Author of Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Thanks for all the wonderful input and kind words! Here's the slimmed down (exactly 250 words!) entry for those of you following along:

Title: Blood Thief
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 65K (but prone to increase as I continue to tinker with the finished product)

     "It's Celeste, anybody home?" I called out, but received no answer as I headed to Catherine’s brightly-lit kitchen. I've seen enough death that I should have recognized what I was seeing, but I stood there frozen as I looked at Catherine. She was sprawled on the floor, her head severed. A dark pool of blood was spreading out beneath her, the red a stark contrast against the cool white tile. I stared for a bit before my brain registered what I was viewing. When it did, I knew what I must do.

     Catherine was the Keeper. She guarded the reliquary vital to our bloodline. Now, temporarily, that task would fall to me as few members knew where it was secreted away. I moved silently through her darkened living room. Barely daring to breathe, I opened the panel at the bottom of the Grandfather clock. A relieved exhalation escaped me as I lifted the reliquary from its hiding spot. My fingers caressed the heart-shaped enameled glass vessel that held the comingled essences of my bloodline. This was the safety and source of our vampiric abilities.

     Stepping outside into the dark pre-dawn hours, I opened my phone to check the time, squinting at the bright screen. Snapping my phone shut, I realized my mistake as faint footsteps followed me. I'd taken the reliquary from its hiding place and whoever had killed the Keeper was now somewhere behind me, waiting on the chance to take it. I had played right into their hands.


As most of you may already know, Shelley Watters is holding a contest on her blog "Is It Hot In Here Or Is It This Book?"  The rules say that today, May 28, we should post the first 250 words of our mss for critique, so here are the first 250 words of Blood Thief. Ok, so it's more...but the first 250 are in BOLD.  The reason I posted more is because I don't feel that the first 250 adequately gives you a sense of what is going on.  Perhaps the hook could be set earlier and I may edit for the contest's sake before the 31st.  We'll see.  Please leave feedback if you are so inclined, but most of all ENJOY :D


Lorelei said...

Hey, Rebecca. Very good, held my interest.
However, take the word EVER out of that first paragraph (I think that's where it was). It delutes the message a degree.

Have a good one and good luck on the contest!

Rebecca T. Little said...

Done, thanks Lorelei! Very much appreciated :D

Jessica said...

Rebecca I feel like there is a lot of disconnect with each paragraph. I suggest taking out the first paragraph and putting those details in the second.

just an ex. "Hello, it's Celeste anybody home?" I called out, but received no answer. I headed to the kitchen with the party invite ready to get my cold hand on a steamy cup of tea.

Maybe start with the description of the MC as the first paragraph.

My last comment is about the part: I should have recognized.
- What did she think when she saw the severed head? Why did she not recognize it? Maybe that is where you insert the part from the first paragraph.

Good Luck Rebecca and I am with you 250 words is not enough!

Annie Sisk said...

Reads really well, Rebecca! Looking forward to reading the rest. Good luck with the contest!

Kaleen said...

What's the genre of your book?
I'd just have it open with the MC finding the head-severed body, and maybe say something about how her reaction went into autopilot. Everthing leading up to "I stood there frozen as I looked at Catherine" could be eliminated or really tightened.
Very. Interesting. :)

Sonia said...

Trying to figure out if this is paranormal romance or urban fantasy. ;) I like it. Just not sure why it falls to her and not someone else. Hint at it in the third paragraph? It might be a good way to say something about her character.

Jody Lamb said...

Hi, Rebecca. I think the first 250 words are good. Very shocking and attention getting. I think it's great to have her unable to process what she sees, even though she should be used to it. Why would she be used to it? That makes me want to read more!

However, once we reach paragraph three, things move so fast and there is a lot of information thrown at the reader. I think you need to slow things down a little bit. She's in Celeste's she afraid someone/something is still there?

Thanks for sharing! Good luck!

douglas esper said...

in 250 you suck in the reader with mystery, vivid imagery,action, and death. good work!

douglas esper

Nicole Wolverton said...

There are some places where you could streamline, and a few "was" occurences that can be trimmed out.

Not sure if you intended this, but your MC comes off as unemotional about the beheading.

Mary Kate Leahy said...

LOVE it! The end line is the best :) I was going to comment that you might want to change the spreading language since she would still be bleeding unless she had been whacked recently but now I have nothing brilliant to say. I guess one change I would make is if she goes into Catherine's house all the time and they are BFF she wouldn't say it's me Celeste, she might just say it's me thinking she would know the voice but maybe you want us to know her name. Really good submission :)

Rebecca T. Little said...

Nicole, yes, it is intentional that she is a less emotional than most of us would be. She is a vampire and not to tell a lady's age, but she has seen three centuries. She has viewed death first hand so many times that she has very nearly become inured to it. Yes, she will grieve over Catherine later...but first there is the the matter of the safety of her bloodline to be handled.

There's so much more I'd like to cram in there, but only so much fits into 250 words!

Thanks again for all the awesome feedback, you all totally rock :D


Liana Brooks said...

Interesting. I like the ideas I'm getting, but the writing still isn't solid.mI'm not getting a Voice or sense of personality, just facts. I want more emotion, and more of the sense involved. What does she smell? what does she feel?

Rebecca T. Little said...

Liana - most of that had to be cut to fit in the 250 word limit, sadly. It does exist in the actual mss.

Christopher S. Ledbetter said...

I think it's very attention getting... but I would want a little less "telling" and a little more "showing." I want to know how Celeste's body reacted to the sight. Give me more sensory clues over all.
ALso, there's a little bit of information dumping here... some back story that takes me *out of the story*, if that makes sense.
ANd would she stare for several minutes... or maybe several moments.

I think if you give us more sensory... and showing... and hold off on some back story until later... you'll hook everyone straight away.
Hope this makes sense.

Annie said...

I like the rewrite. Tighter, more suspenseful. I wonder how it would read if you started a little later in the scene, though - maybe with Celeste standing over the body, then go back to her calling out (maybe she replays in her mind what just happened to see if she could remember anything odd, like a sound or something out of place, and that's the mechanism to put in the part where she calls out...?) ... I'm not sure, really. It's just that that image of Celeste standing over her friend's body is SO striking, especially that color imagery you've put in.