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THE WITCH AND THE DEMON (YA Fantasy)--will return critique


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#1 bookgirl_kt

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 04:29 PM

Thanks to everyone for their help! As of 10/28/17 I'm done with my edits for now, so no need for further critiques. All the feedback I've gotten has been great :)

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head, so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon Kryptos, a demon whose heart has been ripped out. He promises to save her. In exchange, she must lend him her heart to replace his.

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s become his champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Though bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? As she gets to know him better, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one.



#2 Bananas

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:03 PM

This is one of the more solid queries I've seen in a while.  Good job on not making me want to poke my eyes out!   :smile:

Thanks to everyone for their help! Please leave a link to your query and I'll return the favor.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been funny in the head, I'd like a bit more specificity here.  "Funny in the head" is too generic.  Since this character has your same condition, I think you should be able to add some nice, specific details.  so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to heal her in exchange for taking her heart I had to read this twice and I'm still not sure I understand.  While I'm sure he doesn't kill her by taking her heart, I'm not sure how one could survive this.  If it's part of his deal, then you need to explain this better.  Right now it reads like a monkey's paw kind of deal.  "Sure, I'll cure your heart... but then I'll steal it!  Literally!  Bwahaha."  to replace the one missing from his chest.

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s inadvertently become his mortal champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? Normally questions are ill advised, but since this one is clearly rhetorical, I think it works.  On closer acquaintance, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one.  I like this last line a lot.

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being falsely condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships.



#3 beccamae

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:22 PM

Hi Bookgirl, thanks for your help Here's my feedback:

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been funny in the head, maybe you can use an example here. It's telling us something, now showing us. Funny in the head could mean so many things so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to heal her in exchange for taking her heart to replace the one missing from his chest. good forward motion

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she Ebba learn he’s Kryptos is one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. is this our world, Earth, or a different planet? She’s inadvertently become his mortal champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. The previous sentence is confusing. What is a mortal champion? How did she get roped into this? Was it when he took her heart? Though, bound Bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? On closer acquaintance, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one. The first sentence undermines the second.

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being falsely condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships. I'm learning some new information in the last sentence. It's okay to talk about #ownvoices here, but work rest in the summary. I didn't know there was a village and I didn't get that the witch catchers referred to in pg 1 were humans.

 

Overall I got a good sense of the story. It would be great if you could work in any more specifics about the two characters. I think they're interesting, but I'm not yet saying "This character is awesome!" or "Oh, no, I hope this character doesn't die." Good logical plot progression.



#4 anah+theshadowaccomplice

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Posted 21 October 2017 - 05:24 PM

Thanks for the help!

 

Thanks to everyone for their help! Please leave a link to your query and I'll return the favor.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been funny in the head, so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to heal her in exchange for taking her heart to replace the one missing from his chest.

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s inadvertently become his mortal champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Bound by their contract to fight or die how does him taking her heart bind her to this contract?, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage :laugh: ? On closer acquaintance, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one.

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being falsely condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships.

This actually caught my interest. Really, any other notes I'd put in here would just be utter nit-picking :) And there's not even much of that. The one question I have though, is actually a pretty big one. Why does it matter that she gave him her heart? Does that mean he controls her? Because otherwise, their bargain was only that she'd give it to him. Figure out how to connect that info, and I think this is a pretty good query :)


My Query Letter: Killing Crow

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#5 MICRONESIA

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 09:45 AM

Thanks to everyone for their help! Please leave a link to your query and I'll return the favor. (Updated as of 10/21/17)

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head because of her inability to understand othersemotions, so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Whoa. This is a LONG hook. I highly suggest breaking it up into simpler, shorter sentences. You want your hook to hit us hard, but this sentence falls flat. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to save her in exchange for borrowing her heart to replace his missing one. Missing heart? Is it her literal heart? Or figurative? No matter what, I would clear this up. 

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s inadvertently become his mortal champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Interesting. Though bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? On closer acquaintance, Too formal. Re-word. Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination. Cool. But I'm wondering, "How does one exist without a heart?" If it means she becomes emotionally cold, well, wasn't she ALREADY emotionally cold? 

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one.

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being falsely condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships. This is the most interesting aspect of your story (from what you've given us). Why not bring it up sooner?

 

I dig this. It's nice and succinct and I have a good idea of the story. However, I don't get much of a sense of Ebba herself. What does she want more than anything? How does she feel about being an outcast? What's her motivation for doing anything she does? Love? Acceptance by society? Give us a bit more characterization. Also, I'm not really sure what world we're in. Fantasy? Historical? Modern day?



#6 smithgirl

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 10:17 AM

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head because of her inability to understand others’ emotions, so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest I'm not sure what this means. The forest was blighted by magic, or it was blighted and, because of that, has no magic. and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to save her in exchange for borrowing her heart to replace his own. missing one. If the demon doesn't have a heart already (it's missing), then her heart can't replace his. There's nothing to replace.

 

I really like your first paragraph. It makes me interested in your story.

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s inadvertently become his mortal champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Though bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage?Agents don't like questions in a query. I would reword. But as she gets to know him better, On closer acquaintance, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one. This is really good!

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 hyphen word YA young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being falsely condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships.

 

I think your query is really good. I had a few small points that I mentioned above. I don't share the concerns of some of your previous critiques. Clearly this is fantasy, so I'm OK with both Ebba and the demon being able to live without a heart. I also see how giving him the heart would rope her into becoming becoming his champion. I think this is clear already. I think we get to know the MC some by the voice of the query, and her spunkiness in throwing a head at the the demon. I also think the story has humor and good twists -- that the demon is handsome and a bit awkward. Good job!



#7 MICRONESIA

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 10:28 AM

What does "lending him her heart" mean? What does it entail? What makes this a terrible thing for the MC?

#8 albarchs

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 12:13 PM

Thanks to everyone for their help! Please leave a link to your query and I'll return the favor. (Updated as of 10/21/17)

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head(Agree with the others. I'd go with something like "she's always been misunderstood by her classmates or treated like one (witch) because she can't understand other's emotions.) because of her inability to understand othersemotions, so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. (Is this set in the present day? I'm not really sure I buy witch hunters trying to kill a high school aged girl because she's "different". Witch hunters/monster hunters tend to do research/stake out their potential victims/prey before the kill. I'm guessing there's a good reason, though.) Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to save her in exchange for borrowing her heart to replace his missing one. (Agree with the others. Is he literally borrowing it/or is he sharing it because of the potential contract? Not a big issue, just curious.)

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods (What kind of demon is he? Did you build a custom mythology? I like those kind of stories) planning to invade her world. She is chosen to become his mortal champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. (So the gods are all on the same side? Why does it matter who leads the invasion if they're all working toward the same goal? There's a plot there but seems kind of odd) Though bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? (A hint of humor? I like humor.) To her dismay, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one. (I like x or y, then z stakes/choice. Still, this is straight forward and I know the stakes without it being wordy. Good job.)

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being falsely condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships. (And this answers my question about the witch hunters. That clears it up.)

 

 

I'm not the target audience for this kind of story (Too old hah). I know the plot but I don't get as much a sense of Ebba as I would like. A little more meat on her character desire/drive would satisfy me but I think there's a relatively content/structure complete query here. Another edit/run through will do the trick. Also, I'd recommend sending out a query that you feel is good/got solid positive feedback. You can finetune a query a hundred times but you have to send it out as well.



#9 tn_writer

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Posted 22 October 2017 - 01:57 PM

Thanks to everyone for their help! Please leave a link to your query and I'll return the favor. (Updated as of 10/21/17)

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head because of her inability to understand othersemotions, so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to save her in exchange for borrowing her heart to replace his missing one.

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s inadvertently become his mortal champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Though bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? On closer acquaintance, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one.

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being falsely condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships.

 

I'm in the query trenches too, so I'm no expert. I think the intro could be a bit stronger. I would get rid of "so it's no surprise" and maybe work in the last line somehow to grab the agent's attention fast. I'd also swap out some of the adverbs for more direct verbs too. Great job!  :smile:



#10 Gibber

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Posted 23 October 2017 - 01:45 PM

Thanks to everyone for their help! Please leave a link to your query and I'll return the favor. (Updated as of 10/22/17)

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships. (Most of the time, you'd put this information at the bottom. But in this instance, I'd maybe leave it right here to introduce the ownvoices. I think when I submitted my own (also ownvoices) I put that in the first paragraph as well.)

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head, (I like this phrasing. I know it's not specific, but if you leave that first paragraph where it is, I understand what this means. It's extremely voice-y and gives me a taste of what the book's going to be like.) so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon a dying demon named Kryptos. He promises to save her in exchange for borrowing her heart to replace his destroyed one. (I do agree with the others that you may want to specify that he literally has no heart and *physically* needs hers. English being what it is, "destroyed heart" could be a metaphor for his feelings or something magical.)

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s become his champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Though bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? (lol forever) As she gets to know him better, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination. (Love this bit. So much personality!)

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition (And explaining in the second paragraph that he *literally* stole her heart, this part would be much less confusing.) erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one. (I also agree that while these last two sentences sound good separately, I'm not sure what they have to do with each other. Is she maybe going to pick him and doom her world *because* of not having a heart? That's the best I can glean out of this and I'm not entirely sure it's accurate.)

Love this. It snares my attention and holds it, and maintains a nice, engaging voice throughout. Based on this query, I'd love to pick this up off a bookshelf to read someday.



#11 jaustail

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 05:26 AM

JMO:

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word(hyphen: 76,000-word) young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head(why? show this), so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon Kryptos, a demon whose heart has been ripped out. He promises to save her. In exchange, she must lend him her heart to replace his(how about: He promises to save her if she gives him her heart.)(he's a demon. why does he not kill her and take her heart?).

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s become his champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest.(i didnt understand this) Though bound by their contract to fight or die, Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage(lol)? As she gets to know him better, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers. To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one.

 

 

Sounds interesting. I liked the ending. Maybe simplify as to why does the demon not kill her for the heart. he's a god. he can surely get a heart from any sacrifice. so why does he help her?



#12 Arcanjoe

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Posted 26 October 2017 - 07:56 AM

Thanks to everyone for their help! Please leave a link to your query and I'll return the favor. (Updated as of 10/23/17)

 

THE WITCH AND THE DEMON is a 76,000 word young adult high fantasy novel. This is an #ownvoices story—both the heroine and I have Asperger syndrome, which leads to the heroine being condemned as a witch by her village and impacts how she approaches romantic relationships.

 

Eighteen-year-old Ebba isn’t a witch, but she’s always been considered funny in the head, so it’s no surprise when the witch hunters come for her. Fatally injured, she flees into a magic-blighted forest and stumbles upon Kryptos, a demon whose heart has been ripped out. He promises to save her.  (By save do you mean heal? If so, best to say so. Also, how? With his powers?) In exchange, she must lend him her heart to replace his. 

 

Only after striking this devil’s bargain does she learn he’s one of twelve dark gods planning to invade her world. She’s become his champion in the death match to determine which deity will lead the conquest. Though bound by their contract to fight or die, (what makes him think she stands a chance in the death match? It sounds like he picked the first person to cross his path. Can she fight? How could he possibly know she could? If not, then the joke's on the demon surely? A explanation is needed on this.) Ebba plots to sabotage Kryptos, only to accidentally initiate a courtship. How was she supposed to know throwing a severed head at him would be taken as a proposal of marriage? (I like this) As she gets to know him better, Kryptos turns out to be charming, handsome, a bit awkward—and utterly dedicated to world domination.

 

As Ebba’s heartless condition erodes her conscience, her resolve wavers (in reference to what? Saving the world? Not clear on what you mean here.) To save her world, she must betray the demon who possesses her heart in more ways than one. (The first sentence of this paragraph sounds like, because she's warming to the demon, she's beginning to reconsider saving the world. Then in the second sentence she's planning to save the world. Best to be crystal clear in your last couple of sentences.)

Very interesting idea. Just a bit of clarification needed here and there. The thing that bothers me most is that the demon seems to choose some random person (our main character) as his champion without knowing whether she stands any chance. And for someone who is "utterly dedicated to world domination," you'd think he'd do his research to find an incredibly skilled fighter. Ebba may be that, but there's no mention of that anywhere in the query. You'd think that the very last person you'd want to represent you in a deathmatch is someone who's been battered so badly that she needs saving from death. But again, if we knew that the demon's powers changed her in some way to be more viable––stronger, faster, more agile––then I'm right with you. The rest, however, I found intriguing. Hope this helps!


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

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 

Or the first 250 words of my story...

Clover:

http://agentquerycon...cience-fiction/

 





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