Monday, October 24, 2022

October 2022 Pass or Pages Entry #1

It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agents Michelle Hauck and Ernie Chiara for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!

Entry 1: Times Destiny: The Last Warlock

Genre:  Adult Fantasy


TIMES DESTINY: THE LAST WARLOCK is a 99,000 word[EC1] science fantasy[MH1] novel.

It is[EC2] a standalone book with series potential[MH2] appealing to readers who enjoyed the Shards of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky and fantasy blended with witches like Nora Robert’s Dark Witch[EC3].

“You’re a warlock commanding a haunted battleship; act like it!”[MH3]

If Colonel Aidan Brackman heard these typically gruff words from his Aunt Ruth aboard Titan, this ancient battleship where the spirits outnumbered the living, she was dead[MH4][EC4]. Ultimately, the 41st century Earth Alliance that scorned magicks had been annihilated by legions of Dead Ships driven by dark magicks.

In this world, Aidan never got the wife and family he always wanted[MH5]. Magicks that made him an outcast in Alliance society might save humanity and give him what he always wanted if he opens his eyes to new possibilities. Aidan has a vision linking him to 1st-century witches, Cerie and Siroka, with whom he shares an invigorating magickal bond[MH6]. Aidan learns the Dead Ships are puppets of demonic Furies that seek to undermine human history. Aidan must become the warlock he’s destined to be[MH7], or he will have to watch Cerie and Siroka die and all of humanity be erased from history[MH8].


Michelle's comments:
[MH1] Nice word count and I am seeing more editors asking for genre mashups.
[MH2] I usually see this at the end, but here is fine too. I would add the sentence above to this paragraph.
[MH3] I don’t usually care for starting with quotes. But there’s nice voice here.
[MH4] This is confusing to me. Why does that make her dead?
[MH5] Unclear why he can’t have them? You have to be careful of creating unwanted questions in the reader’s mind.
[MH6] How does this come back to the Dead Ships? I’m not seeing how it is all connected.
[MH7] To do what?
[MH8] I’m afraid the query was confusing to me as the sentences didn’t clearly relate/connect from one to the next.
Ernie's comments:
[EC1] Missing a hyphen here.
[EC2] I would like to have seen the previous sentence woven into this one rather than beginning the second with "it is" here.
[EC3] Book titles should be in all caps, not just your own but comps as well.
[EC4] I'd pass here. This is an awkward beginning, from the line of dialogue (which I'm not fond of in queries) to the sentence that followed. If he didn't hear those words, would Aunt Ruth be alive?

First 250 Words

Cerie’s small hand gripped the edge of the weathered grey wood on the cart drawn by a pair of white and brown Shire horses. The Celt Witch squinted her icy blue eyes[MH9] at the sun as she emerged from the overhanging limbs draped in twisted brambles at the edge of Dunarow Forest.

Frosty winds lashed Cerie’s dark blonde hair as her horse-drawn cart entered the moorlands. The Shire horses flared hooves crunched icy snow along the road that wound past a frozen lake[EC5]. With long winters and shorter summers, Celt farms would suffer, and food would become an issue. Cerie knew why many questioned her decision to open their doors[MH10]; however, in terrible times, you only survived by pulling together.

The Celts' staging area was eight miles from Caerini in the overgrown moorlands.  

Cerie made this journey more than ten times in the last two months. Today, she wouldn’t be returning alone. Around the next bend in the road, the staging area came into view. Bronze trusses formed a triangular aperture filled with shimmering purple energies that rolled like waves[MH11]. A militia column from the nearby village of Caerini formed a block of warriors clad in furs and chainmail, holding position near the magickal portal. Three other carts were lined up with their Shire horses a distance from the mystical doorway. These carts were loaded with furs and clothes that would soon be needed for a large group of people not acclimated to Northern Ireland’s harsh winters[MH12].


Michelle's comments:
[MH9] You need to make sure details are important. Weathered grey wood tells us something, but eye color doesn’t.
[MH10] Opened their doors to what? Trade? I think more detail is needed here. But this does make me curious.
[MH11] Intriguing.
[MH12] I think for the sample I would want a better sense of Cerie’s motivations and personality. These paragraphs do make me curious and they interest me more than the query. I would have to pass on pages as I’m unsure what the story is about.
Ernie's comments:
[EC5] I'm not a fan of the writing. Stringing together adjective-noun after adjective-noun as they've done in the first few sentences here does not make me want to read on.

[If you receive a "Pages!", click on the agent's name at the top of this post for submission instructions.]

Michelle - Pass
Ernie - Pass

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