Friday, November 30, 2012

(6) Contemporary Romance: SHORT FORTUNE

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

When a palm reader predicts that falling in love will lead to death, Jayne Potter must guard her heart against her charming co-worker, Liam Blakely. As their attraction escalates to something deeper, Jayne grows ill and must choose whether to believe in the curse that could kill her or the love that might save her.

Jayne scanned the headlines in bold print. “Please be kind.”

Her breath hitched as she spotted her name. She read faster. Even as the typed words set in, it took a moment to feel their impact.

“Jayne Potter’s first exhibit…promises to be her last…boring enough to hang over an insomniac’s bed. A sure cure.”

Her chest caved like someone had socked her directly in the stomach. She read the words again and then the tears that had begged to fall all day spilled generously, making warm streaks across her face. Her artwork couldn’t be that bad. Could it? First exhibit promises to be her last?

She buried her head between her knees, not caring if she suffocated herself. It had taken all the nerve she’d had to go through with the exhibit. She’d spent countless nights making sure the paintings were perfect.

The classroom door creaked open. Jayne pulled her head back and sucked in a breath.

“Hello?” A woman’s voice filled the empty classroom. Jayne didn’t recognize it, which didn’t mean anything. She barely knew anyone who worked in the school now.

She carefully lowered her body closer to the dusty floor and tried to steal a glimpse beneath the door’s crack. She didn’t breathe for fear of being discovered crying in the art supply closet. She could only imagine the gossip then, telling that the new art teacher and former student here was a complete whack job. Great.

The black heels retreated, stopped, turned to point their narrow toe back toward the closet.


  1. Aw! That's heartbreaking! Poor Jayne - I hope this all turns out well for her in the end.

    I found it interesting that the log line and the first 250 words had nothing to do with each other...other than they're both about Jayne.

    That said, the writing's nice here, though. Well done!

  2. I love the voice here, and I emphathize with Jayne immediately. I'm holding my breath hoping that she's not discovered in the closet! Great job, I'd definitely read on.

  3. As writers, I'm sure we can all relate to her reaction at rejection. This reads really smoothly. A few suggestions: I don't think you need the word "herself" after suffocated. It might work to show Jayne retreating into the shadows of the closet when the classroom door creaks open, which will make her transition to lowering her body to the floor a little easier. That tripped me up given her location is revealed after; I wasn't sure why should couldn't see the woman who entered the classroom.

    In your logline, can you mention the occupation of the co-worker? It's probably not 100% essential but given your story starts in a school it might be useful to note she's a teacher. Up to you. Good luck!

  4. I’m a bit skeptical of the premise with the fortune teller. I don’t believe that anyone would take one seriously enough to refuse the chance at love. So there better be something to show that the fortune teller is genuine. But putting up an obstacle is good, and gives the characters reason to resist. It’s conflict. But how would the love save her? That feels overly dramatic and forced and clichéd.

    Sample: The first two sentences are confusing. It seems like “Please be kind” is the headline, not what Jayne thinks when she reads the headline. And her tenure as a teacher is unclear, not knowing anyone at the school now (maybe yet, instead?) but having been a student there. Why not just make it a new school?

    I do like how this shows Jayne’s artistic aspirations, though. Not only is she an art teacher, but we get to see that she’s an artist herself, and how rejection hurts her, which is endearing.

  5. I like the character connections right off the bat--art teacher, former student, and the poor girl crying in the closet. It makes me want to hand her a box of tissues!

    I did get confused when the classroom is first mentioned, and then again with the art closet. Is there a way to mention where she is earlier on, maybe as she's squinting in the darkness to read the headline, or something along those lines?

    And while I'm not sure about the fortune teller's prophesy--it seems a little dubious--I enjoyed the writing and would read on.

  6. Your logline and title drew me in right away, as I love novels about psychics/palm readers/mediums, but as I continued to read, it seemed to me that that it isn't a main focus of your MS. If that's how the story begins, that's great but if it's not a focus, I'd suggest removing that element from your logline/pitch as it's misleading.

    The first few lines are very engaging but I was somewhat confused as to where she was. It took me two reads to understand that she's in a closet that's in an art room. I'd also like to know why she's choosing to read about her review in a closet at work. I would imagine that because she was so eager to read her review, she'd read it right after purchasing the paper. Some flushing out of her reasoning could add some character depth, in my opinion.

  7. I love metaphysics, that touch of another realm impacting our lives ... if only we listen, so I was drawn in right away. Hmmm what could be the psychic's prediction affecting love? What an unusual connection. I want to know more. Artists are super sensitive mediums of art and the world surrounding them. How intensely Jayne takes the blows of this harsh review. How will she make her way?

  8. Big Smile ... Peter, I know a gal who was told she'd marry someone with "rain" associated with him. How "crazy" is that. It's like Jeanne Dixon who said about Richard Nixons election, "The winner will be the loser." Anyway, that gal? She met a guy a week later whose last name was Rain and the rest is history. You just never know! :)

  9. I liked the logline, but there were a number of things in the text that pulled me out. I had to stop and reread "Please be kind" a couple of times before I realized she was speaking to herself and that this wasn't a headline.

    If you're hit in the stomach, wouldn't that be where the pain is? Rather than in your chest?

    Also, the suffocation line...I realize that this isn't literal. But again it made me stop and think rather than keep reading.

    That all being said, you ended at a place that made me want to know more, so I'd keep reading.