Over the next few weeks, some really special friends of mine are stopping by to critique participants’ love scenes. Please join us and find out what’s working and what’s not with our lucky winners’ scenes.
And here’s something about my next guest …
Danielle always had stories bouncing around in her brain. Usually, these stories were fodder from daytime talk shows mixed with whatever supernatural element struck her fancy that particular day. She loves vampires, horror films, music, ballet, and animals. She plays the harp – which isn’t too common these days.
Danielle‘s critiques …
TITLE: THE PRINCESS APPRENTICE
Dave tosses my blankets onto my bed, and then he turns to look at me. I blush as his eyes slowly travel the length of my body, and I wish I’d chosen my fuzzy, flannel pajamas to sleep in last night, instead of my sports bra and booty shorts. How does she feel when his eyes look at her that hard? Is she sweating because she’s nervous? We need to see, feel, smell, hear everything.
I jump up and glare at him, hands on my hips. “Well?” I ask. “Are you going to let me get dressed, or do I have to go in this?” I wave my hand to indicate my outfit. This section doesn’t seem to fit the bit before. I think we need a flow into this.
Dave smirks. “I like what you’re wearing right now, but we wouldn’t want to give poor Prince Charming a heart attack, now would we?” He laughs. “You have three minutes to get dressed, or I’m coming back in here.
And I will carry you out of the house in that lovely outfit, if I have to. So don’t even think about going back to bed.” He grabs the hair brush from my nightstand and tosses it to me. “And you might want to do something with your hair.” I would like to see her thoughts about his glib comments. You’ve indicated that she’s kind of feisty in the first paragraph. You really need to pull that through to make this stronger overall.
Voice! Voice! Voice! There are some sections where it sneaks in, but you keep trying to tamp it down it feels. Let that voice shine, that’s what we want and need as readers and what will make your story unique.
TITLE: THE DARK LONELY Love the title
“What did you want to talk about?” he asked, eyeing me. “Or was this just a trick to get me alone?”
“You’re so arrogant. I want to protect you from the Infernus.” What are her thoughts, feelings?
“You mean the bad men? I’m fine. I can take care of myself.”
“You did see them kill your friends, right?” I love her voice, but I think you can bring it out more with her reaction to his comments.
“They weren’t my friends.”
“Whatever. Your dealers.”
“All they sell is pot. Which, by the way, some docs prescribe for medicinal reasons.” He took a step closer, his dark eyes hinting at the mischievous thoughts going through his thick skull. “As for my dealers, if you play with devils, you’ll get burned.”
“I’m guessing you didn’t see them get their throats cut.” I pulled out the dagger from the holder on my belt.
“Have you gone psycho?” His eyes narrowed on the blade. “And what are you going to do with that?”
“We have to exchange blood. It’s the only way for you to see the Infernus and survive. You must be able to see a threat, so you can run from it.”
“You’re a kinky girl. You get off on shit like that, don’t you?” His grin covered most of his face. “I love it. But you’ll have to kiss me before I spill blood for you.”
“I’m not ki—” he cut off my words with his mouth on my lips. I tried to pull away, but he wrapped his arms around me and crushed me against his body. My stomach fluttered and tingles sparked through my body. I was confused here by the tingles. Maybe explain this in a bit more detail..I kissed him back, my lips following his. He tasted like Halloween gum that had lost its flavor. Love this analogy. Somewhere in the distance I heard someone clear their throat. I placed my hands on his chest and shoved hard. He stumbled back away from me. Amp this up. What does he smell like? What are her feelings about the kiss? Does she like it?
I turned in the direction of the sound. Adam stood with his arms wrapped around his chest, a disapproving scowl on his face.
Don’t be afraid of getting in your character’s head. I sense hesitancy on your part dealing with the kiss, but you need to put it all out there.
TITLE: FEAR OF FALLING I like this title
The gentle yet spicy scent of his aftershave drifted over her and her eyes slid closed.This reminds me of something strange, like a steel door slamming shut. With a feather-light touch, she brushed her lips against his, testing his reaction. He held perfectly still and a sliver of doubt nibbled at the back of her mind.I would rather see or hear her doubt in her thoughts than be told about it. Realizing this would be the only time she’d get to kiss him, desperation clawed at her chest. Her lips parted and she pressed a little harder, trying to savor the moment before she forced herself to pull away. She cupped his face in her palms and kissed the hurt away.Why is he hurting or is she? I’m confused. His hands slid up her biceps, and with a resigned sigh,
A guttural sound rumbled in his chest, and his hands tightened around her arms, pulling her against him. His lips parted and he consumed her with a kiss as desperate as her own. Look for a different word than consumed. It’s a bit overdone lately. Their hands and their lips explored, tasted, devoured. Her fingers found the bare skin of his abdomen beneath his shirt. Taut muscles twitched at the contact, his skin velvet stretched over steel. Desperate to explore more of his body, her fingers bunched the cotton of his t-shirt as his lips continued their assault on her senses. The only thing we have is sight. What does his skin feel like? What is going on in her body?
The moment she started to lift the cotton barrier away, his lips tore from hers. This feels very passive for the moment. Panting, he stopped her hands with his own. “Macey, stop. We can’t.”
Guilt doused her desire like a cold shower. She pulled away and lifted a hand to her over-sensitized lips, which pulsed in time to her heartbeat, her breath coming out in gasps. Nate’s voice roared his indignant protest in her ears. Who’s Nate?
“I’m sorry.” Heat blazed on her cheeks and it was all she could do to not lower her gaze from his.
He shook his head. “Don’t be. I’ve wanted to do that since we were twelve years old.”
This is mostly passive voice and it feels so far away. I want to feel what they feel, not be told about it. Bring her emotions into it. I want to know exactly why she feels guilty for a kiss.
That’s it for the Love Scene Workshop! Scroll down the posts to read all the critiques. I‘ve learned a lot during this workshop. Love scenes are hard for me. Danielle was so kind to critique my scene.
We’re getting close! The window (yes, I said window) for Pitch Madness is March 15 from 6AM EST to 12PM EST. (All submissions sent before or after the window time slot will be deleted.) There will be no cut off number. Everyone who submits during the window will make it into the contest. You will receive a receipt, if you don’t, check with me here on the blog or on Twitter (@brendadrake). This is for completed fiction manuscripts. The categories are Adult, New Adult, Young Adult, and Middle Grade. Any genres. The winners will not be notified before the agent round.
The email for submissions is firstname.lastname@example.org – do not send before the submission window unless you won a free pass (see below).
Please format your entries like this …
Email subject line: Pitch Madness: TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT
Name: Your name
Title: TITLE OF MANUSCRIPT
Genre: Genre/category of your manuscript (ie. YA Fantasy)
Word Count: Word count (round to the nearest 1000th)
Pitch: 35word (max) logline. Do not go over even one word over.
Excerpt: The first 250 words of your manuscript. If the 250th word falls in the middle of a sentence, go to the end of that sentence. Your pitch should be Times New Roman 12pt, single spaced, one space between paragraphs, no paragraph indentions. Make sure the formatting is done correctly.
FREE PASS WINNERS:
For those of you who won free passes during PitMad and the Love Scene Workshop (you know who you are). You will automatically go into Round 2 of Pitch Madness. You get to bypass the slush. So please send in your entries with the instructions I emailed you starting today, but no later than March 14 at 10PM EST. Very important. If you miss this cut off, you will go into Round 1. This is only for free pass winners. If you don’t have a free pass, don’t follow these instructions. Free pass winners have a special subject line to enter Round 2. Make sure to use the instructions I emailed to you.
Want to win a free pass into Pitch Madness? Join or be a member of CPSeek, go to Contest Discussions, find my post for the free pass, and answer the question in the thread. You must be a member of CPSeek to win.
PitMad Twitter Pitch Party! I’m going to throw one on March 28 from 8Am EST to 6Pm EST. I’m not sure what agents or publishers will show up for this, but we’ll see. It’ll be during the game reveal, so it will be tricky. I will be traveling on March 29 and cannot hold it that day. I hadn’t planned on a twitter pitch party this round since we had one recently. But what the heck, if you come, I’ll come, and if we build it, agents and publishers will come.