Time for the Pass Or Pages feedback reveals! We're so thankful to our agent panel for taking the time to critique these entries. Shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week. You are awesome!
Entry #4: LONG STORIES SHORT
“Long Stories Short” [CR1] - one story pieced together chapter by chapter through short stories shared from the point of view of a handful of key characters. These characters’ unique voices shows how everyone’s perspective is valuable; everyone’s story matters [KP1].
The novel is comprised of roughly 70,800 words. Each chapter is in short story format, from a different character’s perspective. Their stories reveal that all events in their life have a purpose if they listen and watch for signs around them [KP2] [CR2].
[KP1] What is the collective meaning or purpose of this collection though? What do they all have in common? Why is this important and relevant in today’s world? Who are the main characters? Why should any readers care?
[KP2] Query is not really grabbing me, because I’m not sure what your over-arching story is actually about. You need to explain what the purpose and importance of this story is and why you wrote it in short stories to begin with. What’s the story about? Who’s telling the story or a part of the story? What are the stakes?
[CR1] Title should be all caps.
[CR2] This query tells me nothing about what the actual book is about. What’s the overarching story? Wants of the characters? Conflict? Tension? I don’t have any idea what I’m going to see in the pages, which is an immediate red flag for me. If I don’t like the first paragraph or so, then there’s nothing else for me to hold onto or be interested in, because the query didn’t give me anything.
First 250 words:
Mom is on the left, Jess is on the right. Once again, I’m stuck sitting on the couch during another one of their fights [KP1].
“Why don’t you ever listen to me?!” Mom yells.
“Why do you treat me like a child?!” my sister screams back.
Turning my head from side to side like I’m waiting to cross the street, I’m surprised I don’t have a crick in my neck. I feel like I’m playing monkey in the middle, which includes that same sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. Flashbacks of pig-tailed little me, jumping up and down, praying that someone on the outside would take pity on me. That game wasn’t fun even when I was a kid.
“We can’t live like this, Jessica!” Mom continues.
“No one could live with a tyrant like you!” Jess screeches [KP2].
To many people, a battle between hot-headed redheads might be stereotypically humorous. For me, this argument is just another notch in the belt of fights between my sister and mom. Sometimes I wonder if they even hear what the other is saying when both raise their voices to see who can be the loudest.
“You’re just counting the days until you leave for college!” Mom runs her hands through her hair – a nervous tick during fights. It almost looks as if she’s massaging her head for comfort [KP3] [CR1].
[KP1] This sentence is a slightly bland statement. In order to really reel in your audience, I think you can find something a bit more purposeful and powerful they can relate to while sitting in the middle of a fight between family.
[KP2] Looking at dialogue tags, your use of them is rather repetitive which is slightly endearing in this usage, but it can also get old very quickly and actually pull you away from your readers due to a lack of fluency and natural voice.
[KP3] I’m not exactly sure what the main character wants or who she is yet, and due to your query being not quite ready, I’m going to unfortunately pass
[CR1] Not the right place to start. Too much is going on and since I know none of the characters, this fight falls extremely flat. It doesn’t mean anything to me right now. And since the query didn’t tell me anything about the story, I have no idea where this is headed and don’t have anything else to hold my interest and keep me moving forward.