Thursday, April 19, 2012

Mysteries For Danielle Svetcov #4

TITLE: Transmigration
GENRE: YA Mystery

When 17 year old Anna pieces together her nightmares and uncovers a past life that ended in her horrific death, she and her friend race against time to solve the mystery of her murder before the man who once took away her future comes back to finish her once and for all.

I first saw him as I entered my first period class; intermediate algebra. If you were a Junior and somewhat smart, you were placed in an advanced trigonometry or calculus class. If you simply needed to fulfill the math requirement but had absolutely no interest of ever using complex math as an adult, intermediate algebra was the class for you. It was the class for me at least.

But there he was, sitting in MY seat with a blank face, staring at the doorway as I entered. I didn't have any competition for the desk in the very front center when the school year began, and I refused to allow anyone to steal it now. At least, I told myself I wouldn't give it up without a fight. In reality, the seat was already his.

I didn't have any fight in me this morning. I was awake before the rooster cock-a-doodle-dooed, unable to fall back asleep after my nightmare. And I was pretty certain my exhaustion showed through the pale skin of my long face, down to the tips of my limp hair. The other girls in my class looked near perfect in their short skirts that constituted a uniform, no doubt having awoken early to shower and prep. I was different, as always. There was no hiding my bags. No amount of concealer to douse the pain that came from a nightly nightmare ritual. Nor did I bother to even try anymore.


  1. Logline: This is pretty good but there are a few things that bump a little. How is the man from a previous life still alive (was she reincarnated immediately because past life to me means hundreds of years?) Why would he be able to finish her for good if she was reincarnated once before? And why the race against time? Has she discovered not just that he killed her but that he plans to do it again before Friday?

    Good luck!

  2. Logline: Good information, but it's all one sentence, so it felt a little draggy. Maybe break it up?

    Excerpt: You use the word "first" twice in the first sentence. (Using the same word again in close proximity is a pet peeve of mine, and it especially stands out in the opening line.) Then the rest of the paragraph is about her choice of math class (boring) instead of about the mysterious "him" (intriguing). I'd like to hear about what's interesting instead of the mundane.

    Front row center is usually the seat of the eager, possibly brown nosing, student, not the one who never plans to use the subject again. Why does she want to sit there? (A sentence explaining that could tell us more about her and take away a niggling question.)

    I like the idea that the seat was already his because she was kidding herself about fighting for it. That tells me a lot about her and personality.

    "My long face" feels like author intrusion, but I like pale skin and limp hair as the result of no sleep.

    I may not be the right audience for this book as I find other people's dreams boring, but if you can make them as intriguing and resonant as Lisa McCann did in Wake, I'm hooked. I'd read on to find out.

  3. I liked the logline pretty well. The only thing I'd change is the cliche "race against time" and just say "rush." Although I have a slight disconnect in that if she's uncovered her past life, including her murder, while is it still a mystery?

    I'm going to just copy most of what Abbe said about the excerpt... especially the double first comment and the boring algebra comment. I do like the characterization of knowing Anna took the easier math class, but I think you can find a way to say that without the long leadup. In addition, the first sentence of that paragraph bothers me because HIM is the important part of it, so after the semicolon, I'm expecting something about HIM... but I get algebra... in fact, I get very, very little of him anywhere in this excerpt. He's obviously an important focus in the moment, but he's just a blob of undefined male to me at this point.

    Couple of minor word choice issues: "not interest IN ever using..." and "no amount of concealer could HIDE..." or equivalent; as you douse fires but hide circles. (Or are you saying her face is inflamed or her acne is flaring up?)

  4. I agree the extra verbiage about algebra class doesn't seem appropriate for the very start of the story; if this was farther in I wouldn't mind it. But I think the character seeing this guy is the key; I want to know who this guy is and why she's freaked. Details about the rest of the class can always be filled in later.

  5. Nice premise! My advice would be to keep the first line in the first paragraph and then go right into the second paragraph. I'd ditch all the talk about math just because you want something intriguing right from the beginning. But I enjoy the rest.
    Good luck!

  6. I'm with Carmen. Keep first line in first paragraph and then onto second graph.

    I also think you should make the class second or third period so you don't have the back-to-back use of the word 'first.'

    I think past life stories -- and how those lives creep into dreams/nightmares -- so I'd keep reading.

    I have similar comments about logline but overall, this story would interest me quite a bit!

  7. first saw him in first period....
    then ..nightly nightmare
    too much repetition of words. Edit and edit again.

  8. I was intrigued by the log-line and I REALLY appreciate that you have the patience to begin this story with quotidian details instead of jumping right into the mystery; but perhaps your handling of the quotidian details isn't quite right, yet. There's something lacking in it, as though you're still working out the salient details of this story and haven't quite organized them for readers. I dunno. Keep honing these opening graphs. There's something here, but it's bit tangled right now, I think.

  9. I really liked your logline, but cut the part about "with a friend" it's not necessary. Also, if he killed her in a past life, how is he now going to finish her off? Won't she just die and be reborn, to be killed again later? Either specify how he's going to obliterate her, or just state that he's going to murder her again. I think the aspect of being murdered (even if you've been through it before) is scary enough to merit a real conflict.
    I could really sense some voice trying to come out, but something was blocking it. Either it was that the language was too formal, or you haven't quite got your prose smooth enough. You can make a couple of pithy observations but stay on track. She talks about her appearance in an awkward way, and just goes on and on about it. Just add a detail or two to let us know she isn't sleeping well, and then after the action has started you can reward us by describing the dreams. (Although, I too find other people's dreams uninteresting.)
    I really liked the overall premise. I can tell you've got talent, you just need to write another 200K words in order to find your voice and settle into your writing. (I'm not sure that last sentence means anything, but it sounded nice.)
    Great job!

  10. I was talking about my last sentence, not the last sentence of your story. :)

  11. I like this. Your logline was intriguing and I liked the details about the little twists and turns of school life.

    I didn't get how she could say she wasn't giving up without a fight and then say she didn't have any fight the very next line, and I wanted to know how the seat was already his, but otherwise, I found this a really good opener. I would read on.