Thursday, September 29, 2016

September Pass Or Pages Entry #4

Time for our favorite part of Pass Or Pages, the feedback reveals! We hope that everyone following along will get something out of these reveals that they can apply to their own writing. I did!
We are so grateful to our agent panel for critiquing these entries. We would also like to give a shout-out to the authors for being brave and willing to improve.

Entry #4: QUANTUM


Seventeen-year-old student pilot, Willow Ryan, can be in two places at once, but she doesn’t know it.[RN1]

While on a solo flight, she is transported from Texas to Ireland where she meets a true gentleman[RN2]—stunning Irish local, Liam Tyl. [KA1] During her visits [SN1], he tries to help her unravel the mystery of how she appears and disappears, but their time together is always short lived.[SN2] [SN3]

At home, she has no memory of Liam or her travels to Ireland. There are chunks of time that she can’t account for—moments with her friends and family. Most importantly, memories with her ailing Mom that can’t be replaced.

Liam reaches out to her through letters, and together they discover there are two versions of Willow. Now she must learn how to navigate between her two realities without losing the new love in her life or her family back home. An accident proves that she may be too much like Schrödinger’s cat [SN4], and leaves Liam and Willow both questioning her survival.[RN3] [SN5] [KA2]

QUANTUM, a stand-alone young adult science fiction romance with series potential, is complete at 67,000 words.[RN4]

Renee's Notes:
[RN1]This is a killer opening sentence.
[RN2]This isn’t a traditional time travel story, is it? “Gentleman” feels antiquated and muddies the timeline a little bit.
[RN3]I don’t get a huge sense of what’s driving the plot. What is the main conflict of the book?
[RN4]Can you give a few comp titles here?

Sarah's Notes:
[SN1] So, this continues to happen? You need to establish that. Another sentence needs to be before this one to state that she keeps going back and forth between Texas and Ireland.
[SN2] Does she just disappear?
[SN3] This is a short query and I feel like it would be served with more details here. This is the hook of your story.
[SN4] So I know the paradox of Schrodinger's cat. Not everyone will. Agents aren't going to google a term in your query. i would suggest switching this out.
[SN5] I'm not sure you need this last bit. The first half of the paragraph does a nice job explaining her goal and setting the stakes.

Kurestin's Notes:
[KA1] Particularly for a romance, I need more on the love interest than just stunning and Irish. I want to already feel the chemistry of their relationship, and see how their dynamic might play out.
[KA2] You've set this conflict up in a very passive way. I don't feel the urgency, or the push for them to solve it ASAP and for me to find out what happens next. I would probably pass for lack of urgency, conflict, or much information on what’s going on here.

First 250:

My smile grew wider with each step I took toward the plane which sat peacefully on the ramp, almost [KA1] as if it had a personality all its own[RN1]. The paint sparkled in the sun, and the glare on the windshield could be mistaken for a wink. The airplane sat ready to take to the skies. The wind barely blew, a bit of a rarity in west Texas this time of year. The sky, a perfect blue, called my name, and I couldn’t wait to get in the air. Flying an airplane at seventeen years old was pretty amazing. I mean, some of my friends still couldn’t even drive. It made me kinda proud to be here.[RN2]

Today was different. I was headed out on my own. My flight instructor, Paul, walked out with me, but he wouldn’t be there during the flight, running surveillance. Just me and the sky, which felt a little nerve-racking. I woke with butterflies in my stomach, and they hadn’t gotten any better once I arrived. [KA2]

Paul watched as I performed my preflight with practiced ease and ordered fuel. He stayed quiet, writing down notes, while he stood off to the side. I was dying to know what he was writing.

I pointed to his notebook. “I’m assuming if I was doing something wrong, you’d tell me?”

He laughed. “Yeah. I’d tell you. You’re fine, Willow. Relax. Pretend I’m not here. These are just some things to go over for next time. [KA3]

Renee's Notes:
[RN1]Sitting peacefully does not denote any real personality.
[RN2]I love that she is confident in herself. She should be proud.

Sarah's Notes:
This is a great opening page. You've set the scene well. Good job.

Kurestin's Notes:
[KA1] Avoid hedging language like "almost"
[KA2] The rhythm is this paragraph is a bit choppy.
[KA3] Be careful not to include too much small talk style stuff in your dialogue. It can be tempting to add it for realism, but it tends to read awkwardly On the page and make the characters feel flat.

Renee Nyen: PASS
Sarah Negovetich: PASS
Kurestin Armada: PASS

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