Holiday Critique #3
- By: Jessica Faust | Date: Dec 24 2008
Merry Christmas Eve! Before I start to cook the Christmas Feast I had some time to slip in some critiques. What’s funny about the reader who criticized me for typos and other grammatical errors is that I did mean to comment on the last post about that. Since I am doing this on my holiday time you can definitely expect to see a typo or two. I’m not taking the time to carefully read over my work as I often do and sadly, I never have an editor for my blog. In fact, my guess is because I tend to write the blog quickly it would be the rare post in which you didn’t find a typo. I think that I, like most agents, write our blog posts quickly and somewhat stream of consciously. While the blogs are important to us other things are always more pressing and if we want to keep up the blog sometime we have to ask our readers to slog through grammar and other errors.
And lastly, there was a reader who seemed upset that I would take the time to do the critiques on the blog when I, or other agents, can’t bother to give more then a form letter on full manuscripts. I know that I for one do make every attempt to give a personal letter any time I request a full manuscript and frankly I can’t think of a time when I gave a form rejection for a full unless it was sent unsolicited. The blog is a completely separate entity from submissions and I will admit one of the concerns I have about the blog is that people will start to think I spend more time on this then I do with either clients or potential clients which, trust me, I don’t. I do still request a lot of partials and can’t always give feedback, although I do whenever possible. I think I’ve addressed this before, but he truth is that sometimes there isn’t much to say.
Wil Rainolds is a painter, a father, and a husband. His marriage is crumbling, his son is in rebellion, his daughter is about to run off with a military boy, and even his paintings haven’t been cooperating lately. He could also very well be humankind’s last and only weapon against the monstrous invaders known as the creatures. What is it about Wil’s painting that makes the creatures hate and fear him? Can he save the world and still manage to keep his struggling family together?
Wow, you’ve squeezed in a lot here and I’m not sure I make the connection between most of it. You need to break it down a little and get to the heart. Do we really need to know the specifics about Wil’s family or is it more important that we hear about the creatures? I would also avoid questions at all cost. Don’t ask me what it is about Wil’s paintings tell me. “Now it’s up to Wil to discover what it is about his paintings that….” I’d also suggest you be careful of some awkward wording, “his son is in rebellion” felt off to me. Would it be better to see he’s rebelling against everything? And the daughter and the “military boy” also sounds off. I think it’s the use of the term “boy.”
EXPIRATION DATE – 94k
EXPIRATION DATE is a Nicolas Sparks meets Carla Neggers read. It has the small town moral compass of a Sparks’ community, with the race against time and risk of a deadly misstep of a Neggers’ story.
Riley Randalls hires Private Investigator Perry Von to prove her soon-to-be-ex is up to no good, only to find she’s in more danger with his help when a paroled serial-killer targets Riley to even the score of his personal vendetta against Von who put him away.
I’m not sure you need your first paragraph. You are telling me what your book is about and while it’s okay to name authors you would compare your work too I think it’s a risk as well. If I’m not a Nicolas Sparks fan or even worse, if I really hate one of those authors it’s going to be tough for you to get me to read beyond that point. Instead why not simply launch into your hook/plot pitch? Which might need a little pumping up. My biggest concern is that if this is romantic suspense it doesn’t feel suspenseful enough. Is the book about her hiring the PI or is it about the serial killer? And why would a serial killer target Riley to get to Von? She’s just a client? Right there, in one sentence I immediately have concerns about your plot which can happen in a pitch. All too often I’ll read one and think that this story doesn’t make sense.
Maybe if Beatrice Greyson knew someone faked her death as a child, she wouldn’t wish so desperately to remember the first decade of her life.
As a young girl, she collapsed in an unfamiliar house in rural Illinois. No one knew where she came from or how she ended up on war widow Thea Greyson’s front porch that stormy night. Thirty years later, Beatrice is devastated by the death of the woman who took her in. But her grief turns to a sense of betrayal when she finds the letter from her birth mother that Thea claimed was lost. Leaving everything behind to search for her birth parents, Beatrice follows the railroad tracks across the Midwest. She never imagined the fate suffered by her parents, but there are darker family secrets. Uncovering them will force her to confront a violent murderer. And maybe miss out on the love of her life.
Your opening line is brilliant! Absolutely perfect. Immediately you sucked me in and, if I wasn’t in the mood to read further that could be enough for a request. Well done. I think this is a great pitch. I read this and know clearly that it’s women’s fiction. I can see how it’s one woman’s search to find herself in many ways and I can read your voice in this which I like. A couple of words of caution though, because nothing is ever perfect, some of your wording seems awkward. for example, “She never imagined the fate suffered by her parents, but there are darker family secrets.” doesn’t make sense. I think you could cut out the sentence before that, about her following the railroad tracks. Instead once you mention that she discovers the letter you need to launch into more of what she learns on the journey. Something along the lines of, “On her search for her birth parents, Beatrice learns the awful secret of their death and the family secrets that now haunt her. Worse yet, she is forced to confront the violent murderer who first took her life from her…” or something along those lines.