Monday, May 16, 2016

Are You Hooked? Adult Genre Fiction #33

TITLE: The Skyline Club
GENRE: Adult - Category romance

Braydon Ferraru hates the tsunami of social obligations that comes with being part of Texas’ leading family, so when managing the task falls to him, he decides his wife can do it. Now, he just needs one. But the girl he picks for the job turns out to be trouble.

“I think the world of you, Braydon, but this has to be the dumbest idea you’ve ever had.”

Braydon Ferraru stretched an arm over the back of the exquisitely upholstered booth he’d commandeered in the recesses of Skyline Country Club’s executive lounge and smiled at his assistant. Because he could afford it, he preferred to have the best, brightest and most beautiful people around him at all times. Ellie was all three.

“Not dumb,” he corrected, speaking louder to be heard over a sudden burst of enthusiasm from the pianist. “Unorthodox. The kind of thinking that’s made me a fortune over the years.”

She set a hand on her six-months-and-ticking baby belly and scanned the dimly lit lounge. “So which one is she?”

“Haven’t seen her yet. Did you bring that file?”

Ellie scrounged in her oversized leather bag and pulled out a tattered brown folder. It made an ominous thunk when she set it in front of him. “You wouldn’t need unorthodox methods if you’d just say no to that insane request from your mother.”

“You tell her no. I’m not suicidal.” He flipped the folder open and stared. “Yet.”

“Read it and weep. Red column shows events you’re committed to attending. Blue column lists available women. It’s sorted by your last date, so follow instructions for once and call from the top. We don’t want another Cherie incident.”

Cherie, who he’d accidentally invited to three events in a row, and who’d gotten ideas.


  1. The logline hooks us and the humor shines through this piece. That said, the MC is off-putting, especially when descriptors such as “dumbest,” “suicidal,” and “insane” are applied to him or his ideas (even if he denies them; the reader has no evidence to the contrary.). These might be balanced by some appealing characteristic/s, motivation for his actions, or redeeming quality/ies to entice the reader to keep reading on/spend time with him. Furthermore, rather than telling (including telling through dialogue), consider showing his vices and virtues via his voice/actions. Is he really the type of guy who would view a booth as “exquisitely upholstered?” Would he even notice or would he take this for granted—or grouse about something? Speaking of “exquisitely upholstered,” adverbs can be a sign that the writing might be improved by a stronger, more specific verb or description, e.g., if the MC experienced the upholstery through a tactile “feel.” Also watch out for “watch words” like “it” and “stared.”

    Opening with unattributed dialogue can be confusing and the first line might be strengthened by identifying the speaker (or taking another approach, especially starting with the MC). The description is well-done save for some “telling” lines (“He like to surround himself . . .” and “It made an ominous. . .”), which could be easily rewritten/tightened to “show” us the idea—or the thunk. The details also seem a little out of order and might flow more naturally by beginning from the MC’s POV and working out (What would he notice first? The upholstery or the bar butterflies?). A funny piece with fantastic dialogue, delicious description, and some great zingers. Bring out more fun and you’re done.

  2. I don't think I can state this any better than Dahlia above. I agree with all of the critiques. I like the premise so I will add that I'm hooked.

  3. Agree mostly with Dahlia. At least on this first page the MC doesn't seem like someone I'd want to ride with for the duration of the book.

  4. I'd be careful of starting with dialogue. It's confusing when it's not attributed to anyone. And it is difficult to hook with dialogue as we know nothing about the character or set up and it can be very jarring and disorientating. Most agents that's I've researched don't recommend starting this way.
    Also watch the adjectives. Think about using verbs or nouns. Show, don't tell.
    Like the premise though :)

  5. I like the premise. Already I like Ellie and dislike the MC. (don't like his name either - hard to read over and over again).

    I agree with most of other commenters, but would add that Ellie would never have a tattered folder and thunk it down. Ellie has too much class. Her folder would be from an exclusive stationery shop.

  6. Intriguing log line. Esp. like use of "tsunami." You've taken some several standard plot twists and made them interesting. I don't mind starting with dialogue. I'm just waiting for him to reveal his assistant will become the substitute wife. You may need to tweet in some unexpected events/people/developments to kick the plot up over the standard romance happenings.