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Seeking Beta Reader for Historical Fiction

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Mutive

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Thank you to all who read this!

I am looking for a beta reader (or more) for a historical fiction novel that I've completed covering the life of Isabella of Castile from her engagement to Pedro Giron (1465) to the birth of her first son (1478).

  • Genre and word count: Historical fiction. Approximately 95k words.

  • Feedback. I appreciate any and all. In particular, in this first cut, I'm interested in the bigger picture - does the story work as a story? Is it interesting? Is it fun? Are there places that your attention flags? Are there ares that could be developed further? (I haven't yet had a beta look at this, so I suspect there are indeed a great many areas that need trimming/additional development. It's always hard to be objective with your own work!)

  • Publishing. I'm probably looking for an agent and trade publishing.

  • Credentials. I'm happy to work with anyone. On my part, I've had short stories published in Daily Science Fiction, Penumbra, Every Day Fiction, as well as other markets. I also am a senior editor at Allegory. I am happy to take a look at your writing as well. Generally I write/read speculative fiction (historical fiction is a bit unusual for me, but I wanted to read this novel and couldn't find it, so took a stab at writing it instead), but read pretty much everything. (I just know a lot more about SF/F than other genres, while am considerably weaker in knowing the norms in, say, romance or mystery. But still happy to read and offer advice even if I suspect it won't be as knowledgable in certain areas.)

Query: (Still not sent through QLH, so not the best, but hopefully gives an idea as to the novel!)


In two weeks, Princess Isabel of Castile will be wed or - if fortune favors her - dead. Fortune does favor her - her prospective groom mysteriously dies on the way to their wedding. However, the end of the engagement resumes the civil war between her two brothers. It also causes Isabel to realize that if she's to have any say in her future, she'll need political power.



She gains this when her rebelling brother dies, leaving her his heir. The nobles he sided with urge Isabel to take the crown and continue the war against her surviving brother. She refuses, ending the war with one condition. If she’s to support her brother, she demands the right to choose her own husband.



Her brother agrees at first. But soon he forces her into an engagement with an elderly king who’s intent upon turning Castile into a client state. But if she can arrange her own match before she’s forced to wed, she might have the chance to marry someone who will give her the right to govern Castile in her own name.



In secret, she arranges a marriage to Fernando of Aragon, a man her age with his own claim to the contested Castilian throne. She escapes into the mountains to wed him and falls desperately in love. He agrees to allow her to rule Castile and claims to adore her. It seems a perfect match. But in secret, Fernando plots to control Castile. He will soon prove to be the most formidable opponent she has for the control of her country.
 
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Woollybear

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<scratches head>

Have we seen the open in SYW? I'm surprised to see you writing HF, because I thought you were writing SF. I know there's a fair bit of crossover (Mary Doria Russell, for example) but this caught me off guard. (Mutive writes HF?)

Anyway, I have a HF in mind to write (turn of the 20th century; you may have seen some of my ramblings about that elsewhere) so if nothing else, I'm sort of in the similar head space of spec fic/historical fic that you seem to be. I do not write short stories, however.

My sense from the HF forum is there are some excellent writers here, in that genre. With experience. I'll cross my fingers that one of them gets back to you. If your request languishes, I'll happily look over the first chapter and give whatever feedback I think might be helpful. And if it's on SYW I'm happy to look at it there.
 
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Lakey

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Hello @Mutive -- I am interested! I am a hungry reader of hist fic and have read at least one book in a somewhat related period -- Kate O'Brien's That Lady, about Ana de Mendoza and Philip II, so really set about 100 years later and not that related at all. :LOL:

I have a hist fic MS set in 1950 that is partially ready for beta readers -- the first six chapters have just been through a first set of readers, the next six are ready, and the remainder...well, I'm working through the edit. So if you want to start with a partial swap to see if we're a good fit, that's an option too. But, I'm also just happy to give you a read.

Anyway, message me and we can talk. :geek:

:e2coffee:
 
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Mutive

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Anyway, message me and we can talk. :geek:

:e2coffee:

Nice! I'd be delighted to do a trade. (And I read most everything - 1950s hist fic sounds awesome!) I'll PM you and we can trade email details. :)
 

Mutive

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<scratches head>

Have we seen the open in SYW? I'm surprised to see you writing HF, because I thought you were writing SF. I know there's a fair bit of crossover (Mary Doria Russell, for example) but this caught me off guard. (Mutive writes HF?)
I haven't posted in SYW yet. I figure that I'll get a few thoughts on the overall manuscript then maybe post.

And yes, I mostly write spec fic. :) I read pretty much all genres, though, and really wanted *someone* to write this book. (The latest I could find that covered Isabel's life was written in the 1950s (strangely more recent historical fic covers the life of her daughter, Juana/Joanna)...so I figured that maybe I'd try my hand at writing it. And if it's terrible, it's no worse than many other things I've written, LOL)

Anyway, I have a HF in mind to write (turn of the 20th century; you may have seen some of my ramblings about that elsewhere) so if nothing else, I'm sort of in the similar head space of spec fic/historical fic that you seem to be. I do not write short stories, however.

I think the similarity between both is that you try to wrap your head around worlds that are very different from our own. In spec fic, they tend to be *based* on historical, while in historical it's...well, our literal past. Either way, though, I'd agree that there's a strong similarity. :) (And I really love trying to figure out what in the heck someone was thinking when they did X, Y or Z.)

My sense from the HF forum is there are some excellent writers here, in that genre. With experience. I'll cross my fingers that one of them gets back to you. If your request languishes, I'll happily look over the first chapter and give whatever feedback I think might be helpful. And if it's on SYW I'm happy to look at it there.

And I'm happy to send you the first chapter if you're intersted. :) I figure that all feedback is useful and would love to get your thoughts. (I'm also always happy to take a look at any of your novels if you need another pair of eyes. PM me any time. :) )
 

Woollybear

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Hmmm. Yes, incoming DM. Send me a chapter.

My critique usually is craft and beat oriented. ("If you do X, you should then tie off with Y." "Another beat here, perhaps of interiority, would flesh this paragraph out.")

Oh, and the similarity for me between SF and HF is that both genres leave me with a broader view of the world--something I value--more knowledge, be it historical or scientific.
 

Mutive

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My critique usually is craft and beat oriented. ("If you do X, you should then tie off with Y." "Another beat here, perhaps of interiority, would flesh this paragraph out.")

I think that will be very useful. (Although, at this point, *anything* would be useful! I've been sitting on this for too long, I think.)
Oh, and the similarity for me between SF and HF is that both genres leave me with a broader view of the world--something I value--more knowledge, be it historical or scientific.
I think it depends a bit. There's definitely the SF and F that gives me no scientific knowledge. :) (And historical fiction that seems so removed from it source that I roll my eyes a bit at it.) But the best really does make me consider things I'd never before even imagined. The power of a good book truly is tremendous!
 
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Ink-Soul

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Hi! Not sure if you're still looking for beta readers, but I'd like to make myself available.

I've beta read for a couple of friends in the past, and historical fiction is one of my favourite genres. I know nothing about Isabella of Castile, so this could be an opportunity for me to learn more about her as well as to offer you some insights :)
 
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Mutive

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Hi Ink! Sorry in that I only just saw this, but I'd love it if you'd be willing to take a look. I'll PM as well just in case you're as bad as I am at checking this forum. (Hangs petals in shame.)
 

Arbienti

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Thank you to all who read this!

I am looking for a beta reader (or more) for a historical fiction novel that I've completed covering the life of Isabella of Castile from her engagement to Pedro Giron (1465) to the birth of her first son (1478).

  • Genre and word count: Historical fiction. Approximately 95k words.

  • Feedback. I appreciate any and all. In particular, in this first cut, I'm interested in the bigger picture - does the story work as a story? Is it interesting? Is it fun? Are there places that your attention flags? Are there ares that could be developed further? (I haven't yet had a beta look at this, so I suspect there are indeed a great many areas that need trimming/additional development. It's always hard to be objective with your own work!)

  • Publishing. I'm probably looking for an agent and trade publishing.

  • Credentials. I'm happy to work with anyone. On my part, I've had short stories published in Daily Science Fiction, Penumbra, Every Day Fiction, as well as other markets. I also am a senior editor at Allegory. I am happy to take a look at your writing as well. Generally I write/read speculative fiction (historical fiction is a bit unusual for me, but I wanted to read this novel and couldn't find it, so took a stab at writing it instead), but read pretty much everything. (I just know a lot more about SF/F than other genres, while am considerably weaker in knowing the norms in, say, romance or mystery. But still happy to read and offer advice even if I suspect it won't be as knowledgable in certain areas.)

Query: (Still not sent through QLH, so not the best, but hopefully gives an idea as to the novel!)


In two weeks, Princess Isabel of Castile will be wed or - if fortune favors her - dead. Fortune does favor her - her prospective groom mysteriously dies on the way to their wedding. However, the end of the engagement resumes the civil war between her two brothers. It also causes Isabel to realize that if she's to have any say in her future, she'll need political power.



She gains this when her rebelling brother dies, leaving her his heir. The nobles he sided with urge Isabel to take the crown and continue the war against her surviving brother. She refuses, ending the war with one condition. If she’s to support her brother, she demands the right to choose her own husband.



Her brother agrees at first. But soon he forces her into an engagement with an elderly king who’s intent upon turning Castile into a client state. But if she can arrange her own match before she’s forced to wed, she might have the chance to marry someone who will give her the right to govern Castile in her own name.



In secret, she arranges a marriage to Fernando of Aragon, a man her age with his own claim to the contested Castilian throne. She escapes into the mountains to wed him and falls desperately in love. He agrees to allow her to rule Castile and claims to adore her. It seems a perfect match. But in secret, Fernando plots to control Castile. He will soon prove to be the most formidable opponent she has for the control of her country.
I would be happy to read it. The characters are historical figures I know of and would be interested to know more about.
 
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