Crafting A Particularly Perfect Excerpt

Crafting A Particularly Perfect Excerpt

The Particulars Cover

The Particulars Cover

Writing a novel from start to finish is an extremely challenging feat, but I discovered that creating the novel itself is a synch compared to crafting an engaging and well-written pitch.  How could I distill over 100k words into just under 250 words while still maintaining the essence of the plot, characters, and style of the book?

It is no easy task.  I struggled and wrestled my way through over fifteen drafts each seemingly worse than the last.  False starts and failed endings.  It took me a long time to get to what I finally settled upon, but I’m not convinced it’s ready.

I need your help!  Please read my pitch, and lend me your constuctive critique.   What’s working?  What isn’t working?  Does it pull you in?  Do you relate to the characters?  Does it make you want to read the book?  What can I do to make it stronger?

The Particulars Pitch
by Lauren Soffer

Please excuse Professor Veril Maloit as he passes out cold.  He’s just standing up to accept the biggest honor of his writing career only to fall flat on his face.  To Veril’s astonishment, his girlfriend, Samantha Elderhopper, is selected to become an apprentice to the elite group of writers known as The Particulars, and his lifelong dream of joining the enigmatic organization is in shambles.

While recovering, Veril overhears a conversation between the group’s Grand Master, Cameron Johanson, and another Particular about making unsuspecting people disappear.

Is something sinister afoot?  Tracy, the opinionated incorporeal voice that’s following Veril around certainly thinks so.  Chances are he’s finally going out of his mind, but as Veril investigates, he stumbles upon a Particular conspiracy, witnessing the society’s crimes for himself.  The famous authors are secretly vampires sucking juicy details out of people to infuse their writing with vivid realism, erasing their victims from memory to all but Veril.

Terrified, he dreads forever losing Sam to the humanity devouring Particulars, but what can Veril do?  He knows nothing about hunting vampires.  Or so he thinks, until the delivery of a cryptic letter illuminates the murky details of his mysterious lineage.  Armed with a magic pen and inkwell, his creative writing skills, and a grab bag team of would-be heroes, Veril discovers that he’s the inspired author of his own destiny.

Thanks so much for your time and help!  It’s much appreciated.  You can leave your feed back right here in the comments, or you can email me at

Cross-posted from The Particulars Blog.
Completing the Particulars

Completing the Particulars

Ninety thousand one hundred and ninety words after starting, I completed the first draft my second novel The Particulars.  The final two words were “the” and “end”.  Yes I know I’m a tease (there’s a real excerpt at the end of this post).  I’m super excited.  And yes I left room for a sequel.


I really don’t know what else to say.  I’m sitting here in shock.  I’m done.  Well with the first draft anyway.

I’m not sure what my next move will be, but I’m excited to take the next step having completed phase one.

Here’s a little excerpt from the middle of the novel:

The scent of musty damp earth permeated Veril’s nose.  Despite the bright blueish glow emanating from his cell phone, Veril could barely make out his surroundings at first.  He stood at the bottom of the stairs blind and and helpless.  All he could see was the glow of Logan’s cell ahead of him.  He couldn’t hear anything either but the sound of his rapid shallow breaths and the rush of blood past his eardrum.  He wiped his sweaty palms on his slacks and waited for his pupils to adjust to the low light.

When he could somewhat see again, he crept forward towards Logan’s light looking around.  Straight ahead was a door where Logan waited for him to catch up.  On either side of his path were rows of large rectangular boxes made of some sort of rough ancient stone.  They looked large enough to hold a fully grown man.

He shone his phone on them to get a better look and nearly dropped it as he jumped back.  He clamped his hand over his own mouth stifling a scream.  What were all these coffins doing down here?

He wasn’t about to hang around to find out.  Shaking, he rushed over to where Logan stood waiting.

“Come on.  Let’s go upstairs.”  Veril reached for the door knob but Logan caught his wrist.

“Wait!” Logan said.

“Wait for what?” Veril tried to pull his arm away, but Logan’s grip was iron tight.

“I just don’t know if we should be doing this.  What if you get caught?  This is such a bad idea.  I just know it.”

Logan was right.  This was a terrible idea.  Knowing his luck he’d probably get caught and end up in jail for breaking and entering.  His head started to spin at the thought of himself in some prison somewhere.  He wouldn’t last a single day in a place like that, and Sam would probably leave him there to rot.  He shivered.  His legs felt like lead weights.  He just wasn’t cut out for this type of thing.

Maybe if Sam were here by his side helping him, he’d feel differently.  The thought of Sam made his chest ache.  He had to stop being such a loser if he had any hope of a future with her.  Besides, Tracy needed his help.

“Look,” Veril’s tried to sound as stern as he could, “one of my students is trapped up there.”

“Can’t you just call the police or something and let them deal with it?”

“And what should I tell the police?  That I have a semi-invisible student being held captive in Doctor Cameron Johanson’s library?  I’ll be lucky if all they do is laugh at me.”

So there you have it.  The Particulars.

The end.

Cross posted from