Monday, December 22, 2008

Holiday Critiques #2

Thank you everyone for your kind words. Continental did not come through so we're home for Christmas. I'm over pouting though and looking forward to a different holiday then what I had planned, but something magical nonetheless.

Here's the link to the original post. Once January 5 hits I'm done with critiques so if you want to see the other critiques I've done simply follow through from 1-? (we'll see where we end up).

Have a wonderful holiday, whichever you celebrate and on to the critiques...

Melinda Leigh said...
A gutsy, divorced high school teacher and an emotionally adrift Iraqi war hero confront an internet predator - with some unexpected help from the family ghosts.

85,000 Romantic Suspense with light paranormal elements.
And to answer your question Melinda Leigh, yes it's too short. This is a tag line, but not the pitch. Want to know the difference? The tag line often appears as one eye-catching sentence on the cover of a book. The pitch is, more or less, your back cover blurb. the tag line grabs a reader's attention, the pitch is what makes them want more. This is too vague and too soft. You say this is a romantic suspense, yet I don't feel the suspense in the pitch. This should be less about who the characters are, especially since it's a suspense, and more about what is happening, what the suspense is. Who is the predator stalking and what is he doing that makes it suspenseful? How do the ghosts get involved?

Crystal said...
Siren has a perfect family; two adoring parents, and a sister who teases her, as sisters do. Being Princess of Sylia makes her life perfect. She can do what she pleases and lives a lavish life. The life that is her perfection however, was simply ignorance gifted to her by her Father. Unbeknownst to her, Siren's Father and Mother have both been keeping evil at bay. When this evil takes her parents lives and turns her sister against her, Siren is thrust into the role of Queen. Now quickly, she must learn how to handle ruling an entire kingdom and lead a nation into a war she didn't even know could happen.

Siren Chronicles explores how quickly a human being can mature when they are forced to do so by circumstance and what changes they must go through, both internally and externally to except this change into their lives.
What's difficult here is that the first paragraph feels very awkward to me and would make me concerned that the entire book is awkward. I think you're trying to squeeze too much in. Is it really necessary that we learn how perfect Siren's life is? Isn't it better that we get right into the heart of the conflict? Something more along the lines of, "when evil (what?) destroys Siren's perfect life by killing her parents and turning her sister against her, this once quiet princess is now thrust into the role of Queen and forced to lead a nation to war or...." Obviously that's rough, but I think it gives you a better idea of how you can jump right into a story and grab the reader's attention. As for the second paragraph, dump it. It's useless. I don't ever want to know what themes or message a novel explores. That's not why anyone buys a book, except maybe a parent buying YA to teach a teen something, but that should still come through in the story.

Julian Meteor said...

Doing Honeys - My Autobiography - Julian Meteor

Julian Meteor is somebody EVERYONE wants to BE!!! lol
He sleeps with a DIFFERENT woman every night and is in THE best band - The Argyle Style - in South-West England.
Read and prepare to be VERY jealous!!!!!!! lmao
A pitch like this would never work. Is your book really about you sleeping with a woman every night? I can't imagine anyone would want to read that. Most people read books, and even memoirs to learn about how other succeed despite the struggles they face. You call this an autobiography, I suppose there is technically little difference between an autobiography and a memoir except that unless you are hugely famous (and maybe you are and I just don't know you) it's really a memoir. I think of autobiographies for people like Mick Jagger, Bill Clinton, Margaret Thatcher or Paris Hilton (god help us all). Memoirs are usually the unique stories of everyday people told in a very fiction-like manner. What upsets me most about a pitch like this (and it might be a personal thing) is that you don't seem to take your pitch and therefore my job seriously. I'm not old fashioned and I'm certainly not a prude, but to say something like "read and prepare to be VERY jealous" and especially "lmao" is a bit insulting. It's like applying for a job and saying in your cover letter, "I rock! Hire me!" It just doesn't sound like you really take it seriously enough to understand what it takes to get published or to get the job.

Crimogenic said...
When Katherine Rice’s son is murdered, she doesn’t trust the system to punish the killer because twenty-five before, the same man got away with slaughtering her brother. She hunts for the killer but gets more than she bargains for when she discovers that he’s part of an online network of pedophiles called The Convent. Now Katherine’s dream of fading into oblivion is put on hold as she sets out to rid the world of these child predators.

(Crime Fiction)
This had potential in the sense that the length is perfect and I just thought maybe, maybe this is the perfect one. Unfortunately you're telling and not showing me your story. Wouldn't it be much stronger to say something like, "Katherine Rice is hunting a killer, the same man who (brutally slaughtered?) both her son and her brother twenty-five years earlier. Not trusting a legal system that has failed her before, Katherine stumbles upon The Convent, a network of pedophiles that has..." That could still be stronger, but I hope you get what I'm thinking in terms of making this more active.

Annette Gallant said...


The last thing Jill Sullivan intends to do is fall for her sexy new co-worker, Andrew Chisholm. She's already committed to Jamie O'Rourke, the son of her father's best friend. He's safe, in need of her support after the sudden death of his parents and is the only boyfriend her family has ever approved of. But one night Andrew kisses Jill on a crowded dance floor, which throws her emotions into complete turmoil. Finding she can no longer deny her feelings for Andrew, Jill becomes increasingly torn and soon realizes she's in love with both men. When she's eventually forced to decide which one, if either, truly owns her heart, Jill discovers that sometimes you have to give up the things you want, in order to gain the one thing you really need.
This pitch, and therefore this book, just doesn't feel that special to me. As it reads here it feels like nothing more then 80,000 or so words about a woman trying to make a decision. What makes it different? What's the hook? Other then the choice of two men what other challenges does she face? It feels to me that you've written the set-up here, but not the real story. The real story is really giving up the things you want is it not? When I read this I thought of movies for some reason, movies like 27 Dresses or Sweet Home Alabama. "Chick Flicks" are almost always girl meets boy love stories and often the girl needs to choose between two men, but what makes it stand out and what differentiates them?

Again, I'm picking these randomly and reading none of them before making a selection. You are certainly welcome to keep posting your pitches until January 3 when I can guarantee I won't be selecting any more. If you do post make sure you do so in the original post from December 19. I am always looking for one that I can say "that's it!" about and will keep you updated.