Monday, January 28, 2013

Bouncer Post #104

Title: Precog
Genre: New Adult Paranormal
Word Count: 96,000


As a psychology major, twenty-four year old Ruth Lacey knows it’s not uncommon for a child raised in an abusive home to feel out of place and alone.  However, it isn’t Ruth’s past that isolates her.  It’s her ability to see the future. 

Wanting only to be normal, Ruth keeps her thoughts firmly in the present and hides her weirdness from everyone, even her two roommates.  In their friendship, Ruth found the only home she’s ever had and she doesn’t want to jeopardize that.

Then Ruth meets David Byrne. The moment his eyes meet hers, her mind slips its tight rein and slides sideways into the what if of David.  She feels his lips on hers, his hands, hot and hard on her back before her vision ends.   Ruth’s glimpse of her future with David comes to pass but Ruth finds out he’s more than a good kisser. He’s educated, ambitious, well-traveled, from a wealthy family, and completely smitten with Ruth.

Despite her roommate, Claudia’s dislike of David and her roommate, Mairin’s too enthusiastic endorsement of him, Ruth wraps herself in the bliss of being with him.  She drives away her misgivings about his odd relationship with his mother, his possessiveness and his flashes of cold anger with a vision of her wedding day. 

The night before their wedding, David reveals his true self, unleashing his rage on Ruth.  Ruth leaves David at the altar, putting her on a path she was never meant to tread and robbing her of her ability to see the future.  Unable to see what awaits, Ruth and both of her roommates are at the mercy of the monster she invited into their lives.

First 250:


Pain in my hands. Mom yelling my name.  Fire on the stovetop.  Heat on my face. 

Water.  Need water.  Need water.  Pitcher on the table.  Get it.

“No, Ruthie.  Dammit.” Dad roaring. Water hitting the fire. Flames roaring. 

Dad shoving me.  Pain in my back.

“Get the baking soda, Ellie.”

Mom, pale, wide-eyed, handing the box to Dad.  White powder everywhere.

Flames sputtering, dying.  Dad turning on me.  “Idiot, clumsy, fool girl. Don’t you know better than to use water on a grease fire?”

Back up.  Table there. Can’t go any farther. Oh, no.  Oh, God.


Something soft and warm touched my arm.  I cried out, jerked, heard something fall off my desk and slap on the floor. Textbook?

Hands closed on both my arms.  I felt myself being shaken.  “Ruth, look at me.  Are you alright?”

I struggled to make myself focus, focus on the voice, focus on my mom’s face.  I could see her eyes, dark brown, the wrinkles around them parentheses of concern but everything else was spinning.  Nausea rose in me like a riptide.  I coughed, heaved, felt something cool and slick pressed against my chin, heard vomit splatter into the container my mom was holding under my mouth.

“Oh, Peanut.”

I sagged back into my chair and drew a hand across my mouth. My vision was still strange, everything too big, too bright, too close and I was trembling all over.

“What happened, honey?  Are you sick?  You looked like you were having a seizure or something.”


  1. I think there is a lot here that is really good. I'm interested in the concept and I like the voice, especially in the first 250.

    I think the query letter is way too long though. There are a lot of names in there that don't need to be. I would suggest cutting out the entire 4th paragraph. You can add the bit about marriage in the third at the end by saying something like "He’s educated, ambitious, well-traveled, from a wealthy family, and so completely smitten, he proposes to Ruth" or something along that line. That would take out the confusing fourth paragraph all together.

    I'm also a little unsure if David's "true self" is that he is abusive or does he have some sort of power too? It isn't a huge thing but it is something I asked myself while reading query.

    As I mentioned before, I really like your concept here and I loved the short descriptive phrases in the first 250. I'd keep reading!

    Hope everything I said helps!

    -Amber (#102)

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Amber. I'm so glad you enjoyed what you read. Evidently it's unanimous that the 4th paragraph need some trimming so that will definitely happen. I was a little unsure about my word choice with the whole 'true self' thing. I'm going to figure out a different way to get that across. He is abusive, no paranormal power, so I need to make that clear. Thanks again!

  2. Hi! I love paranormal, so I had to stop by. :) I agree with Amber. Also, I thought the query reads like a back story, especially when I got to the end and realized the story is about her struggles with David. And I noticed that in the beginning of the query it feels like she doesn't like her ability, but at the end it states he "robbed" her of her ability.

    I really like your premise, a NA novel dealing with domestic violence. I think your query just needs a little polishing and it'll be good to go. :)

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Rachel. I appreciated the point about her being 'robbed' of something she didn't want and will be changing that.

  3. I have to respectfully disagree with the other comments here. The query is a little long by some standards, but I think the information there is all pretty crucial to Ruth's story. Also, it flows and leaves off with killer stakes, which is awesome. I guess this just goes to show how subjective opinions can be!

    I love the idea that not following her intended path causes her to lose her vision. I can also sympathize with someone who wishes something would go away only to realize how much they rely on it once it's gone.

    My only suggestion for the query would be to cut this part of the 4th paragraph:
    "Despite her roommate, Claudia’s dislike of David and her roommate, Mairin’s too enthusiastic endorsement of him," IMO, it's the only part of the query that bogs down in unnecessary information. Consider starting with, "Ruth wraps herself in the bliss of being with him," instead.

    Although I'm leery of prologues--especially flashbacks within prologues--the writing is beautiful and descriptive. I can completely visualize the kitchen fire and then the mother comforting her daughter. I would definitely read on despite the fact that it begins with a prologue.

    Good luck with the contest and all of your writerly endeavors!

    1. Thanks so much, Leila! I will be trimming the 4th paragraph and I'm so glad you enjoyed the first 250.

  4. You have an intriguing premise! As for your query, I agree with Leila on her suggestion of cutting out that particular part of the 4th paragraph. The friends' opinions create a bit of conflict, yes, but feel unnecessary.

    I'll admit that I groaned at the sight of "Prologue" in your first 250, but it is so beautifully written that I forgot all about my bias. You pull a reader right into Ruth's world from the get-go.

    My only other note is David Byrne's name. As a Talking Heads fan, I wondered for a moment if your character was the performer.

    Good luck!
    Bonnie #88

    1. Thanks, Bonnie! Apparently I grew up under a rock because you're the third person that's mentioned the David Byrne thing and I've never heard of the guy. Went on Spotify and checked out some of his music so I now know who he is and what he sings. I'll probably change David's last name to avoid further confusion:) I'll definitely be trimming the 4th paragraph. Thanks again and good luck!

    2. I am not particularly a Talking Heads fan, but when I say "David Byrne" I first assumed it was the singer, which was somewhat confusing. Based on that, I'd second the recommendation to change this name (or at very least change the spelling of the last name).

      I have mixed feelings about your 250. On one hand they are very compelling. On the other, they appear to be long-past backstory and not closely tied in to the query/the action of the story. Do you think you could integrate this content in a memory or flashback scene rather than a prologue? If the past isn't her "real" problem (rather her ability to see the future), why is it the first thing that we see?

      Re: the query -- others have mentioned it but I'll chime in that, given the genre, I was unclear of whether David was "humanly" abusive or some sort of literal monster.

    3. Thanks for the feedback, Greyson. I'm going to change David's last name. I'm not attached to it so it's not a big deal.

      I appreciate the reccomendation about the prologue. I know people hate them and for good reason. I've tried several different times to incorporate it as memory or flashback, but it doesn't work that way. It is really important to Ruth's emotional growth through the book that it start here, so for now, I'm leaving it as is. But I will be changing the language about David's true self and becoming a monster. He's 'just' an abuser and that needs to be very clear.

  5. Sounds like a great story that I would like to read!

    I love the mystery aspect and want to know why this David is so enraged. Revenge? Evil powers?

    I agree with the others on 4th paragraph. Had to read it several times before it made sense, I would cut or rework.

    Great job, and good luck!

    Lisa #95