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    Matt Athanasiou

    October 21, 2020 at 12:04 am

    What a fun premise. IWRT.

    You have strong start to the blurb, and I’d say my main recommendations are to add a little more exactness in places, while also cutting some repetitive content in others. A few thoughts:

    1. The second, third, and fourth paragraphs feel a little repetitive. Two quick examples: In the second and fourth, you tell the reader she’s pulled away from teaching. In the second and third, you tell the reader she wonders why the FBI thinks she can help.

    You could likely combine the info each example to create tighter paragraphs.

    2. “Reluctantly” is a good word here. It creates tension, but that tension is a little thin at the moment. Consider explaining some of Kate’s hesitancy to help, so the reader better understands what’s at stake. Does she think it will put her family in danger? Are there shady characters from her rare books past she’d rather forget?

    3. I love “the competitive and high stakes world of rare book collecting,” because the the concept of high stakes and rare book collecting seem so disparate to me, and I want to know how they fit together. It might be worthwhile to give an example or two of how rare book collecting is competitive and high stakes, really enticing the reader to want to learn more.

    4. I like the concrete descriptions of where this new life will take her. Some of them are unexpected and quite contrasting, and I want to see how you string them all together in the story.

    5. “Kate discovers just what she is made of” seems like an important part of her character, but the wording is a little generic. One quick fix for this would be to give an example of what “made of” for Kate means. Something like (but better than): “Kate discovers that she can hold a sixteenth century copy of The Oddysey in one hand, and a gun in the other.”

    6. I appreciate the theme you’re hinting at, “that treasure is everywhere around her,” but the wording actually jarred me from the summary. Until this point, the tone felt quirky and mysterious with some tension, but this phrase abruptly shifts to sentimental. You could cut it—feels a little more like a nice to have—but if it’s an important idea that you want to play up, you could add more nods to her failing to notice “treasure” throughout the blurb (this would make the mention at the end feel less abrupt). 

    Additionally, you could make it feel even more relevant to her story by mentioning an expected and an unexpected place, where she might find treasure. Does she learn that rare/cherished moments with her teenagers at breakfast are just as valuable (should be treasured) as an old copy of The Tempest? The exactness of the examples will build her world more and strengthen the theme.

    7. Lastly, some of the sentences are long and cover multiple ideas, without giving the reader a break to digest them. One example is the third paragraph, which is a single sentence where we learn: Kate drives a mini-van, is a single mom, has teenagers, is a high school English teacher, lives in Silicon Valley, isn’t sure why the FBI wants her, there’s been a newsworthy heist, 500 books were on loan for an exhibit, the exhibit was in Golden Gate Park at the de Young Museum. Consider breaking this information up into multiple sentences, allowing readers to pause and let the details sink in.

    Hopefully that all made sense, but let me know if you have questions. Excited to see what you do with this story.