Sunday Hat – My Pararom Nemesis

OK, I’ve been going on and on and on about my pararom and how much I suck at it, love it, hate it, flat characters, unruly ideas, you name it for like Evah, so I got an idea – a wonderful-awful idea (The Grinch is my favorite movie. I almost named my daughter Cindy-Lu-who but my Web Admin said ‘No’ – true story).

My idea: I’ll post the first pages here and my friends will tell me when they stopped reading. Where do I lose you? What’s wrong with this piece? I’m open to thoughts and ideas from fellow writers, readers and anyone willing to leave a comment. I will be pitching this at the conference in less than 2 weeks, so please advise if I should fake something contagious and bow out. LOL *COUGH!*


OK, that’s what I’m giving out. I can’t wait to hear what you think because I’ve looked at it long enough to have a stroke. I got nothing.

9 comments to Sunday Hat – My Pararom Nemesis

  • J Fritz

    Hi, Julie. I’m one of your twitter followers and if you want some input, I’m happy to help.
    Okay, when I first started reading, I wasn’t sure what the scene was like. I know that is a worship center, but what kind? Catholic? Protestant? Non-denominational? I think a sharply defined scene would help orient readers.
    What is Eve trying to do when she says “If you would.” I assume she wants to get out, but I don’t even know if she’s sitting down, standing, and where the other people are around her.
    “I sent her some eye daggers,” doesn’t sound right to me. I think “My eyes sent daggers…” might be better.
    Finally, you suffer from commaitis. There are too many commas. As a fellow sufferer, this is something I always look out for. “…moving slowly, and…” is one example. Having too many breaks the flow of the story.
    Overall, you’ve written something intriguing here. What I like is that you have voice, which is probably the most important thing. Pararoms are popular now and if you have a good story, I think you’ll get some interest. I certainly want to see where this goes.

  • Hey, Julie. First, I don’t think you need to cancel the pitch. I would definitely read on. I did notice a couple of nitpicky things so I wanted to pass them along.

    The eye-rolling, lid fluttering is REALLY hard to do at the same time, at least for me, and when I read it, I immediately had to try it which made me pause in the story(could be I’m just weird).

    I don’t think you need the semi-colon after “reluctantly”, a comma would work better.

    “Pastor” should either be The pastor or Pastor Michael, or whatever his name is unless his name is Pastor which is how it reads now. Also, at the end of that sentence I think you’re missing the word have after “would”.

    I assume this is about a reincarnation of THE Eve?

    Like I said, great voice and very interesting premise. I would love to read more. Hope this helps.

  • Julie,

    Well, you asked for it. The first part that gives me pause is “worship center”. Most people go to church. Why would it be a worship center? This sounds like a very politically correct way to say church in order to not offend people, and in an effort to not be specific. I don’t think you need to be specific and say something like Protestant church or Roman Catholic because that’s not how the character would think of it. Your character is in the choir, so this would be church unless there’s a specific reason it’s not a church. Pastor tells us enough about the denomination for now that we can move on, though I do agree that it should be “The pastor” or Pastor so-and-so though Reverend might actually be more appropriate (As loathe as I am to reference wikipedia, this will probably help).

    Moving on, my next trip is “fluttering for exaggeration”. To do something for exaggeration is to do it intentionally, and to get noticed. Rolling your eyes is generally a reflex, though it can be conscious, but who is she doing this for? If it’s intentional, it’s not her own exasperation that she’s showing, it’s for effect.

    Trip number three is ” “Shoot,” I murmured softly to the woman on my left. “Excuse me, if you would,” Eve actually murmured “shoot” to the person on her left? Why? I think you meant something more of an exclamation, or at least direct statement. ” “Shoot.” I turned and murmured softly to the woman on my left, “Excuse me, if you would—” The em dash shows that what she’s saying is being interrupted by the next line.

    Probably the point at which I would stop reading is right around there, too. Choirs are usually pretty tight knit. They practice. A lot. They know each other pretty darned-well before they get up in front of the church and sing, so at the very least Eve should know the name of the woman to her left, even if they don’t get along. I just don’t feel the character’s voice in this. The character is not even immersed in her own world. I feel like it is someone looking from above telling me about it instead of the character living in her world.

    From the look of this, I’d say you’ve got a rough draft, so that’s why some of the punctuation is off and some of the lines have a rushed feel: “trying to remember the words I would to sing”. I’m sure after going over it a couple of times you’ll catch the punctuation and tighten up the language some.

    I guess I have to agree with you that the character feels flat, mostly because I can’t get a concept for who she is. She’s standing in a choir, but it seems like she just Quantum Leaped in there, and has no real idea what’s going on around her, and that leaves the reader in the same boat.

    Should you cancel the pitch? Well, I can’t imagine why you would. The first scene is important, but it doesn’t capture the concept of the book itself. If all you were planning to do was show off the pages, then I think you’ve got a problem, but if you’re pitching, then you’ve got it down to a few lines that encapsulates the concept of the entire book. The first 500 words doesn’t tell us what that is. I know there’s a romance element because she thinks about kissing him, but other than that I’m not really sure what’s going on.

    Good luck on your pitch!

  • Julie Anne Lindsey

    Hi A3writer. It is so funny how our perceptions and life experience impact us. I belong to a lovely Baptist church and we do refer to our main auditorium where we gatehr for the service as “the worship center”. We also have a smaller place for weddings, funerals and prayer groups that we call “the chapel.”

    Our Pastor is frequently called “Pastor” as if it is his given name. TO us, it’s a sign of respect and affection. Yes, some call him Pastor Tom, or Pastor Smith, but simply Pastor is a common manner of address to us.

    I often murmur “Shoot” to myself. Doesn’t anyone else do this? If I’m in the wrong lane, or have lost my keys, or see the paperboy and don’t have any cash on me. So, I guess I gave that behavior to Eve. It seems ordinary to me.

    As for the choir? I disagree that choirs are tight knit, especially ones this large. Again, this is my experience. So, I assumed it could be that way in this book also.

    OK, that’s all. I just wanted to address the things that I disagreed with in case someone else was wondering the same thing.

    I will work on the punctuation.

  • Julie Anne Lindsey

    Thank you for your feedback! Everyone is saying this about the eye rolling – fluttering, so I will change that. Confession: I do this a lot, especially when I want to scream about something and can’t. It’s like a grown up tantrum of mine, a rebellion, if you will LOL! I roll and flutter but keep my mouth shut. She’s aggravated to see him out there.

    Also, when I capitalized Pastor it was because she was calling him that. It’s very common at our church, but this seems to be specific to our church, so I will change it to make it easier for everyone else. I can see how that would be confusing if it wasn’t your practice.

    Ah, punctuation, I will keep plugging away!

  • Julie Anne Lindsey

    J Fritz,
    Thanks for your input! I do appreciate each comment. I agree about the eye daggers, we’ll adjust that line. Oh boy, I know about those commas! Originally, I had more varied sentences, and someone in my crit group said there were too many short sentences and it caused the reading to go too slowly, so I combined several, thus adding commas, and ended up too far this way LOL. I’ll rework.

    Thank you for being kind in your response. It helps keep a fellow writer encouraged.

  • Julie,
    This is my favorite line in this blurb: “I chuckled softly and his head snapped up. His eyes were wide and dancing as he began examining each face in the choir, moving slowly, and taking careful note of each.”

    First, I totally love the concept. I would definitely read on. In fact, I hated to see it end! But to have someone’s eyes go wide and dance as he searched for my face in a crowd? Uhhhh…every girl’s dream! I agree with the pastor comment. I thought it should have had a ‘the’ in front, but I also recognized it as your voice showing through. I have a lot of little things like this in my work and how in the world would I know it bothers others if I didn’t let them read it first? And if you’re like me, you probably have a lot more of those little Julieisms peppering your ms. I say keep em. They’re you. But I’m also seriously new, so you probably shouldn’t listen to me! I loved it! And I can’t wait to see more! DEFINITELY pitch this!!

  • Julie Anne Lindsey

    Thanks Valerie! With less than 2 weeks to go, I was starting to wonder how I could pull a switcheroo and pitch my Camp Chop mystery instead. I can do perky camp counselor all day LOL!

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