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Author Topic: Upmarket Suspense WIP  (Read 4147 times)
sm_davidson
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« on: May 10, 2017, 08:25:16 PM »

I struggle with the first line, really diving into the action - This one came to me in an *ah-ha* moment - does it hook?



I have something so beautiful planned for her. Her death is going to be one of my greatest masterpieces to-date.

Her life may end tonight but her legacy will be immortal through my art, and isn't legacy what we all hope to achieve?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 08:28:44 PM by sm_davidson » Logged
miawinter
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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2017, 09:44:32 PM »

I'm not super savvy with upmarket suspense, but this is intriguing. My two-cents is to cut the first sentence and go with something along the lines of:

"Her death will be beautiful, my greatest masterpieces to-date. While her life may end tonight, her legacy will be immortalized through my art. And isn't legacy what we all hope to achieve?"

Not that exactly, but I think it's stronger without the first sentence. Hope this helped!
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samcantcook
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2017, 09:24:23 AM »

I like: "Her death would be beautiful."

And then I would cut the lines that tell us he is immortalizing her through his art. It tells us too much, and kills the suspense. I would jump into showing him doing whatever it is he plans on doing to turn her into his masterpiece, because we won't know what he's doing exactly but we will be intrigued enough to keep reading to find out.
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Waterfall
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« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2017, 09:42:37 AM »

I like the original, actually. There's something nice about "I have something so beautiful planned for her," which sets us up for a proposal or a vacation or something lovely, immediately disrupted by "Her death is going to be one of my greatest masterpieces." Now I totally get the way this guy thinks, I can feel what it means to be psychopathic. He really thinks he's doing her a kindness by having her immortalized as his victim.

This is totally not my genre, but those two first sentences are great, preparing me to be whipsawn between my thinking and the killer's thinking throughout the whole story.
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007 fan
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« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2017, 04:22:27 PM »

I struggle with the first line, really diving into the action - This one came to me in an *ah-ha* moment - does it hook?



I have something so beautiful planned for her. Her death is going to be one of my greatest masterpieces to-date.

Her life may end tonight but her legacy will be immortal through my art, and isn't legacy what we all hope to achieve?

Yes, it hooks. Like Waterfall, I like this as is. The innocent seeming first, the creepiness of the second is very nice.

The only suggestions I have are removing the hyphen in "to-date". It looked so weird to me, so I looked it up and found there shouldn't be a hyphen there. Maybe consider 'so far' instead. To my ears, that sounds smoother in following 'masterpieces'. If this were my work, I'd likely replace 'may' with 'might' because I'm more accustomed to 'may' having a permission vibe to it, and I like the repeating of the 'I' sound of 'might' and 'tonight'. Lastly, a comma can go between 'tonight' and 'but', though I'd likely waffle on that one until the day I sent it off to an agent.  Grin

Good luck!     
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sm_davidson
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« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2017, 04:39:30 PM »

You guys all rock... definitely some consideration to that first line, but I am glad that waterfall and 007 got that psychopathic vibe... which I am really aiming for with my MC... The goal is for the reader to find themselves sympathizing - having to stop and wonder what's wrong with themselves to sympathize with a pyscho!! lol... could be a challenging one to get right, but if I succeed it could be beautiful.
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Tigerlily1066
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« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2017, 08:50:15 AM »

So I, too, like the contrast of the "something special" and the murder plan! I don't have anything specific to say beyond the feedback given by others. Mine is more of a general comment about openings, and especially openings for mystery/suspense stories. My local Mystery Writers of America chapter just had a round of "Author Idol" at the last meeting, in which 28 authors had their opening couple of pages read in front of three agents. The agents rang a bell at the point they would stop reading and then gave feedback on why they had made the decision to stop. One of the biggest reasons they stopped reading was an opening that was all action with no context. A man lay dead in the street, but they had no idea who he was or why they should care. A woman dressed in a wig and makeup was talking to some "mark" in a bar, but the agents had no idea whether she was supposed to be a law enforcement officer on a sting or a con artist or even how she felt about her "assignment."

The agents all said a mystery/suspense novel should move. It should feature increasing tension. But they cautioned against starting with all action and no character, because they won't care about the actions if they have no investment in the characters. At the Muse conference this past weekend, another agent called this the difference between rubbernecking an accident and pulling over to help. If you plunge your characters into tragedy with no backstory, the agent might glance over with distaste (rubbernecking) but if they are invested in your character then they really want to find out what happens to him/her (pulling over to help).

I thought all this perspective, echoed by various agents, was super interesting! I'll be thinking about it as I work on my own novels.  This seemed like a good spot to share it. Best of luck with your story, sm_davidson! It sounds very intriguing!
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Thanksgiving400
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« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2017, 12:19:13 PM »

I struggle with the first line, really diving into the action - This one came to me in an *ah-ha* moment - does it hook?



I have something so beautiful planned for her. Her death is going to be one of my greatest masterpieces to-date.

Her life may end tonight but her legacy will be immortal through my art, and isn't legacy what we all hope to achieve?

So I'm gathering this guy is a bit of lunatic, and since he terms the upcoming death a masterpiece he falls in line with the typical "people will remember my name" serial killer.  He wants to impress (in his head) and horrify ( in reality) everyone else, so I may suggest tweaking a bit to reflect this guy is an egomaniac. Its all about him , not her. It works well as is, but some comments for your consideration-

Instead of "her death is going to be one of my greatest masterpieces to date" its "People will talk about my greatest master peace long after I am gone. I am doing her a favor, I can make this boring housewife be remembered forever. She is lucky I chose her"
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GLZyx
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« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2017, 02:20:19 PM »

I struggle with the first line, really diving into the action - This one came to me in an *ah-ha* moment - does it hook?



I have something so beautiful planned for her. Her death is going to be one of my greatest masterpieces to-date.

Her life may end tonight but her legacy will be immortal through my art, and isn't legacy what we all hope to achieve?

So I'm gathering this guy is a bit of lunatic, and since he terms the upcoming death a masterpiece he falls in line with the typical "people will remember my name" serial killer.  He wants to impress (in his head) and horrify ( in reality) everyone else, so I may suggest tweaking a bit to reflect this guy is an egomaniac. Its all about him , not her. It works well as is, but some comments for your consideration-

Instead of "her death is going to be one of my greatest masterpieces to date" its "People will talk about my greatest master peace long after I am gone. I am doing her a favor, I can make this boring housewife be remembered forever. She is lucky I chose her"

I have to disagree.Remember that the author wants the reader to connect with the MC, not hate him/her.
The main character here has to be doing something wonderful, while committing horrible actions. Unless these actions are obviously bad from the beginning, the reader can/may find themselves understanding and connecting with the (assumed) murderer. If he is a self-centered character, that would be extremely hard, possibly impossible in this context.
I assume there is some middle ground from where the MC is not just a bloody murderer killing people at random.

The opening line could be rewritten as follows, although the original does work, I just think this is better:

I have the most beautiful ending planned for her. Her termination will be one of my greatest masterpieces.

Tonight her life may end, but her legacy will forever be immortalized through my art, and isn't legacy what we all hope to achieve?
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MichelleG
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2017, 12:39:32 PM »

I like the first one. It sounds more sinister and drags me in.
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"You look at these scattered houses, and you are impressed by their beauty. I look at them, and the only thought which comes to me is a feeling of isolation and the impunity with which crime may be committed there." - Sherlock Homes, The Copper Beeches - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
loose leaf
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2017, 05:40:40 PM »

I like the version you've shared here. It sets up the scene nicely. Not too much and not too little. I wouldn't change a thing.
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Thanksgiving400
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« Reply #11 on: June 21, 2017, 07:32:10 AM »

I am intrigued by a story that opens with the MC talking about committing a crime, especially since it sounds like this murder is not his/her first. Unless its not a murder, but how could a death be beautiful? OK, I want to read further.
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