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Friday, June 21, 2013

Dear Katherine - part 4

And here is the final installment of Patricia's first chapter of DEAR KATHERINE. My comments are in purple and I'd be thrilled if you'd add yours.

I smiled. “I figured I should warn you in case you wanted to talk in private.”
“Don’t go anywhere,” Derek said to me. “I’ll go get dressed.”
“Do you want me to come up?” Rick asked, but Derek was already out of sight.
“No. Stay with her and don’t let her leave,” he yelled from somewhere up the stairs.
“Is he always like this?” I asked. Is he always like what?
Rick just shook his head. “What would you like for breakfast?”
“What do you have?”
He listed everything a person could probably want, and by the time Derek returned to the kitchen I was eating fried eggs and toast.
Derek sat next to me. “That smells delicious. I’ll have the same.”
“I figured,” Rick mumbled under his breath as he handed Derek the plate he had ready.
Derek took one bite then set it down and turned towards me. “No beach for a week. What else is there to do on this planet?”
Rick placed a mug of coffee in front of Derek. “Katherine needs to find a job. We can go to the beach.”
“Why do you need a job?”
“To pay for living expenses,” I answered.
“But if you stay here you won’t have any.”
I didn’t want to question his generosity or his motives. (why not?) “I’ll still need money to travel to another planet.”
His brow furrowed. “Where are you going?”
“I don’t know yet.”
“When do you need to leave?”
“I don’t need to leave anytime soon.” And I hoped he didn’t give me any reason to cut short my stay on Millanos before I got to spend enough time at the beach. I hadn't been to a beachside colony in over a year and there were no other ones on the list of planets I hadn’t visited.
“Good! So you don’t need to worry about money until you need to leave. What do you want to do today?”
His grin was contagious and I couldn't help but smile back. “I hadn’t thought about it. I assumed I’d work this week so I could enjoy the beach the next one.”
“Weren’t we going on that tour of the coast today?” Rick asked from the other side of the table.
“Yes! Do you want to go with us, Katherine?”
“Not if it’s one of those automated guides. I can do much better on my own.”
Derek’s eyes gleamed brighter than the sunshine refracting through the glass window. “That’s a great idea. You can be our tour guide and that will be your job this week. Then you won’t need to worry about work anymore. We’ll pay you a gem a day.”
Rick choked on his coffee. “Dear Derek!”
I could tell one of those stones would probably take me to the other end of the galaxy and back, so I tried to appease them both. “I’ll be happy with the value of one gem for the whole week, and you get to sell it. But I think you’ll be sick of me by the end of the week if we stick together all day long every day.”
I noticed both men’s eyes brightened, but I had the feeling they were reacting to different parts of what I just said.

Since this an adult novel I'm not going to complain too much about too little happening. But while the beginning drew me in with its talk of space travel and wormholes, our narrator's stop on Millanos has lessened my curiosity. The story doesn't seem to to be advancing much and I still don't know anything about Katherine except that she's educated and has been traveling for many years. I don't know if she's married, divorced, childless, orphaned or what. I don't know what she likes or hates and the only thing she seems to be interested in is planet hopping. I need more to connect me to her and make me want to turn the page. I want to feel something for Katherine. One thought I had was to maybe hint more at Rick and Derek's story. They're a bit of a mystery with their gems and generosity and hinting at what they're up to could increase the curiosity factor, and make us worry about Katherine. Of course this depends on how big of a part these two play and what in fact they're up to but regardless, I need more to care. Mind you, if this was a book I bought, I'd continue reading, but if you're going to get an agent to request your entire manuscript, the first chapter really needs to draw them in and make them want to know what happens next. 


Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

I second Marcy's take on this submission.

I want to know more about Katherine and why she doesn't question their motives more. Why are they so nosy about her plans for instance. I actually yelled a comment (an F-bomb followed by the word 'You') at the monitor when I read that part. Who the heck (see, I can keep my bad language to a minimum when I make the effort) are they to poke around in her life and decisions? *snarl*

Give the girl an attitude. That'll provide conflict and realism.

Also, the dialogue seems rather stilted. Read it out loud and see how it sounds to you.

On a personal note, my editor puzzled over a bunch of my regional phrases and words. But it made the dialogue real.

Patchi said...

If I didn't want crits, I wouldn't have sent the chapter to the chopper... Now I have a lot to think about for revisions... Attitude, personality, internal dialogue. Thanks so much for the comments!

Alicia Willette-Cook said...

I've been waiting to read the whole thing before I commented. Possibly not playing by the rules...but there it is.. :P

So. Here's my take. OPINIONS ONLY!!
1) I want to be more interested in the fact that she's jumping from planet to planet. But frankly...it sounds (from the descriptions) that these planets are VERY familiar. She's having toast and eggs on a planet she's never been to! A seasoned traveler would opt to have something local! Worldbuild! The worldbuilding was lacking for me. Massively.

2) the whole tattoo thing bored me to tears. Move it or lose it. It may be important to HER. But we don't know her yet. We don't know her motivations her interests her drive her anything. We could care less if she gets hit by an asteroid. This MIGHT work as a side detail in chapter 2 or maybe 3. But not in the opening chapter. You totally lost me. Something needs to happen that will bring the reader INTO the story. Not make them go...Um. Ok. Great. Getting a tattoo...Why? And why do I care?

3) Think about how things are perceived. The whole "Dear" thing is Massively confusing. And, in my opinion, you would be much better served if you simply created a totally 'new' term for whatever it is you are trying to convey here. I read this as the guys are together. And That assumption kept getting in the way as it was never really cleared up. The "Dear" is never defined. She doesn't question it. (Which is odd to me..but then she doesn't question a lot odd..) It was frustrating as with a sci-fi book you can usually infer what the regional phrases mean...but That I had no idea what it meant. What's the big secret?

4)Ultimately, I would have stopped reading. But I wanted to give you an honest crit. I do think that it has hope. It's all in the details.

Good Luck!!