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A PRACTITIONER'S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK - Will Critique Back (New Query in #48, New Adult Urban Fantasy)

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#41 galaxyspinner

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Posted 27 July 2017 - 05:52 PM

Thank you all for the outstanding feedback! I'm really glad I got your critiques, because I just got my first request for a manuscript!!! This is the last revision before pitch wars, assuming you all like it. Is this one ready? I've tried to make the demon thing clearer by naming the creature.

 

Like usual, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you!

 

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 familiar demon appears on the set of Jesse’s Christmas horror flick, “Ho Ho Hell 2,” (Movie titles are italicized) the wizard is pulled back into the chaotic world of the occult. Years ago, Jesse made a deal with the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But (You started a recent sentence with the same word, and it's already a little jarring that it's a conjunction; personally, I would find an alternative for the "But" at the beginning of the paragraph) when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To help pay off his debt (wait; is he paying off his debt or banishing the demon so that he doesn't have to pay off his debt?), lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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 (this sentence would be less cumbersome of you dropped "for help"; not only will it be clear what the final clause is referring to, but it will keep you from using the word "help" twice in one sentence).

 

(These first three paragraphs each give the story a different focus; your opening is all about a wizard who works on horror movies, then the second is about a wizard who needs to banish a demon to save is soul from a Faustian transaction, and the third is about a wizard who needs to train an awkward protege in an effort to pay back a debt. The relationship between the three is very unclear; you tell us that he needs to take on a protege to pay off his debt, but there is nothing intuitive about this, particularly since the previous paragraph gives us a different story of what he needs to do. The idea of him working on movies has entirely vanished by the third paragraph, even though it is the central theme of your hook. Finally, when the titular Practitioner's Guide is finally mentioned, its hard to see why it relates to anything else to such an extent that it should be the title of the book)

 

On this noir romp through the occult underbelly of Los Angeles, the duo meets modern werewolves, wiccans (this feels a little odd, since Wiccans are pretty mundane), nosferatu, and terrifying ghouls. And doves. There are lots of doves. (This last detail is a bad combination of odd and uninteresting; to me, it comes off as a joke, which doesn't match the overall tone)

 

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is a new adult urban fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. Picture Peter Mclean’s “Drake” meets Blackmoore's “Dead Things” with a sprinkle of “Half-resurrection Blues” 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,


Are you an actress looking for a comedic monologue? Check out Lady Parts: 50 Monologues for Funny Actresses.

 

Critique my query: Buccaneers of the Wild Blue


#42 Theo A. Gerken

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 10:51 AM

Thank you all for the outstanding feedback! I'm really glad I got your critiques, because I just got my first request for a manuscript!!! This is the last revision before pitch wars, assuming you all like it. Is this one ready? I've tried to make the demon thing clearer by naming the creature.

 

Like usual, critique me, and I'll brutally critique you!

 

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 familiar 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 the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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 Peter Mclean’s “Drake” meets Blackmoore's “Dead Things” with a sprinkle of “Half-resurrection Blues” 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,

 

 

This query is strong, I have nothing to complain about. You even wrote it with the voice of the book, that slighly humorous feel many urban fantasy books have.

 

It's not too long either, which is pretty rare.



#43 dizzywriter

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Posted 28 July 2017 - 07:07 PM

Excellent. Naming the demon makes all the difference and full request shows you're doing it right. I think you're ready.

I'm about to pitch mine to one agent that wants only 250 word queries, and mine is just short enough to fit. My newest is up. Take a look if you can.



#44 TheBest

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Posted 30 July 2017 - 02:10 PM

Here's my newest version for Pitch Wars. What do you all think? I think it's ready to get sent out. Opinions?

 

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 familiar 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 the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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”, 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 Peter Mclean’s “Drake” meets Blackmoore's “Dead Things” with a sprinkle of “Half-resurrection Blues” 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,



#45 TheBest

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 12:15 PM

Here's the newest version for Pitch Wars. What do you all think? I think it's ready to get sent out. Opinions?

 

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 familiar 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 the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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”, 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 Peter Mclean’s “Drake” meets Blackmoore's “Dead Things” with a sprinkle of “Half-resurrection Blues” 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,



#46 ddcash80

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Posted 31 July 2017 - 02:30 PM

Here's the newest version for Pitch Wars. What do you all think? I think it's ready to get sent out. Opinions?

 

Dear agent,

 

Master of the magic arts Having fresh eyes to your work, I must say that this confused me -- is it "real" or "fake" magic? (because the next part mentions Hollywood, so it makes it unclear), 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. I see what you are trying to do with the intro, but I must honestly say it doesn't work for me. It comes off as cheesy. I would prefer if you just simply state he's a "wizard who hung up his coat for Hollywood" etc. or something along those lines instead of trying to put the comedy into it, which may hit or miss with people.

(was a MISS for me!)

 

But when a familiar 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 the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. This plot exposition is really vauge and raises too many questions. Why does he have to banish Uvalla? Shouldn't they be working together to fight the Black Witch? Here you shouldn't skip the details and explicitly tell us about the "deal". That is, assuming he still has one.

 

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, Donny, is more concerned with getting a date than getting a wand I don't like the word "getting" here. "getting a wand" doesn't really make sense. Maybe try: he's more concerned with handling women than handling a wand. Along those lines if you get my point. Struggling to be a mentor while hunting the Black Witch, Jesse turns to “A Practitioner's Guide”, 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. The ending kind of falls flat. You need some STAKES so make it interesting. What happens if he doesn't get the Black Witch? Maybe move the "forfeit soul" here and add something to it for spice

 

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is a new adult urban fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. Picture Peter Mclean’s “Drake” meets Blackmoore's “Dead Things” with a sprinkle of “Half-resurrection Blues” 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,

Overall I would say this is a decent query. I would say there are a lot of elements that are cliche such as a Wizard with a goofy apprentice. It reminds me of the movie "Apprentice" with Nicholas Cage. I would say you should try to distance yourself from these by adding as much as you can that makes your story distinct. Talk more about the Demon Lord, Black Witch, etc because those seem unique to your story. I would have loved to hear more about them and their powers/motivations.

 

And try to end with a bigger punch, where your MC faces obstacle and must do XYZ or else ABC.

 

Good luck with future writing. I'll try to pop in and see what updates you put out.

 

Here is my query if you can give it a look:

 

http://agentquerycon...ost-9/?p=344371



#47 TheBest

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Posted 28 August 2017 - 04:21 PM

I'm back from a very long trip away from my query and out of the trenches. I participated in pitch wars with this query, and although I didn't get a mentor, I got two requests for submission. Now that I'm back to querying, what do you guys think of this version?

Will return critiques.

 

 

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 familiar 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 the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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”, 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 an urban fantasy novel complete at 75,000 words. Picture Peter Mclean’s “Drake” meets [Book Agent Represented], with a sprinkle of "A Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" on top.

I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. As an actor, I've had the opportunity to meet with actual occult consultants, providing me with unique insight into this mysterious world. 
Since you are a fan of books with a [what agent is looking for] and a dash of humor, I hope you enjoy my first [x] pages.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.


#48 TheBest

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Posted 02 September 2017 - 03:13 PM

I changed the comps, and tried to personalize the letter. What do you all think?
As always, leave feedback, and I'll brutally critique you!

 

Thanks!!

 

Dear ---,

 
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 familiar 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 the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one.

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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”, 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 an adult and new adult urban fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Stephen Blackmoore and Jim Butcher. It is complete at 75,000 words. 
 
I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. 
In researching agents, I was excited to discover that you represent the [Insert work here}. Since you are a fan of urban fantasy with a strong voice and a dash of humor, I hope you enjoy my first [x] pages.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,


#49 IslaCaribbe

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Posted 10 October 2017 - 10:42 AM

Dear ---, I read somewhere that you should address queries as: Attn. Bob Smith, but don't quote me on that. I read that dear was too formal

 
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 familiar 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 the demon lord Uvalla, a deal he thought he’d never have to pay back. But when a mysterious Black Witch summons his unholy creditor, Jesse must find the Black Witch and banish Uvalla, or he forfeits his soul. That is, assuming he still has one. Wait is the black witch also the demon that appears on his set?

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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”, a compilation of tips and tricks to help wizards face creatures that go bump in the night. I personally would leave out lone-wolf. I feel like we already have a sense of your character and saying he's forced to take on an apprentice is enough. How will having an apprentice help him pay back his debt? What is his debt? Money? Souls? Bitcoins? I would cut out the bit about the Practicioner's Guide. It makes it sound like Jesse doesn't know what he's doing and it wanders us away from the story and the stakes. 

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. The last two sentences made me laugh, but I'm not sure it's the best final hook. It makes me go, yeah it's probably cute and funny. But am I dying to read it? You need something that reminds us what's at stake and why it matters. Also, is there a time limit on this noir romp? Might want to mention it to add more tension. Jesse had 10 days to navigate the city of monsters with his idiot of a protege- or be lost forever.

A PRACTITIONER’S GUIDE TO LOVE AND MAGICK is an adult and new adult urban fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Stephen Blackmoore and Jim Butcher. It is complete at 75,000 words.  Not sure how the title fits in to the story. Are we reading the guide and he's writing notes in the edges? Or somehow is the book the most important part of the story? If it is, we need to know why.
 
I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. 
In researching agents, I was excited to discover that you represent the [Insert work here}. Since you are a fan of urban fantasy with a strong voice and a dash of humor, I hope you enjoy my first [x] pages.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,
 
Much much much better! Keep at it! Also, Ho Ho Hell 2 sounds like a porno

Check out my query if you have time: A Goddess Calls


#50 Cryuff14

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Posted 14 October 2017 - 03:01 PM

Onetime 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. (this is a good opening) Selling out isn’t as glamorous as conjuring spells and slaying monsters, but the pay is good, and the free coffee is even better. ( I don't see any use of 'free coffee' here other than to riff off your opening 'sober'. Maybe 'and it's a lot safer'. I like the idea of a drunk wizard.)
 
You have a problem with the next paragraph; I don't think you can get away with two 'but whens'. Maybe something like:
 
With his new career taking off, Jesse begins to think that he's put the chaotic world of the occult and an unpaid debt behind him, and then the demon lord Uvalla shows up on the set of his Christmas horror flick, “Ho Ho Hell 2,” and demands payment, or his soul. Assuming he still has one to forfeit.
 
I know it's frustrating, working this again and again, but you've got  something that will work here. It sounds interesting and fun and you have a good voice. Just continue to strip this down and clarify what's going on.

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

To help pay off his debt, lone-wolf Jesse is forced to take on an apprentice. Unfortunately, his awkward teenage protégé, 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”, 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 an adult and new adult urban fantasy novel that will appeal to fans of Stephen Blackmoore and Jim Butcher. It is complete at 75,000 words. 
 
I currently study at Cornell University, with a focus on creative writing. 
In researching agents, I was excited to discover that you represent the [Insert work here}. Since you are a fan of urban fantasy with a strong voice and a dash of humor, I hope you enjoy my first [x] pages.
 
Thank you for your time and consideration.
 
Sincerely,






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