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message 1: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Ludington | 12 comments Hi all,

First time posting and I look forward to being a part of this community. I have finished the first book of a trilogy and plan on querying agents later this year. Below is my book blurb and I would appreciate any feedback you have. Does this sound interesting to you?


Emilie believes she was brought to Amonarr illegally from a Giftless country. At least that’s the only thing that makes sense. She has no memory of before St. Ophelia’s Orphanage and no Gift to speak of. Now in her twenties, her friend Eric convinces her to see someone about her mysterious headaches. The diagnosis is impossible and makes Emilie question everything about herself. She must go through the Ascension or die, but who will help her? Simple suspicion of working with an illegal is enough for a monk to loose their head.

Thus begins a tale of survival as Emilie and Eric search for a cure in a war-torn country, but things are never as they seem with Emilie and time is running out.



Thank you!


message 2: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Hello Stacy,

I get that you want to draw readers in with the 'diagnosis', but I think you need at least a few words to give us some sort of idea what that will mean. I think you also need a couple of words explaining 'ascension' as well. And who is this monk? Is the monk illegal? Who would lose their head? Emilie, her and Eric, the monk, all three?

I think you have too much mystery in your blurb. You want to give readers a sense of the story, but not the ending. I don't feel I have a sense of your story as the blurb is written.

Side questions: is this story stand-alone? Meaning, does it have a clean ending? I've read many places that agents/publishers are reluctant to commit to a series and would rather see stories that end, but have series potential. Also, how long is your story (in words)? That will also have a huge influence on agent's interests.


message 3: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Ludington | 12 comments Hi Keith,

Thank you for your feedback and I agree with you. I worried that it may be a bit too vague- too much mystery. I wrote this alongside my Betas but they have the benefit of already knowing what's going on. Hence why I'm here.

Below is my original stab at this, which my Beta's adjusted:

Every child bred, carried and born on Amonarr’s soil has the Gift. By the time a child experiences magic sickness— usually around twelve years old— the Gift must be extracted by the Monks of Myir into a gem through a process called the Ascension or die.
Emilie believes she was brought to Amonarr illegally from a Giftless country. At least that’s what makes sense. She has no memory of before St. Ophelia’s Orphanage and never came down with magic sickness. Now in her early twenties, Emilie spends her nights betting and drinking and her days working for a blacksmith hiding her from the authorities. That is, until Eric, a childhood friend, convinces her to see someone about her headaches. The diagnosis is impossible and makes Emilie question everything. She must go through the ascension or die, but what monk would see her? Simple suspicion of working with an illegal is enough for a monk to loose their head.
Thus begins a tale of survival as Emilie and Eric search for a cure in a war-torn country, but things are never as they seem with Emilie and as time starts to run out, a cure may be too much to ask for.


I'm thinking the "winner" will be somewhere between the two. As for the side question, the first book does have a clean ending yet leaves it very open for another book. The book is 139,000 words which is long but I feel appropriate or fantasy.

Thanks!


message 4: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Well, the second explains much better. I agree, though, that it needs work, just don't think the one you first posted is in the right direction.

It's bedtime for me, but I'll think about it and get back in the morning. The general rule of thumb for blurbs is to first introduce your MC, which your first does, but your second doesn't, then outline the stakes, which both do, but I think the second is easier to understand, then list the obstacles to achieving, which I think the second does much better. Any backstory/worldbuilding/etc. needs to fit within that context, so in that respect your second one starts out too wordy.

Also, big blocks of text tend to be a turn off (so I've read, and personally experienced helping out here), better to (logically) break the blurb up into 2-4 sentence paragraphs with blank lines between.

BTW, with your MC in her early twenties, you can also consider taking on the 'new adult' market segment when looking for agents. It isn't well defined, but seems to be for readers in the 18-30 range.


message 5: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments OK, how about this:


Emilie believes she was illegally brought to St. Ophelia’s Orphanage in war-torn Amonarr. She can't think of any other explanation for being giftless and knows she's never come down with magic sickness. Now in her early twenties, Emilie squanders her nights betting and drinking. Her days are spent working for a blacksmith, who hides her from the authorities.

Without a future or a past, Emilie's life drifts by. Until her best friend, Eric, finally convinces her to seek an explanation for her blinding headaches.

The diagnosis turns Emilie's world upside down. Every other child bred, carried and born on Amonarr’s soil has the Gift. When a child experiences magic sickness— usually around twelve— the Gift must be extracted by the Monks of Myir into a gem through a process called The Ascension, or they die. But what monk would see her? Simple suspicion of working with an illegal is enough for a monk to loose his head.

Emilie and Eric race to survive long enough to find a cure.

But things are never as they seem with Emilie.

And time is running out


message 6: by Jesse (new)

Jesse | 10 comments I would just like to add that Keith'a blurb was so good and intriguing that it made me want to read your novel!


message 7: by Pat (new)

Pat | 105 comments Simple suspicion of working with an illegal....to LOSE his head, not LOOSE.


message 8: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments How did I miss that ?!


message 9: by Pat (new)

Pat | 105 comments A different set of eyes...


message 10: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Ludington | 12 comments Hi Keith,

Thank you. I feel we are really getting somewhere with this. Below is my continued adjustments on it and I'd appreciate knowing if it's still moving in the right direction.


Emilie believes she was illegally brought to war-torn Amonarr as a child. She can’t think of any other explanation for being Giftless and knows she’s never come down with magic sickness. Now in her early twenties, Emilie squanders her nights betting and drinking. Her days are spent working for a blacksmith, who hides her from the authorities.

Without a future or a past, Emilie’s life drifts by. Until her friend from the orphanage days, Eric, returns and convinces her to seek an explanation for her blinding headaches.

The diagnosis turns Emilie’s world upside down. She has the Gift just like every child bred, carried and born on Amonarr’s soil and magic sickness is consuming her from the inside. She must have the Gift extracted by the Monks of Myir into a gem through a process called The Ascension or die. But what monk would believe her? No one her age gets magic sickness and simple suspicion of working with an illegal is enough for a monk to lose his head.

Now Emilie and Eric must survive in a country at war long enough to find a cure.

But things are never as they seem with Emilie.

And her time is running out.


Thank you.


message 11: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Ludington | 12 comments @Jesse I'm excited to hear that! I am still having people beta it. If you were interested, I could send you the first chapter. You could decide after if you wanted the rest of the book.

Totally up to you though! I'm just very excited to share my characters with the world.


message 12: by Shalini (new)

Shalini (shalini_g26) | 83 comments Now with the latest blurb, your book sounds exciting...


message 13: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I think it's much better. Just a couple of nit picky things:

The diagnosis turns Emilie’s world upside down. She has the Gift just like every child bred, carried and born on Amonarr’s soil, and magic sickness is consuming her from the inside. She must have the Gift extracted by the Monks of Myir into a gem through a process called The Ascension. Or die. But what monk would believe her? No one her age gets magic sickness and simple suspicion of working with an illegal is enough for a monk to lose his head.


message 14: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Ludington | 12 comments This is wonderful. Thank you so much for you help and please let me know if there is anything I can do to return the favor.


message 15: by Shalini (new)

Shalini (shalini_g26) | 83 comments Yes, Stacy, make Keith your beta reader... He seems to be of quick wit and his grasp of the subject is amazing including his summarizing


message 16: by Stacy (new)

Stacy Ludington | 12 comments I would welcome Keith to beta read. I agree, he has great feedback. @Keith if you were interested I'd love your feedback on more but don't know if you're looking for that and wouldn't want to force you :)


message 17: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments Hello Stacy,

I'm flattered at your request. I've become rather obsessed with beta reading since I started last December and have been struggling to make time for my own writing. I have one more I'm reading now with the intent to turn my focus back to my own work for at least a couple of months. If you'd be willing to tolerate waiting several months for feedback, PM me and I'll give you my email address. When I was writing, it wasn't unusual for me to look for reasons to procrastinate, perhaps reading yours a bit at a time would be that reason ;-)


message 18: by T.M. (new)

T.M. Rain (tmrainbooks) | 22 comments Have to chime in here...Keith beta read for my book this past winter, and the feedback I got was incredibly valuable. Many thanks again, Keith. I won't forget it!


message 19: by Keith (new)

Keith Oxenrider (mitakeet) | 1166 comments I'm blushing ;-)


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