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Seeking Fantasy Beta Read / Swaps -- First 1-3 Chapters

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EmmaSkysong

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Hello! I'm preparing to query a project, so I'm seeking feedback on my first chapter (3,200 words), or up to the first three chapters (~10k). I'd love to find a few people who regularly read fantasy (adult or YA) to let me know what they think (whether they connect to the characters, find anything confusing, etc.). I have no hard deadlines right now.

I'm happy to do a first chapter swap if you also write second-world fantasy. I'm afraid I don't have a good feel for other genres, or urban fantasy, although I might be somewhat helpful for light sci fi.

Thanks!

Elevator Pitch:

If Wren isn’t exorcising ghosts from villagers, she’s siphoning their energy to power her island’s silk mill. But when sky pirates kidnap her family, she teams up with a wicked ghost to save them.

Blurb:

Wren Laverne and her family are among the few who can see wraiths – immaterial entities that are both humanity’s sworn enemies and their main source of power. By law, Wren spends her days expelling wraiths from villagers and siphoning their energy to pay her airborne island’s taxes. It’s a dreary existence... up until sky pirates attack, ransack the village, and kidnap her father and elder sister for their abilities.

Furious at her powerlessness, Wren sets sail to beg for help from a ruler she despises. But Cyric, the dangerously cunning wraith she compels to fuel her airship, is intent on making her into his host. He whispers to her always, poisoning her with guilt for abusing his kind. Even more alarming, she discovers a stowaway on board: her kid sister, who’s supposed to be protecting the village from wraiths in Wren’s absence.

With her village now in danger, Wren should turn back. But if she does, her family will remain slaves, harvesting wraith energy for the pirates’ warship and cannons. Whatever her choice, Wren’s greatest weapon – the wraith Cyric – is also her greatest liability; if she isn’t careful, he might get under her skin… literally. Then she won’t be able to save anyone, much less herself.


Short sample:

Most villagers left their work at the mill when they retired for the day, but Wren’s work not only followed her home — it followed her through walls.

So when a low hum rumbled to life in the dead of night, she was floundering from her bedsheets before she’d even placed the sound: someone was harvesting wraith energy.

A skyship, she thought, jamming on her boots. That meant unwanted visitors.

Wren burst from her house at a run. Fog shrouded the island in impenetrable black, transforming the main road into a shadowy corridor that swallowed her footfalls. The Isle Guardian’s residence rose from the darkness at the village’s edge. She barged inside, tendrils of cool mist snaking past her ankles.

“Wake up!” she panted. “We’ve got a problem.”
 

Koechophe

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Heya, I'd be happy to do a swap. I also write second-world fantasy, although I will warn you, my writing tends towards minimalism, which might put some of the more dramatic fantasy lovers off.

I'm still happy to critique your first 10k even if you end up not feeling like you'd be a good person to help with my first chapter =).

Just PM me and we can get set up.
 
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Catriona Grace

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The elevator pitch and blurb are intriguing, and now I'm all curious and stuff. I like the opening line, but the transition into the second line could be smoother.
 
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owlion

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I think the story sounds great! I read a lot of fantasy for all age ranges and I'd be happy to do a swap of the first three chapters (my story is contemporary fantasy), though I won't have time until after 30th November thanks to NaNoWriMo and an exam. If that still sounds okay, let me know via PM.
 
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Unimportant

but appreciated anyway...
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Hello! I'm preparing to query a project, so I'm seeking feedback on my first chapter (3,200 words), or up to the first three chapters (~10k). I'd love to find a few people who regularly read fantasy (adult or YA) to let me know what they think (whether they connect to the characters, find anything confusing, etc.). I have no hard deadlines right now.

I'm happy to do a first chapter swap if you also write second-world fantasy. I'm afraid I don't have a good feel for other genres, or urban fantasy, although I might be somewhat helpful for light sci fi.

Thanks!

Elevator Pitch:

If Wren isn’t exorcising ghosts from villagers, she’s siphoning their energy to power her island’s silk mill. But when sky pirates kidnap her family, she teams up with a wicked ghost to save them.

Blurb:

Wren Laverne and her family are among the few who can see wraiths – immaterial entities that are both humanity’s sworn enemies and their main source of power. By law, Wren spends her days expelling wraiths from villagers and siphoning their energy to pay her airborne island’s taxes. It’s a dreary existence... up until sky pirates attack, ransack the village, and kidnap her father and elder sister for their abilities.

Furious at her powerlessness, Wren sets sail to beg for help from a ruler she despises. But Cyric, the dangerously cunning wraith she compels to fuel her airship, is intent on making her into his host. He whispers to her always, poisoning her with guilt for abusing his kind. Even more alarming, she discovers a stowaway on board: her kid sister, who’s supposed to be protecting the village from wraiths in Wren’s absence.

With her village now in danger, Wren should turn back. But if she does, her family will remain slaves, harvesting wraith energy for the pirates’ warship and cannons. Whatever her choice, Wren’s greatest weapon – the wraith Cyric – is also her greatest liability; if she isn’t careful, he might get under her skin… literally. Then she won’t be able to save anyone, much less herself.


Short sample:

Most villagers left their work at the mill when they retired for the day, but Wren’s work not only followed her home — it followed her through walls.

So when a low hum rumbled to life in the dead of night, she was floundering from her bedsheets before she’d even placed the sound: someone was harvesting wraith energy.

A skyship, she thought, jamming on her boots. That meant unwanted visitors.

Wren burst from her house at a run. Fog shrouded the island in impenetrable black, transforming the main road into a shadowy corridor that swallowed her footfalls. The Isle Guardian’s residence rose from the darkness at the village’s edge. She barged inside, tendrils of cool mist snaking past her ankles.

“Wake up!” she panted. “We’ve got a problem.”
Maybe put the first 1000 or so words up in SYW? That will get you crits of your opening, and will also identify critters whose feedback works for you.

Like Catriona Grace, I find the pitch and blurb intriguing, but the short sample is making me think that maybe the prose/POV needs a fair bit of tightening.
 
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T.D.H.

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Hi, Emma.
Sounds intriguing! I'll happily do a chapter swop (my book is MG/YA fantasy). Actually, I'm happy to read more without the swop.
PM me if you're still interested.
One little thing, Cyric is the name of a pretty important character in D&Ds Forgotten Realms setting. Not saying that disqualifies it from being in your book, just thought you should know.
 
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Bing Z

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I remember your story from the QLH. Intriguing.

Send me your first chapter and any additional areas of feedback you are looking for in addition to connect & chars. Let me know if you are still up for a swap. I will read the first chapter with or without a swap.
 
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