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The Wrong Empress (I'll return critique)


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#61 lionspaws

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Posted 15 June 2017 - 06:33 PM

After her debt-ridden father attempts suicide, Bernice - a Royal Herodian dissident with a tendency not sure tendency is the right word to underclass friendships and political manipulations - starts a revolution against the Roman bankers' oligarchy. Sheesh! Wow! Definitely sounds interesting. For those of us not literate in ancient history, you may want to find a way to clarify a "royal Herodian dissident" 

 

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. Why? He is very loyal to Rome, etc? 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. This is beginning to feel less like a query and more like a synopsis--"this happens, then this..." I think you could remedy this with just a little reworking (ex: "The alliance declares independence, but when Bernice loses her father to an assassin, she comes face-to-face with her choice: marrying Alexander, or pursuing her father's dream and liberating her people"...) Just a thought. 

 

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'd love your thoughts on my query for "To Sail The Stars!" 


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

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

 

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

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


#62 eric balson

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 01:14 PM

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.

 

...

 

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. Since, you only changed the hook it's the only thing I'm commenting on. The "royal herodian dissident" bit isn't as clear. I kind of understand what you're saying but i think it can be clearly worded. And i also don't think underclass can be used a verb

 

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.

 

...



#63 dragoness

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 04:12 AM

I eventually decided not to split the manuscript but to shorten it, so here is the new version for the whole story.

 

What do you think? I'll be grateful for every comment  :smile: .

 

 

Queen Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. No captivating Roman commander would stop her from becoming an empress-de-facto and turning the empire upside down.

 

 

When the tycoons controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's father, the King of Israel, Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy. Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire, she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement. In response, the tycoons dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius to crush the revolt.

 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While disputing over Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another, and unwittingly fall in love. Although they desire a future together, they know that a rebel leader and a Roman commander can have no such hope.

 

The tycoons, questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people, or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission could save her people, the man she loves, and her desired future with him. But the price would be destroying the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything for escalating her life-long fight for liberty.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 105,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines a surprising historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an unusual cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Roman-Greek and Christian-Jewish worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us 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.

 

Thank you for...



#64 eric balson

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 07:25 AM

​Returning your critique...

 

I eventually decided not to split the manuscript but to shorten it, so here is the new version for the whole story.

 

What do you think? I'll be grateful for every comment  :smile: .

 

 

Queen Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. ​Not really necessary because why would they be expecting anything besides death. No captivating Roman commander ​This is a little vague. Had I not read your earlier draft, I wouldn't be able to understand this statement. I get that you're secretly trying to allude to the commander she falls for, but its somehow confusing because the reader has to wait till the 3rd paragraph to understand that particular statement. It's not really a major issue, so I don't see it affecting your query that badly.would stop her from becoming an empress-de-facto and turning the empire upside down.

 

 

When the tycoons controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's father, the King of Israel, ​This is a little muddled. How can she be queen when her father is Queen. (Then, again, I'm ignorant with the way monarchies work, so you can ignore this) Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy. Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire, she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement. In response, the tycoons dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius to crush the revolt.

 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While disputing over Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another, and unwittingly fall in love. Although they desire a future together, they know that a rebel leader and a Roman commander can have no such hope.

 

The tycoons, questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people, or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission could save her people, the man she loves, and her desired future with him. But the price would be destroying the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything for escalating her life-long fight for liberty.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 105,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines a surprising historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an unusual cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Roman-Greek and Christian-Jewish worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us 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.

 

Thank you for...

I've got nothing left to say except that the story seems solid and so does the query, too. Good luck!



#65 Arcanjoe

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:27 AM

I eventually decided not to split the manuscript but to shorten it, so here is the new version for the whole story.

 

What do you think? I'll be grateful for every comment  :smile: .

 

 

Queen Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. No captivating Roman commander would stop her from becoming an empress-de-facto and turning the empire upside down. I don't think you need any of this. What you have below is actually a better hook.

 

 

When the tycoons controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's father, the King of Israel, the newly-crowned Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy. Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire, she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement. In response, the tycoons dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius to crush the revolt.

 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While disputing over Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another (though I understand what you mean here, this could be reworded to be more impactful), and unwittingly fall in love. Although they desire a future together, they know that a rebel leader and a Roman commander can have no such hope.

 

The tycoons, questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people (Why? Do the tycoons believe negotiations have broken down? If so, mention it.), or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission (or sacrifice?) could save her people, the man she loves, and her desired future with him. But the price would be destroying the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything for escalating her life-long fight for liberty. (This sentence reads a little awkwardly. You could actually just say 'Bernice must choose whether to sacrifice herself in order to save her people and the man she loves, or fight for their liberty and take her chances in all out war.' I'm sure you could come up with something better.)

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 105,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines a surprising historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an unusual cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Roman-Greek and Christian-Jewish worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us 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.

 

Thank you for...

 

Very interesting concept and there are clear stakes here. With a little tightening up I think you're on to a winner here! Hope I've helped.


I'd love for you to critique my latest query...

Eyes White as Snow: 

http://agentquerycon...now-ya-fantasy/


#66 jamills08

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:56 PM

I eventually decided not to split the manuscript but to shorten it, so here is the new version for the whole story.

 

What do you think? I'll be grateful for every comment  :smile: .

 

 

Queen Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. No captivating Roman commander would stop her from becoming an empress-de-facto and turning the empire upside down.

 

 

When the tycoons controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's father, the King of Israel, Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy. Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire, she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement. In response, the tycoons dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius to crush the revolt.

 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While disputing over Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another, and unwittingly fall in love. Although they desire a future together, they know that a rebel leader and a Roman commander can have no such hope.

 

The tycoons, questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people, or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission could save her people, the man she loves, and her desired future with him. But the price would be destroying the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything for escalating her life-long fight for liberty.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 105,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines a surprising historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an unusual cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Roman-Greek and Christian-Jewish worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us 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.

 

Thank you for...

 

I'm sorry, I couldn't find anything I didn't like about your query. Lol I'm also terrible at queries, so I don't know if that says much. I get a great sense of who the main character is, what she wants, what the stakes are, and what gets in her way. Therefore, I think its good to go. 



#67 slinke13

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 05:35 PM



I eventually decided not to split the manuscript but to shorten it, so here is the new version for the whole story.

 

What do you think? I'll be grateful for every comment  :smile: .

 

 

Queen Bernice leads her people against Rome ready to face death, not love. [I'm not sure I understand what this means...] No captivating Roman commander would stop her from becoming an empress-de-facto and turning the empire upside down.

 

 

When the tycoons controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's father, the King of Israel, Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy. [I agree with Arcanjoe - this is a much better hook. I'd nix the first two sentences.] Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire (is this capitalized?), she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement enslavers?. In response, the tycoons oligarchs? dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius to crush the revolt.

 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While disputing over Rome's oppression [weird wording here], they recognize the revolutionaries within one another, [no comma] and unwittingly fall in love. Although they desire a future together, they know that a rebel leader and a Roman commander can have no such hope.

 

The tycoons [again is this the right word?], questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people,[no comma] or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission could save her people, the man she loves, and her desired future with him. But the price would be destroying the masses'[the masses? too vague] only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything for escalating to escalate her life-long fight for liberty.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 105,000 word work of historical fiction. It combines a surprising historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an unusual cultural perception like Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, displaying the contradicting Roman-Greek and Christian-Jewish worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us apart. [I didn't get this from your query. If that's important to your story it should be in the body of the query. Also, I've read that using huge best sellers as a comp isn't the best idea. Is there another novel you could comp instead of The Da Vinci Code?]

 

The story is based on [informed by? 'based on' isn't quite right] my B.A. in history of the classical age, on my work as a tour guide in Roman period's luxurious quarters [huh?] , on several years of intensive research [research on what?], and on my M.A. in Arts from Lesley University 

 

Thank you for...

 

Hey there :)

 

I think you have your character, her problem, and the stakes pretty well defined in the query. Your writing needs a bit of smoothing out to make it easier to read through. But you're getting there. 

 

I'd love for you to look over my query if you could :) It's on post #25.



#68 dragoness

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 05:23 AM

Thank you all very much :Woah!:

 

Is this version better?  :blink:

 

 

When the bankers controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's father, the King of Israel, Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy. Spearheading an alliance rallying the entire eastern empire, she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement. In response, the oligarchs dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius Vespasianus to crush the revolt.

 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While arguing about Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another and unwittingly fall in love. Yet their views are too opposed to reach an agreement, and as a rebel leader and a Roman commander they have no hope of a future together.

 

The oligarchs, questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people, or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission could save her people, the man she loves, and her desired future with him. But the price would be destroying the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything in order to escalate her life-long fight for liberty.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 105,000-word historical fiction. It combines a surprising historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an unusual cultural perception like José Saramago's The Gospel according to Jesus Christ, displaying the contradicting Roman-Greek and Christian-Jewish worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us apart.



#69 eric balson

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Posted 11 September 2017 - 11:46 AM

Thank you all very much :Woah!:

 

Is this version better?  :blink:

 

 

When the bankers controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's her father, the King of Israel, she ascends to the throne after her dad dies, right? Think that you should make it clear. Maybe say "newly crowned Queen Bernice" Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy. Spearheading an alliance rallying <<The "spearheading and rallying make this part of the sentence cluttered. Maybe just use rallying, since it implies she's doing spearheading\leading of some sort  the entire eastern (capitalized?) empire, she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement. In response, the oligarchs dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius Vespasianus One name is plenty, or two at most to crush the revolt.

 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While arguing about Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another and unwittingly fall in love. Yet their views are too opposed to reach an agreement, and as a rebel leader and a Roman commander they have no hope of a future together.

 

The oligarchs, questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people, or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission could save her people, and the man she loves, and her desired future with him. But the price would be destroying the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything in order to escalate her life-long fight for liberty.

 

 

THE WRONG EMPRESS is a 105,000-word historical fiction. It combines a surprising historical story like Donna Woolfolk Cross's Pope Joan with an unusual cultural perception like José Saramago's The Gospel according to Jesus Christ, displaying the contradicting Roman-Greek and Christian-Jewish worldviews, a clash which is still tearing us apart.

Check out my latest query (post #92): http://agentquerycon...o-we-are/page-5



#70 callalilly

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Posted 13 September 2017 - 01:56 PM

Just a few thoughts for you to consider or delete. If you think useless -please ignore comments :)

When the bankers controlling Rome assassinate Bernice's father, the King of Israel, Queen Bernice vows to overthrow their abusive oligarchy (Nothing major, but I am a little confused with this -if her father if the king, wouldn't Bernice be Princess instead of queen?). Spearheading an alliance and rallying the entire eastern empire, she leads a rebellion against the Roman enslavement. In response, the oligarchs dispatch the relentless Titus Flavius Vespasianus to crush the revolt (Explain perhaps what the Titus Flavius Vespasianus is. Is it a army? A monster? A single person?.....Ah, okay I just read below -so, he's a man. Okay then perhaps here explain why he's such a dangerous being).


 

Facing Titus's mighty force, Bernice invites him to negotiations. While arguing about Rome's oppression, they recognize the revolutionaries within one another and unwittingly fall in love. Yet their views are too opposed to reach an agreement, and as a rebel leader and a Roman commander they have no hope of a future together.

 

The oligarchs, questioning Titus's loyalty, order him to slaughter the rebel queen and her people, or else be crucified for treason. Bernice's submission could save her people, the man she loves, and her desired future with him (I wonder how submission would save her people though? Wouldn't the oligarchs just keep bullying her people?.....Ah, again, I read on and understand. Okay then, if that's the case, maybe take out that section about saving her people since that isn't really a guarantee). But the price would be destroying the masses' only chance to end their enslavement.

 

Bernice must choose whether to endanger everything in order to escalate her life-long fight for liberty.

 

(So, interesting story. I think it has some interesting conflicts. A few thoughts though: 1. I don't understand how it is bankers are in such control of Rome. Also you switch from this one time calling them bankers to the oligarchs. I think you should name them one thing and stick with it -less confusing I feel. 2. I suggest bringing in more info on her father -he's the reason she starts to rise up, but after that first hint of him, you don't talk about him again. I think if he was mentioned maybe at the end would be a great tie-up. 3. If there was more info on Bernice's love, it could be really beneficial, you note that their differences in opinions are never truly reconciled -perhaps you can include though what it is that keeps them continuing their falling in love.

 

Overall, great query, I think its making GREAT progress. Good luck, I hope this helped. If not though, please ignore! :)


My work in progress: http://agentquerycon...again-ya/page-2

 





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