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View Full Version : Help With First 3 Ch of Roman Historical Fiction



rosepetal720
12-06-2010, 06:07 PM
I got some negative feedback from an agent that I disagree with, and I would like to know if it's just his personal taste or if it's something everyone will agree with. The section is only 24 pages long, double-spaced, and it's stand-alone (in other words, it could be a short story). Here's the feedback he gave me:


There was a lot I liked about this, especially how you took the Roman religions at face value, instead of with a modern, dismissive attitude. My guess is that Romans took their religion at least as seriously as moderns take theirs.

The problem for me was in the set-up in the story. The first chapter is superfluous and the second doesn't pull it's weight. Your book really starts in chapter three. I know it seems that you should give us the setting before introducing the problem (that being Tuccia's selection among the other children), but this is backwards. Give us a problem from the first page, resist the urge to stop and explain the world, and let the details come out as the character falls deeper and deeper into it.

I personally think the first two chapters are both entertaining and necessary (I can explain more after you read it). I would appreciate as many readers as possible, since I'm trying to get a general consensus, so if you're interested, please feel free to send me a personal message and we can swap emails. Any help will be enormously appreciated!

BarbaraSheridan
12-06-2010, 06:24 PM
Your book really starts in chapter three. I know it seems that you should give us the setting before introducing the problem (that being Tuccia's selection among the other children)

Obviously I haven't read your work but this is a valid point. I've always gone with the concept of starting a story as close as possible to the moment when "everything changes" for the main character(s). In this case I'm guessing Tuccia being chosen over others is that moment.

And you can get backstory and other elements of the world in as needed without dumping it all upfront.

rosepetal720
12-06-2010, 08:33 PM
Thanks. I'm considering keeping the first chapter and deleting the second. I'd really like readers to tell me what they think before I delete it, though.

Rita_Michele
12-06-2010, 11:19 PM
I just pm'd you.

rosepetal720
12-07-2010, 01:22 AM
I should probably specify that I'm willing to swap, so if you have about 25 pages of work you want me to look at in return, I'd be happy to.

Dave Kennedy
12-09-2010, 06:51 PM
Take heart! You got actual feedback from an agent! Plus, I just PM'd you, aren't you lucky?

DK

rosepetal720
12-10-2010, 07:29 PM
I'm honored!

BarbaraKE
12-17-2010, 01:58 AM
Hi - I PM'd you too!!