Saturday, June 28, 2008

Still working on this...

The Woman in the Wall is up to just over 10,000 words, which is good progress considering how manic life has been for the last couple of weeks. I'm still tinkering with the pitch, and if you're not too bored with me yet, please let me know what you think of this one!

Jac Thompson thinks she's escaped her neglected childhood in Glasgow. Now she's the perfect employee, waging a one-woman war against untidy desks, long lunch hours and post-its with puppies on them.

When Jac loses her job, her estranged father reappears, claiming to be sober, repentant and ready to help her pick up the pieces. Within days he's betrayed her trust, discovered a skeleton in the walls of her isolated cottage and walled it back up again. When a baby's body is discovered near her childhood home, Jac's father builds a priest's hole in the wall and hides alongside the skeleton.

Who is the baby? Who is the woman in the wall? Jac sets out to discover the identity of both.

Neglect is only the start of it. Like her cottage, Jac's life is built on bones.

The only thing that bothers me is that I don't mention the disembodied voice. But maybe I don't have to. It's not as central to this as it was to the original short story, although it does still feature in the early pages.

7 comments:

Whirlochre said...

This is snappy, but I don't like way the key plot turner of the skeleton in the wall is tucked away, almost like a 'by the way...'. It reads kind of like an embarrassing government statistic that's been slipped between two items of good news to hide it away. Needs moving centre stage.

Other than that — it's tight and provocative.

Whirlochre said...

Oh — and go with 'found' for the 2nd 'discovered'.

Conduit said...

I have mixed feelings on this.On a gut feeling level, it works really well, it's interesting and original, and the characters are clearly defined in very few words.

If I look at it more analytically, I see more issues, like the central conflict seeming a bit muddled - but that's only if I put my query critique head on. If I wasn't reading it from a critical POV I would be very impressed - if that makes sense?

laughingwolf said...

i'm with wo, on this one... great rewrite!

sex scenes at starbucks said...

This feels a bit disjointed to me, like some key element is missing. What drives Jak to investigate? I mean, I lived in an old house, and I was intrigued by its past (an interesting past it was, too!), but it didn't consume my life. Also, I missed the connection between neglected and the father on first read. I think neglected childhood doesn't work for me as well, and I'm with Con, there's no focus on conflict.

Jac Thompson worked hard to escape her neglected childhood in Glasgow. Now she's the perfect ___Job title___, waging a one-woman war against untidy desks, long lunch hours, and post-its with puppies on them. But the carefully constructed veneer collapses when Jac loses her job and her estranged father reappears. He claims to be sober, repentant, and ready to help her pick up the pieces. Within days, though, he betrays her trust by___, discovered a skeleton in the wall of her cottage, and walled it back up again. (Does Jac know about the skeleton? Or is this a multi-pov piece?) When a baby's body is discovered near her childhood home, Jac's father builds a priest's hole in the wall and hides alongside the skeleton. (why? Does he kill himself in there or just hide? This feels vague).

Because __name the conflict that drives her __, Jac (and her father?) sets out to discover the identities of the woman and the baby and learns neglect is only the start of it. Like her cottage, Jac's life is built on bones.

A bit longer, but I tried to link up the plot with motivation, or at least point out where it appeared to be missing. Hope this helps. Also, don't fret too much, I believe working pitches are meant to change as you write. And if you're trying to sell on spec, then don't worry if it changes later. I know writers who sell on spec for every book (dare we to dream) and their plots change all the time.

Robin S. said...

I like all but the first pargraph, McK. I liked the first para you had it in its first showing,
combined with the rest of this piece.

I liked the last para here A LOT.
Great jacket flap hook.

Shona Snowden said...
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