Wednesday, October 14, 2009

36 Secret Agent

TITLE: Counting Down the Pinfall
GENRE: Quirky Commercial Fiction

You don’t run a pawn shop within the city limits of Boston without weathering the occasional incident here and there, but holy f*** almighty Mack had not seen this one coming. The girl wasn’t much over five feet tall and she was skinny, but not drug-strung-skinny. She didn’t look nervous or too confident. She didn’t look a whole lot of anything at all, really, other than damn good in an interesting and off-setting sort of way.

The long blond curls that fell alongside her face and danced above the glass of his display case had been something of a distraction. She looked, kinda bored, down into the rows of jewelry and keepsakes precious to people other than those who’d sold them to him, and her dark lashes brushed lightly across her cheeks. Those details had been mitigating factors as well, so it was what it was.

She turned her clear blue eyes up to his and asked if he had any antique thimbles for sale. Who the hell comes in to rob a pawn shop in the heart of Allston Center looking for antique thimbles?

Mack leaned forward against the counter and told her not at the present moment. An item like that was bound to be luck of the draw at any given time, but he did have a pair of one-of-a-kind button hole scissors—solid gold, not plate—in the back that once belonged to a personal seamstress to Queen Victoria.

She said her grandmother didn’t sew.


  1. Not hooked. The voice was hard for me to follow. I couldn't follow the first paragraph at all. I think the author is struggling to find his voice.

  2. I loved this. Your MC's voice is wonderful and the humor is great.

    I had no problem following.


  3. Not hooked. I expected action from the first sentence or a Eureeka kind of moment. But the next three paragraphs were full of details that didn't live up to that same sense of urgency. I suspect you may not be starting this story at the right place.
    You've created mystery, but it needs to be tightened.
    Good luck!

  4. I confess to being confused as to what is happening. Not that an interesting girl is in the pawn shop, but to what the author is alluding to happening. Is Mack being robbed? Her details mitigated... what? I appreciate not being handed everything, but it's almost too obtuse to me. Or maybe I'm dumb. A definite possibility.

    I like the voice enough to read a little more, but in the hopes that things would be cleared up, at least a little, soon.

  5. I liked this, but I'm going to agree with Cambria Dillon - the first sentence made me expect action, and then we got nothing. If the incident is forthcoming (within the next page or two), you're probably all right, but if not, well, you know what to do.

    I liked the voice as well, but there were a few things that threw me. The tone of the first sentence is off; the second person might be okay, but the remote reference to Mack made me think that our narrator was someone other than Mack. Also, the last sentence in the second paragraph didn't make sense to me: WHAT was what it was?

    On the whole, though, I would read on.

  6. I have to agree with Cambria. I thought she was about to rob the store or pull out a gun. I'm assuming their interaction only gets more interesting in the next few paragraphs, but some of the info felt a little contradictory ("she didn't look a whole lot of anything", but then she looks "damn good in an intresting ...sort of way" Not hooked, but I do think it has great potential.

  7. Well, I'm going to disagree. I'm definitely hooked. Yes, the first sentence suggested action that doesn't immediately follow, but I can see that we're building to it. We have a sweet girl looking for antique thimbles. Something hinky is about to go down. Apart from this curious intrigue, the voice alone would keep me reading.

  8. Confused. Starting with F*** in the first sentence made me expect something mind boggling. A skinny girl looking for antique thimbles doesn't warrant that kind of reaction, IMO.

    Dialogue between the two characters would work quite well.

    I liked that she was looking for thimbles and when he offered scissors she said her grandmother doesn't sew. Quirky.

  9. Is Mack's name 'holy F### almighty Mack'? : ) If not, you might want a comma in there somewhere. I know, very small technical detail with a wallop of an impact.

    Other than that, I'm not sure I'd keep reading or not. I'm a bit confused by what's going on right now.

    Good luck.


  10. I don't think it's odd for a guy to focus on a chick's ass-ests and keep on looking and thinking about them, so that part I had no problem with.

    Maybe get to his suspecting her as a robber a little earlier.
    I don't think it should start of in "you" tense then go back to Mack's tense.

  11. If she didn't look a whole lot of anything at all, he sure paid a lot of attention to her hair, her eyes, and even her lashes! Men don't notice those kinds of details. It has potential, but needs some work. Good luck!

  12. Slightly hooked. I liked the MC voice.

    But, I also got lost when the action didn't come immediately.

    I agree with Claire. Dialogue would really bring the reader into the piece.

    I would turn the page until I found the action promised in the first sentence.

  13. I like the character's voice, but some of the description seemed forced. Also, there was some awkward phrasing and misuse of punctuation.
    Antique thimbles? That's interesting, but I was confused as to whether the girl was going to rob the place or talk collectibles.

  14. "You don’t run a pawn shop within the city limits of Boston without weathering the occasional incident here and there, but holy f*** almighty Mack had not seen this one coming."

    This is great but you need to follow it with something else great. Three paragraphs describing what a woman looks like is too much and I still don't now why or how the first sentence ties into the rest.

  15. Not hooked. The changing from narrator to person was distracting.

    Also, if felt to me you were showing quite a bit, moreso than telling (or maybe I'm wrong, I'm just obsessed with this lately haha)

    I think the book sounds awfully interesting, though.

  16. Unless absolutely necessary, I think it can be really off-putting to drop the f-bomb in the first paragraph. I all for well-positioned expletives, but it seems like it's more for supposed shock value than voice. JMHO

  17. Not hooked. I agree with the other "not hooked" on the details and the disconnect between the opening scentence and the action. But I also wanted to bust you on a factual detail. There is no such thing as solid gold scissors. Gold is too soft. Messing up a detail like that takes away your authority. Now I know you are not teling the truth, so I don't feel like believing the rest of your story.

  18. Hooked. Clean writing, interesting setting, loved the grandmother reference at the end.

  19. I really liked this one! I loved the Narrater's voice, and the change of paces within the paragraph. I'd definitely read more.

  20. I liked it, and I'd read on, but I do have to admit I was disappointed at the end. You didn't deliver what you promised. What was the mind blowing thing he had not seen coming?

    I'd read on to see what that was, but if it wasn't mind-blowing, or it didn't come soon enough, I'd move on to something else.

  21. I think I can see what kind of voice you’re shooting for here, and you’re almost there. This guy has an interesting perspective and a nice way with words. I definitely want to hang out with him more.

    I like this setup. I’m assuming she robbed him, but we just haven’t gotten there yet. I want to see how it happens, and then how it becomes an entire novel.

    You definitely need to work on some line-editing—smoothing out word choices, making sure your punctuation is there. First sentence you need a comma after “almighty” or it doesn’t make any sense. I think you may be trying too hard with the f*** in the first sentence, but I could be wrong about that.

    Don’t know what you mean by the ‘mitigating factors” line. If you’re trying to say that her good looks distracted him from realizing she was going to con him or rob him, then just make that more clear.

    I’m wondering why you don’t do this scene in real time with dialogue instead of a summary format?

    Yes, I’d read on. Nice voice and potential for a fun story.