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Wilton House (Historical)


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#1 bijou

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 03:04 PM

CURRENT DRAFT IS IN POST #9

 

I'm hoping to query my historical novel later this year. I'm still polishing it up, but I thought I'd get some input on this part of the process. I've workshopped this draft in a weekend-long publishing bootcamp, but would appreciate other perspectives. Thanks!

 

 

Dear [Agent name],

 

In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. As a child, she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But soon curiosity turns to fascination and finally to infatuation.

 

 

After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. When she realizes he will never marry her, she tries to make a life without him, only to find that when a passion shapes one's identity it can be hard to abandon.

 

My novel Wilton House is based on the life of the real-life Lady Mary Sidney, the niece of the famed Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney and a respected poet in her own right. In her published literary works, Lady Mary sought to assert her rightful place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing. At 120,000 words, Wilton House is written as a fictional memoir that weaves Lady Mary's verses and epic prose romance with the story of her life.

 

I first learned about Mary Sidney while working toward my PhD in Renaissance English Literature at Northwestern University. I did substantial work on the development of this project through Rebecca Makkai's novel incubation program at Chicago's Story Studio. 

 

[personalized note about comps and reason I am querying this agent]


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my historical novel query.


#2 smithgirl

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 03:27 PM

Dear [Agent name],

 

 

In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. As a child no comma she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But soon curiosity turns to fascination and finally to infatuation.

 

 

After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. But when poetry fails andI just added this to connect the sentences more and to keep the writing part of the story alive. Up to youWhen she realizes he will never marry her, she tries to make a life without him, only to find that when a passion shapes one's identity it can be hard to abandon. This last sentence is unclear. Is she talking about her passion for writing or for Will or both? I'm not sure what she's trying to abandon.

 

Not sure how important this is, but I'm not clear if Mary as infatuated before the seduction, or if that was why she became infatuated.

 

Wait, this is the end?

 

My novel Wilton House is based on the life of the real-life Lady Mary Sidney, the niece of the famed Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney and a respected poet in her own right. In her published literary works, Lady Mary sought to assert her rightful place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing. At 120,000 words, Wilton House is written as a fictional memoir that weaves Lady Mary's verses and epic prose romance with the story of her life.

 

I first learned about Mary Sidney while working toward my PhD in Renaissance English Literature at Northwestern University. I did substantial work on the development of this project through Rebecca Makkai's novel incubation program at Chicago's Story Studio. 

 

 

So your query starts well but it's too short! You need to expand on the story and end with stakes. You query should have the following format: 

 

Hook

 

Paragraph 1

Paragraph 2

Paragraph 3 (ends with stakes)

 

Closing.

 

Right now your query has just a hook and the first paragraph + closing. Go back and add two more paragraphs, give us the details fo the story. End with the stakes. Also, FYI, 120K is high. These historical novels can be rather long, but it's going to be a hard sell for a debut. Just so you know.

 

But you're off to a good start, just finish your query. :-)

 

Good luck!



#3 sereneew

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 03:50 PM

THANK YOU FOR YOUR FEEDBACK! (: 

 

I'm hoping to query my historical novel later this year. I'm still polishing it up, but I thought I'd get some input on this part of the process. I've workshopped this draft in a weekend-long publishing bootcamp, but would appreciate other perspectives. Thanks!

 

 

Dear [Agent name],

 

In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. ( I already like it!)  As a child(no comma) she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But soon curiosity turns to fascination and finally to infatuation.

 

 

After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. When she realizes he will never marry her, she tries to make a life without him, only to find that when a passion shapes one's identity,(comma) it can be hard to abandon. ( like this paragraph, but what are the stakes? )

 

My novel Wilton House is based on the life of the real-life Lady Mary Sidney, the niece of the famed Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney and a respected poet in her own right. In her published literary works, Lady Mary sought to assert her rightful place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing. At 120,000 words, Wilton House is written as a fictional memoir that weaves Lady Mary's verses and epic prose romance with the story of her life.

 

I first learned about Mary Sidney while working toward my PhD in Renaissance English Literature at Northwestern University. I did substantial work on the development of this project through Rebecca Makkai's novel incubation program at Chicago's Story Studio. 

 

[personalized note about comps and reason I am querying this agent]

 

You have a really good hook, but theres not enough information. Like @smithgirl said, You need to build up to that hook, give us a conflict where she didn't follow the rules and what happened. It's okay to spoil a bit of the story, it builds tension. I feel you have a really good start, but adding another paragraph or two with more details and conflict will work. GoodLuck! It's a good first start (: 


If I helped please leave a feedback on my YA FANTASY QUERY http://agentquerycon...st-50/?p=350935


#4 EmperorOfTheNorth

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 04:39 PM

This sounds like something I would enjoy

Dear [Agent name],
 
 
In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. As a child no comma she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But soon curiosity turns to fascination and finally to infatuation.
 
 
After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. But when poetry fails andI just added this to connect the sentences more and to keep the writing part of the story alive. Up to youWhen she realizes he will never marry her, she tries to make a life without him, only to find that when a passion shapes one's identity it can be hard to abandon. This last sentence is unclear. Is she talking about her passion for writing or for Will or both? I'm not sure what she's trying to abandon.
 
Not sure how important this is, but I'm not clear if Mary as infatuated before the seduction, or if that was why she became infatuated.
 
Wait, this is the end?
 
My novel Wilton House is based on the life of the real-life Lady Mary Sidney, the niece of the famed Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney and a respected poet in her own right. In her published literary works, Lady Mary sought to assert her rightful place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing. At 120,000 words, Wilton House is written as a fictional memoir that weaves Lady Mary's verses and epic prose romance with the story of her life.
 
I first learned about Mary Sidney while working toward my PhD in Renaissance English Literature at Northwestern University. I did substantial work on the development of this project through Rebecca Makkai's novel incubation program at Chicago's Story Studio. 
 
 
So your query starts well but it's too short! You need to expand on the story and end with stakes. You query should have the following format: 
 
Hook
 
Paragraph 1
Paragraph 2
Paragraph 3 (ends with stakes)
 
Closing.
 
Right now your query has just a hook and the first paragraph + closing. Go back and add two more paragraphs, give us the details fo the story. End with the stakes. Also, FYI, 120K is high. These historical novels can be rather long, but it's going to be a hard sell for a debut. Just so you know.
 
But you're off to a good start, just finish your query. :-)
 
Good luck!


Great hook. Lacking in i formation. As Smithgirl and Sereneew pointed out.
Give a bit more meat to whet the appetite.
But as is I dig the riff and your righteous wig is in a good place.

Keep on keeping on.
Go on and stamp your forms, sonny.

#5 Springfield

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Posted 06 January 2018 - 09:13 PM

I'm hoping to query my historical novel later this year. I'm still polishing it up, but I thought I'd get some input on this part of the process. I've workshopped this draft in a weekend-long publishing bootcamp, but would appreciate other perspectives. Thanks!

 

 

Dear [Agent name],

 

In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. As a child, she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But soon curiosity turns to fascination and finally to infatuation. You're burying your lede. The 'as a child...' thing muddies this. The opening sentence isn't particularly gripping either -- I'd get right to -- in 1600whatever, when Mary Sidney's cousin seduces her on the eve of her 16th birthday she finds herself becoming obsessed with ....

 

 

After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. When she realizes he will never marry her, she tries to make a life without him, only to find that when a passion shapes one's identity it can be hard to abandon. This is way florid, and brings up the question of why won't he marry her.

 

And this just stops -- what does she DO, and what's at stake?

 

My novel Wilton House is based on the life of the real-life Lady Mary Sidney, the niece of the famed Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney and a respected poet in her own right. In her published literary works, Lady Mary sought to assert her rightful place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing. At 120,000 words, Wilton House is written as a fictional memoir that weaves Lady Mary's verses and epic prose romance with the story of her life. That's pushing the wc for hfic, but it's not unheard of -- but class it correctly as hfic. I'd also cut this down, show most of it through the query. 

 

I first learned about Mary Sidney while working toward my PhD in Renaissance English Literature at Northwestern University. I did substantial work on the development of this project through Rebecca Makkai's novel incubation program at Chicago's Story Studio. 

 

[personalized note about comps and reason I am querying this agent]



#6 bijou

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Posted 07 January 2018 - 04:17 PM

Thank you, everyone, who has responded so far! You've confirmed and articulated some of the suspicions I had. Thank you for pointing out where it needs to grow and expand. I'm going to go back to the drawing board, and I hope to get more feedback when I've revised.


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my historical novel query.


#7 Artsnerd

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 02:22 PM

Critiquing because you kindly critiqued my own query :)

 

Dear [Agent name],

 

In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. [I love the first part of this sentence, but I'm having some issues with the "has trouble staying within these guidelines" -- it sounds a bit awkward and out of place. Something more along the lines of "but Mary Sidney certainly isn't" or something like that might work better, at least in my opinion] As a child, she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But soon curiosity turns to fascination and finally to infatuation.

 

 

After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions [I like this part!]: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. When she realizes he will never marry her, she tries to make a life without him, only to find that when a passion shapes one's identity it can be hard to abandon. [Passion for what, exactly? Passion in general?]

 

My novel Wilton House is based on the life of the real-life Lady Mary Sidney, the niece of the famed Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney and a respected poet in her own right. In her published literary works, Lady Mary sought to assert her rightful place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing. At 120,000 words [seems a tad too long, even for the genre, as it's a debut--is there any way you can cut it down somewhat?]Wilton House is written as a fictional memoir that weaves Lady Mary's verses and epic prose romance with the story of her life.

 

I first learned about Mary Sidney while working toward my PhD in Renaissance English Literature at Northwestern University. I did substantial work on the development of this project through Rebecca Makkai's novel incubation program at Chicago's Story Studio. 

 

[personalized note about comps and reason I am querying this agent]

 

I really like the premise of this story, but I feel as though you're leaving out important details after the second body paragraph. Keep working at it! :) 


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.

In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 

―Maya Angelou

 

The query for my current WIP can be found here.

 

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#8 bijou

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 10:37 AM

FIRST REVISION

 

Thanks to everyone who provided comments. They were really illuminating, and very consistent--which tells me a lot! Note: I know there was a suggestion that I cut the reference to my work with Rebecca Makkai, but she's kind of a rising star and a big deal, and she suggested the name drop. So it's in this draft. I didn't want anyone to think I'm just blithely ignoring feedback. Now here's the revision:

 

 

I am seeking representation for my historical novel, Wilton House, which is based on the life of Lady Mary Sidney Wroth, the niece of the Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney. In her published works, Lady Mary sought to assert her place within her family's literary legacy—a place denied by her society's proscription against women's writing.

 

In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. At first she's merely curious about her older cousin Will Herbert, the future Earl of Pembroke, with whom she shares a passion for writing. But curiosity turns to fascination and finally infatuation.

 

After he seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. She is shocked when she learns he is betrothed to a rich heiress. Despairing, she agrees to marry a rich gentlemen her parents have chosen for her.

 

After her marriage, Mary tries to find some contentment, but discovers she cannot quell her deep desire for her cousin. They resume their affair, and when he abandons her again, Mary turns to writing for consolation. Guided by famed poet and playwright Ben Jonson, Mary undertakes a monumental epic in which she tells and retells the story of her love for Will, as well as other court intrigues, under the guise of chivalric romance. The resulting scandal forces Mary to decide what really matters to her: acceptance by society or her need to speak for herself.

 

At 120,000 words, Wilton House weaves the writings of the historical Lady Mary with a fictionalized version of her life story. I first learned about Mary Sidney while working on my doctorate in Renaissance English Literature, and did substantial work on this project with Rebecca Makkai at Chicago's Story Studio. I believe Wilton House would appeal to readers of the works of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Eva Stachniak.

 

Thank you for your consideration.


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my historical novel query.


#9 bijou

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Posted 23 January 2018 - 12:51 PM

Second Revision

 

In 17th century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines.  My historical novel, Wilton House, is based on the life of Lady Mary Sidney Wroth, the niece of the Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney.  During her lifetime, Mary's passion for writing, and her infatuation with her cousin, Will Herbert, put her at odds with the proscribed role afforded women in her society.

 

After her cousin seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. She is shocked when she learns he is betrothed to a rich heiress. Despairing, she agrees to marry a rich gentlemen her parents have chosen for her.

 

After her marriage, Mary tries to find some contentment, but discovers she cannot quell her deep desire for her cousin. They resume their affair, and when he abandons her again, Mary turns to writing for consolation. Guided by famed poet and playwright Ben Jonson, Mary undertakes a monumental epic in which she tells and retells the story of her love for Will, as well as other court intrigues, under the guise of chivalric romance. The resulting scandal forces Mary to decide what really matters to her: acceptance by society or her need to speak for herself.

 

At 120,000 words, Wilton House weaves the writings of the historical Lady Mary with a fictionalized version of her life story. I first learned about Mary Sidney while working on my doctorate in Renaissance English Literature, and did substantial work on this project with Rebecca Makkai at Chicago's Story Studio. I believe Wilton House would appeal to readers of the works of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Eva Stachniak.

 

Thank you for your consideration.


If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my historical novel query.


#10 Artsnerd

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:27 AM

In 17th century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines [I'm going to say what I did before--the latter part of this sentence "but Mary Sidney...these guidelines" still sounds a little awkward to me].  My historical novel, Wilton House, is based on the life of Lady Mary Sidney Wroth, the niece of the Elizabethan poet/courtier [how about "poet and courtier"?] Sir Philip Sidney.  During her lifetime, Mary's passion for writing, and her infatuation with her cousin, Will Herbert, put her at odds with the proscribed [proscribed means "condemned" or "forbidden" -- do you mean "prescribed"?] role afforded women in her society.

 

After her cousin seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. She is shocked when she learns he is betrothed to a rich heiress. Despairing, she agrees to marry a rich gentlemenman her parents have chosen for her.

 

After her marriage, Mary tries to find some contentment, but discovers she cannot quell her deep desire for her cousin. They resume their affair, and when he abandons her again, Mary turns to writing for consolation. Guided by famed poet and playwright Ben Jonson, Mary undertakes a monumental epic in which she tells and retells the story of her love for Will, as well as other court intrigues, under the guise of chivalric romance. The resulting scandal forces Mary to decide what really matters to her: acceptance by society or her need to speak for herself. Great--I like that the stakes are evident!

 

At 120,000 words, Wilton House weaves the writings of the historical Lady Mary with a fictionalized version of her life story. I first learned about Mary Sidney while working on my doctorate in Renaissance English Literature, and did substantial work on this project with Rebecca Makkai at Chicago's Story Studio. I believe Wilton House would appeal to readers of the works of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Eva Stachniak.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

You've really improved this query. I'm eager to see where it goes with additional edits! I hope my comments were helpful.


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.

In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 

―Maya Angelou

 

The query for my current WIP can be found here.

 

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#11 bijou

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:51 AM

Artsnerd How about "In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble following these rules." (the phrase bugged me as well, but I was having trouble thinking of an alternative) 

If my feedback was helpful, I'd appreciate some thoughts on my historical novel query.


#12 VSChapman

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:51 AM

Second Revision

 

In 17th century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. (rules? guidelines sounds a bit awkward) My historical novel, Wilton House, is based on the life of Lady Mary Sidney Wroth, the niece of the Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney.  During her lifetime, Mary's passion for writing, and her infatuation with her cousin, Will Herbert, put her at odds with the proscribed role afforded women in her society.  (Isn't all of this supposed to be at the end? I think you have a good hook here but this in the middle throws me off. I would move it to the bottom)

 

After her cousin seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin her obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. She is shocked when she learns he is betrothed to a rich heiress. Despairing, she agrees to marry a rich gentlemenman her parents have chosen for her. (This is good- but how does the cousin feel about her? Was he just using her for sex? Does he love her too? I feel it's important to know here)

 

After her marriage, Mary tries to find some contentment, but discovers she cannot quell her deep desire for her cousin. They resume their affair, and when he abandons her again, Mary turns to writing for consolation. Guided by famed poet and playwright Ben Jonson, Mary undertakes a monumental epic in which she tells and retells the story of her love for Will, as well as other court intrigues, under the guise of chivalric romance. The resulting scandal (is it a scandal because it got out that the romance was real?) forces Mary to decide what really matters to her: acceptance by society or her need to speak for herself. (good stakes!)

 

At 120,000 words, Wilton House weaves the writings of the historical Lady Mary with a fictionalized version of her life story. I first learned about Mary Sidney while working on my doctorate in Renaissance English Literature, and did substantial work on this project with Rebecca Makkai at Chicago's Story Studio. I believe Wilton House would appeal to readers of the works of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Eva Stachniak.

 

Thank you for your consideration.



#13 VSChapman

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 11:53 AM

Artsnerd How about "In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble following these rules." (the phrase bugged me as well, but I was having trouble thinking of an alternative) 

that's much better!



#14 Artsnerd

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Posted 26 January 2018 - 04:53 PM

Artsnerd How about "In 17th-century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble following these rules." (the phrase bugged me as well, but I was having trouble thinking of an alternative) 

I agree with VSChapman -- I like "rules" better, too!


“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated.

In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” 

―Maya Angelou

 

The query for my current WIP can be found here.

 

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#15 PureZhar3

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Posted 27 January 2018 - 05:42 PM

Second Revision

 

In 17th century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines. My historical novel, Wilton House, is based on the life of Lady Mary Sidney Wroth, the niece of the Elizabethan poet/courtier pick one or the other... the slash is distracting Sir Philip Sidney.  During her lifetime, Mary's passion for writing, and her infatuation with her cousin, Will Herbert, put her at odds with the proscribed role afforded women in her society. This sentence could be cleaned up... also, "throughout her life"? UPON REREAD: I would suggest just taking out this sentence altogether

 

After her cousin seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. She is shocked when she learns he is betrothed to a rich heiress. Despairing, she agrees to marry a rich gentlemen her parents have chosen for her.

 

After her marriage, Mary tries to find some contentment, but discovers she cannot quell her deep desire for her cousin. They resume their affair, and when he abandons her again, Mary turns to writing for consolation. Guided by famed poet and playwright Ben Jonson, Mary undertakes a monumental epic in which she tells and retells the story of her love for Will, as well as other court intrigues, under the guise of chivalric romance. The resulting scandal What resulting scandal? Did she share this monumental epic? Was it deciphered? forces Mary to decide what really matters to her: acceptance by society or her need to speak for herself.

 

At 120,000 words, Wilton House weaves the writings of the historical Lady Mary with a fictionalized version of her life story. I first learned about Mary Sidney while working on my doctorate in Renaissance English Literature, and did substantial work on this project with Rebecca Makkai at Chicago's Story Studio. I believe Wilton House would appeal to readers of the works of Sarah Dunant, Philippa Gregory, and Eva Stachniak.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

Fascinating concept. I think the second to last paragraph could be clarified a bit. You also have some stray commas and extra spaces. I stand by most other people's comments - definitely expand on the cousin's role in all of this. 


If you have time, I'd appreciate it if you took a look at my query: http://agentquerycon...-realismsci-fi/


#16 Wayfarer

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Posted 31 January 2018 - 04:08 PM

In 17th century England, women are told to be chaste, silent, and obedient, but Mary Sidney has trouble staying within these guidelines.  My historical novel, Wilton House, is based on the life of Lady Mary Sidney Wroth, the niece of the Elizabethan poet/courtier Sir Philip Sidney.  During her lifetime, Mary's passion for writing, and her infatuation with her cousin, Will Herbert, put her at odds with the proscribed role afforded women in her society.

 

After her cousin seduces her on the eve of her sixteenth birthday, Mary finds herself prey to twin obsessions: her love for him and her desire to write the kind of poetry that could win his devotion. (I'm a little confused by this, if he seduced her, hasn't she already managed this?) She is shocked when she learns he is betrothed to a rich heiress. Despairing, she agrees to marry a rich gentlemen her parents have chosen for her.

 

After her marriage, Mary tries to find some contentment, but discovers she cannot quell her the deep desire she has for her cousin. They resume their affair, and when he abandons her again, Mary turns to writing for consolation. Guided by famed poet and playwright Ben Jonson, Mary undertakes a monumental epic in which she tells and retells the story of her love for Will, as well as other court intrigues, under the guise of chivalric romance. The resulting scandal forces Mary to decide what really matters to her: acceptance by society or her need to speak for herself. (These stakes would be made stronger by saying in more definitive terms earlier on in the query that she's sort of trying to stay within society's ruleset. I know you say she "has trouble" but the implication there is that she doesn't, which makes your statement here weaker.)






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