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MAGIC OF HAPPINESS will critique back!

Fiction Fantasy Historical Fiction Literary Fiction

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#1 smoskale

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Posted 18 June 2018 - 09:41 PM

OK friends,

Thank you for the feedback. Version 6, based on your kind comments.

 

I took out the bio, bc I got consistently positive feedback on it from agents and writer contests. So below is just the narrative part. As always, I will scratch your back. Thanks!

 

 

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril.

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Beata discovers witch hunters are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy.

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals her past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist. Ismail invented a Happiness Elixir that would earn him political clout. But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands Beata use magic to make the elixir safe. Beata is out of practice and has no idea how to counter the elixir’s poison. She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl.

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him, and now on Beata. She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune. But if she wades into magic, she will suffer her mother’s fate and orphan her own daughter.

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower and The Da Vinci Code.



#2 Bkrasnik

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 02:25 PM

Magic sends Beata’s heart soaring. It also wrecks her life. (I would delete this and start with the next paragraph, because this statement is not a strong enough hook.)

 

A witch hunt in 17th century Lorraine killed her mother. When Beata learns the Church plans a hunt for her, a charming merchant and leper, Henri de Dinan, offers to marry her (Confused--the two clauses seem irrelevant to each other without any additional context.). Beata casts her final spell to cure him (cure him of what?), then forswears magic, and elopes to a dream of safety. (I really liked the first sentence about the witch hunt and how the Church plans a hunt for her, but after that the information included does not follow logically and feels sporadic.)
 

Twenty years later, Beata adorns the Parisian high society. She now rejoices in her four-year-old daughter as much as she once did in magic. (This feels like it came out of nowhere. Its confusing and there is not enough context to tell me the significance of this information and how it relates to anything you mentioned above. I was expecting you to build off the first paragraph by telling me about the Church and their hunt for her, or something about her husband.) But the illusion of safety is shattered when Henri’s business partner, Ismail, discovers Beata’s past. He threatens to bankrupt Henri unless Beata lifts the curse from his precious Happiness Elixir. Meanwhile, Ismail’s political rivals in the Church want the Elixir’s formula for themselves. With it,corrupt men would enslave thousands. To extort cooperation, they kidnap Beata’s daughter. (More information here without much context. I am very confused right now and I feel like a lot of info is being thrown at me from all directions). 

 

Beata has three days to master the elusive magic of happiness or watch her daughter die. If she succeeds, she would brew the potion to empower he evil, and burn for witchcraft. (This might work if you fix the rest of the query above.)

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (105K words,) is an adult historical fantasy with a series potential that would appeal to fans of OUTLANDER and THE DA VINCI CODE (even if your book is comparable to DA VINCI CODE, I hear some agents think its pretentious to compare your book to an extremely successful book.)

 

In my suburban chateau, I am a single parent to a teenage witch, a tween werewolf and a toddler wizard. I teach psychology, including the psychology of happiness, at UPenn. I’ve published research articles on the psychology of terrorism, and co-authored a non-fiction book (Oxford University Press), which received the Sears Award for best book on political psychology. Two other non-fiction books with OUP are scheduled for release in 2018.  

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

This query needs to be streamlined. Right now it lacks any sort of coherent flow and there is not enough context for anything. You just kept adding more new information and I just kept getting more and more confused. You cannot include all the plot points and all the subplots in here. That is not the purpose of the query. You should only include the narrative arc and flesh out the few plot points you do decide to keep, so we can easily follow your train of thought. You also need to work on character development, so we can really feel for your characters. What are the motivations of your characters?

 

Don't be discouraged, query writing is new for all of us. It often takes many revisions, before we get what we want. And you especially have less to worry about, because your 250 words show a lot of potential for your book. 


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#3 Springfield

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 09:24 PM

Magic sends Beata’s heart soaring. It also wrecks her life. 

 

A witch hunt in 17th century Lorraine killed her mother. I presume you mean France, but it can read confusingly -- why not just say France? When Beata learns the Church plans a hunt for her, Plans a hunt for her mother? a charming merchant and leper, Henri de Dinan, offers to marry her. Beata casts her final spell to cure him, then forswears magic, and elopes to a dream of safety. This is way, way too ungrounded -- you've got her mother, who seems to have nothing to do with anything (I'm guessing to connect B to witchcraft but that's not spelled out, so it seems like it's a thread that goes nowhere), then she marries a guy and then she's Samantha from Bewitched, but you never explained anything about the world, her past magic use, etc.

 

 

Twenty years later, Beata adorns the Parisian high society. She now rejoices in her four-year-old daughter as much as she once did in magic. But the illusion of safety is shattered when Henri’s business partner, Ismail, discovers Beata’s past. What past? That she can cast spells or whatever, or her mother, or what? If it's the magic thing -- we *don't know that this is bad, or why it is*.

 

He threatens to bankrupt Henri unless Beata lifts the curse from his precious Happiness Elixir. Too much detail. Meanwhile, Ismail’s political rivals in the Church want the Elixir’s formula for themselves. With it,corrupt men would enslave thousands.Same  To extort cooperation, they kidnap Beata’s daughter.

 

Beata has three days to master the elusive magic of happiness or watch her daughter die. If she succeeds, she would brew the potion to empower he evil, and burn for witchcraft. False choice.

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (105K words,) is an adult historical fantasy with a series potential that would appeal to fans of OUTLANDER and THE DA VINCI CODE. Inappropriate comps.

 

In my suburban chateau, I am a single parent to a teenage witch, a tween werewolf and a toddler wizard. I teach psychology, including the psychology of happiness, at UPenn. I’ve published research articles on the psychology of terrorism, and co-authored a non-fiction book Name and date (Oxford University Press), which received the Sears Award for best book on political psychology. Two other non-fiction books with OUP are scheduled for release in 2018.

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

See le bleu.



#4 yawriter

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Posted 19 June 2018 - 10:07 PM

As promised. Thank you for the help with Pieces of Alice 

Magic sends Beata’s heart soaring. It also wrecks her life. Great short hook

 

A witch hunt in 17th century Lorraine killed her mother. When Beata learns the Church plans a hunt for her ​This her is a bit confusing.  I realize her mother is dead, but for a minute I thought you were talking about the mom. (When the hunt turns their attention toward Beata, a charming merchant and leper, Henri de Dinan, offers to marry her. Beata casts her final spell to cure him (of what?), then forswears magic, and elopes to a dream of safety.

 

It also took me a second that that Lorraine was a town/city since it's also a female's name. I thought you were introducing the mother's name. Perhaps slap in a "in the city of Lorraine" or something? It may just be me
 

Twenty years later, ​Wha! Big time jump... Beata adorns the Parisian high society. She now rejoices in her four-year-old daughter as much as she once did in magic. But, the illusion of safety is shattered when Henri’s business partner, Ismail, discovers Beata’s past.I like this last line :)  He threatens to bankrupt Henri unless Beata lifts the curse from his precious Happiness Elixir. Meanwhile, Ismail’s political rivals in the Church want the Elixir’s formula for themselves. With it, (space) corrupt men would enslave thousands. To extort cooperation, they kidnap Beata’s daughter.

 

Beata has three days to master the elusive magic of happiness or watch her daughter die. If she succeeds, she would brew the potion to empower he evil (I don't know what you mean by "empower he evil") , and burn for witchcraft.

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, complete at 105K words, is an adult historical fantasy with a series potential that would appeal to fans of OUTLANDER and THE DA VINCI CODE.

 

In my suburban chateau, I am a single parent to a teenage witch, a tween werewolf and a toddler wizard. I teach psychology, including the psychology of happiness, at UPenn. I’ve published research articles on the psychology of terrorism, and co-authored a non-fiction book (Oxford University Press), which received the Sears Award for best book on political psychology. Two other non-fiction books with OUP are scheduled for release in 2018.

I don't think you need to get that in detail with the bio unless it pertains to your writing. Plus it saves word count. 

 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Keep hacking away! Let me know if you want me to look at a revised version :)



#5 AstrMikeDexter

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Posted 21 June 2018 - 09:10 PM

OK friends,

Thank you for the feedback. Here's the updated version. I took out the bio, bc I got consistently positive feedback on it from agents and writer contests. So below is just the narrative part. As always, I will scratch your back. Thanks!

 

 

Money buys pleasure, religion peddles bliss, but magic is the gift that sends Beata’s heart soaring. It also wrecks her life. 

 

In 17th century French Lorraine, Beata barely escapes execution for witchcraft. Then she learns a witch hunt for her is imminent. So when a charming Parisian perfumer, Henri de Dinan, offers her marriage for a cure of his leprosy, she thinks she found a sanctuary. (Does Beata actually have magic powers? It's a little unclear to me if actual magic is involved at this point or if it's more her being falsely accused.)

She doesn’t realize that courtiers’ intrigues can be as deadly as villagers’ pitchforks. Henri unwittingly reveals Beata’s powers to his business partner, Ismail, a scientist at odds with the Church. Ismail has a formula for a Happiness Elixir that would undermine the influence of religion. The problem is, the elixir is cursed (How did it get cursed and how do people know it's actually cursed?), its joy fleeting, side-effects crippling. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands Beata lift the curse.

Meanwhile, the Church want the elixir for their own miracle (What kind of miracle? Do they know it's cursed?)Spying on Ismail, they learn Beata is a witch, and kidnap her daughter to extort cooperation.

 

The magic of happiness is proving elusive, and Beata is out of practice (Did she stop using her magic after she married Henri?). She has three days to brew the potion to enslave thousands, or watch her daughter die. (I think I'm a little confused about what the goal of the Church is. Above it says a miracle, here it says to enslave thousands. I'm not sure what this means.)

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (105K words,) is an adult historical fantasy with a series potential that would appeal to fans of THE GIRL IN THE TOWER and THE DA VINCI CODE.

I love a story with witches! It sounds very interesting and something I'd read!


Any help with my query would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!


#6 perpetual

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Posted 23 June 2018 - 07:42 PM

OK friends,

Thank you for the feedback. Version 3, based on your kind comments.

 

I took out the bio, bc I got consistently positive feedback on it from agents and writer contests. So below is just the narrative part. As always, I will scratch your back. Thanks!

 

 

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril.

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Beata discovers they are after her. Feels really passive. Can you instead describe what actually happens in the novel? I definitely feel like I need a bit more of a setup before the next line. Something to give us an idea of the world. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, marries Henri de Dinan, a charming perfumer she healed of leprosy, and emigrates to the land of opportunity––France. 

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals the way this is set up, it reads almost like a POV switch. her past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist. Perhaps with a small rewrite you could avoid introducing two characters in one sentence, which feels a lot to keep track of. Ismail tells Beata he will bankrupt Henri unless she helps him with a Happiness Elixir he wants to wield Don't need. for political influence.What does the elixir do? And how does Ismail know she can actually make it? Unfortunately, the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Out of practice and with no idea how to make the elixir safe, Beata’s already at her wits’ end To me, this doesn't really read quite naturally. I feel like this would be her protest to Ismail: I'm out of practice/I don't know what I'm doing. I feel like telling him that is the real conflict vs. the can she or can't she succeed in making it. when kidnappers snatch her and her four-year-old daughter. Ismail’s political rivals have learned of Beata’s powers, and they want the elixir for themselves. Wait... Has she made it or not? If she hasn't, why wouldn't they just wait for her to finish making it for Ismail and then steal it?

In three days, Beata must make an antidote to the elixir’s poison. She knows corrupt men would use the elixir to exterminate undesirables: witches, Gypsies, Jews. But if she fails, she will watch her daughter die. I think these are really good stakes. I'm just unclear on who's going to kill her. Ismail or his rivals?

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words,) is an adult historical fantasy with a series potential that would appeal to fans of THE GIRL IN THE TOWER and THE DA VINCI CODE.

 

Returning the favour for your crit ;)

 

As you can tell from my comments, I'm a bit unclear on how different events connect. I feel like there's a bit of room here to help the query read seamlessly. As of right now, it feels a bit like we're jumping from plot point to plot point vs being shown a shortened version of a story.

 

Also, small matter but it does feel a bit like the husband is kind of a useless character in the novel. I assume it's his daughter and if his wife is kidnapped, surely he'd be doing something about this. Where does he fit in? What's his role in the story? Does he help or does he aggravate the situation?

 

Hope my thoughts help. Best wishes in all your endeavours!


Query: Click here.

 


#7 yawriter

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Posted 25 June 2018 - 12:28 PM

OK friends,

Thank you for the feedback. Version 5, based on your kind comments.

 

I took out the bio, bc I got consistently positive feedback on it from agents and writer contests. So below is just the narrative part. As always, I will scratch your back. Thanks!

 

 

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril.

 

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Great! Much stronger than the last version. Then Beata discovers her mother’s killers are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy. Just me, but I find it odd how she doesn't go straight into running away..instead she marries some one. How does marrying someone help her survive?

 

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals her past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist. Ismail ​invents an elixir with a deadly side-effect. invented a Happiness Elixir that would earn him political clout. But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands Beata use magic to perfect the formula. Out of practice, Beata’s already at her wits’ end when kidnappers snatch her and her four-year-old daughter. Ismail’s political rivals have learned of Beata’s powers, and they want the elixir, side-effects and all.

 

In three days, Beata must brew an antidote to the elixir’s poison. She knows––with the antidote safeguarding their ilk, corrupt men would use the elixir to exterminate undesirables: witches, Romanis, Jews. But if she fails, she will watch her daughter die. I like the pressure Beata has on her, and this version is 100% more clear, but I still think you can do this just as impactful with much less words.

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower  and The Da Vinci CodeMake sure your comp titles have been released within 2 years!

 

Great job! Keep going!



#8 SnowFox23

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Posted 28 June 2018 - 02:56 AM

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril. mmm, this is good, but I want it to be great. This hook needs some work.

 

In 1600s Lorraine, it took me a few to realise that Lorraine is the name of the town, might have to make that clearer for people who are as dumb as me village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Beata discovers witch hunters are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy.  this is all reading very factlike and passive. (This happened, and then this, and this) It's lacking emotion and I don't know what I'm supposed to feel for Beata.

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals her past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist. Ismail invented a Happiness Elixir eh? that would earn him political clout. But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands Beata use magic to make the elixir safe. Beata is out of practice and has no idea how to counter the elixir’s poison. She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl.

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him, and now on Beata. She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune. But if she wades into magic, she will suffer her mother’s fate and orphan her own daughter.

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower and The Da Vinci Code.

 

This isn't really working for me, I'm afraid. The first paragraph is too passive for me. And I found it jarring to move from her to Ismail in the second and third paragraps. Unless Ismail is a dual POV then I would make the entire query from only Beata's perspective.

I know the whole query process blows. I wish you all the best.



#9 sri.1209

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Posted 29 June 2018 - 08:54 PM

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril. (Really good hook!)

 

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Years (Months, or some period) later, Beata discovers witch hunters are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy. (I feel the first two sentences and this sentence don't flow too well--Maybe add in some extra details?)

 

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals his past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist (Why? What made him reveal). Ismail invented a Happiness Elixir that would earn him political clout. However, the elixir's effects are now fleeting, causing deadly side effects. But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands that Beata uses magic to make the elixir safe to consume. Beata is out of practice and has no idea how to counter the elixir’s poison. She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl (This last sentence just seems out of place and doesn't flow very well with the rest of the paragraph).

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him Henri, and now on Beata. She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune. But if she wades into magic, she Beata will suffer her mother’s fate and orphan her own daughter.

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower and The Da Vinci Code.

---------------------------------------------------

I really like the premise of your story and your plot sounds very cool and unique. However, I do believe that the query sounds broken and doesn't feel as interesting as it could be. I think you can connect your sentences better together to create a more compelling sell.

 

Please edit my query as well: http://agentquerycon...ood-ya-fantasy/



#10 Bkrasnik

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Posted 30 June 2018 - 02:41 PM

OK friends,

Thank you for the feedback. Version 6, based on your kind comments.

 

I took out the bio, bc I got consistently positive feedback on it from agents and writer contests. So below is just the narrative part. As always, I will scratch your back. Thanks!

 

 

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril. (This feels a bit cliché to me.)

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Beata discovers witch hunters are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy. (Very good.)

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals her past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist (You need to reveal Henri's motivations for admitting this to Ismail) . Ismail invented a Happiness Elixir that would earn him political clout. But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands Beata use magic to make the elixir safe. Beata is out of practice and has no idea how to counter the elixir’s poison.  She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl. (As interesting as this last sentence may be, it came out of nowhere. If you want to include this, when you introduce Ismail earlier on in the paragraph you should mention his experimental subjects and his purpose for using these orphans.)

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him, and now on Beata. She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune.(I think you spent too much time on this elixir in the previous paragraph, when it turns out this is not the primary focus of the story. I would make the part in red more concise, and put more emphasis on the orphan and the fortune.)

 

But if she wades into magic, she will suffer her mother’s fate and orphan her own daughter. (this does not logically follow the previous paragraph. The stakes need to be related to the orphan & fortune. You never mentioned her daughter before this until now, so this feels really random.)

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower and The Da Vinci Code.

 

You made a lot more progress from the original version I read, but I still feel that you lack some logical flow and you are not emphasizing the correct parts of your story. Otherwise, I think this story sounds interesting. Good luck!


Have a moment to offer up some very much appreciated feedback? :)

My Young Adult Dystopian Query: http://agentquerycon...ate-on-post-15/


#11 kat8

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Posted 04 July 2018 - 02:59 PM

OK friends,

Thank you for the feedback. Version 6, based on your kind comments.

 

I took out the bio, bc I got consistently positive feedback on it from agents and writer contests. So below is just the narrative part. As always, I will scratch your back. Thanks!

 

 

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril.

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Beata discovers witch hunters are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy.

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals her past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist. Ismail invented a Happiness Elixir that would earn him political clout. But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands Beata use magic to make the elixir safe. Beata is out of practice and has no idea how to counter the elixir’s poison. She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl.

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him, and now on Beata. She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune. But if she wades into magic, she will suffer her mother’s fate and orphan her own daughter.

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower and The Da Vinci Code.

 

I liked your query, and I'm interested enough to read the book, which is exactly what queries are supposed to do!

 

Really, the only thing I didn't like was this part:

 

She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl.

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him, and now on Beata. She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune. 

 

I have no idea where the Jewish orphan girl came from, and she doesn't seem particularly relevant to the rest of your query. I can see that maybe she's supposed to be part of the stakes-- if she refuses to fix the elixir, this girl will suffer--but without the space that the novel will provide to really flesh out her relationship to this girl, it falls a little flat. Also, the information about Ismail's rivals spying on them falls flat, too. Instead of creating more suspense, for me it sort of dampened the suspense by adding some information that doesn't seem totally necessary.

 

I think if you emphasize and simplify the stakes--just her daughter and her self-doubt about magic, or just her relationship with Henri and her fear of getting caught--the query will be a lot stronger.

 

I hope that helps! If you have the time, I'd love to hear your thoughts on my query, linked in the signature below :)


My query: 27 Club


#12 Caligulas

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Posted 05 July 2018 - 10:07 AM

OK friends,

Thank you for the feedback. Version 6, based on your kind comments.

 

I took out the bio, bc I got consistently positive feedback on it from agents and writer contests. So below is just the narrative part. As always, I will scratch your back. Thanks!

 

 

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril.

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Beata discovers witch hunters are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy. ​(That's A LOT of info for an opening paragraph. It's four separate events that I'm sure are connected but are a lot to take in at one time and leave me unsure of where we are going. Pick one, or two if they happen seamlessly and can be written that way, that will function as the inciting incident.)

 

 

Twenty years later (So the top was all set up? Start here), Henri unwittingly reveals her past (Vague, do you mean magic specifically?) to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist. Ismail invented a Happiness Elixir that would earn him political clout. But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri (How? If they're partners, wouldn't he be bankrupting himself too?), Ismail demands Beata use magic to make the elixir safe. Beata is out of practice and has no idea how to counter the elixir’s poison. She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl.

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him, and now on Beata. (This is jumping around way too much) She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune. But if she wades into magic, she will suffer her mother’s fate and orphan her own daughter. (This daughter comes out of nowhere)

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower and The Da Vinci Code.

 

(I think you think we need more detail to understand the basic plot of your story than we do, and thus, you're making it confusing. It looks like basically, MC is blackmailed by alchemist dude to use magic after being in magical hiding. If she doesn't he'll bankrupt her husband. If she does, she'll likely get stoned. The mom, the eloping, the Jewish girl, the spies, all seem very unnecessary. I'd say try focusing on what I rewrote with some emphasis on the daughter and see how that looks. If it's a little sparse you can add more, but I think it should be more in the way of MC herself, her values/morals/etc. not on other characters. Hope this helps. I would appreciate your feedback on my query for When I See Me :) )



#13 TheBest

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Posted 06 July 2018 - 11:58 AM

Magic is Beata’s only joy––and her greatest peril. (Strong opener, but it should be on the same line as the rest. it's too vague to stand alone, even though it's interesting.)

In 1600s Lorraine, village magistrates convict Beata’s mother of witchcraft and have her stoned. Then Beata discovers witch hunters are after her. Chasing a dream of safety, she forswears magic, and elopes with Henri de Dinan, a charming Parisian perfumer she healed of leprosy. (Wonderfully simple introduction. Great!)

Twenty years later, Henri unwittingly reveals her past to his business partner, Ismail, an ambitious alchemist. Ismail invented a Happiness Elixir that would earn him political clout. (This reads choppy. Either combine these sentences, or cut the next one.) But the elixir’s effects are fleeting, its side-effects deadly. Threatening to bankrupt Henri, Ismail demands Beata use magic to make the elixir safe. Beata is out of practice and has no idea how to counter the elixir’s poison. She does know her magic can heal one of Ismail experimental subjects, a Jewish orphan girl. (I loved the stakes, up until the orphan bit. I don't see how that raises the stakes. It's interesting, but find a way to word it as a challenge.)

 

Ismail’s political rivals spy on him, and now on Beata. She yearns to save the orphan and protect Henri’s fortune. But if she wades into magic, she will suffer her mother’s fate and orphan her own daughter. (Love how you end with stakes! I don't see why orphan girl is essential though, you ought to make it clear why she's in peril. Also make it clear that it's not magic itself that destroys her, but the people who catch her using it.)

 

THE MAGIC OF HAPPINESS, (104K words) is an adult historical fantasy with series potential that would appeal to fans of The Girl in the Tower and The Da Vinci Code. (Comps are too old, but I see why you'd pick them!)

 

Wonderful query! Very simple, yet super compelling. My biggest piece of advice is to streamline the query by fleshing out the orphan girl, or cutting her entirely. You also would benefit by making the connection between magic and destruction clearer. Do people just kill witches? Does magic itself doom the practitioner? Also, be sure to always phrase things in such a way that conflict is always heightening. But all in all, this is very well done, with interesting characters and great stakes. I'd love to read it!

 

You can find my query here: http://agentquerycon...-back/?p=357950







Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Fiction, Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

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