Wednesday, August 19, 2009

17 Secret Agent

TITLE: Angels, Demons, and Beauty Queens
GENRE: Urban Fantasy

Linny stared with horror at the mangled bodies littering the street after the terrorist attack. Such a graphic television broadcast was hardly appropriate for an airport waiting room and exponentially increased her already considerable anxiety. To calm herself and erase the awful images from her mind, she continuously snapped her fingers, blinked her eyes, and repeated “blazda, gooptcha, blazda.

After fifteen minutes, she felt temporarily more relaxed. Still, she questioned the wisdom of attending her high school reunion in the first place, particularly since it involved a nerve-racking airplane trip. What was the point of such agony anyway? To show her pretentious peers that she looked half her age? To reclaim her title as homecoming queen? What a joke. In a million years, they would never guess the real truth about her secret existence. Oh, the strange looks around the fancy bar when she described the slime covered fangs of her hideous stalker demon! The frowns and head scratches when their blurred, martini-laden brains attempted to comprehend the nonphysical realm, a wondrous alternate reality where she tripped the light fantastic with a handsome immortal. But the coup de grace would be the shocking account of her time in a mental institution, instantly toppling her from their cracked pedestal of perfection to social outcast. Linny laughed at the sad irony. Her exterior appearance and behavior were carefully crafted illusions designed to make everyone believe she was normal when in fact, she was, as Blake insisted multiple times during their marriage, defective.


  1. I loved this. Nice imagery, and a great introduction to a fascinating character. I want to read more!

  2. Good start. I like your character and your voice. I did feel a bit of disconnect between the two paragraphs, but I think you could smooth that out quite easily. I also think some of it could use a bit of tightening up, but I would keep reading :)

  3. Wow. They usually don't show stuff like that on TV because of decency laws. Unless this is from another country.

    The second paragraph has a lot of stuff crammed in there, and I don't get the connection to the first paragraph. There needs to be a transition...

  4. There's a lot of information in that second paragraph. Perhaps a few paragraph breaks would help a reader absorb that better.

    I like the MC's voice and find it interesting, sort of the way I was interested in Grosse Pointe Blank. But I find myself wondering where the first paragraph relates to the second paragraph.

    The final sentence hooked me in, sympathizing with the MC. I would read more.

  5. What is "blazda, gooptcha, blazda?" Is that something I should know about, and don't? Or is this made up for the story?

    It's tell-y in a few places. "She felt" can be shown by having her take a deep breath. "She questioned" can be shown by letting us read the question she asked herself, aka: "Maybe this wasn't such a great idea. Going to high school reunion vs. avoiding airplane trip. Right now, avoiding the nerve-wracking trip was winning."

    That second paragraph just lost me. Too much, crammed together too closely. I'd try breaking it up into smaller paragraphs.

  6. I liked it. There were a few words that were a bit big, but they fit well in the story. I like the anxiety of going to the reunion and the false face she's showing. I'd want to keep reading it.

  7. Just didn't capture me. The writing was fine and the concept intriguing enough, but nothing really stood out.

  8. If Linny runs around snapping, blinking and saying “blazda, gooptcha, blazda” in public for fifteen minutes every time she's anxious, I think her old classmates will have no problem realizing she's defective. I laughed at that part, but wasn't sure if I was supposed to.

    I like the voice, but agree the second part needs to be broken up a bit. Plus, maybe two examples of her different-ness would suffice instead of three. I liked the second part better than the first; I'm sort-of hooked.

  9. I agree the second paragraph is more powerful, yet a little too crammed. There's good details in there that just need a little space. The tone of the first paragraph felt too formal. Words like "exponentially" and "considerable anxiety" didn't seem to match with this defective (poor thing! sympathy points!) character who says things like "blazda, gooptcha, blazda".

    I think there's good story in here and love the idea of this strange character trying to fit in at her high school reunion. Right now, the words are weighing down the story a little bit. But there's definitely something there, I'm hooked by the idea. Keep at it!

  10. I'm hooked! Like everyone else, I don't see the connection between the first paragraph and the second. I'd cut it (the first parg.) completely.

    Break the second paragraph up into manageable chunks.

    I have no idea where this is going, but I don't care. I may change my mind later, but for now, I like this MC, and her past, enough to keep reading.

  11. I wanted to like it because of the title, but too much in the 2nd paragraph. We're sounding like a repeating loop of sound, aren't we?

    These strange things that she is living with were interesting and intriguing, but I felt the need to be inside her more. Her reactions rather than the listing of all these terrible things.

    On further thought, if you had separated that 2nd paragraph into two at "But the shocking account..."

    I'm pretty sure that I would have been hooked.

    Best wishes.

  12. For me, even though this has potential, I was confused as I read. It had some action but read vague to me. I'd read further because I want to see her a bit more - does that make me hooked? Maybe, but I wouldn't read much further if it continued to confuse me.

  13. Not hooked.

    Repeating nonsense words makes her sound like a child.

    We're too much inside this character's head before we get to know, like, and care about her.

  14. A character sitting around and thinking isn't a hook, it's an anti-hook.

  15. I think you have too much telling in the second paragraph, and the two paragraphs seem to have nothing to do with each other, as others have said. I think you need to have something happen in this scene beyond a character sitting in an airport bar, watching TV and thinking.

  16. Good introduction to the character and her quirks and fears. The nonsense words seemed to pull me from the story, though. I admit, I got a little lost after "what a joke" and had to read through it again because the language was so dense. But I like the idea of a character who seemed to have it all in high school now with a secret, flawed past. I'd read a page or two more to see where this goes.

  17. I found this to be too chatty, with too much "telling" and not enough "showing" (not enough real action) to draw me in. I didn't understand the point of the strange words she was repeating, and I didn't particularly enjoy being thrust into the world of an annoyed, anxiety-ridden mc. I'd have to say this one didn't feel ready to me.

  18. Thanks everyone for your comments. They were so helpful, right on, and I will take them to heart.

    By the way, for those of you wondering about the blazda thing - Linny has a severe case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder that causes her to make up nonsense words as protective mantras (very common in OCD sufferers). She usually tries to hide them from others, so I'll make the rituals more discreet and make it clear that the mantras take place in her mind.

    As for the terrorist attack, there is a direct connection in the second chapter, but, as you say, its choppy and confusing so I'll rework it.

    Thanks again, everyone, for the fabulous advice!