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A PRACTITIONER'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK - Will Critique Back (New Query in #22, New Adult Urban Fantasy)

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#21 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 16 July 2017 - 11:04 PM

critique me, and I'll brutally critique you. lol That's exactly what I need. Brutal. XD (But to get brutal, I must be brutal myself. : P)

 

Dear agent's name,

 

As a master of the magical arts, Jesse Demir, has turned his talents to Hollywood. (It already sounds great. Just don't make the first sentence too long; that'll overwhelm the agent.) He gives creative advice on the kinds of horror movies that you can’t watch sober. Selling out isn’t as glamorous as monster slaying, but the pay is good, and the free coffee is even better. 

 

But when a demon appears on the set of Jesse's Christmas horror flick, “Ho Ho Hell 2,” the wizard (What wizard? Is Jesse the wizard?) is pulled back into the chaotic world of the occult (What's the occult? Where is it? Parallel universe or so?). As a sorcerer (Does sorcerer = wizard? If not, who's the wizard?), Jesse makes deals with supernatural entities he thinks he’ll never have to pay back (Watch tenses. Also, what deal?). With a mysterious witch summoning his demonic creditor, Jesse must find the sorceress and banish her demon, or he forfeits his soul. (Explain more. Where did the witch come from? How did Jesse find out about the witch? Is the witch a sorceress? Keep the same terms. If they're witches, call them witches. If they're sorcerers, call them sorcerers. Not both, because that makes me think there's more characters. "Summoning" says she hasn't summoned the demon yet and "banish her demon" makes me think she already did summon the demon. Which is it? - Why would he have to forfeit his soul?) That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To get an extension on his debt (Wait. We're back to the deals? I thought we were on the witch. Is the deals and the witch connected?), lone-wolf Jesse takes on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his new apprentice, Donny, is an awkward teen more concerned with getting a date than getting a wand. (lol) Struggling to be a mentor and hunting the black witch (Wait. Now it's a black witch? Is this the same witch as before?), Jesse turns to “A Practitioner's Guide” for help, a compilation of tips and tricks to make it as a sorcerer when the chips are down. The last part kind of turned the plot down a few notches. I thought it was about to talk about some serious decision Jesse would have to make, not a book. I'd change that part to match the tone. If you don't change that part, add "which is" after "help,".

 

On this noir (noir? Do you mean black?) romp (romp? Do you mean ramp?) through the supernatural underbelly of Los Angeles, the duo meets modern werewolves, wiccans, nosferatu, and terrifying ghouls. And doves. There are lots of doves.  If you fix the last half of the last sentence to the paragraph before, that's where you should end your query. This paragraph doesn't add anything for me. If anything at all, it makes me lose all the intensity from the paragraph before.

 

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is an new adult urban fantasy novel ("fantasy novel" is a phrase that can land you straight into the rejection pile. Just saying. I know an agent who won't accept anything with that phrase.) complete at 75,000 words. Picture Blackmoore's “Dead Things” meets “A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” with a sprinkle of “Fight Club” on top. That last sentence sounds too unprofessional to me. Also, what if the agent doesn't know all those things? Like I only know one of them well. I don't know what Blackmoore's is at all.

 

I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. Please enjoy my first [xx] pages.  Giving where you study, doesn't add anything to the query. If you add something, say where you work as a writer or editor, or perhaps mention some of your published pieces. Nothing else. Don't say "please enjoy" because that sounds weird. Perhaps just say "I attached ___ to this email. Thank you for your time and consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon."

 

Overall, I know that's a lot of red, but your novel sounds interesting. : ) Just a few more touch ups and I think you'll be good to go. You can do it!



#22 TheBest

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 05:58 PM

I took some of your advice and here's the final product.

 

I used one word for 'The Black Witch', and made Jesse's debt more clear. Trouble is, my book tries to be more realistic and practical about magic than most urban fantasy. That's my gimmick. With so much humor, I don't know if that comes through anymore. You all think it's ready to be sent out? For Pitch wars??

 

As always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you.

 

Thanks!

 

Dear agent,

 

Master of the magic arts, Jesse Demir, has turned his talents to Hollywood, giving creative advice on the kinds of horror movies that you can’t watch sober. Selling out isn’t as glamorous as monster slaying, but the pay is good, and the free coffee is even better.

 

But when a demon appears on the set of Jesse's Christmas horror flick, “Ho Ho Hell 2,” the wizard is pulled back into the chaotic world of the occult. Years ago, Jesse made a deal with a demon he thought he’d never have to pay back. With a mysterious Black Witch summoning his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the witch and banish her demon, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To earn an extension on his debt, lone-wolf Jesse takes on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward young apprentice, Donny, is more concerned with getting a date than getting a wand. Struggling to be a mentor while hunting the Black Witch, Jesse turns to “A Practitioner's Guide” for help, a compilation of tips and tricks to help wizards face creatures that go bump in the night.

 

On this noir romp through the occult underbelly of Los Angeles, the duo meets modern werewolves, wiccans, nosferatu, and terrifying ghouls. And doves. There are lots of doves.

 

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is a new adult urban fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. Picture Blackmoore's “Dead Things” meets “A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” with a sprinkle of “Fight Club” on top.

 

I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. Please enjoy my first [xx] pages.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,



#23 kjasjg

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 08:48 PM

I took some of your advice and here's the final product.

 

I used one word for 'The Black Witch', and made Jesse's debt more clear. Trouble is, my book tries to be more realistic and practical about magic than most urban fantasy. That's my gimmick. With so much humor, I don't know if that comes through anymore. You all think it's ready to be sent out? For Pitch wars??

 

As always, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you.

 

Thanks!

 

Dear agent,

 

Master of the magic arts, Jesse Demir, has turned his talents to Hollywood, giving creative advice on the kinds of horror movies that you can’t watch sober. Selling out isn’t as glamorous as monster slaying, but the pay is good, and the free coffee is even better. (nice hook and interesting story)

 

But (no need to have the "but" in there; start off this sentence with When and you still have the meaning otherwise good so far) when a demon appears on the set of Jesse's Christmas horror flick, “Ho Ho Hell 2,” the wizard is pulled back into the chaotic world of the occult. Years ago, Jesse made a deal with a demon he thought he’d never have to pay back. With a mysterious Black Witch summoning his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the witch and banish her demon, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To earn an extension on his debt, lone-wolf Jesse takes on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward young apprentice, Donny, is more concerned with getting a date than getting a wand. Struggling to be a mentor while hunting the Black Witch, Jesse turns to “A Practitioner's Guide” for help, a compilation of tips and tricks to help wizards face creatures that go bump in the night. (how old is the apprentice? first thing that came to my mind since most guys think about that from 13 to 60? lol)

 

On this noir romp through the occult underbelly of Los Angeles (assuming to fulfill his quest to find the Black witch?), the duo meets modern werewolves, wiccans, nosferatu, and terrifying ghouls. And doves. There are lots of doves. (the dove thing is curious - I like it)

 

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is a new adult (what makes this a new adult?) urban fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. Picture Blackmoore's “Dead Things” meets “A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” with a sprinkle of “Fight Club” on top.

 

I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. Please enjoy my first [xx] pages.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

I like the premise and the new spin on Magic storytelling. I have not read the previous posts since I feel that taints my thoughts on the query so this is based on me seeing this for the first time. I am curious as to what makes this a New Adult Vs. YA or Adult novel? I have seen a great many debates about this new Genre and most (though not all) agree NA has more romance etc. I don't have a decided opinion on the subject but because there is such a debate about it you may want to prepare yourself with an answer if an agent asks the same question.

 

Good luck and feel free to critique mine (link below)

thanks

Jer



#24 Cates

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Posted 17 July 2017 - 11:42 PM

Dear agent,

 

Master of the magic arts, Jesse Demir, Sorcerer-turned-Hollywood-hack Jesse Demir gives has turned his talents to Hollywood, giving creative advice on the kinds of horror movies that you can’t watch sober. Selling out isn’t as glamorous as monster slaying, but the pay is good, and the free coffee is even better.

(Just trying to cut down on the wording here.) 

 

But when a demon appears on the set of Jesse's Christmas horror flick, “Ho Ho Hell 2,” the wizard is pulled back into the chaotic world of the occult. As a sorcerer, Jesse made deals with supernatural entities he thought he’d never have to pay back. With a mysterious witch summoning his demonic creditor, Jesse must find the sorceress and banish her demon, or he forfeits his soul. To escape his demonic creditor, Jesse must banish a sorceress's demon.  That is, assuming he still has one.  (Again, my wording is just a rough version that cuts down on the words. I'm not clear how these events are connected--the sorceress's demon is Jesse's creditor? Or is her demon a different one from the creditor? If Jesse already owes his soul as a debt, then it should be pretty clear he still has a soul. I know my wording may not align with your plot--we need a little clarity, and I think the best way to do it is keep the details to a bare minimum: Jesse needs to banish a witch's demon to escape his debt. Everything else isn't as important.) 

 

To get an extension on his debt, lone-wolf Jesse takes on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his new apprentice, Donny, is an awkward teen more concerned with getting a date than getting a wand. Struggling to be a mentor while hunting the black witch, Jesse turns to “A Practitioner's Guide” for help, a compilation of tips and tricks to make it as a sorcerer when the chips are down. (Now I'm really invested. Sorcerer making deal with a demon? Interesting, but relatively common. Sorcerer who thinks he's Mr Badass taking on an awkward teenage apprentice who (seemingly) doesn't want to be a wizard? That's new, and I want to know more.) 

 

On this noir romp through the supernatural underbelly of Los Angeles, the duo meets modern werewolves, wiccans, nosferatu, and terrifying ghouls. And doves. There are lots of doves. (In this paragraph, the previous paragraph, and the first paragraph, I really get a sense of your voice as a writer: snarky and sharp. The second paragraph is sorely missing your voice. If I can suggest an exercise, try writing how JESSE would explain his demon deal/hunt for the sorceress in two sentences or less. Obviously don't actually write the query from his POV (that's a query no-no,) but it might help you find the words to convey the plot succinctly, and in the same style as the rest of the query.) 

 

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is a new adult urban fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. Picture Stephen Blackmoore's “Dead Things” meets “A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” with a sprinkle of “Fight Club” on top. (The rule of thumb I've learned is avoid referencing really well known works, and never reference two well known works--while it's obviously not your intent, the agent will think you're setting a realllllllyyyyy high bar and will be looking for ways that you fail to meet it. Can you come up with a more recent (and less famous) example to which you can compare your story?) 

 

I currently study at Cornell University (Upstate NY FTW!), with a focus on creative writing. Please enjoy my first [xx] pages.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Sincerely,

 

Obviously feel free to ignore anything that doesn't sound right to you--overall I think this is pretty good, the second paragraph just needs a little work. I'm definitely interested in the story and characters. New Adult isn't really my thing, but I'd read the heck out of this. Hope this helps! 



#25 jaustail

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Posted 18 July 2017 - 01:08 AM

JMO:

 

 

 

Dear agent,

 

Master of the magic arts, Jesse Demir, has turned his talents to Hollywood, giving creative advice(I thought his 'talent' would be related to magic or information/research on magic/vampires. Not sure how creativity is related to magic arts. jmo) on the kinds of horror movies that you can’t watch sober. Selling out isn’t as glamorous as monster slaying, but the pay is good, and the free coffee is even better.(maybe there would be more perks like random sex, drugs, alcohol?)

 

But when a demon appears on the set of Jesse's Christmas horror flick, “Ho Ho Hell 2,”(unnecessary word count) the wizard is pulled back into the chaotic world of the occult. Years ago, Jesse made a deal with a demon he thought he’d never have to pay back. With a mysterious Black Witch summoning his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the witch and banish her demon, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To earn an extension on his debt, lone-wolf Jesse takes on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward young apprentice, Donny, is more concerned with getting a date than getting a wand(lol). Struggling to be a mentor while hunting the Black Witch, Jesse turns to “A Practitioner's Guide” for help, a compilation of tips and tricks to help wizards face creatures that go bump in the night.

 

On this noir romp through the occult underbelly of Los Angeles, the duo meets modern werewolves, wiccans, nosferatu, and terrifying ghouls. And doves. There are lots of doves.

 

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is a new adult urban fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. Picture Blackmoore's “Dead Things” meets “A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” with a sprinkle of “Fight Club” on top.

 

I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. Please enjoy my first [xx] pages(great way to say you've mentioned pages.).

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

 

The mc sounds over confident like 'i-know-it-all' which is not a bad thing necessarily. Good luck.


JUPITER'S AMBITION

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