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The Wincander Witch — middle grade fantasy ((will return critique))

Fiction Childrens Fantasy

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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 favour! :) thanks *

 

 

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
sugar and spice and everything nice; they
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

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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!

 



#5 SnowFox23

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Posted Yesterday, 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 Yesterday, 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 Yesterday, 07:59 AM

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

 

 

 

 

2nd attempt

 

 

 

Beth Wincander will never turn 13 

 

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

 

Never recovering from the loss of her cousin or the loss of her own future, Beth became a numb and apathetic child, who daydreams away from reality. Now, Beth is to turn 12, and despite her parents’ attempts at saving 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 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 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. 

 

At discovering her long lost cousin, Beth regains her fiery personality and vows to save her family. But the key to breaking the curse lies in the secret history between the two witches and 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. 







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