Thursday, March 3, 2011

Drop the Needle: REVELATION #18

TITLE: The Last Conviction
GENRE: Contemporary women's fiction

MC meets with her husband, George, and his lawyer, Murph, in jail to consider the prosecutor's offer of a plea bargain.

Apart from the body itself, our biggest problem was George's dispute with Vicki's father, Mr. Latimer, which supplied a strong motive. George had the opportunity since no one could account for his whereabouts at the time of the girl's murder except for our son who had fallen asleep by the river. And he clearly had the means. A strong man, he could easily hold the young girl underwater and then cover the body with rocks.

"The deal is, they'll accept a plea to manslaughter."

"Manslaughter? He'd have to say he did it?"

Murph nodded. George was silent. He was watching my reaction. I felt dizzy, like I wasn't really in this place. How could he even consider such a deal?

Unless he...

My God, did he do it?

Murph continued. "The good side is, he'd be looking at twenty years max, instead of sixty."

"Twenty years?" I turned to George. "Is that what...I mean, how...God, I don't know what to say."

"It's a roll of the dice no matter what we do," he said. "I'm willing to do whatever you say."

"Me? How can I...This isn't something you can put on me. Either one of you. I can't believe... What would I tell the kids? That I insisted you plead guilty? Is that what you want? To make this all my fault?"

"No, honey. Not that. It's just... you know. I guess I'm asking, if I roll the dice, would you still be there in sixty years?"


  1. I think the dialog and her thoughts for this flow really well, but I struggled a little bit with the first paragraph. For one, I feel like this is information a reader would probably already know if this story was about the murder and trial, and we wouldn't need this paragraph to explain it to us. I also feel the sentences are a little long. Maybe there is someway to streamline this information.

    I'm really interested by the idea that she's not sure whether or not her husband did it, and that he's leaving the choice up to her. I wonder what she's going to decide!

  2. I agree with the first comment. All the names at first make it difficult to follow (but that's not you, that's just us dropping in on the middle of your manuscript so nothing to worry about), but the dialogue flowed really well along with her internal thoughts. And I love that last line.

  3. I really liked the dialogue. You could really feel her emotion. Also loved that she's not even certain if her husband did it. Oh, the uncertainty, you can just feel the tension to come.

    I also didn't like the first paragraph. To me it seemed like an info dump of things the reader would already know. Of course, not having read what has come before I could be way off base.

    Aside from the first paragraph, I really liked this and am very curious to know what her response will be. Great job.

  4. I found the dialogue spot-on, emotional and believable. But like others, the first paragraph really confused me. I'm not sure if it's the drop-the-needle effect, or if it's over-explained, especially since it's not the beginning of the book.

    Intriguing premise. Good luck!

  5. Dialogue, ditto. Loved the last line the line of the excerpt. The first paragraph was confusing for me as well. nicely done!

  6. I wasn't as confused by first paragraph but the strongest part is definitely the dialogue. I'm hooked for sure.

  7. This worked well. The revelation that her husband may have actually commiitted the crime ups the ante and adds lots of tension and suspense to the scene. Maybe add a line or two of what that means for her. Could she live with a murderer? Should she be worried about sleeping at night or leaving her kids with him?

    I agree about the first paragraph. It reads like an info dump. You might want to consider cutting it, depending on what has come before it. (Do we already know all this?)

    Nicely done!

  8. I really liked this - such a wonderful dramatic situation to put a character into. Similar to other comments, the first sentence was a bit tough with so many names being thrown out at once, but as I got into the dialogue it became really gripping.

    My only quibble is the moment when she wonders if he did it - I feel like this must have been something that she has already considered as a possibility... even if she doesn't want to. Even the description at the beginning with George's motive and ability laid out so clearly, makes me think she has imagined that he did it, even if she has refused to believe it.

  9. Yeah, ditto first paragraph. Also, how old is this woman supposed to be because most people who are married with kids don't live another 60 years. She should be thinking it's the plea bargain OR she never sees him again. And I'm not American but I thought the maximum sentence for murder was 25 years. I guess I'm confused here but this might make more sense if I'd read the part before this.

  10. Interesting idea. I liked the dialogue too, but I wasn't sure about the if you roll the dice will you still be there in sixty years. I'm guessing probably not.
    Maybe think about changing the sentencing because the idea is a good one and it could work really well. I liked it!

  11. Ditto on the first paragraph sounding like an info dump.

    Great dialogue and a nice reveal.

    I agree there was something about the last sentence that just didn't mesh with the previous dialogue. It seems too detached from the emotion of the realization.