I did try to display her life-long conflict between her personal happiness and her commitment to the masses' welfare.

 

Here's the new version :huh: :

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love, but opposing one special Roman commander proves harder than opposing the Roman Empire.

 

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice arranges a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While the two of them dispute over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, her father is assassinated. Alexander, understanding the danger the brokenhearted Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement



#50 jswen

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 09:32 AM

Oh interesting, so it's based on a real person? Cool!

 

Hmm... I think a lot of KimYoonmi's comments still apply to this version. 

It sort of has a feel of things just happening, but you want to show that the MC is making these things happen. She's not just some princess along for the ride. 

 

One thing you might want to consider... I've read that you don't necessarily want to reveal more than Act 1 in your QL. That way you don't have to gloss over as much. It seems you can use your Inciting Incident as a hook. I'm guessing that would be her father's attempted suicide? Try to build up the tension between the oppressive roman rule/bankers and Bernice's struggle to get this rebellion of the ground. 

 

I'm also not getting a sense of WHO she is, aside from being a damsel in distress -- which I think she definitely is not. 

 

And at the end... Why does choosing her man mean she must give up the rebellion? It doesn't seem clear.

 

Hope this is helpful! It's frustrating, I know... Keep it up! :)



#51 Phaust

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 07:54 PM

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love, but opposing one special Roman commander proves harder than opposing the Roman Empire. I think I preferred earlier versions of your opening. Sorry!

 

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, to escape pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice arranges a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. Oh, I don't think you shared that before. That is significant. Good. While the two of them dispute over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, her father is assassinated. Not even sure you need the assassinated father detail. Alexander, in love and understanding the danger the brokenhearted Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes in order to safeguard her and end the rebellion. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement or... what's the choice? 

 

 

Hey, workshopping works! This is more clear. Less exit ramps. You're getting there. Now, get back to work!

 

But wait! Look at min first. Curious what you think of the latest. http://agentquerycon...stion/?p=339289



#52 dragoness

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 04:26 AM

Thanks!  :smile:

 

I changed mainly the hook here, and included the bio part. What do you say?

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. Having to oppose both an irresistible Roman commander and the Roman reign definitely puts her strength to the test.

 

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice starts a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While disputing over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, her father is assassinated. Alexander, understanding the danger the brokenhearted Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement

 

 

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.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,



#53 JeffJustWrites

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 10:28 AM

Thanks! :smile:

I changed mainly the hook here, and included the bio part. What do you say?


Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love.Having to oppose both an irresistible Roman commander and the Roman reign definitely puts her strength to the testThere's your hook :smile:

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice starts a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

I have a feeling you can simplify this second paragraph. Keep the focus on Bernice. Things as simple as "debt-ridden father" and the like.

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While disputing over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together.

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, her father is assassinated. Alexander, understanding the danger the brokenhearted Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.


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.

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

[font=arial]Best regards,

You have a good story here, the kinks just need to be ironed out of the query letter. You gave me some great points on mine, I hope this helps!

JJW

My Perpetually Metamorphosing Query

 

At vahrai u ihlókéon. At u Atavithion. 


#54 eric balson

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:59 PM

Thanks!  :smile:

 

I changed mainly the hook here, and included the bio part. What do you say?

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. This is a refreshingly better hook  Having to oppose both an irresistible Roman commander and the Roman reign definitely puts her strength to the test.

 

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice starts a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While disputing over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. This struck out sentence feels redundant because later when you highlight Bernice's choice, you implicitly state what's mentioned in this sentence Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, her father is assassinated. Alexander, understanding the danger the brokenhearted  Another redundancy. You later mention that she is grieving Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes. I've struck this out because, again, the sentence below where you talk about your MC's choice captures her dilemma But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement

 

 

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 UniversityThis helps a great deal.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

I think you're nearly there--you're getting warmer. Hope this helps! Please check out my updated query (post #45): http://agentquerycon...o-we-are/page-3



#55 jswen

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 04:16 PM

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. Having to oppose both an irresistible Roman commander and the Roman reign definitely puts her strength to the test.

 

I like the idea of this juxtaposition... but do you think it takes away from the choice she has to make later? Especially if she is already prepared to die, does the Roman commander inspire her to live?

 

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice starts a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

 

The above paragraph has a passive feel to it... Could you rephrase it to really make us feel the oppression of these bankers? Also, is this a revolt against Rome or against bankers??

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, (you've used "Bernice's" a lot in the QL - consider just 'a childhood friend comes to...) (also, I think you could create more tension if you play around with the construction of this section... Like Bernice is hellbent on killing rome, until tall, dark and handsome shows up and tears her heart apart... I don't know haha) comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While disputing over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

When Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, her father is assassinated. (But her father is assassinated right when she needs him most) Alexander, understanding the danger the brokenhearted Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavementI think this could be phrased in a stronger way?? Bernice must choose: Love. Or the freedom of her people. 

 

 

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, I wouldn't compare to Da Vinci Code, since yours is set in the past. Also, I don't get the thriller vibe from your QL. 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.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

Shaping up! I would still try to rework your sentences to make bernice sound more active. Good luck!



#56 dragoness

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 01:55 AM

Thank you!  :smile:

 

I feel I have trouble mainly with finding a good hook, so by now I tried changing mostly the hook. What do you say?

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. Under no circumstances will she risk her vision of liberty by falling for a Roman commander. Or, as it turns out, under almost no circumstances.

 

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice starts a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While disputing over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, but her father is assassinated right when she needs him most. Alexander, understanding the danger Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 80,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines unbelievable historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan, with an innovative cultural perception like 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.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,



#57 eric balson

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Posted 06 June 2017 - 04:21 PM

 

Thank you!  :smile:

 

I feel I have trouble mainly with finding a good hook, so by now I tried changing mostly the hook. What do you say?

 

 

Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. Under no circumstances will she risk her vision of liberty by falling for a Roman commander. I feel hook's should be succint as possible and this struck out sentence served to do the oppositeOr, as it turns out, under almost no circumstances.

 

After Bernice's father attempts suicide, pressed by his debt to the bankers controlling Rome, Bernice starts a revolution against the bankers' enslavement of the masses. With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire.

 

As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, comes to convince her to end the rebellion. While disputing over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a loyal Roman officer and a rebel leader can have no future together. 

 

Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, but her father is assassinated right when she needs him most. Alexander, understanding the danger Bernice is in, realizes he can't lose her, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement

 

The sentences I've highlighted in blue are basically saying the same thing: about how Bernice' and Alexander's love will ruin their plans to defeat Rome's tyranny. I think you only need one of these sentences.

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 80,000 word work of historical fiction, the first of a duo. It combines unbelievable historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan, with an innovative cultural perception like 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.

 

The completed manuscripts of the duo are available upon request.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Best regards,

 

Hope this helps. Check out my updated query: http://agentquerycon...o-we-are/page-3



#58 dragoness

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Posted 07 June 2017 - 01:38 AM

Thank you! :smile:   (It's always a conflict between making it clearer and keeping it shorter...)

 

How about this version? Again, I changed mainly the hook:

 

 

After her debt-ridden father attempts suicide, Bernice - a Royal Herodian dissident with a tendency to underclass friendships and political manipulations - starts a revolution against the Roman bankers' oligarchy.

 

With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire. As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, reappears to convince her to end the revolt. While disputing over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a rebel leader and a loyal Roman officer can have no future together. 

 

Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, but her father is assassinated right when she needs him most. Alexander, understanding the danger Bernice is in, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement. 

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 110,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines an amazing historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an innovative cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us apart.

 

...



#59 Lauraburns22

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 03:44 PM

After her debt-ridden father attempts suicide, Bernice - a Royal Herodian dissident with a tendency to underclass friendships and political manipulations - starts a revolution against the Roman bankers' oligarchy.

 

With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire. As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, reappears to convince her to end the revolt. already used this word in this sentence. maybe end to her crusade.  While disputing over the most effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, delete comma and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a rebel leader and a loyal Roman officer can have no future together. This kind of feels like a let down. I know it's not definite but maybe change the wording they part feeling hopeless about their doomed love. they part believing that they can never come together as anything other than enemies. KNOWING feels like too strong of a word for the possibilities of their love

 

Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, but her father is assassinated right when she needs him most. does this give away too much Alexander, understanding the danger Bernice is in, rushes to her, and proposes. proposal feels over the top maybe just skip to the next sentence even if what he does makes more sense in the context of the novel But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement. 

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 110,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines an amazing historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an innovative cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us apart.

 

I really like the ending paragraph too because it makes you think of a lot. I think this is a bit long based on what I've read including this http://editorialass....ebut-novel.html

but that's up to you. 

 

 

Hope this is helpful, and good luck with your querying! I really appreciated your feedback and made some changes according. When you get a chance, please look at my query again. Thanks 



#60 Sataris

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 06:22 PM

After her debt-ridden father attempts suicide, Bernice - a Royal Herodian dissident with a tendency to there's a minor agreement issue here; you can either have a penchant for underclass friendships, or a tendency to form underclass relationships underclass friendships and political manipulations - starts a revolution against the Roman bankers' oligarchy.

 

With her father's assistance she spearheads a rebellion, allying the entire eastern empire. As the revolt spreads, Bernice's childhood friend Alexander, now a Roman officer, reappears to convince her to end the revolt. While disputing similar issue to that first bit; you can definitely dispute the most effective way, but you wouldn't dispute over the most effective way. it would be clearer if it read: "while arguing over the most effective way" over the effective way to change Rome's oppression, they recognize their mutual dream of justice, and fall deeply in love. Nevertheless, they part knowing that a rebel leader and a loyal Roman officer can have no future together. 

 

This is a nice subplot here - A tense, forbidden romance that can blow up in your face at any point is a great device for creating tension.

 

Bernice and her father declare the alliance's independence, but her father is assassinated right when she needs him most. Alexander, understanding the danger Bernice is in, rushes to her, and proposes. But for the grieving Bernice, being with the only man she loves means ending her fight for her people's liberty.

 

This red part makes it seem like you're giving a lot of the plot of the book away; how early does this happen? You can probably still use the "being with the only man she loves" line without getting into the action that happens later in the book.

 

Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice her happiness – and probably her life – for the masses' only chance to end their enslavement. 

 

This line is fairly similar to the one about choosing between the man she loves and the people's liberty. Great conflict, but you probably want to combine the two instead of stating it in a different way.

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 110,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines an amazing historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an innovative cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Christian-Jewish and Roman-Greek worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us apart.

 

I think you're referring to your comparisons as being amazing and innovative, but I'd be careful with that, because it might come off as you telling your agent that your work is amazing and innovative instead. I do like the angle though, and the action sounds like it makes for a compelling story!

 

If you've got a minute, I'd appreciate it if you'd take a look at my latest revision here: http://agentquerycon...poc-ya-revised/


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