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View Full Version : Need Beta For Mystery pitched as Marley and Me Meets Stephanie Plum



Elaine Margarett
12-19-2010, 12:46 AM
Hi,

My 60,000 word mystery is finally ready for a beta. (yay!) My target audience are women mystery readers who like a romantic subplot. The MC is a female K9 search and rescue volunteer. Dogs are part of the mystery but as realistic crime solvers, not as cute, "oh my doggie stumbled upon a clue," kind of way.

I'm ready to start resubmitting but I'm taking the advice of an agent who said get it beta read first.

I'm hoping it's a fast, sometimes funny read that sets my MC up for more stories to come.

Thanks!!
EM

Georgina
12-19-2010, 02:02 PM
Hi, Elaine.

I attempted to contact you, but you're not accepting PMs. Would it be possible for you to change that?

Cheers.

Elaine Margarett
12-19-2010, 06:20 PM
Hi Georgina,

Sorry, I didn't realize I had it turned off. Should be okay now.

Thanks for letting me know!

Elaine :-)

lexxi
12-19-2010, 07:30 PM
I would be interested in reading. What kind of feedback are you looking for?

-Ellyn

Elaine Margarett
12-19-2010, 10:44 PM
I would be interested in reading. What kind of feedback are you looking for?

-Ellyn

Hi Ellyn!

Thanks for responding. One of my concerns is the dog training/working dog details. I don't want to bog down my pacing by having too much detail; but I also don't want to confuse the reader. What seems second nature to me might need more explanation.

Another concern is the brevity of my prose. Prior to this mystery I wrote single title romance and I had a hard time keeping my word count down. With this story I assumed I would come in at around 75-85k words and instead barely made it to 60k.

I submitted partials of this to a few agents and the feedback I got from them was there wasn't enough realistic cop detail regarding my secondary character, a NYPD detective. Also, my MC wasn't sympathetic enough. Hopefully I've addressed these issues. Regarding my prose I got feedback from the agents that they like my writing so maybe that isn't the issue I think it is.

This is a character driven mystery that will be expanded into a series. I'm concerned it's heavy on the character and light on the mystery. Since *I* know the twists of my plot I'm not sure it's mysterious enough.

Finally, I don't want the dog aspect to overshadow the human characters so I try to keep it in the background. In the way Dick Francis used horses in many of his stories, I want to do the same with my search dogs. Enough for seasoning, but not so much as to overwhelm or turn off readers who aren't dog crazy. Then again, since the dogs make my story different than the rest maybe there isn't enough doggie aspects.

If you're still interested I could send you the first chapter to see it you want to read more. If it doesn't hold your interest I want to know! And I'll let you off the hook. <g>

Either way, thanks!

EM

KingM
12-19-2010, 10:51 PM
People like stories with animals, and if you've got good humor and a strong voice, you're golden. I'm a big fan of peer groups and beta readers in general, although learning what advice to take and what advice to ignore is an art in and of itself. At the very least, getting other readers is a good way to find out if your book is doing what you think it's doing.

My other piece of advice is to leave off the Marley and Me and Stephanie Plum comparisons from the query. This sort of comparison always reads like hyperbole at best, cluelessness at worst when I see it on queries. Make the tone of the query match the tone of your book and people will get it. If agents laugh out loud at your query (intentionally, I mean), you will be sure to get some requests.

KingM
12-19-2010, 10:52 PM
If you're still interested I could send you the first chapter to see it you want to read more. If it doesn't hold your interest I want to know! And I'll let you off the hook. <g>


Post the first couple of pages in SYW and you'll get some fast, honest feedback.

Elaine Margarett
12-20-2010, 06:05 PM
Post the first couple of pages in SYW and you'll get some fast, honest feedback.

Great suggestion! I'm trotting over to SYW now and uploading the first two pages.

Thanks,
Elaine