#SonOfAPitch Team Leia: IN ANOTHER LIFE

Title: In Another Life
Age and Genre: Adult Women’s Fiction
Word Count: 91,000
 
 another life
Query:
Maddie wakes up in her town home to find her husband and children missing. Well not exactly missing, none of them exist. The last thing she can remember is being thirty-six years old and going to bed next to her loving husband after having an affair with her former boyfriend – Jason. And now not only is she dating Jason but she’s twenty-six again and boy have things changed. With no memory of her new life, or how things ended up this way, she soon discovers that more than just her relationship status has altered. Her once best friend Dee is no longer speaking to her, the close bond she had with her younger brother is strained and above all her closest confidant is her once manipulative and ruthless enemy, Arabella.
 
These drastic changes leave Maddie wondering where things went wrong to alter her path. As she discovers more about her changed life she realizes that she became the very type of person she despised and knows she must do whatever she can to set her life right. The problem is the dark secret holding her back, one she has yet to figure out exactly what it is.
 
Her changed life is riddled with betrayal, selfishness and one attempted murder, and when the man she put away is released on parole Maddie knows that her safety is in question and she’s not the only one who will suffer the consequences of her actions. Faced with a choice, Maddie must seek forgiveness from all those she has wronged in hopes to return to the life she had or run from her problems and risk continuing on her path of misery and possible death.
 
First 250 Words:
I had been hiding in the bathroom since I rolled out of bed at 4:00 am. A glance at the bathroom clock told me I’d been here for nearly four hours. He’d come to the door three times since he got out of bed but I hadn’t opened it. I was still having trouble believing it. 
Gripping the bathroom counter, I risked a glance in the mirror once more. My reflection was no less confusing. It was me, sure, with the same brown hair and dark eyes, but ten years younger. 
 
This was my bathroom, without the cracked sink and aged wallpaper. The window shutter was drawn and white; like the first shutters I owned, not the ones I’d most recently replaced them with. 
 
Another knock sounded and I froze. 
 
“Maddie,” his voice came through again. “Please open the door, talk to me.” 
 
“I-I’m fine,” I managed, still shocked by the voice that called to me. Where was Nathan, Ava and Haley? Where was the life that I spent ten years building, the same life I’d slowly let break and change me? It was gone and all I was left with was him. 
 
“Maddie, c’mon,” he said, frustration evident in his tone. “Just open the door.” 
 
I looked from the door back to the mirror, reaching up and touching my smooth skin. The wrinkles around my eyes and lips were gone. The scar I got from the car accident in ’07 was gone. My wedding ring had vanished and my clothes were unfamiliar.
 

8 thoughts on “#SonOfAPitch Team Leia: IN ANOTHER LIFE”

  1. All comments are my opinions. Please take what helps and ignore the rest.

    Maddie wakes up in her town home to find her husband and children missing. Well not exactly missing, none of them exist. The last thing she can remember is being thirty-six years old and going to bed next to her loving husband after having an affair with her former boyfriend – Jason. And now not only is she dating Jason but she’s twenty-six again (and boy have things changed)<I don't think you need this.

    With no memory of her new life, or how things ended up this way, (she soon discovers that more than just her relationship status has altered)<I don't think you need this either…your next sentences show it.
    Her once best friend Dee is no longer speaking to her, the close bond she had with her younger brother is strained and above all her closest confidant is her once manipulative and ruthless enemy, Arabella. (WHAT? It's like those Hallmark Christmas movie I watch! Sorry…got distracted…)

    These drastic changes leave Maddie wondering where things went wrong to alter her path. (As she discovers more about her changed life she realizes that)She became the very type of person she despised and knows she must do whatever she can to set her life right. The problem is the dark secret holding her back, one she has yet to figure out exactly what it is. (Wait what dark secret? How did she get into the alternate time line? Did she do something or say something that Fate decided to show her what her life would be like if she had chosen a different path? Is that what she has to figure out…how she got there?)

    Her changed life is riddled with betrayal, selfishness and one attempted murder, and when the man she put away is released on parole Maddie knows that her safety is in question and she’s not the only one who will suffer the consequences of her actions. (Faced with a choice)<don't need, Maddie must seek forgiveness from all those she has wronged in hopes to return to the life she had or run from her problems and risk continuing on her path of misery and possible death.
    (The man she put away? Who is that? She attempted to kill someone? So this guy is going to come after her and everyone in her life? Why? And hoping to get back by becoming the person she wants to be vs death is pretty good stakes. I am intrigued by this premise, like I said Hallmark movies…)

    First 250 Words:
    I had been hiding in the bathroom since I rolled out of bed at 4:00 am. A glance at the bathroom clock told me I’d been here for nearly four hours. He’d come to the door three times since he got out of bed but I hadn’t opened it. I was still having trouble believing it.
    (Good opener…I'm very curious…)

    Gripping the bathroom counter, I risked a glance in the mirror once more. My reflection was no less confusing. It was me, sure, with the same brown hair and dark eyes, but ten years younger.
    (How does she know it's ten years younger? She'd noticed that she looks younger, sure but what makes her say ten years?)

    This was my bathroom, without the cracked sink and aged wallpaper. The window shutter was drawn and white; like the first shutters I owned, not the ones I’d most recently replaced them with.

    Another knock sounded and I froze.

    “Maddie,” his voice came through again. “Please open the door, talk to me.”
    (Who is he? Does she know? Name him. What does he sound like? Is he concerned?)

    “I-I’m fine,” I managed, still shocked by the voice that called to me. Where was Nathan, Ava and Haley? Where was the life that I spent ten years building, the same life I’d slowly let break and change me? It was gone and all I was left with was him.
    (The same life she'd slowly let break her…very interesting statement…Break her from being what? Breaking is usually a bad thing… and who is she left with?)

    “Maddie, c’mon,” he said, frustration evident in his tone. “Just open the door.”

    I looked from the door back to the mirror, reaching up and touching my smooth skin. The wrinkles around my eyes and lips were gone. The scar I got from the car accident in ’07 was gone. My wedding ring had vanished and my clothes were unfamiliar.

    (If she had just been with Jason having an affair…would she wonder why he woke up with her…why he had followed her? Or were these her thoughts when she first woke up? Would she blame him for her missing family? She should name him…tell us who he is, her old boyfriend, the one she left for her husband…the one she had been having an affair with…then there are the other things…her appearance, the bathroom's appearance, things that can't be explained. I like her cowering in the bathroom, being confused! I like the hints that she is in the past. I'd keep reading.

  2. Query: What an intriguing scenario! I’m very curious as to how her accidental alternate universe time travel or whatever it was happened.

    My criticism are mostly just line by line nitpicks.
    -I bumped on going to bed after having an affair. I think of having an affair as an ongoing thing, rather than a one-time event like “sleeping with” or “having a one night stand.” You can go to bed after a one-time event, but not really after an ongoing one, unless you’ve just ended it.
    – “boy have things changed” seems superfluous.
    -2nd paragraph last sentence got awkward at the end: “The problem is the dark secret holding her back, one she has yet to figure out exactly what it is.” I’m confused. Does she not know what her own dark secret is?
    -3rd paragraph last sentence: “Faced with a choice” seems superfluous when the rest of the sentence lays out her choice.

    First 250 Words: I’m intrigued by the opening. A woman hiding in the bathroom for four hours has got to have an interesting reason. The interaction through the door plays well, though I don’t know why you seem to avoid using his name or giving him any descriptors like “my boyfriend from years ago”

    Grammar nitpick: Where *were* Nathan, Ava, and Haley?

    Awareness nitpick: Is she already aware that she’d let her life “break and change” her? Or is this maybe a realization she comes to later?

    At the end of the 250, I am intrigued and would definitely read more.

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

  3. These are my opinions, take them if they help you, leave them if they don’t.

    Query: The query reads too much like a synopsis and not enough like the back-of-book blurb that a query needs to be. Condense it and focus on the first few chapters.

    First 250: That being said… I think you started the book in the wrong place.

    Reading the first 250 you have posted I feel like I walked into a movie 10 minutes late. The emotional heart of the book is Maddie’s desire to get back to her husband, get back to her kids, but they don’t exist. And that would work if she were suffering from a psychotic break or a drug addiction, but that’s not what you’re doing.

    I’d rather the book start with her choice to have an affair. However she frames it, whether she had a fight and got drunk and went home with her ex or decided she needed it just this once to get it out of her system… I need to see that. I need to see why she made the choice, what she felt about it, and what she felt coming home to her husband and kids. Because that’s going to influence my opinions of her throughout the book.

    Stepping back to the night before will also frame her reaction. I don’t want to see her four hours after the action, that’s like watching someone clean the stadium after the Super Bowl! Show the action. Show her waking up and realizing what went wrong.

  4. YOUR QUERY

    I really like this premise, but your query is wordy. The purpose of the query is to catch attention and make us want to read more. All the details can be given in the synopsis. Try to scale it back to just the essentials and keep it fresh and exciting!

    YOUR FIRST 250

    I really enjoyed this. I’m intrigued, but your first sentence could be a lot more powerful!

    Show us instead of telling us what’s going on. How does she know she’s ten years younger? Show us the face she’s looking at when you mention it the first time instead of waiting. What does this man sound like? Also, I find it odd that she doesn’t use his name when she refers to him. Why not?

    I know from the query who he is, but from this first 250 words, I don’t know anything about him other than that she woke up with him in her bed that she, presumably, shares with her husband. Why doesn’t she find that strange? Give us those little clues to put it all together. While a publisher or agent will have read your query, a reader won’t always have that same information. Keep that in mind as you go along, and you’ll do great!

    Best of luck!

  5. There’s a lot of great stuff in the query and I think you’re on the right track. More details are needed to better understand the conflict and craft the final paragraph. I’ve added my musing – they may help – or not. Best of luck.

    Query:
    When Maddie wakes up in her town home, her husband and children missing.The last thing she can remember is going to bed next to her loving husband after having an affair with her former boyfriend – Jason. And now, it’s ten years earlier, she’s twenty-six, dating Jason and boy have things changed. With no memory of her new life, or how she ended up here, she soon discovers that more than just her relationship status has been? altered. Her once best friend Dee is no longer speaking to her, the close bond with her younger brother is strained and her closest confidant is her once manipulative and ruthless enemy, Arabella.

    As Maddie discovers more about her changed life, she realizes that she became the very type of person she despises and will do whatever she can to set her life right. The problem is the dark secret holding her back, one she has yet to figure out exactly what it is.(this is kind of vague and I feel like we need to know more here. This feels like a pivotal point. Where will she go to find the answer to the secret ? how does she know there is a secret? Like the dark secret she hid years ago resurfaces and promises to …)

    Her changed life is riddled with betrayal, selfishness and one attempted murder. (I like the trifecta of doom right there ☺) , and when the man she put away is released on parole ( – what – where’d he come from – if he’s the secret from her past and plays an important part, weave it in – if not, is he worth mentioning now? )Maddie’s safety is in question and she’s not the only one who will suffer the consequences of her actions. Faced with a choice, Maddie must seek forgiveness from all those she has wronged in hopes to return to the life she had or risk continuing on her path of misery and possible death. (Clarity leading up to this will help solid the closing lines.)

    I’ll come back later for the First 250.

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

  6. Query:
    Maddie wakes up in her town home to find her husband and children missing. Well not exactly missing, none of them exist. [I’d have a paragraph here to give emphasis to the hook line]

    The last thing she can remember is being thirty-six years old and going to bed next to her loving husband after having an affair with her former boyfriend – Jason And now not only is she dating Jason but she’s twenty-six again and boy have things changed. [These sentences are a little long and convoluted for me. I’d say something like: “She’d gone to bed the night before as a thirty-six-year-old woman, next to her loving husband. In that time period, she’d been having an affair with her ex-boyfriend Jason. Now, she’s twenty-six and she’s dating Jason.” You don’t need the “boy have things changed” because you show that.] [I’d do a new para here]

    With no memory of her new life, or how things ended up this way, she soon discovers that more than just her relationship status has altered. [I’d reword, because these are separate ideas: “She has no memory of her new life or how things ended up this way, and she soon discovers…”]Her once best friend Dee is no longer speaking to her, the close bond she had with her younger brother is strained [I’d put a comma here] and above all her closest confidant is her once manipulative and ruthless enemy, Arabella.

    These drastic changes leave Maddie wondering where things went wrong to alter her path. As she discovers more about her changed life she realizes that she became the very type of person she despised and knows she must do whatever she can to set her life right. The problem is the dark secret holding her back, one she has yet to figure out exactly what it is [This is a bit awkward for me, and the concept is so awesome and a little funny that I think you want to give it emphasis. Something like, “The problem is she has a dark secret holding her back…and she doesn’t even know what it is.”]

    Her changed life is riddled with betrayal, selfishness and one attempted murder, and when the man she put away is released on parole Maddie knows that her safety is in question and she’s not the only one who will suffer the consequences of her actions. Faced with a choice, Maddie must seek forgiveness from all those she has wronged in hopes to return to the life she had or run from her problems and risk continuing on her path of misery and possible death. [This is a lot going on, and it comes a little out of left field. I don’t know why she needs forgiveness for stuff she only did in an alternate universe and can’t even remember. I assume a lot of this has to do with the affair she’d been having in the “regular” universe, and you might want to bring that concept back in. You’ve already hooked me, and you don’t need to give me a lot of new info. I just need the stakes. I’d replace this whole paragraph with something simpler like, “When a man she’s betrayed comes back for revenge, Maddie must find forgiveness and a way back into her old life before it’s too late.”]

    First 250 Words:
    I had been hiding in the bathroom since I rolled out of bed at 4:00 am. A glance at the bathroom clock told me I’d been here for nearly four hours. He’d come to the door three times since he got out of bed but I hadn’t opened it. I was still having trouble believing it.
    Gripping the bathroom counter, I risked a glance in the mirror once more. My reflection was no less confusing. It was me, sure, with the same brown hair and dark eyes, but ten years younger.

    This was my bathroom, without the cracked sink and aged wallpaper. The window shutter was drawn and white; like the first shutters I owned, not the ones I’d most recently replaced them with.

    Another knock sounded and I froze.

    “Maddie,” his voice came through again. “Please open the door, talk to me.”

    “I-I’m fine,” I managed, still shocked by the voice that called to me. Where was Nathan, Ava and Haley? Where was the life that I spent ten years building, the same life I’d slowly let break and change me? It was gone and all I was left with was him.

    “Maddie, c’mon,” he said, frustration evident in his tone. “Just open the door.”

    I looked from the door back to the mirror, reaching up and touching my smooth skin. The wrinkles around my eyes and lips were gone. The scar I got from the car accident in ’07 was gone. My wedding ring had vanished and my clothes were unfamiliar.

    [This is great writing, but I think it’s the wrong place to start. I’d orient us in her old life first. Then her appearance in the new one will have more of an impact, and you won’t have to give us backstory.
    Good entry!]

  7. First 250 Words:
    I had been hiding in the bathroom since I rolled out of bed at 4:00 am. A glance at the bathroom clock told me I’d been here for nearly four hours. (In four hours, he’d come to the door three times. But I hadn’t opened it. I couldn’t. I still didn’t know what the hell was going on? Put a thought here that shows her surprise or confusion. I was still having trouble believing it. (or what if she just stumbled in and deal with it in real time?)
    If he was on the other side of the door, where was Nathan? God, of God, what have I done?
    Gripping the bathroom counter, I risked a second glance in the mirror. Who was that? I mean, sure, that was me. It was definitely my brown hair and dark eyes, but I looked ten years younger.
    And everything felt wrong.
    This was my bathroom, without the cracked sink and aged wallpaper. The window shutter was drawn and white; like the first shutters I owned, not the ones I’d most recently replaced them with.

    Another knock sounded and I froze.

    “Maddie,” Jason’s voice came through again. “Please open the door, talk to me.”

    “I-I’m fine,” I managed, still shocked by the voice that called to me. Did Nathan leave with Ava and Haley? Did he find out what happened last night?

    “Maddie, c’mon,” he said, frustration evident in his tone. “Just open the door.”

    I dropped my head into my hands. Think… if I could just remember what had happened?
    I looked from the door back to the mirror, reaching up and touching my smooth skin. The wrinkles around my eyes and lips were gone. The scar I got from the car accident in ’07 (absent)?. My wedding ring had vanished and my clothes were unfamiliar.

    I like how the scene starts and the approach to introducing her dilemma. A bit more surprise/disbelief/despair element could be woven into the words to make the shock of the moment a bit more palpable. This premise of the story sounds great and I’d love to read more.

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

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