Friday, November 28, 2014

(21) New Adult Contemporary: TWO TRUTHS AND A LIE

TITLE: Two Truths and a Lie
GENRE: New Adult Contemporary

A college student used to playing fast and loose with the truth must rescue her grifter mother from a con gone bad, but the one person who can help her sees right through her lies. And when she discovers the secret he has been trying to uncover, she has to choose between her mother’s security, or exposing the one lie so big even she didn’t see it coming.

I had big plans for Friday night. Bigger than dancing at Revel, crashing the Delta Tau party, or cramming for the Global Marketing Strategies midterm. They did not include hanging out in the bathroom, patching up a bullet hole in my mom's ass.

I yank the first aid kit out of the cabinet while my anger does a slow, steady simmer. I told her Sanderson was a disaster waiting to happen. I told her and she promised to stay away.

The bathroom is tiny—barely enough room for one person to move comfortably in—so that my mom is forced to straddle the toilet. I wiggle around until the torn part of her micro-mini is within reach. “Hold still.”

"Ow!" She jerks away. "Watch it!"

“If you’re going to be a baby about this, you can go to the ER."

“You’re in a mood.”

“It’s Friday night, and I’m keeping you from bleeding to death.”

“Don’t be so melodramatic. The bullet barely grazed me.”

“That’s not the point!”

“Come on. You can’t tell me this isn’t more fun than doing that market analysis thing with your little study group.”

I wasn’t at study group. The words are on the tip of my tongue, but I don’t say them. I never told mom I tracked dad down, and it’s not like I’m going to fill her in now, after he slammed the door in my face.


  1. Love the set up of the first paragraph. Right away, I want to know the twisted dynamics going on.

    I also like the closing lines as it prompts even more questions about this family.

    I do question why there isn't at least a mention of involving the police --even if it is discounted immediately as ...but we don't talk to the police. That says a bunch about your characters (If it's true) and helps your readers understand the life of a grifter.

  2. I loved the first paragraph and the description of the mother. Great details. I wasn't as fond of the last paragraph. Yes, it made me curious but it seemed like too many questions all at once. I would rather get a bit more into the first scene before introducing even more questions.

  3. Loved the intro and the way the bullet interfered with the plans. For a moment, I felt like the "tense" switched from past to present and back again. The dialogue was superb. good luck in the contest.

  4. The mother straddling the toilet to get her "ass" looked after is wonderfully visual and not something I've visualized before--ha! I also like the smooth presentation of your MC by contrasting her rather mundane college activities with the highly suspect con-artist/criminal activities of her family member. We get right away that she's trying to overcome her shady background. From grifting to Global Marketing Strategies--well, perhaps the difference isn't quite as wide as it might at first appear. :-)

    I like how you show us that her mother regards her own lifestyle as not just acceptable, but preferable to the no-fun activities of her daughter and her "little" study group. That's some kind of put-down. Well done.

    One editing detail that tripped me up was the phrase, " anger does a slow, steady simmer." I'm not sure it works when you break down the sentence, i.e., does anger "do" a simmer? Or does anger merely "simmer?" It's a minor detail, but maybe important as it occurs so close to the beginning of the book. It caught me up, anyway.

    I'm fine with the final paragraph. It poses questions that make me want to read further. You've got an interesting setup here and some effective, character-revealing dialogue. Good luck with the auction.

  5. The last paragraph of this piece is especially intriguing. Adds dimension to the character when she otherwise would seem shallow (worried about not getting to a party when her mother has been shot). I like what you've started with the voice and I really like the premise, too.

    There are some problems with pronouns in your pitch. "A college student" is genderless, as is "the one person who can help" so that when we get to her and her lies it's unclear who the pronoun is referring to.

    I also had problems with "bullet in her ass" as that is highly inaccurate, and rather than making me laugh, it had me wondering if I had read it right. I would think it's a bullet in her butt cheek, but if the bullet barely grazed her, that's also inaccurate. I'm sure I don't have to tell you the first image that rose to mind when I read that phrase.

    In any case, I do like how fast you got to depth for this character, and how already there are so many things going on, secrets and more secrets, layers of lying already, only in 250 words. I'm intrigued.

    Good luck.

  6. I liked this very much, but you slipped into present tense when you talked about the bathroom. That's an easy fix, though. All in all I thought it was a strong 250. Great job!

  7. I think you could add a few details about what she's using on the wound rather than explaining so much about the size of the bathroom. Also, is she perhaps enjoying the pain her mom will feel while she's dealing with the wound?

    I'm not sure about introducing the long lost dad in these lines. That seems like everything all at once. There's a lot going on already with an injured mom and the dynamics between them.

    I definitely like the premise. The MC should prove interesting as she deals with whatever roadblocks you throw her way.

  8. I thought the dialogue was really funny. The first paragraph, last sentence hooked me. Great job with the entire sequence. Your writing style is engaging.

  9. An excellent first page. I'm hooked by the awesome dialogue.

    I think you need to clarify whether or not there's a bullet hole in her mom's ass, or a gunshot wound. The two are very different since her mom says she was only grazed. There's contradiction here.

    Your last paragraph tripped me up. It would work better, IMO, if you had her think: I wasn't at study group, I was with dad. And then explain how she hasn't yet told her mom that she'd tracked down her apparently estranged father. I don't really get why her father slamming the door in her face is the reason she's not filling her mom in about finding her dad. I don't see how that makes any difference.

    Great voice and powerful imagery.

    Good luck!

  10. You immediately drew me in with your first line and I didn't want to stop reading. You have a fantastic voice and the dialogue flowed nicely.

    The only thing I noticed that bothered me is what others have previously mentioned. Is there a bullet hole in her mom's ass, or a gunshot wound? You say bullet hole and then her mom says she was just grazed, so make sure to clarify.

    Good luck to you!

  11. CLOSED! Full goes to Tamar Rydzinski.

  12. I love the concept. The insight into the family dynamics are fun. I want to know what is going to happen next!