Thursday, March 10, 2011

Drop the Needle: REVELATION #33

TITLE: Martha's story (currently untitled
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Martha has come home to find Douglas waiting in her flat to talk to her. He's trying to convince her to help the coven that she walked away from six months ago.

I finished my chocolate thoughtfully. It still didn't mean I would help, though. I'd had a lot of reasons for leaving and breaking off contact with the coven. I wasn't going to be drawn back to them the first time someone came asking for me. Even if that person was Douglas.

"You could still manage without me. You know all I can really do is speed things up."

"We don't know what they'll do to him in that time."

"I don't see why I should be dragged back into your affairs, Douglas. You all managed before I came to you. You can go back to managing without me."

"Martha." He stepped forward, grabbing my arm, and I was forced to meet his eyes. "You don't understand. You will help us."

"Why should I? You still haven't told me that."

"Martha," his voice was strained. "It's Cameron. They've taken Cameron."

The floor dropped out from under me.

"Cameron," I whispered. "Why didn't you tell me?"

He remained silent.

"How long has he been gone?"

"Nearly a week, as close as we can tell."

A week. I tried not to think about what could have happened in a week.

"So will you help us, then?" he asked again.

I sighed. The fact that it was Cameron who had been taken changed everything. It shouldn't have, but it did. There was no way I could sit here when my help might let the coven find Cameron and bring him back.


  1. I also want to know why Douglas didn't reveal that Cameron was involved in the first place, especially when that info would have guaranteed Martha's help.

    One of the most important things you have to maintain is credibility and when you hold back information just to create drama the reader sees the author orchestrating things loud and clear.

    Either rewrite Martha's experience when she finds out right away that she has to choose between staying away from the coven or saving Cameron OR give us a really good reason why Douglas had to hold out on revealing that info, but took the risk in order to secure Martha's help.

  2. I didn't get the line "The floor dropped from under me" but besides that it was good writing. Somehow, it doesn't feel like anything is really at stake, because I have no clue who "they" are.

  3. I'm not a big fan of the first sentence. "I finished my chocolate thoughtfully" doesn't flow well and while I know what you're trying to say, it doesn't make sense as it is now. That gets things started on the wrong foot.

    The dialogue is a bit lengthy and isn't quite realistic. I thought "You could still manage without me. You know all I can really do is speed things up." could be shortened to something like: "You could manage without me. All I can do is speed things up."

    I think you have a neat concept and I'd definitely like to know about her relationships with the guys.

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. I didn't think the revelation worked because, as tanya said, why didn't Douglas just mention Cameron in the first place? You need a legitimate reason for him withholding that information to make it work.

    Overall, I'd suggest another revision or two to make the writing stronger. How do you eat chocolate thoughtfully? And then the second sentence reads as though finishing her chocolate thoughtfully might mean she would help them.

    When douglas says they don't know what they'll do to 'him' in that time, I wonder why he doesn't say who 'him' is, and I wonder why she doesn't ask. And what is "that time?' Perhaps be more specific.

    When he remains silent, you could cut that and let him state his reason for not mentioning Cameron right away, which would help with the revelation.

  5. I really like this; great voice!

    I don't have a lot to critique, I do wonder reading the other comments why Douglas held back about Cameron. Maybe reveal that Douglas knew this would cause her panic and pain, so he hesitated to tell her at first.

    And Martha doesn't seem like an urban fantasy MCs name. IMHO, it doesn't fit the genre.

    Great job, and good luck!

  6. A few things the others didn't cover. "It" in the second sentence seems to refer to the drinking thoughtfully (a pesky adverb), as in: Just because I was drinking thoughtfully doesn't mean I would help.

    How was she forced to meet his eyes? Sounds like he had to grab her face or force her eyelids open. Isn't the MC upset at being manhandled?

    "I sighed" seems a pretty subdued reaction when she is worried about someone she cares for.

    Looks like you've got an interesting premise here.

  7. This line...The fact that it was Cameron who had been taken changed everything.
    I didn't need it said. I already got that, so it stopped the movement unnecessarily. I want to know where Cameron is though and why they've taken him, so good job!

  8. There's very little description of what Martha goes through when she realizes/is told Cameron was taken. A single sentence "the floor dropped out from under me" isn't enough for me to get a picture of how she's reacting. It's too understated.

    I agree with the above, too, that Douglas needs a reason for not presenting Cameron's taking as the first reason why Martha should help the coven.

    But I still liked this. Martha as a character is very interesting, and in this short scene you've managed to put enough at risk/stake for me to want to read more.

  9. Author of "Martha's Story"April 20, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    First, thanks everyone for the comments! This was the first time I tried posting something to one of these crit sessions. It was a lot harder than I expected not to jump in with a comment justifying and explaining things.

    I feel like it was very hard to communicate in this tiny excerpt things that were going on in the story - if you had even the two paragraphs either side, I think (and hope!) that some things would make more sense.

    You guys have given me some really great points to consider - I'm starting to revise this properly now, so I really appreciate you all taking the time to crit. So, thank you all again!