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Anchors Aweigh (historical romance)


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#1 Bibliophyl

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 01:42 PM

I need some fresh eyes here, thanks in advance! I'll definitely return all critiques. I feel like I have all the pieces but it's not quite "sparkling" yet. 

 

As the daughter of a freed slave and a white man, Mena occupies a tenuous place in the society of colonial Jamaica. Her future seems assured after a proposal from a titled plantation owner, but Mena can't stomach the thought of being mistress of a slave-owning plantation. Her father threatens to disown her if she refuses the proposal, so Mena runs away to find her beloved stepbrother, a pirate-hunting naval officer. She plans to convince him to marry her instead. 

 

Her plan does not include falling for Nathaniel, the handsome, hook-handed captain of the ship she stows away on. At first displeased with the trespassing stowaway, Nathaniel's gruff exterior softens when Mena helps with the daily entries in the ship's log, as his penmanship suffered after losing his hand.  

 

Mena finds her way into Nathaniel's heart--and bed--as she continues to search for her stepbrother, all the while wondering if she can consign herself to a chaste marriage after knowing true passion. But her stepbrother finds her when his Royal Navy crew boards their ship to arrest Nathaniel. Mena discovers that Nathaniel has been harboring a dark secret: he's a wanted pirate. 

 

With Nathaniel facing the noose, Mena must decide if his life is worth saving. Saving his life means risking hers to break him out of prison, along with becoming a fugitive and abandoning her home. But if she does nothing, the man she loves will hang.  

 

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#2 lnloft

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 07:45 PM

 

I need some fresh eyes here, thanks in advance! I'll definitely return all critiques. I feel like I have all the pieces but it's not quite "sparkling" yet. I read through it, and I think you're right. I don't have many questions, just a desire to see it pop more. I'm going to offer some line edits to see if those have any "sparkle" in them. Merely take them as suggestions, especially if you feel they don't fit your voice.

 

As the daughter of a freed slave and a white man, Mena occupies a tenuous place in the society of colonial Jamaica. A chance encounter/twist of fate/something-something that is correct for your story and a proposal from a titled plantation owner Her future seems to assured her future after a proposal from a titled plantation owner, but Mena can't stomach the thought of being mistress of a slave-owning plantation. When Hher father threatens to disown her if she refuses the proposal, so Mena runs away to find her beloved stepbrother, a pirate-hunting naval officer. She plans to convince him, hoping to marry her him instead. 

 

Her plan does not include falling for Nathaniel, the handsome, hook-handed captain of the ship she stows away on. At first displeased with the trespassing stowaway, Nathaniel's gruff exterior softens when Mena helps with the daily entries in the ship's log, as his penmanship suffered after losing his hand. This line fell a little flat for me. Maybe it's because I don't read too much romance, but the thing that bonds them together is that she can write better than he can? Is there maybe something a little more you can offer?

 

Mena finds her way into Nathaniel's heart--and bed--as she continues to search for her stepbrother, all the while wondering if she can consign herself to a chaste marriage after knowing true passion. Why is she still looking for her stepbrother if she's fallen in love with Nathaniel? But her stepbrother finds her when his Royal Navy crew boards their ship to arrest Nathaniel. Mena discovers that Nathaniel has been harboring a dark secret: he's a wanted pirate. I'll be honest, on my first go-through, I just sort of assumed Nathaniel was a pirate, so this revelation didn't hold much power. I think especially having the revelation be it's own sentence makes it fall even flatter for me. I'm trying to look at a way to combine the two sentences and see if that helps. Maybe: "But the arrival of her stepbrother heralds more than a return to propriety: his crew has come to arrest Nathaniel, who never told Mena he was a wanted pirate." I'm maybe not 100% sold on what I've written, but you can see if playing with that works.

 

With Nathaniel facing the noose, Mena must decide if his life is worth saving This makes it sound like his life honestly isn't worth that much. It makes it sound like a take-it or leave-it scenario, rather than a heartbreaking one. Saving his life means risking hers to break him out of prison, along with becoming a fugitive and abandoning her home. But if she does nothing, the man she loves will hang.  

 

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I noticed in a few places where you maybe write something in a way that takes more words, an example being the end of the first paragraph, where I cut down the last sentence to tack it on to end of the previous one. Same basic information coming across, fewer words to say it. Some of my edits were to trim things down, but others were just to see if rearranging a bit makes it sparkle more. Anyway, as I said, they're suggestions. Take 'em, leave 'em, or see them and be inspired to do something completely different. But I hope this helps. Good luck.


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#3 mindy24601

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 02:51 PM

 

I need some fresh eyes here, thanks in advance! I'll definitely return all critiques. I feel like I have all the pieces but it's not quite "sparkling" yet. 

 

As the daughter of a freed slave and a white man, Mena occupies a tenuous place in the society of colonial Jamaica. this is a pretty solid opening statement! Her future seems assured maybe try secured? after a proposal from a titled plantation owner, but Mena can't stomach the thought of being mistress of a slave-owning plantation.proposal implies marriage, yet here you're saying mistress? Her father threatens to disown her if she refuses the proposal, so Mena runs away to find her beloved stepbrother, a pirate-hunting naval officer. the wording of this sentence is a little juvenile, maybe consider more advanced sentencing She plans to convince him to marry her instead. is that...legal?

 

Her plan does not include falling for Nathaniel, the handsome, hook-handed captain of the ship she stows away on. nice At first displeased with the trespassing stowaway, Nathaniel's gruff exterior softens when Mena helps with the daily entries in the ship's log, as his penmanship suffered after losing his hand.  

 

Mena finds her way into Nathaniel's heart--and bed--as she continues to search for her stepbrother, all the while wondering if she can consign herself to a chaste marriage after knowing true passion. good But her stepbrother finds her when his Royal Navy crew boards their ship to arrest Nathaniel. Mena discovers that Nathaniel has been harboring a dark secret: he's a wanted pirate. aha! took me a second because i thought you already said this, but you didn't

 

With Nathaniel facing the noose, Mena must decide if his life is worth saving. Saving his life means risking hers to break him out of prison, along with becoming a fugitive and abandoning her home. But if she does nothing, the man she loves will hang.  your query has a good flow...it does sound a little trite, though (good girl runs away, falls in love with pirate) is there anything you can say or add to break it out of the mould? or, at least, make it seem more interesting?

 

Good luck!

 

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#4 Anna.k

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Posted 13 August 2019 - 03:04 PM

 

I need some fresh eyes here, thanks in advance! I'll definitely return all critiques. I feel like I have all the pieces but it's not quite "sparkling" yet. 

 

As the daughter of a freed slave and a white man, Mena occupies a tenuous place in the society of colonial Jamaica. (This reads more like a blurb than a hook. You need something a bit catchier here to draw us in.)

Her future seems assured after a proposal from a titled plantation owner, but Mena can't stomach the thought of being mistress of a slave-owning plantation. Her father threatens to disown her if she refuses the proposal, so Mena runs away to find her beloved stepbrother, a pirate-hunting naval officer. She plans to convince him to marry her instead. (This sounds exciting, but reads a bit like a summary instead of a query. Try focusing on the main, basic plot line and struggle/conflict)

 

Her plan does not include falling for Nathaniel, the handsome, hook-handed captain of the ship she stows away on. (Ooo Fun) At first displeased with the trespassing stowaway, Nathaniel's gruff exterior softens when Mena helps with the daily entries in the ship's log, as his penmanship suffered after losing his hand. (This is sweet but reads more like backstory and I'm not sure it's necessary)

 

Mena finds her way into Nathaniel's heart--and bed--as she continues to search for her stepbrother, all the while wondering if she can consign herself to a chaste marriage after knowing true passion. But her stepbrother finds her when his Royal Navy crew boards their ship to arrest Nathaniel. Mena discovers that Nathaniel has been harboring a dark secret: he's a wanted pirate. 

 

With Nathaniel facing the noose, Mena must decide if his life is worth saving. Saving his life means risking hers to break him out of prison, along with becoming a fugitive and abandoning her home. But if she does nothing, the man she loves will hang. (This sounds like a fun story! But like mentioned earlier, it's more like a quick summary of your whole book plot than query format. I would almost suggest culling the whole stepbrother bit, or minimizing it as much as possible, and focusing more on her runaway and romance. Good luck, and thanks for checking out my query!) 

 

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#5 hermitage

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Posted 15 August 2019 - 05:23 PM

Hi Bibliophyl,

 

Thanks again for your comments on my post, which I found very helpful. Would you mind taking a look sometime to see if my revisions have made it any better? 

 

Anyway, on to this. I think I agree that you have a sound, recommended structure here, and that what's left might be mostly fine-tuning. 

 

 

 

I need some fresh eyes here, thanks in advance! I'll definitely return all critiques. I feel like I have all the pieces but it's not quite "sparkling" yet. 

 

As the daughter of a freed slave and a white man, Mena occupies a tenuous place in the society of colonial Jamaica. [Seems like a very solid start. Could even compress a little if you want into "colonial Jamaican society"?] Her future seems [Is this "seems" a little squishy maybe? Seems to who?] assured after a proposal from a titled plantation owner, but Mena can't stomach the thought of being mistress of a slave-owning plantation [Very strong, clear conflict. Relatable, and original to my (limited) knowledge.]. Her father threatens to disown her if she refuses the proposal, so Mena runs away to find her beloved stepbrother, a pirate-hunting naval officer. She plans to convince him to marry her instead. [Here it feels just a little vague. Can you do anything else that would help us to picture this guy or feel her emotions for her? Beloved how? Why aren't they getting married anyway if he's so beloved?]

 

Her plan does not include falling for Nathaniel, the handsome, hook-handed captain of the ship she stows away on. At first displeased with the trespassing stowaway, Nathaniel's gruff exterior softens when Mena helps with the daily entries in the ship's log, as his penmanship suffered after losing his hand [Maybe there's a way to trim this paragraph a little by combining this bit with "hook-handed" earlier on? It feels like you're saying the same thing twice, or at least one and a half times.].  

 

Mena finds her way into Nathaniel's heart--and bed--as she continues to search for her stepbrother, all the while wondering if she can consign herself to a chaste marriage after knowing true passion. [Can you give us anything that would set their particular passion apart from anyone else's? Other than being handsome and hook-handed and gruff with bad handwriting, is there any way to get a hint of what's so special to her about this guy? How long has she held onto her virginity, and what is it about this guy that makes her get so horny all of a sudden? I'm not saying that you're doing a bad job with this stuff; I just think you want to challenge yourself to come up with stuff that is as striking and unique as possible.] But her stepbrother finds her when his Royal Navy crew boards their ship to arrest Nathaniel. Mena discovers that Nathaniel has been harboring a dark secret: he's a wanted pirate. [It's a good dark secret, and I like the way it pulls the two threads together. Maybe not super duper surprising to a reader who already sees him as a boat captain with a hook hand, but still it's a totally workable twist.]

 

With Nathaniel facing the noose, Mena must decide if his life is worth saving. Saving his life [A little echo around here.] means risking hers to break him out of prison, along with becoming a fugitive and abandoning her home. But if she does nothing, the man she loves will hang. [The step-brother was also "beloved." At some point it might be possible to give us a little more about how her feelings about the two men are different.]

 

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Nice work so far!

 

James



#6 SharonMorrisWagner

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Posted 16 August 2019 - 08:17 PM

I need some fresh eyes here, thanks in advance! I'll definitely return all critiques. I feel like I have all the pieces but it's not quite "sparkling" yet. 
 

As the daughter of a freed slave and a white man, Mena occupies a tenuous place in the society of colonial Jamaica. (((Date? When? You say so much for me to envision her here but no date))) Her future seems assured after a proposal (((of marriage or marriage proposal)))) from a titled plantation owner, but Mena can't stomach the thought of being mistress of a slave-owning plantation. Her father threatens to disown her if she refuses the proposal, so Mena runs away to find her beloved stepbrother, a pirate-hunting naval officer. She plans to convince him to marry her instead.


 


Her plan does not include falling for Nathaniel, the handsome, hook-handed captain of the ship she stows away on. ((((Boring. Introduce him and this twist better)))) At first displeased with the trespassing stowaway, Nathaniel's gruff exterior softens when Mena helps with the daily entries in the ship's log, as his penmanship suffered after losing his hand. ((((Why does she have to stowaway? Why can’t she buy passage - one sentence setting up her escape)))))


 


Mena finds her way into Nathaniel's heart--and bed--as she continues to search for her stepbrother, all the while wondering if she can consign herself to a chaste marriage after knowing true passion. But her stepbrother finds her when his Royal Navy crew boards their ship to arrest Nathaniel. ((((“But her stepbrother finds her” Isn’t she looking for him? Why “but”)))) Mena discovers that Nathaniel has been harboring a dark secret: he's a wanted pirate. 


 


With Nathaniel facing the noose, Mena must decide if his life is worth saving. Saving his life means risking hers to break him out of prison, along with becoming a fugitive and abandoning her home. But if she does nothing, the man she loves will hang.  ((((Boring ending. Needs more bite. Why is he wanted? A mistake? A troubled past? A bounty he’s sworn to pay for someone else’s crimes? And doesn’t she know his life is worth saving? Sounds like she loves him? So what else is at stake? More stakes. Higher stakes. What will happen if she saves him? How can she save him? What will happen if she doesn’t?))))))
 
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#7 janeald

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Posted 17 August 2019 - 04:34 PM

 

I need some fresh eyes here, thanks in advance! I'll definitely return all critiques. I feel like I have all the pieces but it's not quite "sparkling" yet. 

 

As the daughter of a freed slave and a white man, Mena occupies a tenuous place in the society of colonial Jamaica. Her future seems assured after a proposal from a titled plantation owner, but Mena can't stomach the thought of being mistress tof a slave-owning plantation. When Hher father threatens to disown her if she refuses the proposal, so Mena runs away to find her beloved stepbrother, a pirate-hunting naval officer. She much rather travel the seas with the free, so she plans to convince her stepbrother him to marry her instead.  (why? consider adding something like the words in blue)

 

Mena's Her plan does not include falling for Nathaniel, the handsome, hook-handed captain of the ship she stows away on to find her stepbrother?. At first displeased with the trespassing stowaway, Nathaniel's gruff exterior softens when Mena helps with the daily entries in the ship's log, as his penmanship suffered after losing his hand.  

 

Mena finds her way into Nathaniel's heart--and bed--as she continues to search for her stepbrother, all the while wondering if she can consign herself to a chaste marriage after knowing true passion. But Mena encounters her stepbrother earlier than expected when finds her when his Royal Navy crew boards their ship to arrest Nathaniel. Mena discovers that Nathaniel has been harboring a dark secret: he's a wanted pirate. 

 

With Nathaniel facing the noose, Mena must decide if his life is worth saving. Saving his life means risking hers to break him out of prison, along with becoming a fugitive and abandoning her home. But if she does nothing, the man she loves will hang. 

 

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Wow!! What a plot! Let me know if you are looking for a critique partner/beta reader. I got so lost in the plot I don't have many suggestions. Besides wondering why she would want to marry her stepbrother over another non-slave-owning option, I think this is a pretty clear query!

 

I'd love your feedback/advice on my query: http://agentquerycon...girls/?p=361490






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