Thursday, March 26, 2020

March 2020 Pass or Pages Entry #3

It's time for the Pass or Pages feedback reveal!  We're so thankful for our awesome agents Stephanie Winter of PS Literary, Amy Bishop of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, and Samantha Fabien of Laura Dail Literary Agency for taking the time to critique these entries.  And a shout out to the brave authors whose work will be on the blog this week.  You are awesome!



The political drama of SCANDAL meets the non-stop action of TRY NOT TO BREATHE [SW1], when Diana Avery [SW2] discovers a political conspiracy that threatens to tear Canada apart.

As Interim Special Events Planner of VIP Affairs, Diana Avery receives a cryptic note to meet the Canadian Prime Minister after dark and in person, but she doesn't know why the PM requested her services. Before they can meet, she overhears shocking details about a premeditated hit on the PM and the big push for Quebec's departure from Canada. She realizes she's collateral damage in an assassination attempt linked to a big push for Quebec's departure from Canada. Lucky for her, she saved the PM's life by taking the bullet. But at midnight, her memory of glory is destroyed when a stranger threatens her in her hospital room [SW3].

Targeted [SW4] by a sniper for learning tidbits of the truth, she goes into hiding at a temporary safe house with her bodyguard, Wesley Christian.  As she heals from her bullet wound and other injuries, she remembers more crucial details from the “Quexit” plot from her foggy memory. When it slowly resurfaces after hearing a familiar voice from the night before, she discovers the people who are behind the threat in her cryptic mysterious voucher. While she decodes the mystery, she learns the Foreign Powers in French Canada want an unnecessary civil war that could tear the country apart.

Only two people can protect her from imminent danger—Wesley Christian and Inspector Adrian Manning. When Wesley and Diana discover a hidden message in French, they also grow closer to solving the puzzle. As Adrian pieces together the political conspiracy theory in Winnipeg, he's also trying to follow the sniper's path before he comes after Diana, the PM, or both again. With her life on the line and a storm brewing to split Canada, she’ll have to unravel the cryptic mystery before the sniper targets the Foreign Affairs Minister in Ottawa next.

Based on your interest in thrillers [SW5], I hope DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY, a 110,000 word political thriller will suit your list [AB1]. This is a standalone novel with trilogy series potential.   In April 2018, I received a like from an editor at St. Martin's Press during #Dvpit [SW6].

Thank you for your time and consideration. I'll look forward hearing from you.

Stephanie's comments:
[SW1] Nice competitive title set up. This second comp is a touch on the older side. Are there any newer fitting titles?
[SW2] This is a good start to your logline!
[SW3] This sounds like an interesting concept. There’s an opportunity here to pare down some of the fine details. The effect of having this level of detail is that this paragraph begins to sound like a synopsis.
[SW4] This, too, is dipping into synopsis territory. If I’m getting most or many of the specifics in the query, I tend to feel as though I don’t need to see the book to learn what happens. 
[SW5] Nice touch! It’s always appreciated to know that the author has done their research on the agent. 
[SW6] This is great info to have. The question I have when I see that the like was from 2018, is what was the outcome? Was there a pass with feedback? Have you revised since? If you have a recent like from the latest #DVpit or #PitMad round, having this line stand alone works for me! 

Amy's comments:
[AB1] I’m not really doing political thrillers, so I’m afraid this would be a Pass for me.

First 250

Diana Avery straightened out the speaker wires and turned on her wireless Bluetooth headset. With her earplugs, this connected her to security. Small jolts of tingling energy ran up and down her fingers. After a quick glimpse to her watch, everything would be set and go according to plan. The moments before Prime Minister Tattersall's speech were a mixture of excitement and nerves. And this presentation was a big one.

Voices murmured in English and French behind her as the crowd got settled in. When she finished with the sound check, she pivoted and remained rooted near the doorway.  Almost time [SW7]for showtime!

An African-American woman entered the room and approached Diana. She dressed in a Donna Karan black-and-scarlet pantsuit with matching pumps.  "Ms. Avery, may I have a word with you?"

She parted her lips. "Who [SW8] are you?" It came out low and faint [SW9].

"Nicole Pembroke. I'm Prime Minister Tattersall's advisor. We spoke on the phone a month ago." 

She nodded and raised her chin with her shoulders back.  "I remember, Ms. Pembroke. What can I do for you? We're all set for the speech [SW10]."

"Prime Minister Tattersall wanted me to give you a message. She'll [SW11] meet with you soon."


Nicole handed her a sealed envelope. "Tonight. Near the VIP Salon. See you in an hour."

She exited the foyer [SW12].

After she left, Diana ripped open the golden-embossed envelope, thumbed the letter and found a cryptic hidden message embedded in the stationary [SW13].


Stephanie's comments:
[SW7] There are a few lines here about the countdown to this speech, and you could err on the side of less is more.

[SW8] In such a high-profile political world, I wonder if Diana should’ve been able to recognize her. 
[SW9] I’m getting the sense that this line is setting the tone. It’s not quite hitting the mark for me because it feels like there is a lot of pressure on so few words. 
[SW10] This dialogue is drifting toward non-essential conversation. You want to highlight dialogue that shows the best juicy bits. Your narrator can be used to set up the scene. 
[SW11] I love a female PM!
[SW12] I appreciate starting the story off with this initial action! The dialogue feels a bit stilted…perhaps Diana nervously anticipating her meeting would create the desired tone without dialogue?
[SW13] Overall, I found the direct language did not quite set the mood well enough for me. I’d love a little more context to help the reader realize the significance of this interaction. For this reason, I have to pass.  
Results:  Pass

Amy's comments: None

Results:  Pass

Samantha's comments:
Be mindful of sentence structures and lengths. Thrillers often have many threads and layers, so in describing them it's best to be as clear and concise as you can. Based on personal tastes, I don't tend to gravitate toward politically charged thrillers. While this is a good introduction, I presently don't feel a propulsive need to keep reading to see what happens next. When querying the first 5 or 10 pages, think about how they are laid out. You want an agent or reader to feel consumed with the story and eager to read what happens next.

Results: Pass

No comments:

Post a Comment

Add your awesome here: