I LOVE being a mentor for PitchWars. BUT there is one bad part - having to choose just one manuscript to mentor when there are so many ones with so much potential.
And so, wanting to give something back to those who chose Demitria Lunetta and myself as one of the mentor teams to submit to, we decided to offer first page and query cirtiques on our blogs. Demitria will be hosting critiques on her blog on Tuesdays, while mine will be here on Thursdays. Our decision to do this via our blogs, rather than a private email, is so that (hopefully!) everyone can learn a little bit from this feedback.
And for anyone out there looking for personalized feedback, I also offer manuscript critique services which you can find more out about here.
So far, 1979 is a year seventeen-year-old Alia Nasiri would like to erase from her memory. Disowned by her parents, her life is unravelling. So when groovy, yet severely wounded stranger, Fabio Santos, offers Alia big bucks to drive him to hotspot Miami, she has no option but to accept. There’s only one problem: Miami’s the cash, cocaine and murder capital of America. Okay, the voice is really nice here... or should I say groovy. ;) I think, however, you could be more precise with your wording. For example does she have "no choice but to accept" or it is too tempting of an offer to turn down? Also you don't quite explain why Miami being the cash, cocaine, and murder capital of America is a problem for Alia.
Though with its allure and glamor, glamour accompanied by her growing feelings for Fabio, Miami seduces Alia into staying longer than she expects. But Fabio isn’t being entirely honest about himself. He keeps dozens of different identities tucked in his wallet and has a clear link to the gun-toting Columbian hit men who dominate the cocaine rush raking the city. They’re called cocaine cowboys.
And Fabio is one of them.
After a night gone horribly wrong at a disco more specifics here about what specifically goes wrong, Alia is hurled into Fabio’s world, with six days to make up for a hit she accidentally ruins.There are only two ways out of it - catch and kill the targets herself, or end up another unmourned body on the streets. Until then, Alia’s on Fabio’s list his list for what? I don't understand this—whether he wants her there or not.
Trouble is, Alia’s no murderer. But the longer she stays in Miami, the quicker killing doesn’t look so bad anymore. But then again, neither does dying. This just repeats the same problem you state above - that she needs to kill or be killed. Is there something else - something bigger at stake here?
Complete at 83,000 words, KILLERS, INC. is a historical fiction with a cross between Pretty Woman and Scarface. If this is a young adult novel (which you should specifically state) then you need at least one of these comps to be a young adult novel, especially because both of those movies are very adult movies. Thank you for your time and consideration.
July 28, 1979
I’m a thief.
Everything I’m dressed in right now…all stolen. This nurse’s uniform. The matching apron and cap. The white stockings. The stethoscope hanging around my neck. Stolen.
Oh, and the car I’m driving?
That’s stolen too.
Quick. I punch the car’s radio buttons and switch the station. I’m sick of rock and roll. Of Janice Joplin and Led Zeppelin and Kiss. Adam used to love that crap, jamming in his dank basement with his head bobbing and a joint dangling from his lip. But he’s done with me, and I guess I’m done with Detroit. So yes, rock ’n’ roll can go to hell, and Adam along with it.
After settling on an Earth, Wind & Fire disco tune, I look out the rearview mirror and scan the road for cops. It’s been forty minutes since the start of this heist and already my heart is clambering out of my chest, jolting every time a car inches too close like they’re trying to get a good read on my license plate.
Look, there’s one now. My heart starts beating wildly like it’s trying to steal out of my ribcage. above you mention her heart clambering out of her chest - it's a bit repetitive Then I realize that it’s just a taxicab. Relax Alia, calm down. But I suppose that happens when you use chloroform to knock out a nurse and steal her junk: you get a little paranoid. A little on-edge. Maybe explain why she would decide to do this?
I wipe the sweat from my brow.
A fly lands on the steering wheel between twelve and one o’clock, rubbing its tiny hands together like it’s coming up with some devilish plan—probably one more sophisticated than mine. It’s been staked here since before I pinched the car and I can’t seem to guide the little shit out the window. I try to wave it away, to wave it over to the other seat, but that’s when my gaze lowers and I spot something I really didn’t want to see.
The gas gauge shows the tank is near-empty.
The voice here is really nice and I can feel the character's desperation. I'd like a bit more information about why she's in this desperate situation and also more of a sense that this is a teenager.