An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #3 Elswyk's Moon

Dear Agent:

All her adult life, Elswyk has kept secret that she’s a wizard. Wizards are tightly regulated due to the havoc some created years ago. However, Elswyk is a responsible wizard. She’ll register her residence in her new town, expecting that this magistrate also will not make her presence widely known.

Saving the king’s life was a fluke, but one that didn’t arouse suspicion. Sure, turning a bullet into a snowball was pretty difficult magic, but it wasn’t above the ability of most of the general population.

If only she had registered with the magistrate before she became famous! Now people were sure to question why she went to see the magistrate. Or the magistrate might feel it necessary to let everyone know that she is a wizard.

That would be bad. How might her employer react to that little omission?

The king’s life is threatened a second time. Elswyk can save him. This time, however, her secret will be revealed. But she can’t let the king die.

Elswyk’s Moon is a 75,000 word fantasy. Thank you for your time and consideration.

7 comments:

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

The first line threw me. I think you can cut ‘all her adult life’. The second sentence is somewhat clunky. Try: All magic workers must report and register with the authorities. Elswyk is a responsible wizard. But (what conflict keeps her from registering immediately)

Simplify the second paragraph. After turning a bullet into a snowball, she saves the king’s life. No big deal. Especially since working this bit of magic is easy for everyone. But (inciting incident to add conflict)

Btw, note your use of the word ‘magistrate’. I count four.

Carl Hackman said...

I would consider putting the second paragraph first. The first line could be a good hook 'Saving the king's life was a fluke.'

Repetition of words in a paragraph, as Huntress said, can be jarring.

Wizard three times in first paragraph and magistrate 3 times in third paragraph.

I would definitely be interested in reading more myself :)

Good luck!

Charity Bradford said...

I think Carl has a great idea to start with the second paragraph. With a little tightening this could be really good. However, my main concern right now is that your world doesn't make sense to me based on what's here.

Why is she keeping the fact she's a wizard secret if most of the general population could have turned the bullet into a snowball? That doesn't make sense to me.

Your query makes it sound like almost everyone can work magic of some form so she is weird in that she is hiding the fact she's the same as everyone else.

If you simplify your introduction of Elswyk, you would have more room to give us a bit about who is trying to kill the king and why she feels it's so important to keep him alive.

Patchi said...

I agree that some details are missing that would help us understand the world. Here are the bits I'm confused about:

Why didn't she register when she moved? Did the snowball incident happen when she was on the way to the magistrate's office? If so, say it.

And if saving the king's life didn't arouse suspicion, why did she become famous?

Robin said...

I read this query several times, as well as the previous comments. I really like the idea of beginning with "Saving the king's life was a fluke," per Carl's suggestion. Since everyone has the ability to perform some magic, indicating what sets this MC apart is important in the first paragraph.

It sounds to me as though that incident made her famous. Perhaps that would be the second part of this letter (falling into the conflict section). The move happened after saving the king, right? And that is why she has to register with a NEW magistrate in a DIFFERENT town. Is that correct? The question is: how important is this nugget of information in your query?

I think you might do better focusing on saving the king, explaining her power, how she became famous (and what that did to her life), and now there is another attempt being made on the king and the choice she must make.

Character.Conflict.Choice.

Martha Mayberry said...

I think all the components are here for a fantastic story and query, but if you reworded some of them, it could really pop. Like in the first sentence could be something like: Wizard Elswyk hides in a land where being a wizard means ? (shame, being ostracized, or whatever establishes right away how horrible it is).

I was confused with the registering thing. You say she didn’t register herself in paragraph 3, but in the first paragraph it’s implied she did because she's a good wizard. Also, is it important to even talk about registering herself/not being registered in the query? I think the focus on whether she is or isn’t takes away from the stakes of saving the king a second time.

Best of luck with this; it sounds like a fun story

mshatch said...

I think Charity made some great suggestions, I was a little confused, too.