This is a new series where I go through my ebook slush pile, and pull out the exact sentence where I stopped caring about a particular novel. My goal with this series is two-fold: many of our readers (and myself included) are writers, and I found this a REALLY useful exercise in tightening up the intro to my short stories and poems. Plus, this is fun.
The Guild of the Cowry Catchers — Abigail Hinton
Morchella raised her robes about her and sat down on the edge of the pool to dangle her bare legs in the water. She had pearl-white fur below her navel and pink pads on her creamy paws.
We’re 6% into the novel and the majority of the text thus far has been sumptuous description. Normally this doesn’t bother me: Guy Gavriel Kay, for example, can linger like whoa over a mosaic. However, the emphasis has consistently been on sight — is the water cool? Is Morchella (described as being a prominent priestess) young or old? Who’s the narrator, since it seems odd Morchella would take special note of her coloring? Most importantly, how do these details connect to the overarching plot, contribute to character development, or establish the novel’s feel?
Hostile Witness — Rebecca Forster
Hannah had come in with a bus full of women. She had a name, now she was a number. The others were taking off their clothes. Their bodies were ugly, their faces worn. They flaunted their ugliness as if it were a cruel joke, not on them but on those who watched. Hannah was everything they were not. Beautiful. Young. She wouldn’t stand naked in this room with these women.
…Hannah might be a douche. And possibly an idiot. We’re about 2% into the story, and even though she’s apparently transported into a prison cell, so far she’s obsessed over how the other women are ugly, how her beauty (not her innocence, her type of crime, her age, no specifics) makes her ~*~different~*~, and how her lacy white thong hides her ultimate vulnerability. In a world filled with crime novels and thrillers featuring the wrongfully accused, I need to know more about your heroine than that she’s a hottie, and, apparently, the only woman upset at being forced to strip in front of male prison guards.
This may or may not become a weekly series — depends on how many clunkers I get!