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I like the tone you're trying to set up with your MC but I think it's just a little disconnected. I'm assuming a 'selective mute' means Kate prefers to keep quiet, but I'm lost as to what talk therapy has to do with admissions and what the connection is to forensic science.
I'm marginally familiar with selective mutism - it's an interesting hurdle to give to a protagonist. I'd keep reading for that reason alone, but you've also set up the conflict succinctly and clearly - she wants the early admission, but she can't unless she gets through talk therapy. And then I wonder when the fantasy/thriller elements come in...Yup, I'm hooked.
I think you can tighten it up a bit. Whether or not she wanted early admission, the class was going to be a challenge. I think you can bring us closer to her in this opening scene. Something like "Kate Hayden cringed when she..."
I liked it, but it did have a disconnected feeling. I think it's the two separate paragraphs. Seeing the second paragraph automatically set my mind to see what comes next as something different, another thought, and it's not. It's a contuation of the first paragraph. Perhaps keep it all in one paragraph. Other than that, I thought it worked well.
Interesting. So is talk therapy a requirement of the forensic science PhD? Why? Is it a forensic psychology program?
Nice smooth sentences but you might need to connect the two. how bout adding a "but" before your second sentence?