Author Topic: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism  (Read 234 times)

Offline daydreaming

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THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« on: June 11, 2020, 08:42:35 PM »
Hi there!  I'm currently going through the submissions process for the first time, and I want to gauge how my query letter comes across.  I'm just going to post the book summary for now.  Thank you in advance to everyone who takes the time to comment constructively! :)  My novel is about 52,000 words and is classified as MG magic realism.



Ten-year-old artist Nova has never had a real home.  Born into life as an orphan, all she ever wanted was a place to belong.  Her art ability has been her only emotional outlet as she’s been shuffled unenthusiastically from place to place.  She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a wannabe hermit painter in his ramshackle farmhouse.

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse were foiled, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian, Mr. Russell and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and her personal journey to a rainforest.  But, Nova is destined to find out that magic always has a price, and her trust in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his past.

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues and leads Nova to plotting revenge and her second escape attempt.  In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk.  How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive?


« Last Edit: June 14, 2020, 03:16:11 PM by daydreaming »

Offline kfcfriend

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2020, 01:21:10 PM »
Ten-year-old artist [it makes it sound like she's a professional artist] Nova has never had a real home.  Born into life [I find "Born into life" a bit strange; I guess her mother must have died at childbirth with no father around? Maybe An orphan from the day she was born, all she...?]as an orphan, all she ever wanted was a place to belong.  Her artistic ability has been her only emotional outlet as she’s been shuffled unenthusiastically [avoid passive; also I think it's not the shufling (the social worker?) that's unenthusiastic; maybe something like "as the authorities move her from one foster home to another"]from place to place.  She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a wannabe [maybe rephrase - I originally read that he's a wannabe hermit, rather than a wannabe painter] hermit painter [can you omit "painter"; since she likes art, you'd think she'd be happy to be homed with another artist] in his ramshackle farmhouse [can you add something here that will tie up with it being called puzzling lower down?].

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse were foiled [again, use active - eg, She tries to run away but fails(maybe explain why she's so unhappy there - I think escape is a bit strong unless he's really nasty)], Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian, Mr. Russell [I'd be tempted to put his name when you first introduce him] and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and her personal journey to a rainforest.  But, [omit comma?] Nova is destined to find out that magic always has a price, and her trust [I was surprised by this; if she trusts him, why did she try to run away? maybe just "she is shaken to the core when she learns of her guardian's past"?] in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his past.

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues [I'd rewrite this more from Nova's perspective - eg, Nova confronts Mr Russell] and leads Nova[again, write from Nova's perspective - ie, Nova plots her revenge]  to plotting revenge and her second escape attempt.  In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk ["her life is now at risk" might be more dramatic?].  How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive?

I love magical stories and the idea of the easel bringing art to life is wonderful. I just think you need to make the excitement a bit more immediate as the writing is a bit distanced. Then it should all jump out! Good luck and fingers crossed.

Offline daydreaming

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2020, 01:24:23 PM »
I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to make suggestions.  This story is extremely valuable to me and I want to do it justice.  I will make some changes immediately.

Offline Alymac

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2020, 02:50:10 PM »
I hope you mean 52k words and not pages! Lol. Also, kudos on making this summary clear on the first try! Though be careful with the term Magical Realism. Magical Realism is when magical things happen and nobody thinks they're strange or takes notice of them (ie; going to the store and not explaining why cereal mascots talk or a world where cats are senators and that's just how it is). If she is surprised by the easel's powers, I think this is modern fantasy instead.

Ten-year-old artist orphan, Nova, has never had a real home.  Born into life as an orphan, all she ever wanted was a place to belong. Her artistic ability has been her only emotional outlet as she’s been shuffled unenthusiastically from place to place.  She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a wannabe hermit painter (agree, rephase) in his ramshackle farmhouse.

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse were are foiled, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian's , Mr. Russell (put his name when he's introduced)and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and her personal journey to a rainforest (Does she make this rainforest? Teleport there? A school trip?).  But, Nova is destined to find out that magic always has a price, and her trust in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his past.

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues and leads Nova is left plotting revenge and a second escape attempt.  In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk.  How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive? (explain what this mistake is? And what does this have to do with survive?)

I actually think you have space to beef this up a bit. Maybe explain why she wants to leave so bad in the first place. Or some details about her character. All I know from this is sad orphan - does she have an internal struggle too?

Offline daydreaming

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2020, 11:48:18 AM »
52,000 pages would be quite the feat! lol  Yes, only 52,000 words.  I appreciate all your feedback and I will go into more depth on her character.  I'm relieved that the query comes across as concise enough.  :)  Thank you so much for the help!

Offline TigerAsh

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2020, 01:48:59 AM »
Hi there!  I'm currently going through the submissions process for the first time, and I want to gauge how my query letter comes across.  I'm just going to post the book summary for now.  Thank you in advance to everyone who takes the time to comment constructively! :)  My novel is about 52,000 words and is classified as MG magic realism.



Ten-year-old artist Nova [Does she have a last name? If she does, add it. If she doesn't, then never mind.] has never had a real home.  Born into life as an orphan, all she ever wanted was a place to belong.  Her art ability has been her only emotional outlet as she’s been shuffled unenthusiastically from place to place.  She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a wannabe hermit painter [This wording confused me. Is he a wannabe hermit, or wannabe painter? Or both?] in his ramshackle farmhouse.

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse were foiled, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian, Mr. Russell, and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and her personal journey to a rainforest.  But, Nova is destined to find out that magic always has a price, and her trust in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his past. [I think you should be a bit more specific. For example, when she learns of his "magical past", his past connection to that easel, etc.]

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues, and leads leading Nova to plotting revenge and her second escape attempt.  In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk. [You should specify what that is. This is too vague.] How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive?[You shouldn't use questions in your query. So I would rewrite your ending sentence.]


[Make sure you include a housekeeping paragraph with word count, genre, comps, bio, etc.]




This is a good query, and the story sounds like a fun middle grade story!

I agree with Alymac in that I didn't get a magical realism vibe from this; it felt more like a fantasy to me.


Hope my comments help. Good luck! :)

Offline MICRONESIA

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2020, 10:09:17 AM »


Ten-year-old artist What type of artist? Painter? Sculptor? Nova has never had a real home.  Born into life as an orphan No one can be born into life as an orphan unless the mother was already dead. I'd re-word., all she ever wanted was a place to belong.  Her art ability has been her only emotional outlet as she’s been shuffled unenthusiastically from place to place.  She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a wannabe hermit painter in his ramshackle farmhouse.

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse are foiled, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian, Mr. Russell Comma. and his puzzling home. Why is she so desperate to escape? Mostly, she seems... kinda miffed at having to live there. But damn, girl, you have a home and food to eat. I don't sense any real urgency at having to escape, which makes her come across as a bit spoiled. The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life. This is the interesting part. This is where your query should start. Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and her personal journey to a rainforest. Telling, not showing. What KIND of adventure? Where? What does she have to DO? You're skipping over all the good stuff! But, I sense a "however" here. Nova is destined to find out that magic always has a price, and her trust in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his past. This is all way too vague.

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues and leads Nova to plotting revenge and her second escape attempt. Awkward sentence. And, again: vague. We know nothing about this guy or why she hates him.  In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk. Which is WHAT? How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive? This is about finding her "true home?" What does that even mean? Also: avoid asking questions to the page. Agents hate it.



It seems like there's a neat story in here, but it's buried in vagueness.

If you don't mind, please have a look at my own query: https://querytracker.net/forum/index.php?topic=24282.0.

Offline svhpc13

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2020, 09:46:59 AM »
Ten-year-old artist Nova has never had a real home.  Born into life as an orphan I agree with others about rewording this part since she has to have a mother to be born..., all she ever wanted was a place to belong.  Her art ability has been her only emotional outlet as maybe make this more active? ie as the foster care system shuffles her from place to placeshe’s been shuffled unenthusiastically from place to place.  Her most recent placement is She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a wannabe hermit painter in his ramshackle farmhouse.

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse were foiled why is she trying to escape? doesn't she want to live somewhere? I feel like you could cut this part and just start with the next bit, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian, Mr. Russell and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and her personal journey to a rainforest.  But, Nova is destined to finds out that magic always has a price, and her trust The part about her running away doesn't make me think she trusts him at all...in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his past.

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues and leads Nova to plotting revenge and her second escape attempt.  In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk.  How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive?


this sounds like a really good story! I just put some suggestions in for shortening it up a bit, but overall I think you have a good thing going here!

Offline rivergirl

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2020, 05:09:10 PM »
Ten-year-old artist Nova has never had a real home.  Born into life as an orphan, all she ever wanted was a place to belong.  Her art ability has been her only emotional outlet as she’s been shuffled unenthusiastically from place to place.  She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a wannabe hermit painter in his ramshackle farmhouse.

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse wereare (keep present tense) foiled, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian, Mr. Russell comma and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and a her personal journey to a rainforest.  But, Nova is destined to find out that magic always has a price, and her trust in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his past. This para. is very gripping. It also feels finished here. The para below just muddles things for me. Consider editing it and just elude to her danger in a different way

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues and leads Nova to plotting revenge and her second escape attempt.  In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk.  How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive? questions are considered taboo in queries. I'm not loving this last para. Can you just say she confronts Mr. Russel about his secrets and spell out the danger before telling us the obstacle she must now overcome?

Offline daydreaming

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2020, 06:13:29 PM »
Thank you for all the suggestions, everyone!  Your input means so much to me!  I will get to work making the appropriate changes and hopefully gather some interest from agents.  You all are the best! <3

lizaB

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism
« Reply #10 on: July 06, 2020, 08:10:51 PM »
Ten-year-old artist Nova has never had a real home.  Born into life as an orphan, Nora, is a ten-year old orphan seeking a place to she ever wanted was a place to belong. Nora uses art as an Her art ability has been her only emotional outlet as she’s been shuffled unenthusiastically from place to place. one home to another. She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with a When she finds herself held up with a wannabe hermit painter in his ramshackle farmhouse.(comma here) she tries to escape.

After her initial plans to escape the farmhouse were fattempts are foiled oiled, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian, Mr. Russell (comma here) and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the capability of bringing art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and her personal journey to a rainforest.  But, Nova is destined to find out soon discovers that magic always has a price, and her trust in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his Mr. Russsell's past.

An explosive argument with Mr. Russell ensues and leads to a second attempt to escape. Nova to plotting revenge and her second escape attempt.  Nora, In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake that puts her life at risk.  Finding a home becomes secondary to staying alive. How will she ever find her true home if she cannot survive?


I like your story! I hope my suggestions help. I guess if you want to go with MG, then you could add a touch of it in the query, if it is indeed that genre. Otherwise, I suppose it is considered fantasy. But don't quote me on it, I'm not an expert in these genres. Best of luck to you! If you want to review my query, DREAMS OF GIRLS, I'd appreciate!

Offline daydreaming

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Re: THE PAINTER'S BUTTERFLY - MG Magic Realism/Fantasy
« Reply #11 on: Yesterday at 11:49:11 AM »
I've adapted my query to accommodate some of your suggestions!  Here's the newest version.  Thank you again for the feedback and support.  I hope to return to the favor soon.  We're in the process of moving, so life's been rather hectic!

Ten-year-old orphan, Nova, has never had a real home.  All she ever wanted was a place to belong.  Her artistic ability has been her emotional outlet as she’s grappled with frequent abandonment and the fear that she squandered her chances with the only family she ever loved.   She has now been dragged into the middle of nowhere to live with Mr. Russell, a wannabe hermit, in his ramshackle farmhouse.

After an unsuccessful escape attempt, Nova unearths strange secrets about her guardian and his puzzling home.  The attic holds the most profound mystery of all, a magical easel with the ability to bring art to life.  Nova is caught up in a whirlwind adventure, complete with rainbow butterflies, a devious leprechaun, and a journey to the rainforest.  However, Nova discovers that magic is messy, and her budding trust in her new guardian is shaken to the core when she learns of his broken past.

Nova confronts Mr. Russell and plots revenge in response to their explosive argument. In her haste, she makes a dangerous mistake and her life is now at risk of going up in flames.  She must survive the inferno if she wishes to learn the meaning of home.