Hang A Shining Star- contemporary women's fiction

Share your blood sweat tears query for feedback and lend your hard-won expertise to others
Ghost in the Machine
Posts: 89
Joined: January 26th, 2010, 10:20 am

Re: Hang A Shining Star- contemporary women's fiction

Post by Ghost in the Machine » June 10th, 2010, 11:17 am

Hi Writeaskew,

I’m always flattered if someone uses my suggestions. Usually, they’re just a shot in the dark. I gotta warn you, I used to be a teacher, so I can nitpick until the cows come home. So here we go again . . .

Barbara never meant to ruin Christmas. The morning of her family’s Christmas party she swore things would be different. But her cousin’s new doll is melting in the fireplace, her grandmother is in tears and Barbara wants to escape.

Comment: The party is at Barbara’s house and she has invited her family, correct? So should it be ‘her family Christmas party’ instead of ‘family’s’? Or you could leave out 'family' since it is clear who is attending.

Despite their shortcomings, addictions and often vicious behavior, Barbara holds tight to the ease with which she loved her family as a child. Laying her plans carefully, remembering how close they used to be, she decorates for the party and anticipates ways to avoid conflict with her relatives. When they arrive, everything goes to hell. Barbara’s good intentions and dreams of an idyllic family Christmas disappear. Her aunts have already begun their traditional gossiping and backbiting. Her sister shows up drunk and reminds everyone of how painful the holidays can be.

Comment: Word’s grammar checker is giving me the green squiggle on ‘often vicious’. Using ‘oft-times’ instead of ‘often’ seems to eliminate it.

The transition between the first two sentences of paragraph two needs some work. How about putting “Remembering how close they used to be, Barbara puts her soul into decorating the entire house. She needs her family to focus on the joy of the season, but when they arrive, everything goes to hell.”

Comment: I’d drop “Barbara’s good intentions and dreams of an idyllic family Christmas disappear” because ‘everything goes to hell’ says this for you. Replace ‘aunts have already begun’ with ‘aunts begin’. And please tell us, what does drunk sis do to remind everyone of how painful the holidays can be? Does she ralph in the poinsettias? Remind everyone how Uncle Tim left Aunt Ida for his secretary? This is a great opportunity for a delicious detail.

Barbara’s feeling of helplessness overwhelms her as her spoiled cousins and spiteful aunts ruin the party. When she loses her temper and throws her cousin’s doll in the fire, she realizes she is a part of her family’s unhappiness. Barbara discovers she must accept her family as they are if she wants to love them the way she used to- and for them to love her in return.

Comment: This last paragraph sounds too melodramatic for my tastes. Again, remember I like thrillers. A change-up in sentence structure may sharpen the tone.

Suggestion: As her plans for an idyllic family gathering unravel, Barbara loses it. Fed up with her spoiled cousins and spiteful aunts, she flings her cousin’s doll into the fire. In the shocked silence that follows, Barbara realizes it’s not just her family that’s changed. She has too. Barbara must face the fact that love requires acceptance of someone as they are, not as they used to be.

Urghh, there I go again with the rewriting. Maybe you’ll see something useful in there. Enjoy.


Posts: 9
Joined: June 7th, 2010, 5:49 pm

Re: Hang A Shining Star- contemporary women's fiction

Post by superduperkool » June 10th, 2010, 4:10 pm

I love the title of your book and want to read more after seeing your query. I am a women's fiction fan and you have a great premise for a book. The improvements between revisions are great, and if you look at it a few more times, it will be ready to send off. Good Luck.

Posts: 19
Joined: May 31st, 2010, 8:04 pm
Location: The buckle of the bible belt

Re: Hang A Shining Star- contemporary women's fiction

Post by writeaskew » June 12th, 2010, 10:46 am

Thanks again to everyone for all of the encouragement. I'll be sure to post something new, and hopefully better, before the weekend is out.

Supercool- I'm glad you want to read teh book. It encourages me. A lot. :) Let's just hope I can find an agent who feels the same way.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests