Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mysteries For Danielle Svetcov #2

GENRE: Mystery

When wedding planner Sarah James finds a bride dead on her wedding day, she suspects there is a connection to her past. If she doesn’t find the killer, she could be next.

Sarah James could think of a lot of things she would rather be doing on a late spring afternoon in Moonstone Beach than putting the final touches on the wedding of socialite Lora Leigh Avery. As if to spite her, a pin pierced her finger as she fixed a rogue piece of tulle on the end of a pew of the First Presbyterian Church. A drop of blood formed a tiny bead, and she pulled out a handkerchief and wiped it away. She had been fighting a funny feeling all morning long.

Just then, her best friend Naomi appeared from the back of the church, clutching a bouquet of gardenias. “I think we have a problem.”

The sick feeling in the pit of her stomach was getting worse by the minute. She knew she should’ve had a shot with lunch. “What’s the matter?”

“Lora won’t open the door,” answered Veronica, the maid of honor. The tall, thin starlet sauntered down the aisle of the church, the silk of her champagne-colored bridesmaid dress clinging in all of the right places.

“I’m sure it’s fine, probably just nerves,” Sarah said. “I’ll handle it.”

Veronica folded her arms. “I hope so.”

They walked through the hall toward the suite, and Sarah gave a meek knock. “Lora?”

“It’s locked,” Naomi whispered.

With a shaking hand, Sarah pulled a diamond encrusted bobby pin out of her updo and stuck it in the lock until it popped. With a shaking hand, she pushed open the door and gasped.

No, this was not good.


  1. Logline: I had to read the beginning a few times in order to figure out whose wedding day it was. This may be clearer if you said, "one of her brides" or "one of her clients". I also found the "her past" confusing. Her as in the bride or as in the main character? Either way, "connection" needs to be more specific as this is probably her motivation for entering the journey. Finally, there is too big a jump to the second line. Why does SHE need to find the killer? Are there no police? And if she finds the killer, what will stop him from killing her? I think you need to focus on what she actually NEEDS which is probably to get the killer put behind bars or something like this.

    Good luck!

  2. I'm kind of confused about all the people. You have four characters mentioned in the first page, all female, and I found myself backtracking to figure out who was who. The best friend and the bridesmaid both come in to say the bride won't come out of her room. Are they both necessary here? Maybe keep one and bring in the other later.

    The line "it's locked," seemed unnecessary because you've already said the bride won't open her door. And then Sarah's shaking hand as she unlocks the door comes out of nowhere. Why is she suddenly scared, like she knows what she's going to find? Having a "bad feeling" all day could just mean the celebrity bride is going to cause trouble and here the trouble is. I expected her to be annoyed about it, not suddenly afraid.

    But I like the idea of this and I'd probably read a couple more pages to see if the characters could draw me in.

  3. In the logline, I'm missing WHY she thinks the dead bride is connected to her own past and why she thinks the killer will come for her next.

    For the page, I would have liked a little more activevoice and showing in that first paragraph.

    The line tacked onto the end "She had been fighting..." doesn't seem to relate to the events in the paragraph.

    Why is her best friend at the church? Is she her business partner, also?

    Something about the "stuck it in the lock until it popped" seemed awkward... the pin popped? The lock? Does she know anything about picking locks or did she just shove it in there and hope for the best? Btw, she does something "with a shaking hand" twice in that same paragraph.

    I don't like when MCs gasp at things but I'm not allowed to see what it is.... I realize you'll say it on the next line, but it still feels like a bit of artificial tension-by-withholding.

    However, I do think murders at weddings with planner as targert sounds like a fun premise... sick as that probably sounded.

  4. I agree it's a little unclear in the logline whose wedding it is; I figured out it's the client, not the wedding planner. But I think a little restructuring will clarify. Also agree to say why the connection to her past.

    Overall, I liked how the story got right to the action, but I did trip up a little on the first line; I get that she's rather be doing something else than be at the socialite's wedding, but it IS her job. I mean, she's getting paid, and probably a lot if it's a socialite! Just a thought. :)

    Best of luck to you.

  5. I like the setting and the voice. The hook at the end would be stronger if you take out "gasped." You're stealing your own thunder by telling us her reaction too soon. Try it like this:

    With a shaking hand, she pushed open the door.

    No, this was not good.

    Then describe her reaction, and what she sees.

    Best wishes with this!

  6. I had the same problems identifying characters. In the second paragraph, I thought "her best friend" referred to Sarah's best friend. A pronoun generally refers to the most recent proper noun. This needs to read "the bride's best friend." I recommend taking a look at all your pronouns and seeing how far they are from the nouns they're representing.

    I also want to know why Sarah needs to be the one to solve the mystery and why she thinks she could be next. I expected the last line to read, "Oh no, not again," as if several of her clients had been murdered, which, I think, would start to make her think she's the connection between them all.

    I think the log line should include why Sarah wants to get involved solving the mystery.

    I'm not a big mystery reader, but this feels like an unusual match to me: weddings and murder mysteries. I like that pairing a lot! This could be super fun, with all kinds of unexpected and humorous angles. I'm game to read more.

    Good luck!

  7. The writing is solid enough, but the air of inevitablility is just too undermining here. Perhaps it's the sort of mystery readers of Glamour will enjoy--fashion meets blood -- but I don't read Glamour. Yes, I want to be surprised. But more than anything, I want to be invested in the main character, and here it seems the main character is just a vehicle for attaching fashion and wedding drama to a mystery. I want character -- real round character -- above all things. Maybe that comes later in this story, but I'm not seeing the signs.

  8. The logline could've been clearer, but I understood it well enough. I really liked the premise too. You set up the danger and what she has to do and what's going to happen if she doesn't.
    The first line was long and awkward. I found the pin-pricking a little cliche and I agree with the others that her whole sense of something bad going to happen was irritating. The whole idea in fiction is to get your reader to expect one thing and for another to happen. I know you're just creating the mood, but I think creating a happy-go-lucky mood and then shocking us would be more effective. Make her upbeat and excited, or thinking that it's gone unusually smoothly, only to find the body. Also, I think a mention of how the bride died in the logline (stabbed, strangled, smothered with her bouquet) might add a little interest.
    The writing seemed polished (apart from the first line.) And I assume you're going to explain why she knows how to pick a lock with a bobby pin. If so, do it quickly, because it seemed a little unrealistic and you lost me a little.
    Overall, great premise. Way to get to the action quickly. Great writing. Just explain a few things, avoid cliche, and for heaven sake, shorten that first sentence.

  9. The logline is not helpful, not to the person looking for information about the novel, not to the reader of the first paragraphs. Apart from confusion on first reading ( whose past? one asks oneself), it throws in an uncomprehensible suggestion that "she could be next" -- no way can this mean much without any elaboration.
    The opening of the narrative however, if one imagines it without the logline, is quite intriguing. I was immediately interested in what the wedding planner was going to find behind the closed door. Liked the setting, and had no problem with the fact that the wedding planner would have preferred to be somewhere than at work on a spring day.I would read on.

  10. I forgot to tell you that I LOVE your title. Very clever.

  11. I like the title and the idea. I wasn't aware that loglines had to be so specific, so I wasn't bothered by the fact that it was more hint than anything else, but then again, that's probably why my own logline didn't impress ::grin::.

    The main problem I had was that it seemed she was overreacting quite a bit to what would essentially be a nervous bride who had locked herself in. Why, for example, is her hand trembling as she opens the door? Having a bad feeling about the day is miles away from shaking hands.

    I also felt the writing was a bit overloaded, in that way that romances can sometimes be. In all, I think it's got promise, but it's a bit overwrought for me.

  12. The logline would be a bit stronger (I think) if we are given just as hint as to how a murder could be linked to her past.

    As others have said before, I needed to re-read to get the characters straight. It took me a bit to realize that Veronica had been introduced.

    I love the line about having a shot at lunch.:) I also love how you end the excerpt with a hook. Nicely done. I didn't have any problem with her gasping.