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BackStage Pass ~ A Bit Off Track March 21, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Fiction, Writing & Writers.

Here’s my entry for the Show Me The Voice Contest . . . with Agent Natalie Fischer ~ the first 250 words from my novel, Back Stage Pass.


“Twithin, about Kira . . . She’s not doing what she was re-born to do. She’s practicing law and earning lots of money, but she’s not happy.  She doesn’t remember why she returned to Earth. She’s focused on ego concerns at the expense of her spirit.”

“So?  Remind her of her purpose, Thespiri.”

“Easier said than done. She’s off-line.  I’m trying to get her attention, but she isn’t listening.”

“Hmm . . . I got her attention when she was house-hunting. I whispered, This is YOUR house, and she caught my thought. Here, take a look . . .”

A screen appears and a video starts playing:

Steve is driving down a tree-lined street with Kira.  As he passes a white house with a “For Sale” sign out front, he points, “Here’s that house on Oak I told you about.”

Without looking up from the MLS book in her lap, Kira replies, “I don’t want to live on Oak. Too much traffic.”

“C’mon, Kira.  At least take a look at it.”

Twithin, a small ball of light, zooms around the interior of the car, and  blinks rapidly near Kira’s ear.

Kira looks up, sees the house, and grabs Steve’s arm, “Stop!  That’s it! That’s it!  That’s my house!”

The screen disappears, leaving Thespiri and Twithin alone in an all-white room, devoid of furnishings.

Thespiri nods, “Nice work. But when I try to get her back on track with her life purpose, she doesn’t hear me.”

With a sigh, Twithin replies, “It all goes back to when Nora died.”

* * * * *

So?  What do you think?  Are you inclined to keep reading . . . or not?  Did you see any sentences in dire need of polishing before I submit it tomorrow?


1. Nicole White - March 21, 2011

It’s a nice premise but I found the description of the video dry. The spirits/ sprites seem to have divided up the duties Twithin almost seems a bit smug to have accomplished getting Kira into the house but seems disinclined to help Thespiri get Kira back to her purpose. You’ve got the start of something here. It might be for a fairly narrow audience as it doesn’t seem to be fantasy but inspirational- which is fine if that’s your focus.I’d like to see how this develops.

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks, Nicole.

Thespiri & Twithin work together brilliantly as the story unfolds ~ no Egos involved to get in the way. 😀

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks again, Nicole.

I’ve tried to make Twithin less smug-sounding and revised the video to make it less stilted.

Thanks for the great suggestions!

2. Tilly Bud - March 21, 2011

Best of luck!

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks, Tilly.

Other than BFF . . . you guys are the first to get a “backstage pass” to Back Stage Pass.

3. Jamie Corrigan - March 21, 2011

It’s an interesting way to start. I’m sure the two spirits/angels will work together in the novel more farther in; so their talking the way that they are makes sense. All in all…not bad. 🙂

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks, Jamie.

I wanted to keep the stage settings to a minimum since Thespiri and Twithin can manifest whatever they need when they need it ~ as they think, so shall it be.

Except for us . . . due to our FREE WILL.

4. Emi Gayle - March 21, 2011


Thank you for your comment on my piece. I’m here to return the favor.

My first comment is that starting off with dialog makes it very difficult for me-the-reader to get a sense of tone, thought, scenery — of the five senses. I have no idea HOW your MC is saying those words. Is she angry? defeated? Excited?

Also, it seems you have two people talking to each other, right? But both the first and second dialog lines have no tags, so I have no sense of who these folks are, either. Am I to assume our first speaker is speaking to a person named “Twithin”? Because that is not a name I recognize I got a little lost with it. But if you define your MC as “Twithin” before she/he speaks, this will be clearer.

Then later, with the video, you say:
A screen appears and a video starts playing:

But what kind of screen? Again I have no concept of my scenery. Show us what is happening vs. just telling us. Does it unroll like a movie screen. Is it in someone’s hand? On their phone? You have it go away the same way, but I have no visual to go with it.

I hope these comments help. Best of luck to you! 🙂

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks, Emi.

To some extent, that’s a limitation of a 250 word submission. There’s only so much stage you can set in that number of words.

And, as I mentioned to Jamie, I wanted to keep stage settings to a minimum since Thespiri and Twithin can manifest whatever they need when they need it ~ as they think, so shall it be.

If someone gets to word 250 with questions that he/she wants answered . . . maybe they’ll turn a few more pages to find out more about Thespiri, Twithin, and Kira. 😀

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks again, Emi.

I added a few tags to clarify the speakers at the outset. Thanks for the suggestion.

5. e6n1 - March 21, 2011

The dialogue and tone is well-handled, although can I ask what genre this is? You’re on the right track here.

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Oops. Sorry about that. I had the tag in and then took it out to count the words.

Genre: Spiritual/Metaphysical

Thanks for your comment.

6. kateshrewsday - March 21, 2011

Sounds like a new genre altogether 🙂
Uplifting, Nancy.

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks, Kate. Maybe I’ll be a trend-setter? 😎

7. Julie - March 21, 2011


This is definitely intriguing. A couple of suggestions. One, beware of trusting someone to turn the page if they want to find answers to the questions they have. There is a difference between wanting to know more and being confused. So I think that if people are saying the dialog is confusing or disorienting, then it might be a good idea to tag it.

Although I understand that this is a spiritual story, opening with the comment about Kira’s ego getting in the way may be a bit too heavy-handed. Let the message come out in the story. That way, the reader gets to discover the message for him/herself.

It reminds me of a Celestine Prophecy type story. There’s certainly room for more of those in the market.

I’m so glad you decided to join the blogfest. Good job and good luck!

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks, Julie. I’ll definitely take all comments under advisement.

Of course, at this point, only one person said they found the dialogue confusing. Others seem to like it as is.

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks again, Julie.

I’ve added a few tags, tried to make Twithin less smug-sounding, and revised the video to make it less stilted. I also replaced upper case Ego/Spirit with lower case to be less blunt about it.

Thanks for the great suggestions.

8. souldipper - March 21, 2011

I’m intrigued, Nancy!! I’m in for the rest of the story!

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thanks, Amy!

At this point, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I make it to Round 2 ~ one of the 20 submissions to be read by Natalie Fischer.

9. nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Thank you ALL for your comments.

I’ve added a few tags, tried to make Twithin less smug-sounding, and revised the video to make it less stilted.

You guys rock! 😀

10. Shannon Sullivan - March 22, 2011

I enjoyed reading the opening Nancy and because this mirrors a lot of my own relationship to Spirit I am very curious to read more … keep us posted!

nrhatch - March 22, 2011

Thanks, Shannon. I’ve been sitting on the M/S for awhile ~ undecided what to do with it. Decided to toss it into the mix and see where it lands. I’ll keep you posted. 🙂

11. eof737 - March 22, 2011

Initially, I had to read it twice to get that T and T were talking to each other but got it. Excellent! Hope you win! 🙂
Again, I have given you a Versatile Blogger award. Stop by to collect it! 🙂


nrhatch - March 22, 2011

Thanks, Eliz. I’d love Back Stage Pass to be one of the 20 chosen for forwarding to Natalie Fischer.

If she chooses BSP as one of the 3 extended critiques, great. If not, maybe that’s the Universe telling me that it needs more work.

I shall be around straight away.

12. adeeyoyo - March 22, 2011

I liked it very much and would like to read more. The only criticism I have is very minor: I don’t like the first paragraph and found it off-putting and awkward and had to read it twice. Actually, my probem is with just the first few words. I feel it would be better with a little change, e.g. “By the way, Twithin, about Kira…”

“Twithin, about Kira . . . She’s not doing what she was re-born to do. She’s practicing law and earning lots of money, but she’s not happy. She doesn’t remember why she returned to Earth. She’s focused on ego concerns at the expense of her spirit.”

Good luck, Nancy!

nrhatch - March 22, 2011

In the novel, I have a short prologue ~ with Twithin, Thespiri and Kira . . . just before Kira returns to Earth.

From the comments as a whole, that prologue is necessary to set the stage. It introduces the characters, their personalities, and their names.

Your comment made me laugh because I often say, “BFF, we need to talk . . . ” From now on I shall soften the sentence and say, “By the way, BFF, we need to talk.” Thanks!

13. Cindy - March 22, 2011

It is a very unique genre, and will certainly grab Ms Fischer’s attention. Best of luck.

nrhatch - March 22, 2011

Even after I learned of the contest, I remained undecided about submitting. Then I felt the subtle pull inside, “Go for it.”

Whatever happens, happens. The Universe will whisper in her ear if THIS is one of the M/S’s she is meant to focus on. 😉

14. cat - March 22, 2011

Since the names of the two spirits are a bit unusual, you might want to add a single line leading into the dialog to set the stage (maybe move the white room devoid of furnishings to the beginning). I had to start twice to understand that T and T are the speakers. I first thought “Twithin” was a word I didn’t know.

nrhatch - March 22, 2011

Thanks, Cat. Thespiri and Twithin are unusual names.

In the book, they play a central “behind the scenes” role in Kira’s life which readers can see only after getting a Back Stage Pass. 🙂

Thanks for swinging by.

15. tsuchigari - March 22, 2011

I agree that the first line of dialogue took a few tries to read before I got it. I first read the name Twithin as Twitchin and thought it was a misplaced action word. I like how they have their own terminology and a unique way they talk about things.

nrhatch - March 22, 2011

Thanks, Jo. If I’d been given a few more words for this contest, I would have included a bit more in the way of preface.

If BSP is published, I’ll make sure to introduce Twithin and Thespiri to readers before the opening line of dialogue.

Thanks for swinging by.

16. Greg Camp - March 22, 2011

Please understand that what I’m about to write is aimed at being helpful, especially since I have writing of my own that I want published.

Reading what you posted makes me worry that the novel is about a message, rather than a character or a story. The theme needs to be something that emerges slowly from the telling, if it’s there at all, but telling a story is the first job.

I’d like to see you start with your main character. She’s the person your reader will identify with. Get me in her head early.

Twithin is a name that’s going to put off some readers. Is there a reason for it, or can you make it easier for English readers to pronounce? (They’ll end up creating a nickname if not.)

You’ve got a start, so keep going.

nrhatch - March 22, 2011

Thanks, Greg ~

It’s a story about Kira with a message ~ like the story of Scrooge which relays the message in A Christmas Carol.

From the liner notes:

Perhaps the Bard was right, and we are just actors in a play. If so, I expect that the script is interactive and our actions and choices affect the final scene. That is the nature of free will.

When we look back over the defining moments in our lives, patterns emerge. We begin to realize that we are sometimes pushed or pulled (and, yes, even shoved) in a necessary direction by unseen spiritual forces working behind the scenes to keep our lives on track.

Here is your backstage pass ~ a glimpse of what goes on “behind the scenes” as we move through our daily lives.

And, yes, there is a reason for the names Twithin and Thespiri. Kira’s name could be changed . . .

17. Alannah Murphy - March 23, 2011

Looks interesting, I personally was a bit confused, trying to figure out who these people were and like others, the name Twithin confused me, and I thought it was a word I’d misread or didn’t know. Didn’t realise they were angels, but once that’s been made clear, I couldn’t help but think of “It’s a Wonderful Life” so it sounds like that kind of tale 🙂

Good luck with it!

nrhatch - March 23, 2011

Thanks, Alannah.

I’m beginning to see why Dickens spelled it out from the first sentence: Marley was dead. 😀

Alannah Murphy - March 23, 2011


After reading your comments about how you have a prologue, I understand that the readers would have read that before this bit, and so there would be no need to say “so and so are angels” etc.

You have a unique story, and I mean that in a good way. Makes a change from all the vampires you know 😉

nrhatch - March 23, 2011

Thanks, Alannah!

I almost wish the contest had been “Describe your story in 250 words” or “Write a Query of 250 words or less.”

As it was, I could either share the prologue (which isn’t really the story ~ it just sets the stage), or I could dive into the story and hope that people would see Twithin and Thespiri as the spirits they are and get the gist. 😀

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