Monday, March 1, 2021

Are You Hooked? #11

TITLE: Untitled
GENRE: Romance

The phone call was disconnected and Coldplay resumed playing 


All those signs, I knew what they meant, 

Some things you can invent 

And some get made, and some get sent.  


Kyah stared at the Blue Heron in the swamp as she finished listening to the song. She 

wondered if he’d capture whatever he was watching. They were the most patient of birds. She 

had seen them flying away. She had seen them walking in the water. She even watched one 

swallow a fish once. But she had never seen one catch a fish. She wasn’t as patient as the Blue 


Her fingers hit the pause button on her headphones as she absorbed into the world of 

signs. Her unintended words. The truth of them. His words back. 


Some things you can invent 


Kyah knew those truths. Things were easily invented in a paranoid mind. Or even a 

protective mind. A mind that wanted to protect a heart from hurt. A mind that was afraid of 

losing that heart. Kyah closed her eyes as the wave of emotions washed over her. There were 

days, she was in control of the emotions. Other days, she wanted to curl up in the corner and 

sob. Seth was a trigger. The trigger of what she’d lost. A bit of her innocence, a bit of her sanity, and now, more of her heart. 

She wasn’t sure where they stood anymore. It was all muddled in her mind, by her mind. 


  1. I'm in. I already have a sense of the MC. I like the heron bit -- as I myself have watched them hunting. :) However, I had to reread the first few sentences. I thought the "he" in the second sentence referred to the heron at first.

  2. Kyah's pain and emotions shine through this excerpt. I loved the bit about her not being as patient as the heron - that was a great way to show part of her personality. Two things: I couldn't figure out where she was (outside on a run/walk near a swamp? inside and watching the swamp from a window? Is she at work or at leisure?) and would like to feel a little more situated in the setting. Also, I was confused about Seth as a trigger. Is he someone from her past who triggers her thoughts about the person she's with (sort of) now? Or is the person currently breaking her heart? If the latter, I'm not sure trigger is the right word to use. I'd keep reading to see where Kyah's story leads.

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  4. We have a great sense of the MC's internal dialogue but it might be good to position the reader externally? Aka, where is Kyah right now? I'm hooked on her pain ;)... and wanting some respite from it but it might provide more clarity if you tell the reader exactly what happened to Kyah. Thread some facts into the narrative a bit, to ground it, like what exactly has been lost (other than innocence, like a life, lover, etc.). ANd how Seth triggered this (though I'm sure you'll describe how he does in the following pages). Also, song lyrics can be really tricky to get legal approval for use, though they appear throughout "WONDER" so it's not unheard of.

  5. Great inner voice, but I admit I'm lost right out of the gate. I get no sense of where we are (it mentions a swamp, but is she actually there, watching it from a bus, etc.), and there are too few other details to ground me. It makes the emotion feel forced. I would suggest that it's easier for readers to empathize if they can grab hold of at least one concrete element.

  6. I, too, am concerned about the legality of using song lyrics. I also think you could do without the mention of the song entirely. I would focus more on the heron, describing how it patiently waits for a fish. Seeing it walking and flying doesn't really relate to it being patient and how she's not. Let us see its sleek neck and spindly legs as it stands motionless but attentive. Then I would contrast that to Kyah's restless behavior. Clearly there's a lot of emotion going on here. See if you can show it without saying what it is directly. The closing her eyes and letting the emotion wash over her and the curling up in a corner do that well. I'd add more of that to really pull the reader in. :)

  7. Don't worry about the legality of song lyrics. It's a fairly trivial issue at this point. I'll admit my bias here: I absolutely loathe Coldplay, so....I hope it's not coloring my opinion, but that is a possibility.

    In my opinion, if you're going to crawl right into a character's head in the opening pages, you're going to want to frame the emotions in a more concrete context. Give the reader some physical cues to help us to connect to her feelings about the man. Dig into the physical reality of her memory, not just her vague reaction to it.

  8. I love the line, "she wasn't as patient as the Blue Heron." Boom. Great mic drop to what could mean so much. Being a romance, I am hoping that plays a role. I would turn the page to read more. Though I do think it could start with your words as opposed to band lyrics. I suspect being tight on the MC mind right away could make a stronger entry because you have a lovely voice. Good luck!

  9. Loved the last line! I am certainly intrigued and would read more, though would suggest moving the song lyrics to later on in the chapter, so that the reader's world opens with focus on the character instead. Good luck with this story :)

  10. I like the imagery of the blue heron, and I'd be interested to see how it carries through the story. Does it reflect Kyah's character and become a symbol of her struggles? It could be really powerful.

    On the other hand, I may not be the right reader for this type of book because the expressions of sadness and longing felt a little melodramatic to me. I think that's the result of putting such intense emotions up front without context. If we experience whatever is causing Kyah's pain along with her, we'll naturally sympathize and her emotions will feel earned. The solution might be to choose a different starting point where something is happening instead of Kyah just standing in the swamp thinking. Maybe the phone call mentioned in the first line? If we heard that conversation (especially if it causes her sadness), it would give us a reason to sympathize and draw us in.

    On the question of lyrics, I'd say cut them. Using them will require permissions that you'll have to pay for (you, not the publisher, probably). (Rachelle Gardner did a blog post about this recently: .) In some cases, it might be worthwhile, but here they didn't seem to add enough to be worth paying for.

    Best of luck and thanks for sharing your work.

  11. Thank you all for the comments. I really appreciate the solid feedback. I also appreciate your time sharing your thoughtful perspectives.

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