Tuesday, July 25, 2017

July Pass Or Pages Entry #2

Welcome to the feedback reveal week for the latest round of Pass Or Pages! We're so thankful to our agents for taking the time to critique these entries. We hope seeing an agent's perspective will help both the authors and our readers! Many thanks as well to our brave entrants! Now, without further ado...



An accident left Christine with only three left fingers and disfiguring acid burns on her body. She doubts any man will buy a diamond ring for her deformed hand. [RB1] She’s okay with that. She’s planning on finding a new job using her chemistry degree, buying a house, and adopting some kids. Then she meets Paul.[KP1] Intelligent and gorgeous, he sees beyond her hand. She’s interested, but even if he looks beyond her hand, she could not imagine that he could see past her disfigured body. She did not want her heart broken, again. But he convinces her to go out with him ‘just as friends’ one time.[KP2]

Paul’s job with a secretive paramilitary organization puts him in danger; he’s used to taking chances and succeeding when the odds are stacked against him. Christine intrigues him. She’s witty, intelligent, and has the most beautiful eyes. She’s also stubborn and self-protective.[KP3] After their first date, she says no to more. Paul puts his negotiation skills to work and persuades her to go out with him on five more dates before she gives up on love. [RB2][KP4]

As they take turns picking what they’ll do on their dates, they find themselves challenged to face their fears and learn to trust each other. Christine learns to trust Paul enough to let him see all her scars.

When a beautiful woman attempts to seduce Paul, Paul tries to hide the incident from Christine. When she finds out, she walks out on him thinking he’s hiding other things from her. Convincing herself Paul would be happier with someone who was whole and intact, she accepts a job out of state and renews her plans for buying a house and adopting children on her own.

Paul seeks to regain Christine’s trust, but she rebuffs all his efforts. When a violent international cartel marks Paul for assassination, and he ends up in the hospital on life support, Christine realizes, perhaps too late, that she can't live without him. [RB3]

Rachel's Notes:
RB1: This is starting to lose me, because if a hero or heroine have a deformity, I want stories where it is not reinforcing the idea that if they don’t look a certain way they’re not “good enough”.
RB2: If he’s in a secret organization and busy with dangerous work, I’m not quite sure why he’s so focused on this 5 date negotiation. The transition of info doesn’t quite feel fluid to me, or how she plays into this danger/job, if at all. Reading on, but now I am a bit murky on genre.
RB3: I’d pass. I’m not into the idea of a “beautiful woman”/seductress being the dark moment when all seems lost for our couple getting their HEA. Also, no word count or genre info leaves me not quite sure if this is romantic suspense with the cartel/assassination/secret organization, or mostly just a contemporary romance focused on the 5 dates.

Kelly's Notes:
KP1: Is it possible to rephrase this for a stronger influence? We all expect the love interest to come in at some point, so can you make this stronger of an entrance?
KP2: These two sentences are too much "telling."
KP3: Vary your sentence structure for the last three sentences to keep your query interesting!
KP4: Your query is telling a lot more than needed. Give us the basics for what happens, but don’t tell us everything. So he convinces her to go on five more dates, but with seduction and assassination plans in the mix, Christine begins to wonder if she could let down her guard enough to ever let a man like Paul into her life plans. I recommend cutting everything after this point.

First 250:

The warming fragrances wafting from the Comfy Couch Coffee Shop and Bakery revitalized me. It had been another demoralizing night working at the lab. I needed caffeine and chocolate—now.

Spitting rain and work frustrations had me walking with my head bowed, but a sense of something looming ahead of me made me glance up.[KP1] The guy my friend, Scarlet, and I had nicknamed Captain America had seen me coming and was holding the coffee shop door for me. Seeing his disarming smile against his dark complexion, my mood brightened. Scarlet and I gave nicknames to all the regulars at the coffee shop. Besides his Captain America build, he was also so named because he entered the coffee shop as if he considered everyone there under his protection.

Cap waved me ahead of him order my coffee.[KP2] I thanked him awkwardly. Although I had seen him in the shop several times a week for two years, it was the first time we’d ever spoken.

At the front of the line, I realized I’d left my credit card by my computer after ordering books. I had no cash. Digging through my purse, I hoped to find the needed several dollars' of change. I shot a red-faced smile at the cashier. My shoulders fell as the rain dampened eye-rollers behind me kvetched under their breaths at the delay.

Cap reached passed me, handing his credit card to the cashier. "Here, put hers on this along with mine."
Kelly's Notes:
KP1: The adjectives and “looming” word choices in this sentence make this feel as if she’s dreading looking up, and as if something bad is about to happen. It would be more logical to say that she sensed someone looking at her, so she picked up her eyes to meet none other than Captain America’s expectant smile.
KP2: awkward phrasing
Your query needs a few more required elements and a little less information. Make us WANT to read more because we don’t know everything that happens. =)
Though your beginning is interesting and it shows that you have talent as a writer, I’d love to see more voice and interaction in your first 250 words. Most of it is just description, so if you could cut a bit of it out and bump up the voice a dialogue a bit, I think it would really help to strengthen your beginning and pull your reader in!
This is going to be a pass for me, simply because I think it could use a little more work before it’s ready for an agent’s eyes. I love this concept though, and the fact that you’re using a character with imperfections and insecurities, but she has DREAMS, AMBITIONS, and is willing to accomplish all of them on her own! GO GIRL!

Rachel: PASS
Tricia: PASS
Kelly: PASS

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, it sounds like an interesting concept, but I too was put off by the main problem with her insecurities being that she may not get proposed to. I think it would be good to bump up the information about Paul's dangerous job to the first paragraph. That would build intrigue much more quickly.


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