3rd SR Crapometer #7

Dear Ms. Snark,
Against the better judgment of her family and friends, Murielle Nelson married the man she is madly in love with, a man she's known for only three weeks. After her whirlwind courtship and spectacular wedding, she believed she had it all; then little oddities about her husband catch her attention. Upon investigating further, Murielle uncovers the truth behind her husband and her in-laws. It's a truth that brings a completely new meaning to 'til death do us part and sets her on a path that, once she starts on, she won't ever be able to come back from.

I have included a sample page and a SASE for your reply.

(category would be helpful here-fiction? true crime? science fiction? middle grade reader?)

Murielle waited for her husband to get into bed with her. He always expected her to be sleeping when he returned home, but tonight was different. She held her breath as he climbed into bed and drew the covers up. Murielle's hand tightened around the dagger she hid beneath her pillow and continued waiting. When the time on the clock passed the five-minute mark, Murielle slowly pulled the knife out and turned to face her husband.

His features were enchanting and handsome. She fell for the dimples, his killer dimples, and the baby blue eyes. She thought she was so lucky to have met him, and to have him propose to her. Had she been sane, she would have listened to her mother's warning about marrying a man after knowing him for only three weeks.

Straightening, Murielle lifted the dagger just above his chest. Seconds passed and she couldn't do it. She couldn't kill her husband. Murielle's shoulders slumped. As she turned to put the dagger back under her pillow, his fingers wrapped around her wrist.

His baby blue eyes turned black. Blacker then anything she'd ever seen before. It most certainly wasn't what she wanted to see, but at the same time, it was.

(here's where you get interesting. The previous stuff is just revving the engine)
"What do you think you're doing?"

He wasn't angry. He was amused. That right there should have been enough warning for her to keep her mouth shut. "It's over, Charles."

He laughed. Murielle wrenched her hand free of his grip and slid off the edge of the bed. She shivered now, but it was with anger and not the cold that filled the room. "What are you?"

"You shouldn't ask things like that. It's not nice."

"Tell me!"

"Elle," Charles chided, "Keep your voice down or you'll wake my parents."

Murielle looked at the heavy wooden door before she realized her folly. Charles was on her in an instant, swiping the blade out of her hand and forcing her against the wall. "Go back to bed and never try to do that again and I'll forget you even tried."

Murielle looked away, trying to find the dagger. She saw the shiny handle sticking out from just under the bed. "I'm sorry," She lamented, trying with all her might to sound earnest.

Charles smoothed his hand against the side of her head, a move so tender it repulsed her. She didn't return his kiss, and was all too happy to move away from him when he let her. She was three steps away from the dagger when he called out to her.


She turned to look at him. He lifted his hand and for a moment, she thought he was going to hit her. She even felt a phantom pain against the side of her face before she saw the dagger in his hand and realized what had happened. Her fingers were red with blood when she pulled them away from her cheek.

"Good night, Elle." He had the audacity to smile.

Shaken, Murielle got back in bed and watched her husband walk to the door. "Remember, my parents like their eggs scrambled. They'll be expecting breakfast in the morning."

Murielle wouldn't respond. Charles continued as if it never mattered. "Theo and Stephen are coming tomorrow to stay for the weekend. They'll be here at noon. Send them to my study when they arrive."

Gripping her pillow tightly in one hand, Murielle closed her eyes and tried not to think of those black eyes as her husband left.

use of the word dagger makes me think this isn't modern day true crime.
It's really helpful to know more about what kind of book this is so that I know whether dagger is you trying to be clever describing a knife, or if this is some sort of bodice ripper wherein daggers, dragons and kitchen wenches appear.

I'd probably read one or two more pages to see if you get lost in Description Alley again. I'd like to see a bit more about the plot in the cover letter.


December Quinn said...

Unless he's actually a demon or something, this is the plot of every movie Lifetime has ever aired.

Not badly written, though.

Anonymous said...

Ditto on the dagger thing. Not a lot of 21st c. twenty-something fems keep those things around the house with their copies of Cosmo.

It read rather derivitive of some of the modern girl-in-peril stuff, same words, same reactions, same characters. There's a market for that, but I'd like to see her smarter. A LOT smarter.

My first course of action against potential danger is to walk/run away as fast as my size 8's and lumbago allow. Waiting till hubby is asleep then stabbing him--not so much. If she has the freedom to marry against a parent's wishes, then she has the freedom to split. Wait till he's at work then o.u.t.

It's also physically difficult to stab a body. Try taking a butcher knife to an unsecured watermelon and all you will do is annoy it (or cut yourself). You can make a dent if you get really mad at that melon and have adrenaline powering one's girly muscles.

Character stuff: I could not get emotionally interested in her. I felt like I was looking at a picture of her being scared instead of feeling scared with her.

I had the emotional-distance-from-character problem with my first book, then changed to 1st person POV just to see what happened. It worked, and the story took off and sold.

A wtf moment: Only three weeks in wedlock and he expects her to be asleep when he comes to bed? What happened to his testosterone?

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

The blue eyes turning black really caught my attention also; that made me want to keep reading. The rest of it did seem a bit slow and not necessarily believable or engaging, however. Keep working at it, and good luck. I suspect you've got the core of a great story here, and only need to strip away some unnecessary surface layers to show it off.

Anonymous said...

A word of technical advise: your verb tenses are all over the place in the query letter. You also called Miss Snark "Ms. Snark." (She must have been really tired not to have noticed that.)

Chumplet said...

If she's supposed to be asleep in a dark room, how does she see the colour of his eyes change?
The blood confuses me. Did he get the knife through telekinesis? Did he gash her cheek? If he did, why does she just crawl into bed without attending to it? Or perhaps his hand is bloodied and he's leaving the room to attend to it? Muy, muy confused.

Sherry Decker said...

I'd keep reading for a bit, but 'continued waiting' is very passive. Why not, hesitated, or held her breath, instead? I am curious to know what he is though.

Anonymous said...

Let's not confuse passive actions with passive voice. "Continued waiting" is active voice. It may not be the most exciting way of puttng it, but then again waiting is rarely exciting. I'd just lose the "continued."

Anonymous said...

Having a character 'waiting' is the same as describing her as 'walking' or 'looking' or 'standing.' It's too passive, even if it's considered action.

McKoala said...

I'm a bit confused like chumplet, and by the same things. But I like the idea of being married to - what? A vampire?

BuffySquirrel said...

Y'all just love that word "passive", dontcha, even when it's inappropriate. Especially when it's inappropriate.

"passive voice" is a grammatical term for a particular form of expression; it does not imply that nothing is happening.

"Sam caught the ball"--active voice.

"The ball was caught by Sam"--passive voice.

Same action in both.

Maybe y'all could find a different term for bits of novels that you find boring. Like, boring.

Crystal said...

The fact that she's married to the guy is pretty terrifying. Most stories like this would have the main girl resisting an engagement. I like the inside info of living with and being married to, what? A faerie?

Also, nice metaphorical stuff going on, abusive relationships and whatnot. I'd keep reading, even though it's pretty creepy. Horror is not my favorite genre.

Anonymous said...

She arranged a spectacular wedding in three weeks? I've never arranged a wedding, so I could be wrong, but I gather that the spectacular ones take months.

Also, the whole thing is just weird. She tried to stab him, he cuts her cheek and then he goes to sleep on the couch?

one of the 356 said...

I didn't like "killer dimples". "Killer" smile, dimples, bod...tiresome, over-worked, lazy.

Diana Peterfreund said...

Maybe y'all could find a different term for bits of novels that you find boring. Like, boring.

ROFL! Thank you!

Natalia said...

"He wasn't angry. He was amused."

I really liked that. A very simple, and very surprising sort of detail.

In my not-so-humble opinion, good villains play on our basic animal fears. The idea that a man (is he human?) would be amused by the notion that his wife wants to kill him is chilling. There is no sense of self-preservation, and that is, to borrow from Freud, quite uncanny.

Overall, this story appears to need more of the uncanny. You seem to know how to evoke it when you really want to. Some of Freud's essays might be a good place to look for support.

Anonymous said...

It is possible to plan a dream wedding in 3 weeks. I know because I have done it. However, I had a LOT of support from my family and in-laws, and I think a little bit of luck as well. But it is possible!