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#1 W.P.

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 08:38 AM

*Please leave a link to your query so I can return the favor! :) thanks *

 

CURRENT VERSION:  http://agentquerycon...tique/?p=360037

 

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn 13.

When a witch stole Beth’s cousin three years ago, Beth discovered her family was cursed: for the last 23 years, all Wincander children disappear in the eve of their twelfth birthday to not be seen again.

Never recovering from the loss of her cousin and the loss of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, daydreaming away from reality. Now, Beth is to turn 12, and despite her parents’ attempts at saving her, the Wincander witch snatches her in the night.

The witch is Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman, who locks Beth in a cottage where she lives with three ravens. The pets adore Beth and try cheering her up by bringing her cookies, books and games. Still, Beth is homesick and scared.

But when a very powerful witch comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl. For the powerful witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders: the three ravens are, in fact, the stolen Wincander girls, including Beth’s cousin. Now, if Grandaunt Serena fails to hide her too, Beth is next.

At discovering her cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and promises to save her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches but her surly grandaunt refuses to talk about their bad blood. Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be turned into a raven and remain trapped in the magical world forever.



#2 Aightball

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Posted 06 December 2018 - 12:33 PM

Beth Wincander will never turn 13. Nice hook!  It draws me in right away and make me want to keep reading.

When a witch stole Beth’s cousin three years ago, Beth discovered her family was cursed: for the last 23 years, all Wincander children disappear in the eve of their twelfth birthday to not be seen again. 

Never recovering from the loss of her cousin and the loss of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, daydreaming away from reality. Now, Beth is to turn 12, and despite her parents’ attempts at saving her, the Wincander witch snatches her in the night.
  I think you can make this less choppy and more interesting.  You can try rewording to something along the lines of 'There's a long-standing curse in the Wincander family: on the even of their twelfth birthday children disappear and are never seen again.'  This gives us an idea what's going on but doesn't take up too many words in the query.  I don't think this is the focus on the query and so you want to keep this part short and sweet.

The witch is Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, is a surly old woman who takes the children.  <-- Is this something Beth knows ahead of time?  Does she know that it's her grandaunt taking the kids?  Or does she discover this when it's her turn to be taken?  I would try rewording this...I've made a suggestion here but see if you can word it so that we know this is who takes the kids.  I'd then shorten the next bit:, who locks Beth Locked in a cottage, homesick and scared,  Beth befriends three ravens, who she finds out are children from her family, cousins from her family, however you wish to word it.  <-- You might bring who the ravens are into this paragraph...it would streamline things for you when it comes to giving us the ending and stakes. where she lives with three ravens. The pets adore Beth and try cheering her up by bringing her cookies, books and games. Still, Beth is homesick and scared.

But wWhen a very powerful the witch who cursed the family comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl. Knowing that one of the ravens is her cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and promises to save her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches, but her surly grandaunt refuses to talk about their bad blood. Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be turned into a raven and remain trapped in the magical world forever. For the powerful witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders: the three ravens are, in fact, the stolen Wincander girls, including Beth’s cousin. Now, if Grandaunt Serena fails to hide her too, Beth is next.

At discovering her cousin,   I think you have okay stakes...they are interesting but is there something more you can give us?  A lot of books will end with this same idea and yours needs to stand apart in the slush.

 

 

 

Overall, not a bad query at all!  Your story sounds interesting and it comes across in the query as such.  With a few tweaks and edits, I think you'll have a stronger query! 


Most girls are made of
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screwed up the recipe for me: I'm made of
bat wings and broken things.

Query: http://agentquerycon...-urban-fantasy/

Blog: http://aightball.wordpress.com

Synopsis:

Twitter Hook(s):

Short Story "Anguish", in Winter's Regret: http://www.amazon.co...winter's regret

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#3 VickyRosly

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Posted 08 December 2018 - 07:34 AM

Beth Wincander will never turn 13. Niiiice. The hook has me officially interested.

When a witch stole Beth’s cousin three years ago, Beth discovered her family was cursed: for the last 23 years, all Wincander children disappear in the eve of their twelfth birthday, never to be to not be seen again.

 Without the prospect of a future of her own, Never recovering from the loss of her cousin and the loss of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, daydreaming away detached from reality. Now, Beth is to turn 12, and despite her parents’ attempts at saving her, the Wincander witch snatches her in the night. I'm not sure if it's very important to you to mention that the cousin's loss added to Beth's apathy, but I feel it flows much better without.

The witch is Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman, is both the witch and Beth's estranged grandaunt;(I feel like something is missing here, perhaps consider rewording completely or playing around with this one.) she locks Beth in a cottage where she lives with three ravens. The pets adore Beth and try cheering her up by bringing her cookies, books and games. make various attempts to cheer her up yet still, Beth is homesick and scared.

But When a very powerful witch comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl. For the powerful witch She is the one that cursed the Wincanders and the three ravens are, in fact, the stolen Wincander girls, including Beth’s cousin. Now, if Grandaunt Serena fails to hide her too, Beth is next. (You still have me interested. I want to know more. Which is odd considering I do not reach for books with young protagonists anymore :)

At discovering her cousin, The discovery of her long lost cousin, causes Beth to regain her fiery personality and promises to save her family she is now set on saving her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches but her surly grandaunt refuses to talk about their bad blood. Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she Beth will also be turned into a raven and remain forever trapped in the magical world forever.

 

 

​Overall, the attempt was pretty good. I'm rooting for Beth and am interested to read on. With a few tweaks, I could see this becoming a gem. Keep trying! <3


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#4 A Fatalist Dawn

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Posted 09 December 2018 - 08:46 PM

Beth Wincander will never turn 13.

As others have mentioned, this is a short, well-crafted hook.

When a witch stole Beth’s cousin three years ago, Beth discovered her family was cursed: for the last 23 years, all Wincander children disappear in the eve of their twelfth birthday to not be seen again. 

Is it necessary to state the exact number of years the curse has been on the family?

 

Here’s my rewrite:

 

Three years ago, a witch stole Beth’s cousin; that’s when Beth discovered that children in the Wincander family are cursed to disappear forever on the eve of their twelfth birthday.

Never recovering from the loss of her cousin and the loss of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, daydreaming away from reality. Now, Beth is to turn 12, and despite her parents’ attempts at saving her, the Wincander witch snatches her in the night.

The daydreaming coping mechanism is interesting. I’d be interested in knowing what her daydreams are about. How does she escape the reality of her situation? I feel that could reveal a lot about your MC.

 

The witch is Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who locks Beth in a cottage where she lives with three ravens. The pets adore Beth and try cheering her up by bringing her cookies, books and games. Still, Beth is homesick and scared.

Here, you might want to ground the reader in a sense of place. As you mention later, it seems the cottage is in a magical world, which I assume is different from the primary world Beth wants to return to. If there is a secondary world, can you paint a picture for me? What is special about it? At the very least, what’s the name (magical world is a bit generic)?

 

My rewrite:

 

Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, takes her to a cottage in [insert name of “magical world”], where she meets/encounters/befriends three doting ravens.

 

But when a very powerful witch comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl. For the powerful witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders: the three ravens are, in fact, the stolen Wincander girls, including Beth’s cousin. Now, if Grandaunt Serena fails to hide her too, Beth is next.

Interesting! So, Serena took Beth to spare her from the other witch? I would omit this sentence though: “Now, if Grandaunt Serena fails to hide her too, Beth is next.” (You have already mentioned she hid Beth.)

At discovering her cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and promises to save her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches but her surly grandaunt refuses to talk about their bad blood.

I think this part is redundant and can be omitted: “At discovering her cousin.”

Personally, I’m not fond of the use of “believes.” By virtue of a character's actions, we will know what he/she believes.

 

My re-write:

 

Vowing to save her family, Beth digs into the secret history between the two witches, which may hold the key to breaking the Wincander curse. However, her surly grandaunt refuses to talk about their bad blood.

 

Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be turned into a raven and remain trapped in the magical world forever. 

Just a minor re-write:

 

Beth works to uncover the truth before she is turned into a raven and trapped in the magical world forever.

 

Final Thoughts: I love family-centric stories, and that aspect came through well in this query. As a reader, I don't feel grounded in where this story is taking place, which is a bit of a concern. It seems the Wincanders and the witches live in different worlds, but that wasn't made fully clear to me. Best of luck with getting it published!

 


Check out my poetry book, The Groundwork of Realization (2018).
 

#5 SnowFox23

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 12:45 AM

Beth Wincander will never turn 13. 
Great hook!

When a witch stole Beth’s cousin three years ago, Beth discovered her family was cursed: for the last 23 years , does the number of years matter? because it is slowing the query down, and it seems unnecessary anyway ll Wincander children disappear inon the eve of their twelfth birthday to not be seen again.

Never recovering from the loss of her cousin and the loss of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, daydreaming away from reality. cool/ Now, Beth is to turn 12, and despite her parents’ attempts at saving her, the Wincander witch snatches her in the night.

The witch is Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman, eh this description might be considered redundant. We know the witch must be a mega bitch because of the curse, and because she kidnaps kids. who locks Beth in a cottage where she lives with three ravens. god, I love ravens The pets adore Beth and try cheering her up by bringing her cookies, books and games. Still, Beth is homesick and scared.

But when a very powerful witch comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl. this sentence ends abruptly, and is a bit jarring.  For the powerful witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders: the three ravens are, in fact, the stolen Wincander girls, including Beth’s cousin. Now, if Grandaunt Serena fails to hide her too, but I thought she was already hidden? Beth is next.

At discovering her cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and promises to save her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches but her surly grandaunt refuses to talk about their bad blood. Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be turned into a raven and remain trapped in the magical world forever.     

 

So cool!

I love this, I just think it needs tweaking. I have a thing for ravens, which is why I named my book after them.

When you get a chance, can you check out the latest version of my query, THE WOLF, THE CROW, AND THE QUEEN? Thanks!



#6 W.P.

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 05:27 AM

Thanks so much for the awesome critiques! I will be returning the critiques today! :)



#7 W.P.

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Posted 10 December 2018 - 07:59 AM


*Please leave a link to your query so I can return the favour! :) thanks *




2nd attempt ((edited))


Beth Wincander will never turn 13.

Three years ago, a witch stole Beth’s cousin; that's when Beth discovered her family curse: all Wincander children disappear on the eve of their twelfth birthday to never be seen again.

Devastated by the loss of her cousin and of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, who daydreams away from reality. Now, Beth is turning 12, and despite her parents’ attempts to save her, the Wincander witch snatches her away in the night.

The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. The doting pets bring cookies and books to cheer Beth up, but she still remains homesick and scared.

When a powerful witch comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl, but Beth overhears the fight and discovers that the powerful witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders, and that the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls.

Upon discovering her beloved cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches but her grandaunt remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood.

Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever.


THE WINCANDER WITCH is The Secret Garden meets Hocus Pocus: a whimsical, magical story about family, kindness and personal growth. ((Not sure about the comp titles. Do they work?))



#8 A Fatalist Dawn

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Posted 11 December 2018 - 07:54 PM

Some quick notes here on the revision:

 

Beth Wincander will never turn 13 

 

Three years ago, a witch stole Beth’s cousinand that's was when Beth discovered her family's curse: all Wincander children disappear forever on the eve of their twelfth birthday to never be seen again.  

 

Never recovering from Devastated by the loss of her beloved cousin or the loss of her and her own future, Beth became is a numb and apathetic child, who daydreams away from reality (daydreams about what?). Now, Beth is to turning 12, and despite her parents’ attempts at saving to save her, the Wincander witch snatches her away in the night.

 

The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt: Serena Wincander, a surly old woman, who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. Beth discovers that the witch is her estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander. The surly old woman locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. The pets adore Beth and try cheering her up by bringing doting pets bring her cookies, books and games. Still, but Beth is homesick and scared. 

 

But When a very powerful witch (what kind of powers does she have?) comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena turns white with fear and hides the girl. For the powerful witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders; and the three ravens are the stolen Wincander girls. Beth must escape the witch, for she is next.

Beth realizes three things: the powerful witch is the one who cursed the Wincanders, the three ravens are the lost Wincander girls, and she'll suffer the same fate if she can't escape.

 

 

At Upon discovering her long lost long-lost cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family. But Beth suspects the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches and, but her grandaunt remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be before she is turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever. 

 

THE WINCANDER WITCH is The Secret Garden meets Hocus Pocus: a whimsical, magical story about family, kindness and personal growth.   ((Not sure about the comp titles. Do they work?))

You might want to consider more recent comp titles that the agent is likely to know and that demonstrate your understanding of where your work fits in the current market. However, you know your work better than anyone. If you feel very confident in how these comp titles match up to your work, then feel free to include them.


Check out my poetry book, The Groundwork of Realization (2018).
 

#9 NerdWitch

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Posted 16 December 2018 - 10:08 AM

*Please leave a link to your query so I can return the favour! :) thanks *




2nd attempt ((edited))


Beth Wincander will never turn 13.

Three years ago, a witch stole Beth’s cousin; that's when Beth she discovered her family curse: all Wincander children disappear on the eve of their twelfth birthday to never be seen again.

Devastated by the loss of her cousin and worried for of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, who daydreamsed away from reality. Now, Beth is turning 12, and despite her parents’ attempts to save her, the Wincander witch snatches her away in the night.

The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. The doting pets bring cookies and books to cheer Beth up, but she still remains homesick and scared.

When another powerful witch comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl, but Beth overhears the fight and discovers that the powerful other witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders, and that the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls.

Upon discovering her beloved cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches but her grandaunt remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood.

Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever.


THE WINCANDER WITCH is a (insert word count and genre) nove. It's the Secret Garden meets Hocus Pocus: a whimsical, magical story about family, kindness and personal growth. ((Not sure about the comp titles. Do they work?))

 I really like this. It's perhaps a little long. Traditionally, queries should be 3-4 paragraphs.

Well done, I hope you have some positive responses :)


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#10 brandonyoung

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 12:52 AM

Beth Wincander will never turn 13. (Numerals in books hurt me, but nobody else seems to have a problem with it. That said, I've noticed you switch between writing it as a number and as a word throughout the query, so I would definitely choose one or the other for purposes of consistency.)

Three years ago, a witch stole Beth’s cousin; that's when Beth discovered her family curse: all Wincander children disappear on the eve of their twelfth birthday to never be seen again. (There's nothing inherently wrong here, but it feels kinda... jerky to me. Stilted. Now, I'm no expert on middle grade queries, but I do know that a strong narrative voice is IMPORTANT AS ALL HELL in middle grade fiction. So maybe you can try injecting some of that into your query, add some fun, some music. I.e. "See, Beth's family is cursed. All Wincander children..." Still not good, but you get the idea. Just so it flows more. At the moment the sentence is broken up a lot. But that's just me. It might not make too much of a difference.)

Devastated by the loss of her cousin and of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, who daydreams away from reality. Now, Beth is turning 12, and despite her parents’ attempts to save her, the Wincander witch snatches her away in the night. (What attempts? You might not even need to go into this. In fact, there's a lot of backstory you might be able to cut. From what I can gather, the story begins when Beth gets kidnapped by the witch. Do we even need to know about her cousin? The witch gets Beth -- that seems to be all that matters.)

The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. The doting pets bring cookies and books to cheer Beth up, but she still remains homesick and scared.

When a powerful witch comes looking for Beth, Grandaunt Serena hides the girl, but Beth overhears the fight and discovers that the powerful witch is the one that cursed the Wincanders, and that the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls. (OK, now you're just outlining the plot. Beth's cousin gets kidnapped. Beth learns about the curse. Beth gets kidnapped. The witch is her aunt. Another witch comes. There's a fight. I care less about the story beats and more about the actual character, and what she wants, what she's up against. Get to the HEART of the story. Make us absolutely ADORE Beth, and become invested in her struggle. Save these story beats for the actual synopsis when it's eventually requested.)

Upon discovering her beloved cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family. She believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches but her grandaunt remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. (So when does she actually discover her cousin? Is it the beginning? Or is this the midpoint? This seems like the moment she goes from reaction to action, which is also most likely going to be the part we care about the most. Now you've outlined what she wants: BREAK THE CURSE. And below, the stakes. Sweet. I just need that up top because nothing is really happening until the last paragraph. Beth is inactive; things are happening around her. I think in middle grade, that's big.)

Beth must discover the truth and break the curse quickly, or she will be turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever.


THE WINCANDER WITCH is The Secret Garden meets Hocus Pocus: a whimsical, magical story about family, kindness and personal growth. ((Not sure about the comp titles. Do they work?))

 

Take my comments with a grain of salt as I'm not familiar with what middle grade agents are looking for. I know voice and character are EXTREMELY important, and they become even more important the younger the readers. So those are the things I would be focusing on, as opposed to the actual story. If you give us what the character wants and what she's up against, that will inherently give us the story -- or at least the parts of it that matter the most.


If you have time, I'd love your feedback on my query...

 

http://agentqueryconnect.com/index.php?/topic/39047-this-cosmic-graveyard-space-fantasy/

 

...or my synopsis:

 

COMING SOON


#11 W.P.

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 05:39 PM

Thanks so much for the critiques! I truly appreciate them. Those that I haven't critiqued back, I will be critiquing tonight.

 

 

((edited)) 3rd try: I made it considerably shorter. Is it better or worse?

 

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn thirteen. 

 

Discovering all Wincander children are cursed to disappear before turning twelveBeth mourns the loss of her future. But years pass and, tired of feeling sad and scared, she accepts her fate, becoming a numb and apathetic child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents, still hopeful, hide her, but the Wincander Witch snatches Beth away and locks her in a cottage with three sweet ravens. The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who provides Beth with basic comfort but no explanation.  

 

Beth is scared, but so is Grandaunt Serena who hides Beth away when a powerful witch comes to curse the girl into a raven. Realizing the three ravens in the cottage are the cursed missing Wincander girls, Beth fears her fate. But, knowing she still has a chance at a future, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family.  

 

Beth believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches, but Grandaunt Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever. 



#12 A Fatalist Dawn

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 10:33 PM

 

Thanks so much for the critiques! I truly appreciate them. Those that I haven't critiqued back, I will be critiquing tonight.

 

3rd try: I made it considerably shorter. Is it better or worse?

 

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn thirteen, and she is fine with that. 

 

Discovering all Wincander children are cursed to disappear before turning twelveBeth mourns the loss of her future. But years pass and, tired of feeling sad and scared, she accepts her fate, becoming a numb and apathetic child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents, still hopeful, hide her, but the Wincander Witch snatches Beth away and locks her in a cottage with three sweet ravens. The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who provides Beth with basic comfort but no explanation.  

 

Beth is scared, but so is Grandaunt Serena who hides Beth away when a powerful witch comes to curse the girl into a raven. Realizing the three ravens in the cottage are the cursed missing Wincander girls, Beth fears her fate. But, knowing she still has a chance at a future, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family.  

 

Beth believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches, but Grandaunt Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever. 

 

 

This version definitely reads more fluid, and I can sense you are trying to capture your MC's voice in your query too.

 

I personally preferred the succinctness and punch of your original hook: "Beth Wincander will never turn thirteen." I loved that hook.

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but I find myself really interested in what she is daydreaming about. Saying she is numb and apathetic (redundant) doesn't give me enough on how Beth copes with the reality of being taken on her thirteenth birthday.

 

Also, I think another poster mentioned this, but I noticed you haven't included the word count or genre (MG fantasy) in your posts. I assume this is intentional?


Check out my poetry book, The Groundwork of Realization (2018).
 

#13 A Fatalist Dawn

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Posted 18 December 2018 - 10:33 PM

 

Thanks so much for the critiques! I truly appreciate them. Those that I haven't critiqued back, I will be critiquing tonight.

 

3rd try: I made it considerably shorter. Is it better or worse?

 

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn thirteen, and she is fine with that. 

 

Discovering all Wincander children are cursed to disappear before turning twelveBeth mourns the loss of her future. But years pass and, tired of feeling sad and scared, she accepts her fate, becoming a numb and apathetic child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents, still hopeful, hide her, but the Wincander Witch snatches Beth away and locks her in a cottage with three sweet ravens. The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who provides Beth with basic comfort but no explanation.  

 

Beth is scared, but so is Grandaunt Serena who hides Beth away when a powerful witch comes to curse the girl into a raven. Realizing the three ravens in the cottage are the cursed missing Wincander girls, Beth fears her fate. But, knowing she still has a chance at a future, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family.  

 

Beth believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches, but Grandaunt Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever. 

 

 

This version definitely reads more fluid, and I can sense you are trying to capture your MC's voice in your query too.

 

I personally preferred the succinctness and punch of your original hook: "Beth Wincander will never turn thirteen." I loved that hook.

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but I find myself really interested in what she is daydreaming about. Saying she is numb and apathetic (redundant) doesn't give me enough on how Beth copes with the reality of being taken on her thirteenth birthday.

 

Also, I think another poster mentioned this, but I noticed you haven't included the word count or genre (MG fantasy) in your posts. I assume this is intentional?


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#14 W.P.

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Posted 19 December 2018 - 04:26 AM

This version definitely reads more fluid, and I can sense you are trying to capture your MC's voice in your query too.

 

I personally preferred the succinctness and punch of your original hook: "Beth Wincander will never turn thirteen." I loved that hook.

 

I know I sound like a broken record, but I find myself really interested in what she is daydreaming about. Saying she is numb and apathetic (redundant) doesn't give me enough on how Beth copes with the reality of being taken on her thirteenth birthday.

 

Also, I think another poster mentioned this, but I noticed you haven't included the word count or genre (MG fantasy) in your posts. I assume this is intentional?

 

 

Thanks so much for the feedback! :)

 

I agree about the hook and will change it back. It did have more of a punch before.

 

The reason I don't mention what she is daydreaming is because I don't think it's relevant to the query and I was trying to keep it as short as I could. But I am thinking of a concise way of injecting one of her daydreams as a way to add characeterization. :)

 

Regarding the word count, I mention it in the first line of my overall query, the whole, "I'm currently seeking representation for my Middle Grade Fantasy novel, THE WINCANDER WITCH, complete at 41 000 words." I usually only post the "summary" of the book, which is what I find most difficult to get right. But I might add the rest of the query once this section is to my liking. Right now I feel like the "summary" isn't quite there yet, but I'm working on it. :)



#15 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 11:06 AM

Beth Wincander will never turn thirteen. (You got my attention.)

 

Discovering Realizing all Wincander children (??? How many children are there? Not much of a family tree to keep this going though.) are cursed to disappear before turning twelve (not thirteen?)Beth mourns the loss of her future. (How old is she now?) But years pass and, Tired of feeling being sad and scared, she accepts her fate, becoming a numb and apathetic (Is there another word to describe it? I'm not sure middle schoolers would know apathetic. They might have to look that one up. They also may not fully know what it is like to feel numb. Since your book is for them, keep the language the same in the query.) child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents, still hopeful, hide her, but the Wincander Witch snatches Beth away and locks her in a cottage with three sweet ravens (Sweet and kidnapping don't go together.). The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old woman who provides Beth with basic comfort but and no explanation.  (Kind of feeling more info dump here. Do we need to know it's the grandaunt in the query? Cause now I feel as if she's safe just one sentence later.)

 

Beth is scared, but so is Grandaunt Serena who hides Beth away when a powerful witch comes to curse the girl into a raven. Realizing the three ravens in the cottage are the cursed missing Wincander girls, Beth fears her fate. (When you mentioned Wincander children before, was it only three of them? I was thinking closer to like five or seven.) But, k Knowing she still has a chance at a future (How does she know that?)Beth regains her fiery personality and (can't regain something if she was never shown to have it.) vows to save her family.  

 

Beth believes the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches (What to witches?), but Grandaunt Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be turned into a raven and be trapped in the magical world forever as a raven. (Was she in the magical world before?) 

 

Good query! I think you got a good story here. The more I go down though, the more I feel it's like an info dump. Try to take out some info. I wouldn't even mention her parents since they seem insignificant. Calling Serena her grandaunt took the suspense of the kidnapping away, so I felt like she was safe again. However, if you introduce information, remember to explain it. I had a lot of questions throughout the whole query as you can tell.

 

Link to my query: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/



#16 W.P.

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 12:04 PM

Thanks so much for the feedback!  *please link me to your query so I can return the favour*

 

This version is considerably more concise, though I hope it is still clear. I removed some of the "info dump."

 

 

  4th try:

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn twelve. 

 

When Beth discovers Wincander children are cursed to disappear before they turn twelve, she is devastated but eventually she resigns to her fatebecoming an apathetic child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents hide her but the Wincander Witch still snatches Beth away to a world made of fog. The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old witch who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. 

 

Beth is terrified, but so is Serena when a powerful witch comes to curse Beth. Serena hides her in time, but now Beth knows the truth: the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls, and she fears she's next. However, realising she still might have a future, Beth breaks out of her apathy to save herself and her family.  

 

She believes the key to breaking the curse lies within the secret history between the two witches, but Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be trapped in the magical world as a raven forever.



#17 NerdWitch

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Posted 20 December 2018 - 01:51 PM

 

 

 

  4th try:

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn twelve. I'm glad you kept this hook. It opens up a lot of questions that has me intrigued about the rest of the story. 

 

When Beth discovers Wincander children are cursed to disappear before they turn twelve, she is devastated, but eventually resignto her fate, and becomes aapathetic child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents hide her but the Wincander Witch still snatches Beth and takes her to a magical world. The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincandera surly old witch who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. (Much better than the previous version. Nicely done! Short, concise and intriguing.

 

Beth is scared frightened (at least I think that sounds a bit more powerful), but so is Serena when a powerful witch comes to curse BethSerena hides the girl in time, but now Beth knows the truth: the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls, and Beth fears she's next. However, knowing she still has a chance, Beth breaks out from her apathy to save herself and her family.  Really strong paragraph and sets the stakes clearly. 

 

She believes the key to breaking the curse lies within the secret history between the two witches, but Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be trapped in the magical world as a raven forever. 

 

This version is so much stronger than your original few and I'm excited about this story. I think it has a lot of potential and I'm sure an agent will pick up on it :) if you have time I'd love for you to have a look at my revised query.


Here's my latest query :) http://agentquerycon...turn-critique/ 

 

 


#18 Robin LeeAnn

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Posted 21 December 2018 - 12:40 PM

Beth Wincander will never turn twelve. When Beth she (You did just say her name in the last sentence. I'd also make this all one paragraph.) discovers that Wincander children are cursed to disappear before they turn twelve, she is devastated. but eventually She resigns to her fate, and becoming an apathetic child who daydreams away from reality away
 
Her parents hide her but A Wincander Witch still snatches her and takes her away to a magical world. (What kind of magical world? Like describe it a tad.) The witch is turns out to be Beth’s alienated (I think that word works better. What do you think?) grandaunt, Serena Wincander (Already said her last name before.), an surly old witch who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. 
 
Beth is frightened, but so is her grandaunt when a powerful witch comes to curse her. Serena hides her in time, but now she finds out knows the truth: the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls (I still had a feeling that more than just three were kidnapped beforehand.), and She fears that she's next. However, knowing she might still have a chance, she breaks out from her apathy to save herself and her family (That last phrase confuses me.).  
 
She believes the key to breaking the curse (How is it a curse? It just seems like a witch comes around, holding a grudge, to curse three girls into ravens.) lies within the secret history between the two witches, but Serena remains fiercely secretive doesn't want to talk about their bad blood. Beth must quickly find a way to break the curse or she will end up trapped in the magical world as a raven forever. 
 
Hope this helped! I posted a new version of my draft: http://agentquerycon...ique-in-return/


#19 W.P.

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Posted 28 December 2018 - 06:15 PM

Thanks so much for the critiques! I feel much closer to where I want the query to be. Please don't forget to link me to your query :)

 

 

5th try:

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn twelve. 

 

When she discovers that Wincander children are cursed to disappear before they turn twelve, she is devastated. She resigns to her fatebecoming an apathetic child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents hide her but the Wincander Witch still snatches Beth away to a world made of fog. The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old witch who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. 

 

Beth is terrified, but so is Serena when a powerful witch comes to curse the girl. Serena hides her in time, but now Beth knows the truth: the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls, and she fears she's next. However, realizing she still might have a future, Beth breaks out of her apathy to save herself and her family.  

 

 

She believes the key to breaking the curse lies within the secret history between the two witches, but Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be trapped in the magical world as a raven forever.

 

 

THE WINCANDER WITCH is The Witches by Roald Dahl meets The Secret Garden: a magical story about witches, family, and personal growth.  

 

 



#20 VickyRosly

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Posted 31 December 2018 - 07:02 AM

Hey there! Sorry it took me so long to get back to you, work was hectic.  Let's start :)

 

Thanks so much for the critiques! I feel much closer to where I want the query to be. Please don't forget to link me to your query :)

 

 

5th try:

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn twelve.  Glad you never changed that it was always a great hook!

 

When she discovers that Wincander children are cursed to disappear before they turn twelve, she is devastated. She resigns to her fatebecoming an apathetic child who daydreams away from reality. 

 

Her parents hide her but the Wincander Witch still snatches Beth away (to a world made of fog). Not quite sure if that detail adds to the query. I'm a bit torn. I believe you're trying to emphasise the world she is taken in is dark and mysterious but I've read all your drafts and I know what you're trying to say. I'm afraid to an agent it might mean something more literal since it'll be the first time they read about your book. Okay, I'll shut now :p.The witch turns out to be Beth’s estranged grandaunt, Serena Wincander, a surly old witch who locks Beth in a cottage with three ravens. 

 

Beth is terrified, but so is Serena when a powerful witch comes to curse Beth. Serena hides her in time, but now Beth knows the truth: the three ravens are the missing Wincander girls, and she fears she's next. However, realizing she still might have a future, Beth breaks out of her apathy to save herself and her family. She suspects the key to breaking the curse lies within the secret history between the two witches, but Serena remains fiercely secretive about their bad blood. Beth must quickly break the curse or she will be trapped in the magical world as a raven forever.

 

 

THE WINCANDER WITCH is The Witches by Roald Dahl meets The Secret Garden: a magical story about witches, family, and personal growth.  

 

 

 

All in all honestly, I can't find much to edit. It reads smoothly throughout and keeps me interested from start to end. Other may disagree but I believe this to be *the* version.

 

kind regards,

 

Vicky


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