Friday, November 11, 2016

On The Block #10 TWO WOMEN AND A MAN 10:30 AM EST

GENRE: Adult Women's Fiction

When Robin’s adoring husband succumbs to drinking after his student’s death, he verbally attacks her, but doesn't remember the abuse. While Robin pieces together what the insults meant, she befriends a troubled 20-year-old, only to discover her husband and the woman have a history that may destroy her marriage.
Robin checked her phone again. 1:00 AM.

David should have been back by now. He hasn’t called. Hasn’t texted. She’d tried calling him but only got his voice mail. No response.

Winter’s twilight had been closing in when he’d driven off to deliver one of her homemade pizzas. Sienna, a freshman in his high school art class, was very sick.

“The chemo drip has stabilized her leukemia,” he’d told her, “but she’s wiped out, and they don’t know if she’ll recover. Her family is stricken.”

She wasn’t supposed to take a turn for the worse, Robin thought. Doesn’t chemo fix fifteen-year-olds nowadays?

Though none of this explained why her husband wasn’t home.

“Too invasive,” she’d told him when he suggested downloading the Find My Friends app to their iPhones. “Why would we ever need to track each other’s movements?”

Damn it. He was right, as usual.

She walked to the window and looked down the snow-covered street. Another six inches were expected in Fettle, a suburb of Pittsburgh, before morning.

David’s last text had come when the kids were still awake—Leo, coloring a paper mask he had brought home from preschool that morning and Pearl, having finished a drawing, looking up from her Percy Jackson book.

“When is Daddy going to be home?”

Robin read his text again: Going to miss kids’ bedtime. Group of students visiting Sienna. She’s unresponsive. Trying to comfort them. She clicked the phone’s home button and dropped her arm to her side.


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  2. I really like the idea of the protagonist trying to piece together the truth from statements her husband can't remember. It has the appeal of The Girl on the Train to me. Personally, I'd recommend a different title for this though, because the title immediately struck me as referring to a threesome . . . which I don't think this is about : )

  3. I agree with Maggie. The title suggests something else entirely, but I love the idea of "Robin pieces together what the insults meant".

    "Her family is stricken" - doesn't sound like something a person would say naturally. I'd change.

    The last three paragraphs were a bit disjointed, between the last text, the description of the kids, dialogue, and then back to the text. It would read easier if the actual text message could be placed when she mentions "David's last text" - if that makes sense!

    "Pearl, having finished a drawing, looking up from her Percy Jackson book." - I would remove "having finished a drawing" and just have her reading her book. Very clever way of indicating their ages.

    I loved "Though none of this explained why her husband wasn’t home."

    I would read on. All the best.

  4. Both the logline and the excerpt seemed a bit disjointed to me. I can't see how the the first part of the logline is related to the last half. But perhaps that's part of the mystery.

    In the exceprt,parg 3, hubby goes out to deliver pizza, followed by - one of his students was sick. The next few pargs go on about the sick girl, which doesn't seem to have anything to do with delivering pizza, and even the MC says it has nothing to do with why hubby isn't home, so I wonder what the point is in telling us all that. The rest goes on in the same way.

    Perhaps focus more on the 'now' of it all, and give us more of her emotions. Is she worried about him? Angry at him? Suspicious? Is she wishing he'd call, or fearing the worst because he hasn't?

    Take the info you have here, and perhaps rework it so it reads smoother.

  5. The logline confused me the first read through.

    In the excerpt, my first thought was the student probably died, why didn’t she think that? It seems the most likely reason he'd wouldn't be home. A few bits seems awkward or maybe it's too much direction like" she dropped her arm to her side."

    I love the idea of the story, but I too took the title to mean something very different. ;)

  6. It sounds like there's potential in the premise, with the secrets Robin learns, but I wonder if you need to tell us that her husband doesn't remember his drunken abuse. It seems like you're excusing it, and that's not attractive to me.

    The excerpt also feels scattered to me, between the husband not calling, the pizza, the students, their kids, the iPh*ne app. I think you could do a better job of enriching the setting and focusing on the worry Robin feels. The streets are covered in snow; maybe he didn't want to drive, or maybe he was in an accident. Maybe the student died. I get more a sense of selfishness from Robin than panic something bad happened, which is how I would react. You could show her leaving the voicemail, going through scenarios and explanations in her head, having trouble sleeping. We need a better emotional connection to Robin right away if we're going to side with her through the rest of the story.

  7. A couple of problems in this sample - but they are all technical, and easy fixes.

    -David. Nothing you say about him identifies him as an adult until paragraph 6, when she says "my husband." He easily could have been her teenage son, taking a pizza to a sick friend.

    -Extra words. Delete "No response." from paragraph 2 - redundant, and it deadens your pacing.

    -Tense. Paragraph 8 - "He'd been right" rather than "He was right."

    -Pizza delivery. By using the word "delivery," it sounds like David works for a pizza place and is out delivering pizza. Yes, that's counter-indicated when you say "homemade," but you're confusing the reader needlessly. Say "taking one of her homemade pizzas to Sienna, a student in his freshman art class."

    (Synopsis/description: I never read these until after reading manuscripts or samples - because the pages need to stand alone - but this one is very confusing. Not entirely clear what the heart of your book is.)