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Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #6 Hawks & Rams

Heathric knows the yearly tax collection will go badly. Nobody in their little hill town has the money this year — and his flock was gutted by disease like all the others. The desperate shepherds hatch a plot: send a team of men over the hills to the neighboring kingdom to steal sheep. Heathric’s cousin, a skilled woodsman, leads the raid.

The yearly collection is a rare chance for Heathric to see his lover, but that’s overshadowed by Heathric’s worries and his longing for more than his lover can give.

On the other side of the border, Adal has all but given up on finding a man who truly wants him. That’s shoved aside by the surprise raid — which leaves a man dead and more injured. The Ranger's duty sends him across the border in pursuit of the thieves and straight into Heathric’s hometown.

Hawks & Rams is gay fantasy romance novella, 48,000 words as of the first draft.


Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

IMHO, ‘which’ should be ‘that’. I don’t see a lot of conflict here. A town decides to steal sheep, the MC has relationship woes, and then we skip to Adal. It is his town that is raided it seems. Looks like he is going to meet up with Heathric but that doesn’t trigger my interest.

Charity Bradford said...

This one is tough because I don't read this kind of stuff so my thoughts may be worth absolutely nothing.

I'm with CD on there isn't anything to trigger my interest. If it's about the romance then cut most of the information about raiding flocks and tell me why I should care about the romance. Is the conflict just that the people need money to survive or the fact that Heathric and Adal are on the outside of their society and fear they will always be alone and unfulfilled?

Martha Mayberry said...

I’m not seeing the connection here between a raise in taxes to raiding for other sheep, to seeing his lover, to longing for more than the lover can give and then to the final Adal coming to Heathric’s town. Also, by raiding sheep, Heathric puts the other group in the same situation they’re in (less sheep), and this doesn’t build sympathy for the MC, especially when someone is killed in the raid and others are injured.

I think you’re aiming for romance here, since you suggest Adal is headed to Heathric’s town and I expect a confrontation, etc. upcoming, but I’m not seeing any stakes in your query. Maybe focusing on the big three will help: what does Heathric want, what’s keeping him from getting it, and what happens if it doesn’t happen.

Robin said...

Matthew MacNish contributed a wonderful blog posting on queries, which you can click on in the sidebar. I read it several times before writing my query - and it helped enormously. He uses the Three Cs to format a query. Character. Conflict. Choice.

Given that this is a romance, I think the sheep incident is merely the catalyst to launch Adal, The Ranger, into Heathric's hometown. I suspect you want your first paragraph to be about Heathric and his desire to find love, but there are obstacles preventing it. The second would involve Adal coming to the town, but there is a conflict because Heathric is guilty of being part of this raid. As for the choice... as Matthew says... the harder it is, the better. Is it fessing up to Adal that he was involved in the raid? That he loves him? Something from his past that was alluded to in the first paragraph? What makes this so difficult for one, or both, of these characters?

L. Blankenship said...

...and once again, after critting a bunch of queries I really need to TAKE MY OWN FREAKING ADVICE.

Guilty, guilty, guilty. XD

Patchi said...

Though I have to agree that as is things are disconnected, I'm thinking the facts are just in the wrong order. This is what I'm picturing:

Heathric is in love with a man he only sees on tax day, when the ranger comes to his town to collect for [the king?]. But disease has decimated the flocks in Heathric's little hill town this year and there will be no money for taxes.

When Heathric’s cousin and other desperate shepherds hatch a plot to steal sheep, they raid the neighboring kingdom. The leave one man dead and more injured. [Did Heathric go with them? What is his role in the conflict?]

The Ranger's duty sends him across the border in pursuit of the thieves and straight into Heathric’s hometown. [What choice does Heathric needs to make?]

Good luck!

mshatch said...

The first paragraph should be about Heathric, not his town (character). The second paragraph should be about what prompts the raid and the result (conflict). The third paragraph should explain the choice Heathric is going to have to make.

imho ;)