Monday, March 12, 2018

Feedback Request

The author of the book featured in Face-Lift 1360 would like feedback on the following revision:

Dear Mr. Evil Editor:

Twenty-eight-year-old Verity Hearst fears she'll never meet a man who will accept her dark secret. But solitude isn't so bad, not with a loaded Springfield 1911-A1 pistol and a warm cup of tea to keep her company. She has killed over eighty criminals as one of the world's elite assassins, [Is a pistol the best weapon for a assassin? In some cases, maybe, but usually you'd want something long-range like a sniper rifle, or quiet, like a garrote so you don't get caught.] a reputation she has proudly earned alone. Her only problem is the innocent witness she killed and buried after her last assignment. [If her last assignment was completed, why would she be killing anyone? Was it an accident? Did the witness see her kill a criminal?] She isn't sure what her employer will do to her if they find out.

Verity's manager is her only link to the mysterious company she works for. When he tells her she'll have a partner on the highest paid assignment of her life, she wonders if her employer is doubting her ability to kill unnoticed. Taking out three men at the head of a billion-dollar human and drug trafficking operation doesn't seem that difficult, [Actually, it does. Those sound like guys who would be surrounded by bodyguards wearing bulletproof vests and armed with better weapons than 1911-A1 pistols.] until she meets her new partner's ego.

Verity's partner Cy thinks he's the world's greatest assassin. He's the expert on everything, including how to pour a cup of tea properly. Verity has zero interest in him romantically, but he doesn't believe it. He scrutinizes [criticizes?] her every move, and has no faith in her ability to annihilate their targets. Verity knows she'll lose her job if she lets Cy do all the killing. And both their lives are on the line if they can't find a way to kill their targets together. Firing an assassin from what she does best means she'll end up in an early grave. [That sentence isn't clear. You could replace the last two sentences with: And assassins don't get fired; they get sent to an early grave.] [Although it seems if you're an assassin working to kill bad guys, your employer would be a good guy, and wouldn't eliminate you like they would if you worked for the mob and could blow the whistle on them.]

KILLER IN HEELS is a 70,000-word suspense novel.


This is pretty much all setup. We know Verity and Cy are assassins assigned to kill three people, but we don't know anything that happens. What's their plan? What goes wrong? What situation forces them to work together whether they like it or not? If you eliminate the two sentences about Verity's only problem, which don't seem necessary (and lead to questions you don't have room to answer), and the last three sentences of paragraph 3, you'll have room to provide some details about the story.


khazarkhum said...

Is sent sent to help her, or kill her?

Mister Furkles said...

Okay, she is only a few years into killing people, some who might not have been guilty, but eighty? That’s like one a month. And assassins either do it with a sniper rifle or, if up close, a .25 cal so the noise suppressor can work. A 1911 makes a lot of noise.

And one a month is so frequent that she’d have killed a lot of the wrong people. It takes time to observe the victim and be certain of his/her identity and to determine when and where it is best to make the attempt.

“mysterious company she works for” It’s Tommy Gambino’s Consolidated Carriers. They are very busy freight haulers. And they have anger management problems with the competition.

Getting close enough to a major drug don to shoot him with a handgun sounds impossible.

It doesn’t make any sense that anybody in the kill business would not respect an eighty-kill assassin. Maybe it should be something smaller like eight.

And “Verity knows she'll lose her job if she lets Cy do all the killing” Would you really risk firing somebody who has killed eighty criminals?

So, it don’t make much sense. Rethink this to make Verity seem less formidable. Nobody roots for King Kong to kill the natives.

khazarkhum said...

Mister Furkles, I wouldn't bet on that last one.

With that kill count, she must have a target the size of Times Square on her back.

I'd believe the plot more if she killed the wrong guy, and he was sent to 'shadow' her and 'reinforce' her training.

St0n3henge said...

Do I care what happens to an assassin who doesn't give a crap that she killed the wrong person, except to worry her employers will find out?

Do I care about a guy who is even more self-centered and narcissistic than that person?

Not really.

Could you make either of these characters the least bit sympathetic?

Anonymous said...

Since the number of deaths has been brought up before, it might be useful for you to actually run the numbers, i.e. get yourself a calendar with every day listed for x years, figure out who was killed on which day (assign them a number if you don't want to come up with more details) and how long it took to set up the hit. Then, at least you can point to your homework for the reasonableness of 80.

CavalierdeNuit said...

Thank you everyone for the feedback! Thank you especially EE for your advice.

Anyone know of any traditionally published books written by women about female assassins/killers that are not YA, crime, or urban fantasy? I've looked everywhere for something to read and compare this to, but with no luck. All I could find was the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, and am currently working my way through those. Enjoyable reads!

I've taken her kill count down to 40 over the past 4.5 years, and this includes bodyguards. In the movie Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Angelina Jolie's character, an assassin, has killed over 300 criminals, and Brad Pitt's character has killed around 50. The 300 seems impossible, but Mrs. Smith is obviously a badass.

You can get 9mm and .45 cal pistols with threaded barrels for suppressors and subsonic ammo. A .25 cal has been compared to a BB gun. But everyone has different opinions about guns. A 1911 would most likely be too loud. I chose the Springfield 1911-A1 because it is a high quality gun, and the FBI's concealed carry weapon of choice. If it's good enough for those guys, it's good enough for Verity.

St0n3henge said...

I would say we tend to suspend disbelief much more when it comes to movies.
First of all, action movies are going so fast, you don't have time to think about it. You may have a "fridge moment" later when you think,"Wait-how could she really have..." but not while you're watching it.

Second, action movies are full of tropes that we just accept, like people walking away from explosions unscathed, or the hero hitting everyone he aims for but never getting hit himself even though the bad guys are armed with semi-automatics. And of course, every car that has ever been in a wreck explodes. We accept this nonsense for entertainment purposes.

Books are a whole different animal. We still expect sense from them. Though it's great to write a book like a fast-paced thriller movie, nobody is going to accept the same type of coincidences and cliches that are always happening in movies.

CavalierdeNuit said...

St0n3henge, that is very true.