Author Topic: The House On The Cul-De-Sac (Revised)  (Read 676 times)

Offline nnewbie2

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The House On The Cul-De-Sac (Revised)
« on: August 02, 2020, 10:55:38 AM »
Hello,

I'm looking for feedback on my locked room mystery novel.

<Updated based on suggestions.>

Ria is a single mother living in Texas. When a deadly hurricane is forecast to hit Houston, her sister Seema invites her to ride out the storm at her house.

Ria would rather face rising flood waters than Seema’s sleazy husband, Vipul who had harassed her with lewd text messages. But after her apartment is listed under mandatory evacuation, Ria bundles her son and her fears to arrive at Seema’s large two-story house.

Ria learns that Vipul’s extended family is also taking refuge at Seema’s house. While the hurricane rages through the city, Ria skirts Vipul’s furtive glances and wrestles with the guilt of keeping his behavior a secret from her sister.

Vipul makes a pass at Ria, leading to an ugly confrontation witnessed by everyone.

Things get worse when mere hours later, Ria finds Vipul in the study, his throat slit. All eyes turn to Ria and she realizes she has gone from main witness to prime suspect.

The cops occupied with rescuing folks trapped in flooded areas, cannot come till the waters recede in the morning. Ria has one night to find the real murderer before she goes down for a crime she didn’t commit.

« Last Edit: August 02, 2020, 01:44:42 PM by nnewbie2 »

Offline csc

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Re: The House On The Cul-De-Sac
« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2020, 12:15:05 PM »
My general impression is that it is clearly written. I have no problem following what is going on and who the characters are. I would, suggest that you rephrase some of the wording to create more suspense, mystery, and intrigue. At the moment, it seems more like a synopsis than a query, that is intended to hook the reader.

RIA is a single mother living in Texas. When a deadly hurricane is forecast to make landfall, she scrambles to stock up on supplies. SEEMA, her married sister invites her to ride out the storm at her place. The last thing Ria needs is an encounter with Seema's sleazy husband, VIPUL, but when Ria's apartment is listed under mandatory evacuation, she has no choice but to accept the offer.

The stock up supplies is not needed here. Make the first paragraph more impactful. Focus on the 'deadly hurricane', and the 'sleazy husband' of Seema's. Those the things that will hook the reader. "A deadly hurricane is coming. Ria would rather stay at her apartment, except that it is listed under mandatory evacuation. Scrambling for a place to go, she has no choice but to stay with her sister and that sleazy husband of hers" or something like that.

On arrival, Ria learns that Vipul’s extended family is also taking refuge at Seema’s house, twice the size of Ria’s studio apartment.
With the hurricane raging through Houston, everyone hunkers down for the night.
Vipul makes a pass at Ria, leading to an ugly confrontation witnessed by everyone.

Show us how Ria feels. 'Trapped with ?? other people, constantly having to evade Vipul's suggestive glances..."

Hours later, when Ria discovers Vipul’s dead body in his study, the family closes ranks against Ria. Someone used her presence as an opportunity to commit a crime and Ria has till daybreak to find the real murderer.

Again, instead of make it a chronological sequence of events, hit the reader with a surprising twist. Don't interpret for the reader. Let them infer on their own that "someone has used her presence as an opportunity..." You could start with. "Only this isn't the worst thing that Ria has to deal with. When Vipul's dead body is found sprawled...all eyes turn to Ria..." Make it sound like she is in deep trouble and that things are going to get really awful. Let the reader wonder how she is going to get out of this mess.

Hope this helps. Thank you for the opportunity. Happy writing.

Offline msluna

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Re: The House On The Cul-De-Sac
« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2020, 01:21:52 PM »
I would suggest not capitalizing your character names.  That threw me off and I thought it was the name of your novel at first.

Quote
On arrival, Ria learns that Vipul’s extended family is also taking refuge at Seema’s house, twice the size of Ria’s studio apartment.

I would recommend rewording this sentence.  Do we need to know the size of the house?  I don't think that's important. 

Like CSC suggested, I would also recommend focusing more on the murder and the mystery.  Perhaps even start with the murder, and then go into the situations around it after.

Please have a look at my query as well if you get a chance. :-)

Offline nnewbie2

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Re: The House On The Cul-De-Sac
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2020, 01:25:18 PM »
Thank you for your comments. I had a feeling the language was stilted, but your suggestions are super helpful. Thank you!
« Last Edit: August 03, 2020, 08:58:29 AM by nnewbie2 »

Offline rivergirl

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Re: The House On The Cul-De-Sac (Revised)
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2020, 07:38:40 PM »
Ria is a single mother living in Texas. When a deadly hurricane is forecast to hit Houston, her sister Seema invites her to ride out the storm at her house.

Ria would rather face rising flood waters than Seema’s sleazy husband, Vipul who had harassed her with lewd text messages. But after her apartment is listed under mandatory evacuation, Ria bundles her son and her fears to arrive at Seema’s large two-story house.

Ria learns that Vipul’s extended family is also taking refuge at Seema’s house. While the hurricane rages through the city, Ria skirts Vipul’s furtive glances and wrestles with the guilt of keeping his behavior a secret from her sister.

Vipul makes a pass at Ria, leading to an ugly confrontation witnessed by everyone.

Things get worse when mere hours later, Ria finds Vipul in the study, his throat slit. All eyes turn to Ria and she realizes she has gone from main witness to prime suspect.

The cops occupied with rescuing folks trapped in flooded areas, cannot come till the waters recede in the morning. Ria has one night to find the real murderer before she goes down for a crime she didn’t commit.

Clear and concise. a little dry. if you're looking to improve. Add emotion and voice where you can. Ria's left trembling with the image of her sleazy brother-in-law curled in a puddle of blood. The bastard deserved to die but motive doesn't make one guilty. Ria realizes she must suck it up and find the real killer before she....

Offline mesmer7

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Re: The House On The Cul-De-Sac (Revised)
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2020, 11:27:50 AM »
I think you can simplify it and make it more forceful:

Hurricane warnings force Ria and her son to evacuate their city apartment. Riding out the storm at her sister's house she's subjected to her brother-in-law's lascivious attention and his family's scrutiny. When he is murdered, the family makes it clear, they blame Ria. Until the hurricane passes, The police are busy with evacuation and rescue efforts, This gives Ria one night to prove her innocence.

Offline ericaeliza23

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Re: The House On The Cul-De-Sac (Revised)
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2020, 05:39:42 PM »
I'd cut out the part about her keeping Vipul's lewdness secret from her sister, both because 1. I'd tell my sister if her husband was being inappropriate, if not for my sake and certainly for hers, since he's problem lewd and cheaty with other women, too, and 2. Because the main conflict isn't keeping the lewdness secret, it's finding the murderer.
I think the part about the house being large and two-story could also be cut. We already understand it's a safe place because everyone's sheltering there, so the size isn't needed.