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August 2008 Mommacrit



First page by S.Paquet, one writer who dared send work to Mommacrit.

Status: Romantic suspense novel in progress 

Title:    Summer Heat


            “Who the Hell is this?”  Bailey barked as he inched up the bed towards her.

            “Call me Gamemaster.”

            “You’re crazy.”  His sinister laughter jump-started Shauna Blaine’s sleep-fogged brain.  She shivered despite the balmy breeze drifting in her bedroom window.

.           “My last player is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, and then the game begins.  You’re a pivotal player.  Be ready.”

            “Up yours.  I’m calling the police.”

            “And chance them delving into your past, discovering all your wicked secrets?”

              Shauna hugged Bailey tight, absorbing his heat.  Exposure would destroy her.    But her past was buried deep, too deep to be discovered by accident.

            Years ago when her father discarded her and Granny Blaine cloaked her in an awesome respectability, Shauna realized that she could never draw attention to herself.  She had to be perfect.  And she couldn’t get too close to anyone, to their curiosity and their questions.

            “Answer me Bitch.”


Reaction from Mommacrit

First off, has S.Paquet followed the guidelines? 


“Send Mommacrit the first page of your story or novel. It must be less than 501 words. Label it clearly with its title, your name or a nom-de-plume, and its genre.”


Summer Heat is clearly labelled. It is also clearly well under 501 words - not much there for the Momma to sink her teeth into. However, Hemmingway supposedly wrote a story in six words, so it’s possible S. Paquet will hook the reader with 149.


Does S. Paquet push Mommacrit’s magic button? Does S. Paquet write a damn good beginning and hook the Momma into wanting to read more?


Alas, the Momma is more confused than hooked. How many characters are in this scene? Is there a person called Bailey, who is barking at Shauna, asking “who the hell is this?” while he inches up the bed? Or is there a dog called Bailey in the bed, barking and inching? What is going on in this bed? Poorly attributed dialogue, for a start.


A writer may be so close to her story, it’s hard to have perspective. Writing is a way of communicating with an audience. Above all, it must be crystal clear. Have someone you trust to be honest read your work, and point out the confusing parts, the inconsistencies or the boring bits.


Remember: if you want to impress an editor, a publisher, a reader, they must be able to understand what you wrote before they can move on to the fun part, to empathizing with emotionally layered characters and escaping into fascinating fiction.


If their first reaction is “Huh?”, you’ve lost the sale.