Snarkometer #25

It was Sunday afternoon. We were outside relaxing on the deck, gearing up for another busy week. Brad was talking. I was hearing the words, but I wasn't really listening. After all, I had heard the words so many times, I could have been saying them myself.

"outside relaxing" doesn't mean gearing up. They are two different states of being.

"was hearing"...heard

"Liz, we just don't have the right chemistry. We're not a fit."

Fifteen years together, and again, this.

I never really knew what it would be that would cause us to start spiraling. Somehow, it seemed that it was always something I did. What I did know is that peace and harmony never lasted longer than two weeks. We were lucky to make it one.

You're awash in words here. "I never really knew what it would be that would cause us to start spiraling" ...."I never knew what would start us spiraling"

"I think I want a divorce," Brad was saying. This was something he had never said before; this got my attention. Brad was watching me, his eyes revealing hurt and anger.

"was saying" ...said
"was watching" ...watched
"his eyes revealing hurt and angry"...his eyes hurt and angry

I starting shaking and found I couldn't catch my breath. I couldn't believe it --I had used the big "D"word before, but never him. He had always been the one to hold us together. Eventually, our spats would blow over, we'd have great sex, and we'd coast for a week or so until the next incident came along. The tears came, and despite my best effort, I couldn't stop them.

"Liz? Are you going to be okay?" He leaned toward me. For a second, I prayed that he would touch me. The other part of me dared him to try.

My only response was a nod. "Here," Brad said while holding out a handkerchief. I reached out and took it from him and blew my nose heartily into it. "Just so you know, I won't be needing that back." As always, he was level-headed, calm and even humorous. I wanted to slap him.

Miss Snark wants to bop him with a 2x4. Sadly this is women's fiction, not a murder mystery, so probably there will be no dead husbands in the first several pages.

This doesn't intrigue me. Nothing surprises me ... it's every divorce story in the book. You don't have to start with a bullet in the brain (although of course that works) but you've GOT to get me hooked on the first page. Voice, tension, some sort of unexpected.

Sometimes writers say to me "it gets developed later, read to page 30". Know this: you don't get that kind of reading time luxury. If you haven't enticed me by page three at the MAXIMUM, I stop reading. You can't bury your hook any more than you can bury your lead.

Agents are reading FAST. It's not a detailed, luxury read on the couch. It's at the desk with the phone ringing and the email dinging. You're going to have to give me something far stronger than this to get me to keep reading.


Anonymous said...

Ouch! Not what I was hoping to hear, but I appreciate the unbiased, honest feedback.

I'm learning so much from your comments to everyone's pages. I may not have hooked you, but you've hooked me!


Laraqua said...

For what it's worth, since you'll not be peering back through old blogs, I thought it was half-decent, although I agree with Miss Snark (sure she didn't state it but she probably meant it), it would be better with a dead husband on page seven. Or better yet, page three. Then you'd have an investigation ... oh wait, that's not the genre you're writing in. Still, shame, coz the hook got me, it's just not the genre I'd read, normally. Unless it was a witty tragedy as well as woman's fiction.