Comment to 'Feedback request - Contemporary Fantasy opening chapters'
  • Great beginning -- drew me in. This is a book I would buy.

    Where I needed a bit more convincing was Neil agreeing to do what Caro wanted. I’d like Caro to have something she threatens him with (we don’t even need to know what it is at this stage) to make him submit.

    Neil is a great balance between loser and special – as a reader I can anticipate tensions and problems.

    Caro – not so much. Hints that she could be nasty in the past (cigarette burn), but she’s almost too ‘normal’ now. I think you could come up with something more unique and twisty for her (all her time off/money is spent throwing dummies out of hotel windows! I’m not entirely serious, but maybe you get what I mean).

    My reader's heart sank when I realized I was going to have to sit through the whole journey to their old hometown. I assumed we'd either jump to their arrival at the hotel where Davey was murdered, or be diverted onto a completely unexpected (but wild and interesting) subplot to delay our arrival at that point.

    Of course, with a murder mystery, you are dropping in plot clues that the reader doesn’t see the significance of at this time, so it may be that some of that conversation has to stay, but perhaps it could take place in the hotel lift? so that the reader knows to  ‘hang on in there’ ghostly happenings are imminent.

    I hope these comments are relevant/useful - this is the style of story I love to read.

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    • Hi Lynn,

      Thank you for the thank you. It's a sign of your professionalism that you can consider changes without getting defensive (I'm not there yet - childish of me, I know).

      On the subject of Caro being a badass/person with underworld connections. Assuming you have a plot reason for not revealing this early on, you could pepper her dialogue with words that make the reader sit up and take notice but don’t give too much away. To be specific, words like ‘Crowbar’. As in when Neil won’t open the door ‘Are you going to make me get the crowbar?’ (doors can be levered open by inserting a crowbar in the hinge side). But any impactful words that hint there is another side to her would do.

      All the best, Heather.

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      • I like the way you think, Heather. I'll bear that in mind. Caro's technically reformed now, but her past was very shady, so I'm guessing crow barring a door would not be beyond her. And I think maybe you're right, that would make an interesting interplay between her and the mousy Neil make her one of the 'extraordinary' characters Harry talks about.

        As for taking criticism with good grace, well, thank you. It can be tricky, especially if people don't get your writing, don't appreciate something you've worked really hard on. But Townhouse people are serious about writing, so the advice given is worth listening to and often invaluable - like yours! Thank you again 😀

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        • The problem is a really good piece of writing has a flow that makes it look easy.

          It's invisible stitching, twice as hard as normal stitching, so that nobody can see your work.

          All the best

          -Heather

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