Author Topic: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version  (Read 180 times)

Offline rivergirl

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Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« on: May 16, 2020, 07:28:34 PM »
See entry #5 for updated version. Happy to return feedback.

In 1775 Virginia, Hazel Robbins lives in a town that’s deeply divided. There are those who are faithful to the king and those who are insufferable traitors. When her husband signs up to be a rifleman for the Continental army, she follows him as a camp wife, but Hazel’s been recruited too—as a British spy.

Hazel may despise the rebels, but she never meant for her military intelligence to put a bullet in her husband’s neck. She’s left a grieving widow hundreds of miles from home with only Will Hutchins, another rebel rifleman, to comfort her.

Tormented with guilt, Hazel breaks from Britain and vows to take up her husband’s cause for freedom. But Hazel’s self-punishment gets sidetracked when the very fetching Will convinces her to marry him.

Hazel becomes fixated on keeping her second husband alive. It may be more difficult than she realizes when the riflemen are ordered to invade Quebec. Faced with the battle of a lifetime, Hazel must determine where her true loyalties lie. She can hold to her convictions of peace or strap on a rifle and scale the walls to Quebec—all in the name of love.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2020, 09:24:25 PM by rivergirl »

Offline TigerAsh

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2020, 07:49:48 PM »
I personally prefer the previous version I read.

Unless your previous draft was mostly backstory, this one seems to start in the middle of your story. Also, it just doesn't grab my attention like the other version.


But others my disagree and have advice on how you can improve this.

Offline PharaohBeam

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2020, 07:23:30 AM »
This version is more attention-grabbing right off the bat to me. The only question I have is: Does Will fight for the Continental army or for the British?

Offline rivergirl

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2020, 07:58:19 AM »
Thanks to TigerAsh and Pharaoh for taking yet another look at this query. I'm glad this one isn't raising all the questions the other query had (with my feedback so far). Clarifying which side of the war Will if fighting on is an easy fix. Is this coming across as cheesy romance in any way?

Pharaoh, Ill definitely take a look at yours but I'll be in a zoom meeting for the next hour or so.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2020, 08:02:03 AM by rivergirl »

Offline Wolfimoon

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2020, 03:22:58 PM »
Hey, if you're still looking for feedback, one line of this confused me:

She’s left a grieving widow hundreds of miles from home with only Will Hutchins, another rebel rifleman, to comfort her.

At first I missed the 's and I thought her actions caused a death that left a different widow. I suspect changing up the order of information and putting the focus on Will could help. Something like:
Widowed, grieving, and hundreds of miles from home, all she has is the kind rebel rifleman Will Hutchins to comfort her.

Tormented with guilt seems very tied to that she's hooking up with yet another rebel, so it kind of seems like it should be in the same paragraph.

Best of luck!

Offline rivergirl

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2020, 09:23:38 PM »
Tweaked a bit based on some previous feedback.

In Virginia 1775, Hazel Robbins is left with a terrible facial scar after a mob of revolutionaries burn down her family’s home. It’s her punishment for touting loyalty to Britain, but the rebels aren’t done yet. The mob leader would make an example out of her. Before Hazel can be ravished and ruined forever, she wounds the face of her attacker. It may be an eye for an eye, but the mobster seeks revenge, and Hazel fears for her life.

In an attempt to disappear into a lower class of society, Hazel agrees to marry a kindhearted boatman. But Hazel’s new husband is a rebel who dreams of independence from Britain. When he signs up to be a rifleman for the Continental Army, Hazel follows him to war as a camp wife, but she’s been recruited too—as a British spy. It’s hate by proxy, and Hazel’s reflection reminds her that she will do anything to make the rebels pay.

When the intelligence Hazel provides the British puts a bullet in her husband’s neck, she’s left a grieving widow with only a rifle company of leather clad men to comfort her. Tormented with guilt and knee deep in espionage, Hazel agonizes between her loyalty to Britain and finding redemption for her husband’s death. Bound to be a traitor to one side or the other, Hazel realizes she could end up in anyone’s noose.

Offline Wolfimoon

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2020, 09:45:28 PM »
Wow, I got a completely different feel from this. It's more engaging to me, partially because I don't like romance novels (just a dollop on my fantasy please ;D), but also because I think it just feels more well rounded.

In Virginia, 1775, Hazel Robbins is left with a terrible facial scar after a mob of revolutionaries burn down her family’s home. It’s her punishment for touting loyalty to Britain, but the rebels aren’t done yet. The mob leader would make an example out of her. Before Hazel can be ravished and ruined forever, she wounds the face of her attacker. It may be an eye for an eye, but the mobster seeks revenge, and Hazel fears for her life. This makes me understand Hazel so much better. You may not need to say she feels for her life (mob + seeks revenge = uh oh). Mobster made me thing modern definitions of mobster which have nothing to do with mobs. "Ravish" implies romance novel to me. Otherwise, this is waay stronger than the earlier draft. Loving it!

In an attempt to disappear into a lower class of society, Hazel agrees to marry a kindhearted boatman. But Hazel’s new husband is a rebel who dreams of independence from Britain. When he signs up to be a rifleman for the Continental Army, Hazel follows him to war as a camp wife, but she’s been recruited too—as a British spy. It’s hate by proxy, and Hazel’s reflection reminds her that she will do anything to make the rebels pay. Again, so much more descriptive while still interesting. Minor stuff "Attempting to..." could clean off 2 short words. Did she know he was a rebel before marrying him?

When the intelligence Hazel provides the British puts a bullet in her husband’s neck, she’s left a grieving widow with only a rifle company of leather clad men to comfort her. Tormented with guilt and knee deep in espionage, Hazel agonizes between her loyalty to Britain and finding redemption for her husband’s death. Bound to be a traitor to one side or the other, Hazel realizes she could end up in anyone’s noose. Last sentence is fantastic, but could be shortened to ",... Hazel could end up...". On the romance appearance front, "leather clad men" is very suggestive. Also, did you check if their uniforms would be leather? I thought most of them would be wool and cotton. And whatever they could steal from the countryside, given how incredibly poor the revolutionary army was. Given it's historical, you might be able to use some uniform lingo to boost your "I know history" chops. I also really love "agonized between her loyalty..." etc.

Offline MichaelMcG

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2020, 04:42:59 AM »
I'm not a romantic one either, but this version is pitched just right.
I know it's not going to be soppy romance and as a tag-along husband at the movies, I know we're going to see some action as well some kanoodling.

Version #5 gets a thumbs up from me.



Offline PharaohBeam

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Re: Hazel (Historical Fiction) New Version
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2020, 07:34:17 AM »
In Virginia 1775, Hazel Robbins is left with a terrible facial scar after a mob of revolutionaries burn down her family’s home. It’s her punishment for touting loyalty to Britain, but the rebels aren’t done yet. The mob leader would make an example out of her. Before Hazel can be ravished and ruined forever, she wounds the face of her attacker. It may be an eye for an eye, but the mobster seeks revenge, and Hazel fears for her life.

In an attempt to disappear into a lower class of society, Hazel agrees to marry a kindhearted boatman. But Hazel’s new husband is a rebel who dreams of independence from Britain. I like the additional details about her husband – now it’s easier to feel her agony when he gets killed When he signs up to be a rifleman for the Continental Army, Hazel follows him to war as a camp wife, but she’s been recruited too—as a British spy. It’s hate by proxy, and Hazel’s reflection reminds her that she will do anything to make the rebels pay. proxy works, but it’s kind of a hard word to wrap my head around

When the intelligence Hazel provides the British puts a bullet in her husband’s neck, she’s left a grieving widow with only a rifle company of leather clad men to comfort her. Tormented with guilt and knee deep in espionage, Hazel agonizes between her loyalty to Britain and finding redemption for her husband’s death. Bound to be a traitor to one side or the other, Hazel realizes she could end up in anyone’s noose. like this line at the end a lot – very punchy and makes the stakes super clear

Overall, this version's really, really good. The only line that’s just slightly confusing is the last one of the second paragraph. “It’s hate by proxy” makes me think she’s going to hate the British as a substitute/proxy for her original hate of the rebels. Other than that, the additional details you’ve added have only made the whole thing easier and more interesting to read.