Query critique 5/6/21

Offer up your page (or query) for Nathan's critique on the blog.
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Nathan Bransford
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Query critique 5/6/21

Post by Nathan Bransford » May 3rd, 2021, 2:46 pm

Want to see how your editing approach compares to mine?

Below is the query up for critique on the blog on Thursday. Feel free to chime in with comments, create your own redline (please note the "font colour" button above the posting box, which looks like a drop of ink), and otherwise offer feedback. When offering your feedback, please please remember to be polite and constructive. In order to leave a comment you will need to register an account in the Forums, which should be self-explanatory.

I'll be back with my own post on the blog and we'll literally be able to compare notes.

If you'd like to enter a query for a future Query Critique, please do so here.

Dear [Agent Name],

During the American Revolution, budding witch Elizabeth Morrow is forced to hide her powers from an unaccepting village. Terrified of being discovered, she easily falls in line and avoids the other townspeople. Or at least, she obeys until she clashes with Jacob Nash, a haughty surgeon from an affluent family. Having met as children, their scorn and rancor towards one another mounts while they aid in the Rebel cause.

In a cruel twist of fate, Elizabeth’s father dies and leaves her family destitute. Despite her mother warning how dangerous it is to work with non-magical people, Elizabeth is hired as a servant for Jacob’s family. With the colonies now at war, Jacob resolves to offer his medical services to the cause. Because of Elizabeth’s sharply honest tongue, he decides she will be a truthful contact for familial affairs. He requests that she write to him. And in spite of their initial discomfort with these letters, it isn’t long before Elizabeth’s written word sustains Jacob and brings him peace of mind. Elizabeth is equally enamored by his correspondence, and when he finally returns home, broken and jaded after six long years of war, they develop a secret romantic relationship. While they meet behind closed doors, Elizabeth discovers that touching Jacob can literally soothe his ailing mind. But with that power – the power to relieve his trauma from the warfront – comes an unwanted pregnancy that destroys their lives.

In Honey and Gunpowder, a sensual tale of first love and betrayal, Elizabeth is ultimately cast aside in favor of Jacob’s inheritance. Despite the painful snub, she soon realizes their baby is all she’s ever needed in life. But when their daughter takes ill, Elizabeth returns to the Nash manor to beg for Jacob’s medical expertise. Another Nash family servant, jealous of Elizabeth’s potential to rise in station, lies and says he will not come. Elizabeth is forced to return home empty-handed and their baby dies. Blinded by rage, she curses Jacob into becoming a creature of the night. He dies and reanimates as a vampire, spiraling them both into a bloody dance that puts Elizabeth’s goodness at risk.

This novel of 85,000 words is paranormal historical fiction with a strong romantic undercurrent. It will appeal to readers who enjoy Susanna Kearsley (Bellewether) and Luanne G. Smith (The Vine Witch), as well as pop cultural influences like Hamilton and Dan Curtis’ Dark Shadows. There is potential for this novel to be a series.

My name is [my name], and I am a contributor for the home and garden section of the [newspaper name]. I am also a member of [organization name] and Quill & Scroll, and have written articles for [magazine name]. Thank you so much for your time and consideration!

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