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  1. #1
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    MS2 QL critque - thanks

    Iím taking a week or two off from MS1 before doing the final read and have returned to MS2. It is still in the 2nd draft stage but I wanted some critique on my draft QL.
    I understand I have a long way to go before MS2 is ready, but the QL will not differ too much and thought it time I start my (painful) QL journey.

    Itís just over 300 words so it may need weeding down.
    Thanks in advance to those who offer help

    Dear Lit Agent
    Something Agency
    Somewhere Street
    Sometime City

    For Isabella Lucas committing to it was the difficult part, once made; murder is simply planning and follow-through.

    Isabella lost everything when her lover of six years, Richard OíReilly, fled the country. Everything. Her business, her dignity and ultimately her freedom.

    Her life started to fall apart when Richardís secrets unravelled in the police interrogation room, Isabella initially only hearing words; drugs, trafficking, money-laundering. It all crushed to reality when she heard, Ďcharging you with accessory toÖí That was more than four years ago. Almost two years of lawyers and court dates and twenty-eight months of prison later and Isabella completed her apprenticeship.

    Revenge. Initially it was all about revenge. Make-him-sorry-he-was ever-born revenge. She didnít know how, but he would pay. Murder only came into the equation after the prison doors slammed shut on her cell that first night.

    Patience. She had to learn patience; smiling when you want to scream patience. She had no choice, patience or madness.

    Skills. She needed new skills. Prison should be a place for rehabilitation, but her real crime was falling in love so heavily she didnít know what was going on in her own home. Prison offered Isabella a new classroom. She always was a good student. She learned how to ignore the slow burning in her soul. She learned how to look at a living creature with ice-veins. No regrets.

    And now she was out. After two years, four months and twelve days in prison for what her former lover had done, Isabella was about to start her stalk. Her prey, a low-life-wonna-be-blues-singer who, if done right, any hunter will tell you, will be a neat, clean kill.

    The Hunter. A 84,000-word thriller dealing with revenge, redemption and regret, set in Australia and Europe.

    Synopsis and manuscript available on request.

    Sincerely

    Raven
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  2. #2
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    Raven,

    Gotta love a story of revenge, especially revenge against a no-account blues singer.

    One of the things I like about what you've got here is the sense of prison as training in pay-back and patience.

    I think you did it well, but weren't certain and kept at it, wasting space that you could have put to use to give us a sense of what Isabelle lost and/or why she'd been a patsy, and/or how she proceeded once she decided to hunt and kill. I think the Q is a bit lopsided as a result.

    Bunch of other little stuff. I'll just go through it.

    For Isabella Lucas committing to it was the difficult part, once made; murder is simply planning and follow-through.

    So this sentences confuses me. First I put the semicolon where it goes: For Isabella Lucas committing to it was the difficult part; once made, murder is simply planning and follow-through. Right? Because "once made" is part of the second complete clause. Then "made" seems off. It's an intro clause dealing with "murder," but I'm not getting how murder is "made." So then I think that I'm wrong about where the sentence should be divided with the semicolon. I try, For Isabella Lucas committing to it was the difficult part, once made. That makes no sense either. Then I think I'm working at this harder than you did.

    Also this opening sets the story up as being primarily about the decision to murder rather than the follow through, which makes your title seem off kilter. If the hard stuff, the actual story is about the decision, than why did you title your book "The Hunter"? The hunting and killing, you've said is the simple part. You tell us with your opening sentence that the decision to murder is the heart of the story.


    Isabella lost everything when her lover of six years, Richard OíReilly, fled the country. Everything. Her business, her dignity and ultimately her freedom.

    Her life started to fall apart...


    So a time bobble here for me. If her life "started to fall apart" when she was questioned, why did you put the "lost everything" before that? Keep the time line straight here. One has to start to fall apart before one loses everything. Also watch the cliches.


    ...when Richardís secrets unravelled in the police interrogation room, Isabella initially only hearing words; drugs, trafficking, money-laundering. It all crushed to reality when she heard, Ďcharging you with accessory toÖí

    This threw me. I assumed that Richard was being interrogated. On closer reading, I'm assuming that I is being interrogated. But that leads to all sort of problems. How can she unravel R's secrets? Does she know them? Then they aren't R's secrets, are they? If she doesn't know them, as you intimate lower in the Q, who is doing this unraveling? Not R. Not I. You're lacking strong subject in that sentence and a sense of cause and effect.

    Also "crushed to reality" isn't doing anything for you.

    Also why the single quotes for a spoken statement?

    That was more than four years ago. Almost two years of lawyers and court dates and twenty-eight months of prison later and Isabella completed her apprenticeship.

    Couple things with this one. You set up this Q has having a distinct time break. For Isabella Lucas committing to it was the difficult part, once made

    That's past tense.

    Then you move into present with: "...murder is simply planning and follow-through."

    So the Q had better follow that set up with everything before the decision being past tense and everything after being present.

    But you stay in past with "...Isabella completed her apprenticeship." So we're unsure if this apprenticeship is her change of character from dupe into hunter. Or what.


    Revenge. Initially it was all about revenge. Make-him-sorry-he-was ever-born revenge. She didnít know how, but he would pay. Murder only came into the equation after the prison doors slammed shut on her cell that first night.

    So another time shift. You'd already written about her being in prison for twenty-eight months. Now the cell door is slamming shut for the first night. I'm getting whiplash. Revenge is a pretty word, but you waste too much space with it here and it loses impact.

    Patience. She had to learn patience; smiling when you want to scream patience. She had no choice, patience or madness.

    Did you mean this patience to be in parallel to revenge? Like, "Patience. She had to learn patience. Smiling-when-you-want-to-scream patience." If so, the same criticism of over doing applies.

    Skills. She needed new skills. Prison should be a place for rehabilitation, but her real crime was falling in love so heavily she didnít know what was going on in her own home. Prison offered Isabella a new classroom. She always was a good student. She learned how to ignore the slow burning in her soul. She learned how to look at a living creature with ice-veins. No regrets.

    So now we have "skills." It seems like you're spending a lot of words with revenge, patience, and skills. We get it. Try tighten all that into one knock over the head rather than all this nipping at our heels.

    Please don't make her real crime falling in love. That's cheating. Lots of women fall in love with bad men and figure it out and move on. She didn't -- for six years. What's her problem?

    All that classroom and ice-vein stuff may be better placed in one nice short graph with the learning patience, skills, revenge stuff. I'd get rid of the juxtaposition of a burning soul and looking at other with ice-veins. Both are cliche and they don't play off each other they way you need them to.

    And now she was out.

    Well, no. You already had her out four graphs up.

    After two years, four months and twelve days in prison..."

    Why are you repeating the time frame. Above you have, "Almost two years of lawyers and court dates and twenty-eight months of prison later...." Now you need, "After two years, four months and twelve days in prison..."? Why would you construct such redundancies into a Q?

    Why are you writing this in past tense when your opening sentence set up two time frames -- one in past; one in present?

    "...for what her former lover had done, Isabella was about to start her stalk.

    Why was she "about to start her stalk"? You could have Isabella "about to stalk." You could have Isabella "start to stalk." You could have Isabella "stalk." You chose to pile on two qualifiers before stalking can commence. So that must be important. What has she got to do before can start to stalk? What does she have to do before she can just stalk?

    Her prey, a low-life-wonna-be-blues-singer who, if done right, any hunter will tell you, will be a neat, clean kill.

    Strip the clauses out of that sentence. "Her prey will be a neat, clean kill." You are using the word "kill" here as the process and action of killing. A prey can't be that. Right? Her prey will be a neat, clean process of killing. Also I don't get this, "if done right." Of course any kill one wishes to be neat and clean will be neat and clean if done right. That's like saying, "The dishes, if done right, any dish scrubber will tell you, will be clean. That's just not saying anything. You're throwing words around.


    The Hunter. A 84,000-word thriller dealing with revenge, redemption and regret, set in Australia and Europe.

    Why did you choose to write in sentence fragments here? Not fond of the title. Very generic. Where is the redemption? The regret? There's not even hint of these.

    Hope something here helps.

  3. #3
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    CK,
    thanks so much for all that effort!

    there's so much there that it'll take me a week to get though - but thats great (so kind of you)

    The title - yeah I hate it too. I can't find one to save my life, but it'll come when the time is right I guess.

    You are right though, I did second guess my QL reasoning. It kind of came to me too easily and I thought, OK this cannot be, I've stuffed something up here, lets see if I can just repeat myself a few times! (I'll have to take a better look at the MS to make sure the same thing hasn't happened)

    Again, wonderful of you.

    I've copied and pasted it for future reference.
    I know I have at least 1 yrs work ahead of me for this one so this is starting point A

    C K you're a gem

  4. #4
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    Dang CK gave you a lot to work with. But yeah, it was very confusing funny though, because it has a sense of voice, and I can feel the anger but, it just felt you were trying too hard. Which of course that's what we all do, but it's not supposed to feel like it. And the confusion/trying too hard starts from the first line. It was as if you were trying to be nonchalant, but it didn't work. Maybe "For Isabella committing to murder was the difficult part, but once dedicated, it was simply a matter of planning and patience."
    Aw well I can't top CK, I can't wait to see what you do with her adivice.
    Good luck.

  5. #5
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    Sure, Raven. As you know, I admire your tenacity and attitude. I wanted to give you as much as I could think up. Sounds like a fun story. I'm guessing lots of women have a soulful musician in their pasts, one who deserved a good whack with a solid body guitar. Mine was a base player. Good luck.

  6. #6
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    LOL! so was mine!

    That's where part of the story came from.
    The other part, I worked with female prisoner's on a pre-release program and got to know the 'system' quite well.

    The two just sort of married into a story.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Avonne Writer's Avatar
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    Raven, though I'm sure you wrote these intentionally, you lose impact with so many one-word or two-word sentences. IMO- this was a real turn off. Use the three, revenge, patience, and skills, but not the others. More impact that way.
    Everything.
    Revenge.
    Patience.
    Skills.
    No regrets.

    Also, using these descriptions below, while entertaining inside the reading material, in a Q, I would leave them out. They don't really fit the voice of your Q. If the Q had more attitude, maybe they would be appropriate, but i'm not feeling it. It's too soft. It feels like, la la such a nice day, feeling some revenge today, or maybe working on my skills. Give her attitude, make us feel her anger and the need for revenge. See below for my examples, using your sentences.

    Make-him-sorry-he-was ever-born revenge
    low-life-wonna-be-blues-singer [wonna, is usually spelled: wanna]

    "Revenge. Initially it was all about revenge. Make-him-sorry-he-was ever-born revenge. She didnít know how, but he would pay. Murder only came into the equation after the prison doors slammed shut on her cell that first night."

    Revenge. Isabella was consumed by revenge. It ate at her every waking hour. Richard would be sorry he ever crossed her path, and he'd think twice before screwing with another woman. That's for damn sure. (Just a shot at pumping up the volume)

    best of luck (also...are you aware that Isabella is the MC name in Twilight?) just saying...
    Last edited by Avonne Writer; 05-08-2011 at 07:34 PM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Zoe Saadia's Avatar
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    Raven, as you have already received a great critique, I just wanted to tell you that, to me, the setting sounds very interesting.
    Plus I would like to know how the hell do you manage to work on a couple of MSs at the same time! I can't even concentrate on the research for the next one before the current one is sorted out somehow. I admire your work capacity!!!

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