Historical fiction critique partner needed

Critique partners are worth their weight in gold. So (checking financial page) like $20,000 a pound.
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Joined: January 12th, 2011, 12:28 pm

Historical fiction critique partner needed

Post by rosepetal720 » January 21st, 2011, 11:21 am

I need a beta reader/critique partner for my novel about a priestess in ancient Rome. I can't begin to tell you how much I would appreciate someone to work with! I'm more than willing to swap chapters, if anyone's interested.

My query letter is below. Thanks in advance!
Tuccia awaits trial knowing she will be executed for a crime she did not commit: losing her virginity. For other Roman women, this isn’t an offense, but for a priestess of Vesta, such a sin displeases the gods and condemns Rome to ruin.

Tuccia’s accuser is a vengeful priest who failed to seduce her. With a priest’s testimony against her, no one will believe Tuccia is innocent. Only the goddess Vesta has the power to save her life. If Vesta will allow Tuccia to perform a miracle, it will prove that she is favored by the gods. If she fails, she will be put to death.

Tuccia has distrusted Vesta ever since another Vestal Virgin was wrongly accused and executed for the same crime. If Tuccia puts her faith in Vesta for the first time and fails at the miracle, it will prove her guilt. The other vestals try to persuade her to go to trial instead, but she is tired of others deciding her fate for her. She is tired of living in fear and doubt because she doesn’t know if Vesta is there for her. Instead of waiting for the priests to judge her, she decides to prove to the people of Rome – and to herself – that she has the courage to perform miracles.

Sacred Fire is a historical fiction of 88,000 words.
Author of Sacred Fire, a historical fiction of the Vestal Virgins of Rome.

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Joined: January 27th, 2011, 7:47 pm

Re: Historical fiction critique partner needed

Post by Kierstoast » January 27th, 2011, 7:54 pm

I'm very much interested!

I myself am the author of a YA realistic fiction novel about a foster kid and how he finds real family. It's complete and around 50,000 words. Or there's the option of my WIP, a medieval type fantasy, which is weird because I never write fantasy. It's about 10,000 words so far. Its about how the world was split by war and the guard that protects them might really be the ones keeping it going. Classic revolution...

So what do you say? Would you like to try each other out? :)

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Joined: February 28th, 2011, 1:39 am

Re: Historical fiction critique partner needed

Post by marion » February 28th, 2011, 2:20 am

Hi, Rosepetal,
I'm also doing historical fiction (mainstream--historical setting, to be precise.) I've finished the first draft, but really need to get stuck into revision. I think a critique partner would help me to get off my derriere & do something--as well as help improve my work, of course. Now that I'm living in Luxor Egypt, I'm isolated from writing community. There must be writers here, but I haven't met them yet.
My novel isn't set in ancient Rome, but in ancient Egypt & vicinity. So, as my father would say, "exactly the same except totally different."
I don't want to sound uncritical (I'm definitely not!), but I love your summary. It grabs my interest. I want to read the book! And I think the title's perfect.
The whole Vestal Virgin thing sort of caught my interest for a moment or 2, when I was in school. Exactly the sort of dilemma you're elucidating, though not with the ramifications of a frame-up, which makes perfect sense.
Child of the Ibis is written by (gasp or yawn) Moses. First person, that is. (I'm not psychotic, or channeling!) It's him stuck in the Arabian desert, peon of a spice caravan, totally depressed & frustrated (except that he gets more depressed & frustrated later on, & actually suicidal.) He's venting & trying to collect his thoughts by writing his history down on scraps of papyrus. This is all the stuff which didn't make it into the Biblical account.
Generally, the objective feedback is that characters & setting are good and conflict needs to be amped up a bit. There's plenty of conflict, external & especially internal. If I tweak the focus/contrast knob (Am I dating myself?), the conflict will come clear, I hope.
Also, the ending is a bit of a problem. But I'm not obsessing about that too much any more. I think the ending is a problem in most books, not only mysteries. I think it's because real life doesn't have an ending. As I clarify other things, I hope the ending will become clearer.
Anyway, I'm waiting with baited breath to see if you would like to exchange chapters.

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