#SonOfAPitch Team Leia: CRAVING HER

Title: Craving Her
Category and Genre: Adult Romance
Word Count: 105k
craving her
Query:

Rebel son to a real-estate mogul, Dante Arzola stays as far away from his father’s illicit hotel business as possible. The need for him to distance himself from the blood-soaked dealings of his family is only exemplified the night his mother passes away, leaving him with a hole in his chest and two years’ probation. In his world of wealth and corruption, his childhood friend has always stood as a beacon of goodness and light. Now he wants more than friendship. He wants her.

  Sadie Trajkovski isn’t as innocent as Dante thinks. 

 Blackmailed by her former partner, Sadie must find a way to protect herself from one man’s callous revenge and keep Dante from learning the truth that dangles right within his view. She is in love with his brother. However, as her blackmailer’s threats turn more sinister, Sadie will have no choice but to pick—betray Dante’s trust or risk her life fighting an enemy she has no clue how to defeat.

 First 250 Words:

I can’t get caught. I can’t. My stomach churns as  I unclench my fist. I am so close…so close to the truth I can taste it, and if I get caught, she’ll take it away from me. She did it once. She’ll do it again. I keep my eyes locked on the kitchen archway. Toes curled in the plush living room carpet. Sweat gathers under my arms and behind my knees, in the area where my boobs meet the wire of my bra, and I’ve never been so thankful for nonstick deodorant. My heart drums wildly in my ears, much louder than the air conditioning humming or the gentle wind pulling the smell of salt-water and rain through the open windows. I wipe my palm down my shorts before I inch my hand into my mother’s purse. Slowly. Slowly. Fingers touch metal and plastic.

The first time I heard some things were better left alone was when I was twelve. 

During primary school, I would spend each summer at the Arzola Estate in Coral Gables. The manicured lawns were my playground. The oceanfront was a mini paradise I would swim in for hours on end. One day when the chauffeur dropped me off, he turned to me with dead-set eyes and said, “Nobody has this much money unless they’re involved in bad things. If you know what I mean.” But I didn’t know what he meant, though I’d soon find out.

8 thoughts on “#SonOfAPitch Team Leia: CRAVING HER”

  1. Rebel son to a real-estate mogul, Dante Arzola stays as far away from his father’s illicit hotel business as possible. The need for him to distance himself from the blood-soaked dealings of his family is only exemplified the night his mother passes away, leaving him with a hole in his chest and two years’ probation. In his world of wealth and corruption, his childhood friend has always stood as a beacon of goodness and light. Now he wants more than friendship. He wants her.
    (Two years probation? For? And good set up. I know him and what he wants.)

    Sadie Trajkovski isn’t as innocent as Dante thinks.
    (Oh…)
    Blackmailed by her former partner, Sadie must find a way to protect herself from one man’s callous revenge and keep Dante from learning the truth that dangles right within his view. She is in love with his brother. However, as her blackmailer’s threats turn more sinister, Sadie will have no choice but to pick—betray Dante’s trust or risk her life fighting an enemy she has no clue how to defeat.
    (This is a romance? Feels a bit thriller. But…I get the stakes. I get the conflict. This whole ms must be conflict!)

    First 250 Words:

    I can’t get caught. I can’t. My stomach churns as I unclench my fist. I am so close…so close to the truth I can taste it, and if I get caught, she’ll take it away from me. She did it once. She’ll do it again. I keep my eyes locked on the kitchen archway. Toes curled in the plush living room carpet. Sweat gathers under my arms and behind my knees, in the area where my boobs meet the wire of my bra, and I’ve never been so thankful for nonstick deodorant. My heart drums wildly in my ears, much louder than the air conditioning humming or the gentle wind pulling the smell of salt-water and rain through the open windows. I wipe my palm down my shorts before I inch my hand into my mother’s purse. Slowly. Slowly. Fingers touch metal and plastic.
    (Nonstick deodorant? That stopped me. What great tension and description!)

    The first time I heard some things were better left alone was when I was twelve.
    (I had to read this a few times…the first time she heard the phrase “some things were better left alone” was when she was twelve…right? I was confused for a second.)

    During primary school, I would spend each summer at the Arzola Estate in Coral Gables. The manicured lawns were my playground. The oceanfront was a mini paradise I would swim in for hours on end. One day when the chauffeur dropped me off, he turned to me with dead-set eyes and said, “Nobody has this much money unless they’re involved in bad things. If you know what I mean.” But I didn’t know what he meant, though I’d soon find out.
    (Maybe a bit of transition between last two paras? To go from the line things better left alone…to summer in paradise was a bit jarring for me. Was this the summer she was 12? Was that the summer everything changed? I am being super picky…cause it’s really good!)

  2. Oh, I love a good romance. Thanks for participating in SOn of a Pitch this year! I have a few comments for consideration for you. I’ll post them below.

    YOUR QUERY

    Rebel son to a real-estate mogul, Dante Arzola stays as far away from his father’s illicit hotel business as possible. The need for him to distance himself from the blood-soaked dealings of his family is only exemplified the night his mother passes away, leaving him with a hole in his chest and two years’ probation. In his world of wealth and corruption, his childhood friend has always stood as a beacon of goodness and light. Now he wants more than friendship. He wants her.

    [For flow, I would, personally, try Dante Arzola, rebel son to a real-estate mogul, stays as far away…]

    Sadie Trajkovski isn’t as innocent as Dante thinks.

    [Nice!]

    Blackmailed by her former partner, Sadie must find a way to protect herself from one man’s callous revenge and keep Dante from learning the truth that dangles right within his view. She is in love with his brother. However, as her blackmailer’s threats turn more sinister, Sadie will have no choice but to pick—betray Dante’s trust or risk her life fighting an enemy she has no clue how to defeat.

    [What type of person is his brother? Give us a little bit (ie: his dangerous older brother, his gorgeous younger brother, his studious, nerdy brother, etc) so we know who he is or why she’s in love with him instead of Dante. He’s just a mystery figure as is, and we don’t get any sense of who this person, so it’s hard to get invested in why she’s in love with him or in the love-triangle presented here.]

    YOUR FIRST 250

    I can’t get caught. I can’t. My stomach churns as I unclench my fist. I am so close…so close to the truth I can taste it, and if I get caught, she’ll take it away from me. She did it once. She’ll do it again. I keep my eyes locked on the kitchen archway. Toes curled in the plush living room carpet. Sweat gathers under my arms and behind my knees, in the area where my boobs meet the wire of my bra, and I’ve never been so thankful for nonstick deodorant. My heart drums wildly in my ears, much louder than the air conditioning humming or the gentle wind pulling the smell of salt-water and rain through the open windows. I wipe my palm down my shorts before I inch my hand into my mother’s purse. Slowly. Slowly. Fingers touch metal and plastic.

    [This is a great start! I’m invested in the outcome of her crime, but I would break this up a little to add impact. For instance:

    I can’t get caught. I can’t.

    My stomach churns as I unclench my fist. I am so close…so close to the truth I can taste it, and if I get caught, she’ll take it away from me. She did it once. She’ll do it again.

    I keep my eyes locked on the kitchen archway. Toes curled in the plush living room carpet. Sweat gathers under my arms and behind my knees, in the area where my boobs meet the wire of my bra, and I’ve never been so thankful for nonstick deodorant. My heart drums wildly in my ears, much louder than the air-conditioning humming or the gentle wind pulling the smell of salt-water and rain through the open windows.

    I wipe my palm down my shorts before I inch my hand into my mother’s purse.

    Slowly. Slowly. Fingers touch metal and plastic.]

    The first time I heard some things were better left alone was when I was twelve.

    [This is confusing. Reword for clarity.]

    During primary school, I would spend each summer at the Arzola Estate in Coral Gables. The manicured lawns were my playground. The oceanfront was a mini paradise I would swim in for hours on end. One day when the chauffeur dropped me off, he turned to me with dead-set eyes and said, “Nobody has this much money unless they’re involved in bad things. If you know what I mean.” But I didn’t know what he meant, though I’d soon find out.

    [I’m not sure why this paragraph is here. It doesn’t really fit with what came before. I know you’re limited to 250 words, but without context, it’s hard to critique this section. That said, if taken as is, I would move that last sentence to a paragraph of it’s own for emphasis.]

    Best of luck to you!

  3. Thank you for your feedback! This is awesome 🙂

    I’m aiming for romantic thriller, but it’s a bit genre-bending so sometimes I’m even confused about which one it falls into the most. But romance is a huge element. The story wouldn’t be the same without it.

    Non-stick makes sense in my head. lol Which is exactly why it’s great for other people to read it because my head has been wrong before, and is prone to be wrong again. Hmmm. I think I’ll go with antiperspirant. (Said after grabbing the nearest stick of deodorant and finding that word)

    You were dead right about the sentence, “The first time I heard some things were better left alone….” I’m wondering if it would sound more fluid like. “The first time I heard some things were better left alone I was twelve.”

    I can definitely see what you mean by jagging and am going to try some things out because this summer is indeed important! The one that changes things :O

  4. Query: Intriguing! Good set of conflicting desires and motivations. Good concept.

    To improve the query, my thoughts:
    -Given the mention of “blood-soaked dealings” I wasn’t sure if the “hole in his chest” was literal or metaphorical. Has he been shot? Or is that meant to be his heartbreak over losing mom?
    -start a new paragraph when you switch to talking about his friend “in his world”
    -I like the stand alone sentence. “Sadie Trajkovski isn’t as innocent as Dante thinks.” If Sadie’s the main character (as the 250 words makes me think she is), maybe this should come first.
    -I like the last paragraph until the last sentence. “Sadie will have no choice but to pick” seems unnecessarily convoluted. “no clue how to defeat” seems an odd place to leave off, a powerless moment rather than an active moment.

    250 words: Good tension in that opening paragraph. I’m a bit thrown though when we move suddenly from touching the metal and plastic (what? a gun?) to childhood memories. Felt a bit like you pulled the rug out from under me in a tense moment. That said, the memories are interesting. I would read more to see where it’s going.

    Thanks for participating in our query contest. I hope you find the feedback useful! -SB

  5. This query is in great shape. Loads of tension and great premise. I offered a few thoughts – they may be helpful or not. 🙂 Best of luck.
    Query:
    Rebel son to a real-estate mogul, Dante Arzola stays as far away from his father’s illicit hotel business as possible.(love this!) His need to distance himself from the blood-soaked dealings of his family is only exemplified the night his mother passes away, leaving him with a hole in his chest and two years’ probation. In his world of wealth and corruption, his childhood friend has always stood as a beacon of goodness and light. Now he wants more than friendship. He wants her.
    Sadie Trajkovski isn’t as innocent as Dante thinks. (It would not be fun if she was ☺ Love that line)
    Blackmailed by her former partner, Sadie must find a way to protect herself from one man’s callous revenge and keep Dante from learning the truth that dangles right within his view. She is in love with his brother. (Her love for his brother? Her affair with his brother?) tinker here?

    And what about Dante? Is the cold-blooded nature of his family hereditary? Blinded by affection/emotion, Dante finds himself tangled in a web of the corruption he wanted to escape? caught in the corruption he fought to leave? And as her blackmailer’s threats turn more sinister, Sadie will have no choice but to pick—betray Dante’s trust or risk her life fighting an enemy she has no clue how to defeat.

    First 250 Words:

    I can’t get caught. I can’t. My stomach churns as I unclench my fist. The truth is so close I can taste it. But if I get caught, she’ll take it away from me. She did it once. She’ll do it again. My gaze continually sweeps/tracks/finds ( to) the kitchen archway. Toes curled in the plush living room carpet. Sweat gathers under my arms and behind my knees, and in the area where my boobs meet the wire of my bra, (and I’ve never been so thankful for nonstick deodorant. – Needed? ) I wipe my palm down my shorts (and) inch my hand into my mother’s purse.** moved up to have a little action.) My heart drums wildly in my ears, much louder than the air conditioning humming or the gentle wind pulling the smell of salt-water and rain through the open windows. Slowly. Slowly. Fingers touch metal and plastic.
    (The first time I heard some things were better left alone was when I was twelve. (this becomes a transition point and a few more links may help so it’s not jarring. Ie – Some things were better left alone, echoed in my head, reminding me of the first time I heard that phrase. But this moment was different from the summers I spent at the Arzola Estate in Coral Gables with manicured lawns as my playground. I was twelve when I first heard those words. The day the chauffeur turned to me with dead-set eyes and said, “Nobody has this much money unless they’re involved in bad things. If you know what I mean.” But I didn’t know what he meant, though I’d soon find out. – if we are going to stay in her youth a bit longer, I’d suggest we know what she touched and let a thought echo through her head before moving)

    The build up of suspense is great and your details capture the tension of the moment. I tinkered with a few words, moved a few words and added comments near the transition. If they help – great, if not, ignore. This is off to a great start.

    All suggestions/opinions/thoughts are humbly offered. Thanks for sharing your words

  6. Rebel son to a real-estate mogul, Dante Arzola stays as far away from his father’s illicit hotel business as possible. The need for him [I’d take out the “for him”] to distance himself from the blood-soaked dealings of his family is only exemplified [I’d say “brought home”] the night his mother passes away, leaving him with a hole in his chest and two years’ probation. In his world of wealth and corruption, his childhood friend [I’d say, “…wealth and corruption, the only beacon of goodness and light is his childhood friend Sadie Trajkovski.”] has always stood as a beacon of goodness and light. Now he wants more than friendship. He wants her.
    [I’d say, “But Sadie isn’t as innocent…”]Sadie Trajkovski isn’t as innocent as Dante thinks.
    Blackmailed by her former partner, Sadie must find a way to protect herself from one man’s callous revenge and keep Dante from learning the truth[I’d end the sentence here.] that dangles right within his view. She is in love with his brother [I’m confused here. Is she in love with Dante’s brother? Is Dante’s brother her former partner, or is Dante? I need these relationships clarified]. However, as her blackmailer’s threats turn more sinister, Sadie will have no choice but to pick—betray Dante’s trust or risk her life fighting an enemy she has no clue how to defeat.
    First 250 Words:
    I can’t get caught. I can’t. My stomach churns as I unclench my fist [I’d say fists]. I am so close…so close to the truth I can taste it, and if I get caught, she’ll take it away from me. She did it once. She’ll do it again. I keep my eyes locked on the kitchen archway. Toes curled in the plush living room carpet. Sweat gathers under my arms and behind my knees, in the area where my boobs meet the wire of my bra, and I’ve never been so thankful for nonstick deodorant. My heart drums wildly in my ears, much louder than the air conditioning humming or the gentle wind pulling the smell of salt-water and rain through the open windows. I wipe my palm down my shorts before I inch my hand into my mother’s purse. Slowly. Slowly. Fingers touch metal and plastic.
    The first time I heard some things were better left alone was when I was twelve.
    During primary school, I would spend each summer at the Arzola Estate in Coral Gables. The manicured lawns were my playground. The oceanfront was a mini paradise I would swim in for hours on end. One day when the chauffeur dropped me off, he turned to me with dead-set eyes and said, “Nobody has this much money unless they’re involved in bad things. If you know what I mean.” But [I’d take out the but] I didn’t know what he meant, though I’d soon find out.

    Good entry!

  7. Thank you everyone! I’m at work so I can’t reply to each, but all of your feedback has been very helpful and I think I have a good idea on how to smooth out the first 250 and sharpen the query. 🙂 I’m really excited to make these changes.

  8. Craving Her is an interesting title, but it makes me think of a paranormal instead of adult romance.

    The opening of the blurb offers excite and intrigue, but the first three sentences could use some word economy and condensing to make the writing leaner and to the point. And it is unclear why Dante has two years’ probation to serve, especially since he has made a point to stay away from his father’s illicit business. Also, I’m a bit confused as to how his mother died (is she important in the story), and it’s unclear who Sadie really loves. Is Dante her former partner’s brother, or is it Dante’s brother she truly loves, or is it the blackmailer’s brother she loves? Some clarification would be helpful here.

    Now, it is said that Sadie doesn’t have a clue as to how to defeat her enemy, which sounds as if she doesn’t have an idea as to who this person really is. However, it is stated in the blurb that she’s being blackmailed by her former partner. So, is the former partner a lover or a business partner? Plus, if she’s had dealings with this person before, she’d have some idea of what she could and couldn’t do.

    The overall feel of the piece comes across as a romantic thriller rather than a typical adult romance. In the excerpt provided, the first paragraph is long and could stand to be broken up into different paragraphs. Also, the content starts out active and in real-time, but then flips into a flashback. And I must be honest, having a flashback in the first 250-words is a red flag. Plus, the flashback pulled me out of the active story. Now, if the flashback was only a sentence to bridge the gap between what she said in real-time and what she had experienced or learned in the past, it would keep the reader in the real story. However, as it stands, the reader is pulled out of real-time and tossed into the central character’s school days.

    One exercise I encourage you to perform on your body of work is to take a 300- to 600-word section and kill all but a total of two occurrences of the combined words I, me, and my, which means you’d only be able to use two occurrences of the three words, only: I/I, I/me, my/me, etc. This exercise will encourage you to write more active and to kill filter words (I keep, I can’t, I wipe, I unclench, I taste, I inch, I heard, I would spend). Don’t tell the reader what the central character is doing. Instead, show the reader the central character’s actions. What does the scene look like from the eyes of the character? What senses can you as a writer employ to bring the body to life? –remember, there are five senses to utilize when one writes.

    Good luck.

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