Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mysteries For Danielle Svetcov #20

TITLE: Dear Departed
GENRE: Paranormal Cozy

While detective Tom Franklin sizzles his way into the heart of murder victim Caroline Nancel, she uses her new ghostly wiles to haunt him into love. If he accepts her spirit is with him they can work together to find her killer and perhaps some of the peace each of them crave.

I woke up on the ceiling the other morning. Thank God it wasn’t an instantly alert “My eyes are open, I control my destiny!” wake-up, but a fuzzy, easy kind of “I see light, it must be morning.” wake-up that gave me a few moments to puzzle out my location before I freaked out.

The sun was peeping over the mountains that cradle our beautiful valley in central California. As the light bloomed the details the darkness had shrouded came into focus. I looked to my left and noted I should have a word with my cleaning lady about her attention to corners, high as well as low. A frail and floaty spider web waved, stirred by air coming out of the heating vent. Was I only noticing it because it was moving, or was it because I was so close to it? Close . . . why was I close to a spider web on the ceiling?

Prompted by this thought I looked down and saw my body, eyes open and staring, lying in blood-soaked sheets. That’s when I lost my composure completely, and a fifty-one year old woman flipping out at this magnitude is not a pretty sight.

I screamed, I cried, I thrashed about; it didn’t change a thing. Calming a bit or perhaps getting tired, I tried bargaining with Fate and God, making loads of promises and offers I never could’ve made good on. The Universe, in its infinite wisdom, ignored me.


  1. The last line of the logline really doesn't work for me. I like the first part of the first line, but then it gets confusing.

    If she's using her new powers to haunt him into love, that makes it sound like he knows she's there.

    Maybe say - 'Detective Franklin has sizzled his way into murder victim Caroline Nancel's heart. She must use her ghostly wiles to convince him to work with her to find her killer - and maybe haunt him into love as well.'

    Or something better.

    The writing is better than the logline. I like how she wakes up on the ceiling. I'd read on.

  2. Logline: The first line makes it sound like the result of him loving her is her tricking him to love her. Or does he sizzle into her heart in a way that doesn't mean he loves her? Sorry, but cliche terms like "sizzle" aren't very clear in a logline. After that, accepting a spirit isn't much of an obstacle. Why is this so hard? Hasn't he done that by loving her already? Will anything stop them from finding her killer or are they done once he accepts her spirit? You need to be more clear on the goal here.

    Good luck!

  3. To me, loglines can come and go and be changed and the chances that you would actually be the person writing it are slim to none. So, I think I will focus on the excerpt itself which I think really works. I like the description of the morning sun and the spider web and how it makes her want to speak to the cleaning lady. It also buttresses the fact that she is on the ceiling. Very good! She has a reaction to her predicament - once she realizes it - that is completely human and believable. I would really like to read on and see where this goes.

  4. (continued)

    P.S. the first line - "I woke up on the ceiling the other morning" deserves some kind of award all its own. Great job!

  5. I was mostly all right with the logline, but I think previous comments make good points.

    I also mostly liked the narrative. I liked the voice and the situation, and the writing was fairly clean. The only thing I didn't buy was the bargaining wtih Fate and God line. I don't know if it's because I want all of these reactions to be in the moment or if the structure of the beginning part "Calming a bit or perhaps getting tired," makes me think it's still in the moment rather than a fast forward summary... but in either case, bargaining with God doesn't seem like something you do in the first few minutes of learning you died--it seems like something you'd do a bit later, when you were thinking more clearly and in a negotiation mindset (you know, like after she got herself down off the ceiling and could take better stock). If some time has passed, maybe "After I'd worn myself out and calmed down a bit..."

  6. The first sentence of your log line really confuses me. Reads like he seduced her after she died... Other than that, I think it works quite well!

    Opening: Love the first line. The second sentence is too long to give the punch you want (with the ending 'freaked out', which works).

    Second para: 'Beautiful valley' is telly and shows me nothing about the valley, really. It's a phrase from a travel brochure; doesn't work in fiction, IMO, of course.

    Haha, I do love how your mc becomes aware of her predicament at the end of that para.

    Third para: Whoa! Intense!

    I want more. Now. Nice setup!

  7. I love the bit about waking up on the ceiling! Your humor shines in this piece. I also like that the protag is a little older.

    I agree with others about the Fates and God part. How about "I screamed, I cried, I thrashed about. Yet, the Universe in its infinite wisdom ignored me. I was dead."

    Logline does need work but I think you have a winning story idea.

  8. I also find it refreshing to have an older protag. It sounds like a promising beginning. I am reminded of an old movie with Sally Field and Jeff Bridges and James Caan. "Kiss me Goodbye". There a woman is visited by a ghost and he threatens to tear her away from her new love interest. Maybe worth a look. But I like what I read so far and would read more.

  9. Jasmine, I'm going to Netflix right now.Thanks.
    Authoress of 20

  10. Hmmmm. I'm not hooked. Feels a little gimmicky. And feels a little too self-conscious.

  11. I too am writing a story featuring a dead narrator. And like yours, mine also starts with the MC realizing she's dead. And it is very hard to do this without lapsing into "telling" mode.

    I suggest removing phrases such as "I looked to my left and noted" and "promted by this thought" which are very tell-y, and using more internalisation to show the reader her growing sense of horror at her predicament.

    Keep going, I sense this is a wonderful story with lots of twists.