Editing Deadlines and Tips

One of the biggest worries about the editing process for authors is “How long do I get for edits?”

When it comes to deadlines the length really depends on which house you sign with. Some houses might give you a month for each round of revisions while others might give you two weeks or less. The longest deadline I’ve had is an editor is a month and the shortest a week. This means if you struggle to edit under tight deadlines you’d better start practicing. Continue reading

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Query Workshop: THE RAVEN PRISONER

So for those of you not in the know, Pitch Wars is almost here. For those of you looking for feedback help, join us mentee hopefuls on our Facebook group where we are swapping queries and sharing advice. I’m using the opportunity to showcase some query revisions to help others get an idea of the process and show the changes a query can go through. If you want to have your query and revisions posted, just let me know!

The first query comes from the lovely Maxym Martineau for her story THE RAVEN PRISONER. Her story is an adult fantasy with romantic elements at 88,000 words. You can find her on Twitter at @maxymmckay or on her blog. I’m posting four versions of her query, starting with the first one and ending with the final version. If she makes another revision I will update with the changes.

Before you start reading the queries, here’s how Maxym handled some of her revising: “In the first version, I found myself focusing on details that didn’t actually add to the tension of the story. Essentially the whole first paragraph. That’s a waste of precious space in the query! Harlyn’s choice of food, Mox, her affiliation, and even the moments leading up to the tension aren’t as important as the tension itself. In my final query, I condensed that into the first log line. That way I could launch right into the conflict — her enslavement and the developing, conflicting feelings for her captor.”

Query One

Harlyn’s mother didn’t leave her much. A dingy studio apartment, a measly inheritance she stretches all too thin, and an appetite for beings of a certain sexual caliber. Which, if you’re a succubus with a killer body and eyes that can charm the pants off the king himself, isn’t bad.

As a fae who chooses to remain unaffiliated, Harlyn doesn’t answer to any guild. Instead, she wanders New Fenland—avoiding Guild Wars that turn streets into battle fields—in search of Mox, the lifeblood running through her veins derived of pure, carnal energy. With a silver-tipped tongue, it’s easy enough to pull from anyone she pleases—sometimes without their permission. It’d been a long time since she’d fed from the wrong person, anyway.

But one night and a threesome later and she’s got a problem on her hands. A Raven-sized problem. Known for its cruelty and amoral tendencies, Raven Guild is the most feared organization in the country. And the man tangled in the sheets is one of them.

Captured and forced into indentured servitude, Harlyn becomes Raven’s newest member. When she first meets Cyrus, the Guild Master’s son, she thinks he’s a fresh breed of hell. The iron collar around her neck is his way of controlling her, and traumatic bonding is so not up her alley.

But Cyrus has other ideas. To get a leg up on an enemy guild, he wants Harlyn to charm her way through the ranks. If she behaves, she just might leave Raven unscathed. But as the weeks pass, Harlyn begins to discover more about Raven and the death of her mother than she bargained for. Now, with the truth on her hands, she’s got a choice to make . . . and Cyrus is more tempting than he seems.

Query Two

When Harlyn is captured and forced into indentured servitude by the notorious Raven Guild, she knows her days are numbered.

It’s not that she hasn’t been in sticky situations before—as a succubus, it kind of comes with the territory. It’s just that Raven is known for relying on extreme, even torturous, means to execute their will—including murdering Harlyn’s mother. So when Cyrus, the Guild Master’s son, slaps an iron collar on her neck and claims her as his proverbial dog, all she can think of is escaping.

But Cyrus has other plans. New Fenland is full of warring guilds, and he wants to use Harlyn’s succubus talents on Raven’s enemies. Cyrus needs Harlyn to charm her way through his adversaries’ ranks, tearing them down from the inside out. He even offers her one hell of a deal—behave and do as he says, and she just might make it out of Raven unscathed.

Harlyn never thought she’d be one for traumatic bonding, and yet she can’t seem to shake Cyrus—and not just because he’s yanking her around with a magical leash. As the weeks pass, she discovers more about Raven and the mysterious death of her mother than she bargained for. With the truth on her hands, Harlyn’s left to pick between freedom from Raven and vengeance for her mother, between blissful ignorance and war, before her time with Cyrus is up.

Query Three

When Harlyn is captured and forced into indentured servitude by the notorious Raven Guild, she knows her days are numbered.

It’s not that she hasn’t been in sticky situations before—as a succubus, it kind of comes with the territory. It’s just that Raven is known for relying on extreme, even torturous, means to execute their will—including murdering Harlyn’s mother. So when Cyrus, the Guild Master’s son, slaps an iron collar on her neck and claims her as his proverbial dog, all she can think of is escaping.

But Cyrus has other plans. New Fenland is full of warring guilds, and he wants to use Harlyn’s succubus talents on Raven’s enemies. Cyrus needs Harlyn to charm her way through his adversaries’ ranks, tearing them down from the inside out. He even offers her one hell of a deal—follow his orders and he’ll set her free.

Harlyn never thought she’d be one for traumatic bonding, and yet she can’t seem to shake Cyrus—and not just because he’s yanking her around with a magical leash. As she plays Cyrus’ games in an attempt to gain back her freedom, she discovers more about Raven than she bargained for. When the truth of her mother’s death comes to light, Harlyn has a choice to make: permanently take up arms with the enemy to exact revenge on her mother’s behalf, or stick to her plan for freedom and leave Raven behind once and for all.

Query Four

Query Four When Harlyn is captured and forced into indentured servitude by the notorious Raven Guild, she knows her days are numbered.

It’s not that she hasn’t been in sticky situations before—as a succubus, it kind of comes with the territory. It’s just that Raven Guild is known for relying on extreme, even torturous, means to execute their will—including slaughtering Harlyn’s innocent mother during a raid. So when Cyrus, the Guild Master’s son, slaps an iron collar on her neck and claims her as his proverbial dog, all she can think of is escaping.

But Cyrus has other plans. New Fenland is full of warring guilds, and he wants to use Harlyn’s succubus talents on Raven Guild’s enemies. Cyrus needs Harlyn to charm her way through his adversaries’ ranks, tearing them down from the inside out. He even offers her one hell of a deal—seduce an enemy officer and so he can be brought in for questioning, and Cyrus will set her free.

Harlyn never fancied herself a masochist, and yet her budding desire to please Cyrus has them spending more and more time together—and not just because he’s yanking her around with a magical leash.

As she plays Cyrus’ games in an attempt to gain back her freedom, she discovers disturbing secrets about Raven Guild that threaten to alter her every perception. When the truth of her mother’s death comes to light, Harlyn has a choice to make: permanently take up arms with the enemy to exact revenge on her mother’s behalf, or stick to her plan for freedom and leave Raven Guild behind once and for all. A fantasy with strong, romantic elements, THE RAVEN PRISONER, an adult novel with series potential, is complete at 88,000 words.

Here’s to wishing Maxym good luck with Pitch Wars!