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A big thank you to long-time reader Deniz for submitting the query for her historical romance, OUT OF THE WATER. (Also thank you for coming in well under the 300-word limit. My wife and children thank you.)
Keep in mind all this is just my opinion. If it doesn't feel right to you, ignore it. Any in-line comments are to the right, overall thoughts at the end.
|Maybe mention the year right away?|
Not sure how I feel about this final
Eighteen-year-old Rosa becomes separated from her family as they flee their Spanish homeland
, and the Inquisition. Now her one hope of
reaching Constantinople and reuniting with her family lies with a
stranger, Baha, an artist returning to the Ottoman Empire. As they
travel together, Rosa's drive to find her loved ones is matched by a
deepening desire for the man at her side.
|I think we skipped the bit where she|
reunited with her family.
Again, not sure about the last line.
OUT OF THE WATER is complete at 115,000 words. I hope you find my 15th-Century historical romance a good fit for your interests.
|Italicize the newspaper title?|
|Not sure whether this is necessary.|
Thank you for your consideration.
You know, Deniz, this feels really strong to me. You've got a strong character, goal, obstacles, and -- if not a sadistic choice -- at least very strong stakes. I'm just going to explain a couple of my comments up there, then let the commenters at it (who, of course, may have an entirely different opinion).
Last line of the 1st paragraph. I'm not sure what strikes me as off about this line. It's minor. Maybe it's the abstract comparison of her drive and her desire, when I want something more specific (but how can you get specific about love? I don't know).
Last line of the 2nd paragraph. I didn't realize it at first, but I think what I'm missing here is a choice. Their goal and stakes are strong (save her family, possibly die trying), but it's not as compelling as a sadistic choice. I kind of assume she's going to save them, so what's going to entice me to read on at this point, to say, "How the heck is she going to do that?"
The more I think about it, the more I think that's the big lack. Everything else is here.
As for nitpicking the bio paragraphs, they look pretty solid to me. I'm very much of the "less is more" philosophy of bio paragraphs, so I do question things like whether you need to talk about your non-fiction work (though writing for a Turkish newspaper is cool) or whether agents are likely to care what workshops were used to revised it (even prestigious ones). Your story is strong enough for me that I don't think you need those things, but it's your call.
What do the rest of you guys think? Does it need a choice? Am I being too picky about the bios? Should "15th-century" be hyphenated or not? (I'm kidding. The answer to the last question is "yes.")