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First Time for Beta's... Kind of a rush...

Haven't popped by in a while, so wanted to share some joy! I'm having a great month - in spite of a massive 30-minute storm that downed numerous trees across Eastern Ontario, taking out power to 8200 households, just in my area (!). We were powerless for three days...

Fortunately, BEFORE we lost power, I sent my novel to half a dozen volunteer Beta readers.

FYI, this is the first novel I've written since I started a steep learning curve last summer - a journey that started here on Jericho! This is NOT the first novel I've ever written, but the first with craft, 😁, and many, many, many edits.  

I received 2 emails w/in a day, each just wanting to let me know they had only read the prologue, but were hooked and couldn't wait to read more. That's what a writer likes to hear, correct? Fingers, toes and eyes crossed the rest of the story follows through for them!

BTW, I've also been working on the whole 'elevator pitch' concept... so would like to know if this works:

Stranded in a kingdom that forbids magic, a pregnant young Witch is exposed by her son's birth, and hunted. Fearing for his life, she hides him in a castle. Growing up not knowing why he's different, can the boy come to terms with his abilities? Will he be discovered? Will he be King?

Thoughts? Is it still too long (it's about 53 words)? I'm thinking an expanded version of this could be the back cover blurb too...

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Replies (9)
    • If the child is the main protagonist (sounds like), I wouldn't start with the mother's story for the elevator pitch. I like the idea of a kingdom that forbids magic (why? What are they afraid of? How do they detect/punish? Do they have some kind of exciting anti-magic... you see how it's got me thinking), so perhaps emphasise that and the mystery the child experiences. "Stranded in a kingdom that forbids magic, he's always known he's different. Can he come to terms with his abilities? Can he become King?" Just my thought, but keep going. I'm intrigued.

      And yes, as it stands, it's a better start for a blurb, perhaps. It also lends itself to the 'three part statement' trope ("A kingdom that forbids magic. A Witch, exposed by her son's birth. A child destined to be King.")

      The more I type, the more enthusiastic I feel! Can't wait to see what you come up with. Good luck!

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      • Hmmm, good point (about mom not being the MC)... what about:

        Abandoned as a baby, in a kingdom that forbids magic, can a powerful young Warlock hide his growing abilities? Can he become King? Should he?

        SPOILER ALERT: There's also the matter of the child he's switched with... which I didn't mention, so as not to give away the story... but the novel follows both children until they're 18... which is when about half the novel takes place...

        I know I posted bits of the prologue before, but it's been edited and revised (at least 5 times) and even gone to a brief Developmental Edit I won during a on-line lecture series I watched. The editor was very encouraging, had very few changes to suggest, and seemed to like where the story was heading, which was also encouraging....

        If anyone is interested... you can find a full prologue PDF HERE... 

        Hope  I figured out how to make that work!

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        • Still working on elevator pitches... trimmed this one even more (merged the first two sentences):

          Abandoned as a baby, in a kingdom that forbids magic, can a powerful young Warlock hide his growing abilities and become King? Should he?

          And while I wait for my Beta readers to get back to me, I started working on that other novel I mentioned on another thread (a different series, or possibly just a stand alone book)... 

          This is the one where I invented my own mythical creature in my day job as a designer. It's a Seanicorn (prounounced sea-ni-corn, not shawn-i-corn 😜 ), which is a sea-unicorn.

          Here's my original needlework design, showing Cay, Starlet and their fry, Whip:

          Though while writing the book, I realized they needed not just dorsal, but pectoral and caudal (tail) fins to be good swimmers, so they have evolved from above. They are MUCH larger than seahorses, with armor-like scales, and horns. Unlike seahorses, the females carry their young (called fry), and birth one at a time... though birth rates are declining...

          Here's the elevator pitch for that one:

          With their home destroyed and their only fry gone, can the Seanicorn blessing leader, Cay, find their missing son, while his pregnant mate, Starlet, leads the herd in search of a new home?

          It's one sentence... but is it too long? Does it give you enough info to interest you, but not enough to give too much of the story away? 

          Oh, and if you didn't know, a BLESSING is a herd of unicorns... I'm blending unicorn mythology with sea terminology (ie all of the names are sea-related, and most (such as starlet and whip) are types of coral).

          I had fun researching this one, and can tell you SO much about coral now, LOL. I'm three chapters from the end of the novel, I think...

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        • I like this one:

          Abandoned as a baby, in a kingdom that forbids magic, can a powerful young Warlock hide his growing abilities? Can he become King? Should he?

          But there's something contradictory about  the two words in bold: "can a powerful young Warlock hide his growing abilities?" - he's powerful yet his abilities are growing?

          This was a catchy first line:

          "She had never thought magic would be the death of her".

          I didn't get to fully read through the Prologue but one quick comment, the first line of a section is never indented (I have OCD so I notice these things 🙈) - pick a few books and have a look at the different sections. Whenever the scene moves into a different setting, space and you want to create distance, the first paragraph in the new section stands out unindented. 

          I found this out after I sent out several submissions.

          Good luck! 

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          • I entered a competition, and was sifting through some videos of one of the competition organizers. She mentioned that an indented first line ticked her off! That's when I found out about it! 

            Anyways, as long as the writing is good I don't think anyone gets ticked off. I think she mentioned it because it was an obvious mistake new writers often did, and I guess literary agents are aware of it.

            I really don't know what its purpose is, maybe it gives the idea of separation.

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            • I think it's as Jo says: it shows a new section or scene change (also indicated by a double line break and quite often some sort of wavy line or similar). I guess it has developed as a way of emphasising that this isn't simply a new paragraph in an existing scene but is a different scene. 

              You can also indicate a new scene by the writing: 'The next day Ella went to see her mother.' You don't have to use a section break.

              A chapter heading doesn't herald scene changes as such, it just marks a new chapter. A chapter can contain several scene breaks. Also, the scene at the end of one chapter can be carried over to be the opening scene in the next chapter, i.e. it's the same scene but with a chapter break although I haven't seen that technique used recently.

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              • Hello,

                A good video for checking your manuscript before sending it off is on the link below. Includes comment on indenting paragraphs 😎 



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              • There, I fixed the PDF (re the starting line spacing)... up above. So anyone else who opens the file won't be annoyed with me 😜 

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